FitChef : 21 Day Challenge – My review…

For those that read my post “The keys to a healthier me…”,you’ll know that I have a history of being overweight and also for always trying new diets. If you haven’t read it may I suggest having a look so you have a background to this review that I’m about to do.

So people who know me will tell you that no matter what,I’m rarely satisfied with the way I look. I always think that if I could lose an extra 5 kilos I’d look better. With this in mind and with my 40th birthday approaching(which has since passed) I decided it was time to try another way to lose some weight. I’d been on Facebook and the net and seem numerous ad’s for FitChef. What peaked my interest was the numerous of positive reviews that they had received. 

For those that have never heard of them,FitChef are the leading healthy-convenient food company in South Africa. They’re famous for their 21 DAY CHALLENGE KITS and monthly lifestyle food, smoothies and other products. They pride themselves on having meals made,to stringent standards,that are first and foremost healthy but also convenient to their clients that don’t have time to prepare healthy meals. 

They have numerous packages available to choose from,depending on how much you want to spend and how active you are. From what I could see their most popular package is the 21 day challenge – best results (v2) kit. I decided to place my order and they delivered it to my work’s address as that is where I spend most of my day. You can also collect your order of so desired. 

As you can see they came packaged in 2 reasonably big boxes. Make sure that you have a decent sized freezer as it takes more space than what you think. I was lucky in that aspect,since I work in a butchery and freezer space is not a concern. 

These are just some examples of the meals that come in the 21 day challenge kit.There are 36 Meat meals, 18 Vegetarian meals, 2 Soups, 44 Smoothies and 4 Snacks included in the kit. The kit also has a simple plan to follow but it is pretty much eat any meal at any time. The only rule to follow was to have the meals with higher carbs, i.e meals with rice or pasta,at lunchtime instead of supper.

I found the meals to be of really high quality and I was blown away by how good it tasted. I’m a meat eater and don’t do the vegetarian thing at all but even found those to my liking. The portions were just big enough to get me through to the next meal and if I ever thought of craving on something unhealthy I would just have their smoothies which were just as good. What I really enjoyed was that they managed to make the food with really natural ingredients and a minimum of salt and spices. My favourite meal out them all was the Green Thai Chicken with brown and wild rice dish. The smoothies also had no artificial sugars added which made a nice change since everything we tend to consume contains them.  

Great tasting food aside,the aspect I most enjoyed about this kit was the convenience of it. It made such a refreshing change not having to worry what I would be making to eat the next day or the amount of time it would take to prepare the food. All it took was defrosting the meals a day before the time and popping it in the microwave. Being at work I don’t have much time for lunch but during this challenge I found myself being able to eat with no stress at all.

I started out weighing 85.7kg and finished on 80.6kg which I feel is a reasonable amount of weight to lose in 21 days. All in all I’m very happy with the weight loss. I can highly recommend FitChef to any person,that wishes to lose weight,and start a new healthier way of eating. 

I know some people will maybe complain that the costs involved is a bit too steep for their pockets but I found that with the quality of food that a person gets plus the convenience of not having to spend any time preparing the food it to be of fair value. 

I would give this 21 day challenge-best results kit a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating…with the .5 getting deducted for the price which would be the only thing I can see preventing FitChef from completely dominating the healthy-convenient food sector.

Has anyone else tried FitChef?Are their people that have tried anything similar to them?If so,I’d love to hear from you. So please feel free to drop a comment or share your experience of FitChef. 

Till next time. 

Ciao

*Please note : During this 21 day challenge i was gyming 3 times a week. Also note this review is my personal experience of FitChef and the 21 day challenge kit was not paid or sponsored by FitChef. 

The last week of being in my 30’s : 5 life lessons learned so far…

Almost 40…it’s arrived alot quicker than what I’ve expected it to. In less than a week’s time I’ll be 40 even though i don’t really feel it. I would like to say that,like a fine red wine,I’m only getting better with age. 

Life has thrown me it’s fair share of curveballs and I’ve had some ups and downs and through it all it’s brought me to where i am today. The beauty of age is that with it we tend to see life differently,to than when we were younger. 

So even though 40 is by no means old I’d like to share some of the lessons that life has taught me so far and to give advice to anyone younger than me on how to possibly deal with it. 

1: Life rarely turns out the way we expect it to..

