Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 29

Diet & Exercise update - Week 29

Last week went OK Mon-Fri (Avg 2,333 kcals/day, and walking 12,547 step/day on average), but I then spent the weekend watching seasons 1-3 of 'Fear the Walking Dead' and eating a lot of confectionary. Quite enjoyable, but not a good way to loose weight or get fit! I averaged 4,558 kcals/day over the weekend, and only averaged 7,352 steps/day. I'm back on track this week, but will have to make sure I stick to my diet plan next weekend and do enough walking.

DS1 did a bit of archery in our back yard on Saturday. I collected my new bow from the post office on Saturday morning, but didn't get to shoot it yet. It looks quite good quality for $70, and the draw weight seems fine (and I have no problem using a left-hand bow), but it didn't come with any assembly instructions so I spent a bit of time scratching my head trying to work out exactly how the sight and arrow rest attach. There are some videos on the store's website, but they are for different models and accessories. My best guide is the single image their website has of the assembled bow. I'll also need to get some marine plywood or a block of high density foam to put behind our target before starting to practice.

DW quit her new job today - it had been a hectic first week, staying late and working at home in the evenings to try to get things done, and too stressful. She's had plenty of experience as an office worker, but this was her first attempt at being an 'office manager' and was basically left to sink-or-swim by her busy boss. While she could have probably stuck it out and learned on the job, I don't think it's the sort of thing she would enjoy in the long term, although she was interested in this type of business operation. So, back to the job hunt she goes...

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406
Week 26       43.7       64.4     16.6    113.7      2,475    101.5     10,257
Week 27       43.2       61.8     22.1    118.7      3,150    102.1      7,715
Week 28       50.6       63.4     19.2    147.7      3,536    102.2      8,099
Week 29       33.4       64.3     17.9    117.0      2,974    101.9     11,062

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 28

Well, taking Friday off work last week to drive up to the lake house to collect DS2 at the end of the school holidays (he was staying with my parents for two weeks) meant that I had a long weekend of fattening home-cooked meals which blew my diet plan yet again. My avg daily kcals over the three days was over 4,000 kcals!. However, even before my weekend trip I'd been struggling to avoid snacking in the evenings, and my average kcals for the rest of last week was over 3,000 kclas/day. My maintenance kcals/day is around 2,800 (as long as I do my 12,000+ steps walking), and my 'standard' diet plan adds up to around 1,800-2,000 kcals/day.

This week has got off to a better start (averaging around 2,200 kcals/day so far). I've managed to (mostly) avoid snacking and stick to my diet plan. I've exceeded my 12,000 step target for walking each day, and I've even done a bit of exercise on the elliptical trainer while watching TV after dinner (it's already included in my step count total, but provides a bit more aerobic exercise than simply walking).

While DS2 was at the farm he enjoyed doing some archery with the cheap ($60) compound bow I'd bought him. As he wasn't too keen on letting me 'have a turn', I decided to also buy myself a similar (ie. cheap) compound bow so we can do some archery practice together in the back yard when the weather is suitable.



.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406
Week 26       43.7       64.4     16.6    113.7      2,475    101.5     10,257
Week 27       43.2       61.8     22.1    118.7      3,150    102.1      7,715
Week 28       50.6       63.4     19.2    147.7      3,536    102.2      8,099

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

DW employed again

Well, it took a while, but DW was finally offered a full-time position last Friday and started her new job on Monday. Apparently there were 100 applicants for this position, with 25 people selected for an interview, and at the end of her interview last Thursday she was told she was on the 'short list' of three applicants being considered.

The position is 'Office Manager' for a start-up financial planning business being created by an existing residential property sales firm (it has an existing client list that are likely to require financial planning services, so has a good chance of being successful). Her starting salary ($55K+SGL) isn't too bad - although the hourly rate is only around 85% of her previous position, the fact that it is a full-time position means that overall she will actually be earning around 40% more than when she was working three days/week as a permanent part-time employee for the past decade or so. And if the business does well she may get an increase once she has been in the role for a year or so.

The company is located in a nearby suburb, which is ideal. I drive that way every morning on the way to drop DS2 off at school on my way to work, so it is very convenient for DW to also get a lift in the mornings, and she only has to catch a short bus trip home after work. It is also located close to the train station DS2 gets off at to catch the bus home after school, so she may meet him there occasionally.

Working full-time will mean that DW can accumulate some additional superannuation savings before we reach retirement age. And she'll be able to fund the shortfall in rental income vs. the cost of her new investment unit, and get some tax benefit from having a negatively geared property investment.

Hopefully she enjoys this new job, and it lasts.

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Aircon con (or just a rip-off?)

