Have you heard of Chefox, the first residential fitness and weight loss camp in Egypt? We met with Nada Taalab, the young woman behind Chefox, to tell us all about this revolutionary life-changing concept. Additionally, she shared with us the ultimate way to embrace a healthy lifestyle. So read along and get ready for some health, fitness and wellness discussions.
What inspired you to establish Chefox?
I was a former swimming champion who used to train very hard, and had to stop because of a shoulder injury. Since 2004, I have been trying to lose that weight with all the traditional and non-traditional ways. So two years ago, I travelled to the UK for a week to join a fitness camp. This trip was very beneficial for me. So one year later, I decided to start that concept with some modifications here in Egypt paving the way for the first residential fitness and weight loss camp in the country, providing you with a memorable, life-changing experience through our five point philosophy of: fitness, nutrition, education, relaxation, and camaraderie. Our goal is to help you build sustainable wellness habits, learn to identify your body’s cues, discover your personal triggers, and transform your relationship with food, all in a supportive environment.
Is Chefox only for fitness fanatics, or anyone can join?
Chefox is for everyone; our programs are tailored to suit all fitness levels and ages. The sure thing, they will be challenged whether they are beginners or athletes.
Do you have a daily diet and exercise plan? Do you have a cheat day?!
Yes of course, I have a daily “Eat Clean” and exercise plan. No cheating day, it's a cheating meal once a week. Knowing that you can still enjoy one of the unhealthy foods you love at some point each week, will make the fact that you're on a diet less of a punishment or a chore and more about living a new, healthy lifestyle that can still be fun.
Tell us the most common misconceptions about weight loss.
Myth #1: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Carbs don’t make you fat. Excess calories make you fat. Your body uses carbohydrates as fuel. You use this fuel to exercise and burn fat. Good carbohydrates are also high in fiber and help regulate your blood sugar level. Avoid refined grains (white flour, white bread and white rice), processed foods, baked goods, soft drinks and alcohol.
Myth #2: Reduce calories to lose weight.
Healthy weight loss is more than just eating fewer calories. Where your calories come from is as important (and possibly more important) than how many you get. Your calories should come primarily from fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, brown rice, quinoa and other whole food carbohydrates. Whole foods are nutrient dense, rather than calorie-dense. Avoid or dramatically limit calories from processed foods like pizza, soda, cookies and other non-whole foods.
Myth #3: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.
Yes and no. Eating the wrong kinds of fat may play a role in weight gain, but eating the right kind of fats will help you lose weight. Monounsaturated fats in avocados, olives, olive and sunflower oil and polyunsaturated fats, such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and walnuts support your health. They help to lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. They don’t make you fat as long as you don’t overdo them.
Myth #4: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
This is one of the worst things you can do to lose weight. When you skip a meal, your body goes into starvation mode and will store calories as fat. Starving yourself doesn’t accelerate weight loss, eating enough of the right kind of foods does.
Myth #5: Don’t weigh yourself.
You’re not going to lose a pound a day and you will see some ups as well as downs. But the scale is a fantastic tool that will tell you in real time if what you are doing is working or not
Myth #6: Snacking between meals is a bad idea.
Mindless snacking will sabotage your weight loss, but mindful snacking is an excellent strategy to keep you feeling satisfied between meals. You’ll also be less likely to overeat at mealtime, or binge when hunger gets the best of you.
Myth #7: You shouldn’t do strength training if you want to lose weight because it will make you “bulk up.”
You are not going to get super big muscles overnight. It takes a lot of hard work to get buff. Strength training is important for weight loss, as muscle tissues burn more calories per day than fat tissues. Many people are technically within their normal weight range, but their muscles have atrophied from lack of physical exercise and their body fat ratio is still too high.
Summer is right around the corner! Can you share with us tips to get a beach-ready body in a short time?
1. Eat three portion-controlled and calorie counted meals and two snacks each day to maintain your blood sugar, energy levels between meals as well as encouraging satiety (feeling of fullness).
2. Exercise more! Cardio exercise burns the most calories or swimming laps of the butterfly stroke.
3. Sleep well. It’s crucial to have not only the right amount of sleep, but also to sleep at the right time. The best time range to go to bed to help you wake up in great shape is between 9pm and midnight.
4. Eliminate water weight. Sodium is one major water-retention culprit, so cut back on salt.
5. Drink plenty of water. Follow a short water detox diet. Consider a plan like the Sassy Water anti-bloat diet jump-start, which involves drinking an entire pitcher of specially flavored water each day for four days at the beginning of a diet plan.
6. Stop using artificial sweeteners, which often contain sugar alcohols that can cause bloating. Carbonated drinks can also expand your stomach, so steer clear of diet sodas before slipping on your swimsuit.
7. Try a bronzer! Finally, here's one way to look slimmer and sleeker in a matter of minutes.
Many new mothers struggle to lose all the baby weight. What can they do post pregnancy?
1. Don't diet. It may sound strange, but going on an official "diet" could derail your post-pregnancy weight loss goals. Feeling deprived of your favorite foods while you're already stressed out by your new role as mom could actually cause you to gain weight. If you go back to eating healthy and eating for your hunger, most women find that the weight comes off pretty naturally. Instead of dieting, eat a well-balanced variety of foods. Keep different snacks in the house to keep you from feeling hungry and give you energy throughout the day. Apple slices, carrot sticks, and wheat crackers are all good for noshing.
2. Move it! Diet is important, but it's only one part of your post-pregnancy weight loss plan. You also need to incorporate aerobic and strength training exercises after pregnancy to burn calories and keep your muscles and bones strong. Exercise, beyond helping you lose weight, it provides so many benefits to a new mom. You don't have to hit the gym to get back in shape after pregnancy - taking a brisk walk with your baby in the stroller is enough to get your heart pumping and muscles working. With a new baby, finding 30 minutes might be impossible, so break up the time into 10-minute increments. Then try to work your way up to 20 or 30-minute sessions. Lugging around a baby all day is itself a workout, but you still need to add some strength training. Use light weights as resistance. But before you start any exercise program, get your doctor's approval, especially if you had a C-section.
3. Get some sleep. It may seem impossible to get a full eight hours of sleep when you have a baby summoning you like clockwork throughout the night, but being sleep deprived could make it harder for you to shed the baby weight. In one study, new moms who slept five hours or less a night were more likely to hold onto their extra pregnancy weight than women who slept seven hours. When you're tired, your body releases cortisol and other stress hormones that can promote weight gain. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Catch as many naps as you can during the day and go to bed early - at least until your baby starts sleeping through the night.
A motivational quote that you believe in…
If all the people are seeking jobs, who will create them?!
What's the one piece of advice you can give to women with body image issues?
You've always been beautiful, just work on a new you, not because the old you is bad, but because the old you can improve. Decide to be healthier, fitter, faster and stronger.
Three songs that are currently on your workout playlist…
1. Girl on fire – Alicia Keys
2. It’s on again – Alicia Keys ft. Kendrick Lamar
3. Roar – Katy Perry
Where do you see Chefox in five years from now?
The best, most enjoyable but hard-working and effective activity weight loss and fitness camp in Egypt and the Middle East.