When we young we all tend to have hopes and dreams of where we see ourselves in our adult life. We have pictures in our minds of what jobs we would like to have and imagine how our lives are going to be. I would say that in a minimum of 80% of cases it doesn’t happen this way. Ill health or financial economics are just 2 examples of what can prevent us from chasing our dream job or let us realise our full potential.My advice is to make the most with what you got. Don’t bitch and moan if things haven’t turned out the way you wanted. Work your ass off and be grateful for what you have. There are alot of people way worse off than you. 

2: Losing loved ones is a reality. 

I think it’s fair to say that all people will experienced this at one or other point in their life. I,myself,have lost a sister ,both my parents,both sets of grandparents plus uncles and aunts already. People grieve in different ways and the time it takes to move on also greatly differs. The only advice i have is to appreciate everyone while you can. Don’t think you’ve got tommorrow because that is promised to no single person. Don’t be scared to apologise if you’re in the wrong. Also don’t judge other people if they’ve lost a loved one. I mean just because you got over your loss,in 2 or 3 months time,doesn’t mean the next person will. 

3: People come into our lives for different reason and amounts of time. 

This might not resonate with some people but i definitely believe that people cross our paths for some or other reason. It might not always be for the best reasons but i found it to be true. They tend either to be blessings in our lives or lessons that we will never forget. You’ll also notice that not everyone sticks around for the same period. Even your bestest of friends back in school don’t always stay that once you leave. Just try to learn the reason why certain people are in your life. If for example you were in a toxic relationship than know what to avoid on the next one-learn the lessons. And if people are a blessing try be the same back to them. 

4: There will ALWAYS be haters. 

Trust me on this one. You’ll always find somebody that has nothing good to say about you. I see this as a good thing. I don’t think we’re meant to be liked by everyone and our opinions are going to be different to someone else’s sooner or later. Don’t try please everyone. Don’t be scared to stand on your own if you believe in something strongly enough. We should always be keen to better ourselves because the better we become and the more successful we become the more haters we will attract. People that are haters are envious that they can’t be you and don’t have your determination or courage to go out there and live your life to the best of your ability. Having haters is a good thing. It means you’re on the right track. 

5: Family isn’t always blood.

Sad but true. Being related to someone by blood doesn’t necessarily make them family. Family is much more than bloos. It’s the people that have your back regardless. That are there for you no matter the time no matter the crisis. Who,most importantly,accept you just the way you are-with all your wackiness and weirdness. My only advice is TREASURE SUCH PEOPLE. They are far and few between. 

All i know is life is always moving and I’m still learning as i go along. I don’t know how long I’ve got left but hopefully i can keep on growing and bettering myself and understanding better the journey I’m on.

So what life lessons have you learnt?Please feel free to share with me or to leave any comments. Look forward to hearing you..till the next post

Ciao

To spank or not to spank? This outsiders take on it…

* Disclaimer. This post is simply my point of view. I’m a single guy with no children of my own. *

Certain topics are by their nature just much more controversial than others. When it comes to children there are not many more controversial topics than that of discipline and more specifically hidings (spankings) from both that of parents and learning institutions. It evokes really strong emotions on either side. You’ll get those for it and those against it. Seeing as i have no children of my own,as yet,I’m not an expert in this field but definitely have strong opinions on which side of the fence i belong on. 

Times have most definitely changed since the early 1980’s,when i was growing up as a kid. It was definitely a time where kids were raised to be seen and not heard. It might be the fact that i grew up in a portuguese home but looking back i think in general that’s the way it was for most kids. 

In our house it was my mom that dished out the hidings. My dad was told that if punishment was to be handed out than she would do it. By all accounts my mom had it tough. We were 5 kids in the house (4 boys 1 girl)and a real handful. At the same time she was involved in running the family owned supermarket we had as well as raising is up. 

My mom was a real old school lady that had no time for ill discipline or disrespect. I got alot of hidings growing up both at home and at school. In those days corporal punishment was allowed to be handed out to misbehaving kids. I can honestly say that on both fronts i never once received a hiding that wasn’t well deserved. I was a naughty little shit-to put it bluntly. 

I believe that this upbringing made me realize,from quite early on,the difference between right and wrong. I also learned to respect those in authority and those elder than me. 

Which brings me to the times we find ourselves in currently. The lack of respect and manners from kids is quite appalling. It’s almost as if since the advent of the ‘ everyone’s got rights ‘ movement the behaviour of children have gotten worse. If i talked to my mom or dad the way some kids talk to their parents,than trust me,i wouldn’t be around to do this post. 