When we bought our house about twelve years ago, it came with a renovated kitchen and bathroom and Daikin reverse cycle split system airconditioner installed in the family room. I was flabbergasted by the price the receipt showed that previous owner had paid for the aircon unit (around $6500).

So, when the air con started playing up last summer (it would shut itself down after running for about 5 minutes, and after restarting it about 12 times it would fault out and refuse to restart unless the mains power was shut down to reset the system) I suspected it might be quite expensive to have it repaired. The error message indicated that there was an over-voltage fault, which suggested something wasn't running properly in the exterior fan unit. At the time I tried getting the company that had originally supplied and installed the unit to come for a service call, but during summer the waiting time for a booking was several months! So I waited until mid-winter to make a booking...

The initial service call cost almost $300 (I had to agree to the basic call-out fee and provide my CC details before they would make the booking), and revealed that the fan unit had failed and would need replacing. Apparently the control unit (PCB) was also damaged and would need replacing. At the time the service guy indicated that this would cost a few hundred dollars, and he said that a quote for the repair would be sent through. I wasn't delighted by the prospect of having to pay over $500 to repair a 15-year-old unit with parts that would 'probably' last five or so years, especially since it was quite likely that other pieces of the unit may fail due to age.

Well, the quote arrived yesterday, and it was a whopper! $500+ for installation (apparently it will take their 'professional' repairer 3-4 hours to simply replace a fan unit and a PCB board!), around $300 for the fan unit, and around $600 for a replacement 'motherboard'. All up, around $1400 on top of the $300 already paid to identify the fault. The icing on the cake was that the quote stated that there may be other faults that won't become apparent until the fan and PCB have been replaced and the unit tested... so basically we could pay $1700 and still not have a working air conditioner!

Considering that Aldi often sells split system air conditioner units for only $499 (a 6.4kW system), I've decided to not proceed with repairs to the Daikin system. Instead, I'll shop around for a decent, bargain-priced unit, and gets some quotes for installation. Hopefully I can get a brand new system installed for less than the cost of getting our old system (maybe) repaired.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 27

Last week was fairly unsatisfactory, diet-wise. I didn't walk enough on four out of seven days last week, and I only had two days where my caloric intake was below maintenance level, and three days above. Overall, my average daily caloric intake for the week was above my maintenance level, so it wasn't a surprise that my average daily weight increased slightly.

I saw my immunologist last Friday for a check-up. My blood test results show that the gluten-free diet has brought my Coeliac disease under control. But my eczema hasn't been improving, so we decided to change medication. I also saw an opthamologist later the same day, and it was confirmed that I have developed a fairly advanced cataract in my right eye, so I'll be having eye surgery later this month on one eye. As the procedure will improve my short-sightedness, I'll then also have my other eye operation done a few weeks later (having one eye corrected to achieve good distance vision, and leaving the other eye needing strong corrective lenses doesn't work very well). Having the day surgeries done as a 'private' patient, after medicare and private insurance refunds, I will be 'out-of-pocket' by about $2,000 per eye. Hopefully all goes well.

Aldi was selling some Elliptical Trainers for $299 so I bought one and DS1 helped me lug it to the car (~45kg). DS1 took about three hours to assemble it, only needing to ask me for help a couple of times. It seems to be working perfectly well so far (the reviews online are fairly mixed, with the quality and reliability seeming to vary a lot between units), and we've set it up in the lounge so I can do a bit of exercise while watching TV in the evenings. It is fairly easy to use (in default mode - I haven't yet tried the myriad training 'modes' available on the computer), although the foot rests are slightly further apart than I'd like. To use it I have to shift my weight from side-to-side and it is more akin to stair climbing than walking. The natural cycle time (for me) is around 60 steps/min, which is quite a lot slower than my normal walking pace (~100 steps/min), so although using the eliptical training registers as 'steps' on my step counter, it will only contribute a small amount towards my daily goal of 12,000+ steps. My thighs started to 'feel it' after only five minutes of use, so I'll start off with a few short sessions every evening, and gradually build up to longer periods of continuous use. It is probably a good way to get into condition for doing some cross-country skiing! It is fairly low impact, so it is better for my knees (and the TV!) than jogging on the spot or skipping.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406
Week 26       43.7       64.4     16.6    113.7      2,475    101.5     10,257
Week 27       43.2       61.8     22.1    118.7      3,150    102.1      7,715

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 26

Last week saw continued progress with my weight loss, although I did overeat on the weekend (while visiting my parents at the lake house). I've been achieving my stepcount (walking) target most days (12,000 steps/day), but haven't yet restarted doing daily 5BX exercise sessions in the evenings. I've also been snacking a little bit in the evenings since getting back from the lake house, so I need to clamp down on that asap.

