It’s that time of the year again – but it doesn’t have to be

It’s that time of the year again – Winter. It’s cold. It is too dark in the mornings and evenings to hit the road or gym. Cravings for comfort food abound. This of course means only one thing – we go into hibernation mode and we pack on a bit of padding. Come summer time, we wonder what happened. Clothes don’t seem to fit properly (must have been that last cinnamon doughnut) and the general lack of energy makes it a slog to get back on that dusty treadmill.

We know that South Africans are a proud nation, but according to a national health survey by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), we are also very much in denial when it comes to perceptions of how overweight, unfit and unhealthy we are.

61% of South Africans surveyed are overweight, obese or morbidly obese (29% are men and 56% are women). In a regional breakdown, the survey reveals that Cape Town is the worst affected with 72%, followed by Pretoria (68%), Johannesburg (59%) and Durban (52%). The survey also found that South Africans believe they are healthy, even when they are obese. Only 47% recognise that a lifestyle change is critical to weight loss.

I think we do all know that there is no such thing as a miracle diet. That said, you’d be hard pressed not to admit that you at least once dreamt about that miracle pill, shake (drinking and body sculpting machine), seaweed wrap or whatever “new and improved” technique you see on the shopping channel that could cut away the bulge once and for all.

It takes hard work, dedication, exercise, a healthy eating plan and the right kind of supplements – basically a lifestyle change to whip you in to shape.

There are those, such as cosmetic doctor Maureen Allem from the Skin & Body Renewal clinic, that claim one should add another component to the mix – a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin).

She says the latest research into weight loss has revealed that a low daily injected dose of a hCG, combined with a customised ultra-low calorie (500 – 600) diet, will result in the loss of abnormal, unhealthy fat, leaving essential fat and muscle intact. If the prescribed weight loss program is strictly adhered to, about 350 grams of fat can be lost each day which translates into 10 – 12 kilograms a month.

While it appears that the use of the hCG shots is still unproven (read LATimes, Mayo clinic and here), the low calorie intake seems to be the biggest contributor to the rapid weight-loss.

That said however, it seems that the Skin & Body Renewal clinic wants to put their money where their mouth is, or rather put their money where your fat was. They recently launched a competition called The Slender Challenge. They are looking for 20 overweight people to compete to see who can lose the most kilos in 12 weeks. Each one will be given a weight loss programme valued at R10 000.

The winner will receive a 3-D Body Renewal Package from Skin & Body Renewal, valued at R25 000, which is designed to reduce more inches and sculpt the body. Online spot prizes, valued at R25 000, will be awarded to blog followers throughout the competition.

The competition will run from July through to September 2011. Visit the Slender Challenge if you are interested in entering. Closing date is 6 June 2011

I’m interested to see how this pans out. Now where are my kettlebells?

iPhone applications

My iPhone recently had to go back to Vodacom for an issue with the vibrate button. The thing broke off after only 2 months out the box. Something that’s completely unacceptable. Unfortunately the only thing to do was to book it in at Vodaworld, figuring it will be resolved fairly quickly.

In the initial three days I received a few messages informing me of the progress of the job, until it had to be sent back to the supplier. Around two-and-a-half weeks of silence ensued before I was finally notified that it was ready for collection. As expected (and welcomed), they exchanged the phone with a new unit.

One thing I must commend Apple on is how well the restore function works. Surprisingly enough it restored every setting, archived sms and application back to the last known state. Pretty amazing, considering I’ve never been able to do so with my Windows Mobile phones.

Funny thing about restoring your phone is that you notice how much nonsense you had on there in the first place. I took the opportunity to do some housekeeping and removed some unwanted / unused applications.

Below is a list of some of the more oft used (and mostly free) applications still on my phone.


  • Flickit – Flickr uploader
  • PanoLab – Capture panoramic images

  • Discover – Mobile file manager
  • Road Trip – Best travel logbook application by far
    Social Networking

  • Brightkite – Location based networking
  • Facebook – What? Never heard of Facebook? Welcome to earth.
  • Fring – Instant messaging across multiple services
  • LinkedIn – Professional networking
  • Skype – Free calls and instant messages
  • Twitterfon – Twitter client
  • Twitterrific – Twitter client

Unfortunately some of the better apps in the iTunes App Store are still not available to South Africans, so we’ll have to make do for now. But here’s the question, are there other apps out there that I should have on my phone? What do you have on yours?