I know that their are parents out there that feel as if they’re caught in a catch-22. Either let their kids do whatever they want or face the scrutiny and scorn of many people and even the chance of child services being called in if they dare raise their handsto their children. 

On the other side,there are other parents out there that believe in disciplining their kids without spanking their kids. They believe in either sending their kids to their rooms or grounding them out taking away cell phones or gaming consoles etc. From what I’ve seen with parents who employ such measures is,while it may help some,it really doesn’t act as a deterrent in the long run. 

Talk to teachers at most schools,especially public schools,and they’ll tell you since corporal punishment has been removed that pupils are much more inclined to be ill-disciplined and disrespectful. There have been incidents where pupils have been confrontational and threatened violence against the teachers. 

To me such incidents only reinforce my opinion that kids are way less mannered and disciplined than in our day. To me it comes down to parents either not willing or wanting to spank their kids from a young age.

My mom always said kids were like bamboo plants meaning they could be bent into any direction with the right discipline and guidance. After a certain age it’s already too late.  

I’m sure that most of us are familiar with the bible verse above. Call me old fashioned but i believe that this is applicable more in these times than ever.

Do you agree or not? Which side of the fence do you belong on? For or Against? Please feel free to drop me a comment.

• NB!! I do NOT condone child abuse. I do however believe that a good spanking when a child has misbehaved is very much in order.

The KEYS to a healthier me (& potentially you)…

120kg. It was the end of 1994 and i had just finished high school and was about to enter the real world of working full time and earning a salary. The fact was that those numbers,i had read on the scale,had been a long time coming.

I had been a chubby kid my whole life but really had let myself go during my high school years. It didn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that by overeating and doing zero exercise my weight would only ever increase. My ever expanding waistline eventually earned me the moniker of ‘Nelly the Elephant’.

I don’t think those kids that called me that meant it in a bad way or to be nasty but to someone who wasn’t the most confident at the best of times it only meant that i retracted more into my shell. I had other stuff (which I’ll get into on another post)that played a role but my low self esteem has been a factor my whole life.

When i left school i promised myself that somehow i would lose weight and that i would get my life back on track. I started eating less junk food and less foods in general,started exercising more and it was literally 4 or 5 months only and i had lost 40 kilograms.

The feeling i got when i achieved this is something that is difficult to describe. It proved to me that i could do anything,if i put my mind to it. This should of been all she wrote in my story of weight-loss and getting a better looking body. Unfortunately it’s been something that still continues to this day.

I would have to say that one of my main weaknesses is that I’m a tad inconsistent. When i get into something i get very focused and i can stick it out but at other times it ain’t long before i get bored and lose interest quite quickly.

What this has led to,in my quest for a healthier body and lifestyle,is many ups and downs. I seem to have a unhealthy obsession with food and fitness sometimes. My family and friends keep telling me i look fine but every now and than they’ll find me trying some new diet in my effort to improve on my weight and body.

I guess that for most part,my weight has been stable and due to regular training hours in the gym,i find myself to be the fittest i have been for years. So even though it’s been a struggle for the majority of my life (and continues to be) the keys to a healthier and fitter me are the following : {Funny  isn’t it that sometimes the answer we are looking for is right there in front of us}

•BALANCE – The most important key to being healthier and happier is definitely balance. Unless you are a serious sportsman/woman or bodybuilder whose diet doesn’t allow it make sure to have balance in your life. Train hard and eat healthy but if you crave a chocolate allow yourself to eat it.

•COMMON SENSE – This goes hand in hand with balance. When i say allow yourself a cheat snack i mean have the burger or chocolate you want but don’t go overboard by having 2 or 3 burgers or the whole slab of chocolate. Also don’t think that by starving yourself you’ll be achieving your goal. In the end you’ll only do yourself more harm in the process.

•CONSISTENCY – The last but no less important key is to be consistent. Train or do moderate exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. Try to eat healthy during the week . 5 or 6 small meals continuously during the day is ideal. Allow yourself some treats over the weekend but remember not to overdo it.

So hopefully some of you have found this to be of some help and I’ll continue writing on my experiences with fitness and diet in posts to come. I’m currently doing a 21day challenge by the FITCHEF company and I’ll be reviewing the products as well as posting the results as soon as i have completed the challenge  (I’m around halfway through).

Please feel free to leave a comment or share your story on your life experience with diet and fitness.

Let me make this ABUNDANTLY clear…

The customer is ALWAYS right. I’m sure all of you have heard this,one or other time,in your life. For anyone that has worked in any retail environment,it is the first rule that gets drummed into you. You as the sales person have no right to disagree with a customer and any sign of arguing will usually end up with the manager or boss being called to deal with you.

As someone that has worked my entire life in retail i know the saying better than most. HOWEVER I,unlike most people,totally disagree with the saying. Let me rephrase that. My number one pet hate is when someone walks into the place where i work and tells me that ‘The customer is always right’.Gee whiz,are you really looking for a fight?

I believe the general public have been brainwashed to think this over the years. The sense of self entitlement astounds me. It is as if the customer is incapable of being in the wrong no matter the case.

Now,before all of you get on my case,i just want to state that i do not condone bad service and it is within the right of someone to complain if they feel that they have not been helped in the way that they would like.

This does not mean that if a store is busy and you see that everyone is trying their best to help that you (as the customer)have the right to bitch and moan. Trying to jump ques is also a no-no. A bit of patience usually goes a long way.

Losing your temper at a waiter,for example,if the food isn’t up to taste or making a scene with a cashier at a shop if the item you bought is defective is also not right. There are certain ways to deal with such things and trying to publicly embarrass a waiter or cashier,for example,is just not on in my opinion. Ask for a manager or the owner of the store so that they can try deal with a problem if you feel you haven’t been properly helped.

One thing to remember is that nowadays there is so much choice out there as customers. If you do not want to shop at certain places or support certain business’s than its your prerogative to do so. With this comes certain power as all stores and businesses are looking to attract you,as a customer,to spend your hard earned money there.

Unfortunately,to quote the Spiderman comics,with great power comes great responsibility. Yes,you as a customer spending your money have the power to choose where you’ll spend your money but it doesn’t give you the right to do as you please in a store.

Let me make this abundantly clear…

I believe the saying should be changed. It should no longer be : The customer is Always right but instead be : The customer is king. The difference is simply that while you might be king it doesn’t necessarily make you ALWAYS right.

Please feel free to leave a comment whether you agree or disagree with this and whether you think I’m just full of shit.

Epilepsy : my story…

‘You were making that weird noise again last night ‘ said my brother. Yeah whatever,you’re probably imagining things i thought to myself. At that time i had no idea that this would be the first signs of what would become a chronic illness. The fact is that i had woken up on a few occasions prior to that,with blood in my mouth and my tongue looking as if i had put it through a mincer,which had not set alarm bells ringing either.

I was 29 and in reasonably good health. I hadn’t seen my gp in years and didn’t have any reason to suspect anything was wrong. It all changed the day that i blacked out at work while sitting on a portuguese chair (2 coke crates on each other)and cracked my head on the floor. The amount of blood forced me to go get stitches and after the doctors’ examination and asking me about my general state of health i was diagnosed with epilepsy.

I was put on medication and to be honest didn’t think much of it. I knew nothing about the disease and nobody that suffered with it. According to myself it was just an inconvenience to take pills and that in time it would heal itself. Boy was i wrong.

The type of epilepsy i got meant i had no idea when or where it would happen. I could be having a normal conversation with someone and than wake up to the looks of concerned people and have no recollection of what had just happened.

This, in the course of a year,meant i was involved in 2 car accidents in which i had seizures while driving. After the second accident in which i wrote off a car and ended up in icu for almost 2 weeks i was no longer allowed to drive. My medication wasn’t increased and i thought we had it under control. Worse was to come.

31 December 2007. I was expecting a really busy day. Instead all i remember was that when i got to work my older brother told me i didn’t look too well and that i should go home. I awoke the 7th January 2008. I had no memory of what had taken place between those days. According to my family it’s better i didn’t know.

From that day on the neurologist treating me managed to get me on the right medication and with some tweaks to my diet (no caffeine or similar stimulants,no alcohol)I’ve been seizure free for 9 years.

The medication(Epilim) I’m on does have some side effects,which I’ll get into on another post. This is just my story on how epilepsy has impacted on my life and to give anyone that suffers with epilepsy,hope,that with the right precautions and treatment youll can live life to the fullest.