I got some blood test results back from my GP. My Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels have actually improved slightly (within the 'normal' range), although my HDL:total cholesterol ratio could still be improved, and my LDL ('bad' cholesterol) levels should also be reduced further (this should occur naturally if I loose weight and exercise more...). I should probably start having some tinned tuna in addition to my tin of baked beans for lunch at work.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 20       38.8       63.6     21.4    118.9      3,371    104.6      6,563
Week 21       33.3       62.9     21.0    105.7      3,056    104.4      6,957
Week 22       20.4       61.6     22.4    123.8      3,390    104.9      8,962
Week 23       32.2       69.6     13.3    106.7      2,840    104.5      6,471
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406
Week 26       43.7       64.4     16.6    113.7      2,475    101.5     10,257

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Net Worth: Jun 2017

My net worth improved over the past month, due mostly to a large biannual dividend received into our SMSF Vanguard High-growth Fund investment. Overall, my retirement savings balance increased by $41,108 (+4.80%), which more than offset a decrease in the value of my geared stock portfolio, which was down $13,666 (-6.72% due to gearing). The decrease in net value of my geared stock portfolio was partly due to some weakness in the stock markets, but also due to making prepayments for the next 12 months of margin loan interest on most of the loan balance (I only kept a smal proportion of these loan balances as 'variable', so I can pay off some of the loan balances if I have spare cashflow). The valuation of our home also increased slightly last month. DW is still unemployed, so she withdrew some of the money she'd deposited into the joint savings account for monthly loan payments next year (which made the mortgage amount increase slightly in my NW calculations).



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Monday, 26 June 2017

Diet & Exercise update - Week 25

Well, my 'new' (restarted) diet regime got off to a fairly good start last week, mostly due to not being able to eat very solid foods after getting a tooth extracted on Thursday afternoon!. Although I haven't yet restarted doing 5BX daily exercise sessions or weekly squash with the kids, I did reach my daily step-count target of 12,000 steps on four of the days last week. I didn't do much walking on the day I got my tooth extracted, or over the weekend. As I couldn't eat too much anyhow, I took the opportunity to do two days of my mock-'fasting mimicking diet' (FMD) plan on the weekend. While the overall carb, fat and protein ratio is fairly close to that published by Dr Longo, I don't try to mimic the micro-nutrient or other compositional aspects of his commercialized diet regime. As I take a daily multivitamin, calcium and Vitamin D supplement, I'm not too worried about working out the finer details of my diet's nutritional makeup. I also intend to just utilize my version of FMD on two days every weekend, rather than Dr Longo's FMD schedule of five sequential days every month or two.

This week I plan on walking at least 12K steps every day, and to start doing daily 5BX exercise routine again in the evenings. Next weekend I'll be driving up to the lake house with DS2, so he can stay there with my parents during the two week school vacation. DS1 is staying home this vacation to study for his HSC exams (his trial HSC exams start in the third week on next term). As it is a three hour drive up to the lake house, I'll need to make sure I do enough walking on those days.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 20       38.8       63.6     21.4    118.9      3,371    104.6      6,563
Week 21       33.3       62.9     21.0    105.7      3,056    104.4      6,957
Week 22       20.4       61.6     22.4    123.8      3,390    104.9      8,962
Week 23       32.2       69.6     13.3    106.7      2,840    104.5      6,471
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,808    105.2      7,258
Week 25       20.6       61.3     24.5     63.7      1,894    103.0      8,406

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Ouch, That hurt my wallet (and my mouth

Had a 'fun' day off work yesterday - got some fasting blood tests done in the morning (covered by Medicare), in preparation for my visit to the eczema/immunology specialist in two weeks time. And then had an after lunch session with the dentist to get a premolar tooth extracted (it had two previously rounds of expensive root canal therapy by two different dentists, which didn't fix the problem).

I was told the extraction would take about an hour, but I ended up being in the 'chair' for almost two hours. Aside from some small pricks getting the initial local anesthetic injections, the whole proceed was quite painless, although uncomfortably. It involved the tooth extraction, 'grafting', a few stiches, and then an x-ray to check the final result. I'll be going back for a short visit in a couple of weeks to get the few stitches removed. This two hour marathon session cost just under A$1000, but at least there was a lot of time, effort and materials involved. A large proportion of the bill was covered by my employer-funded health plan, so my 'out of pocket' was under A$200.

There was somewhat greater pain involved when the local wore off. I'm on soft/liquid foods only for a couple of days, and taking some pain-killers today. Hopefully it will have 'settled down' by tomorrow morning.

Later in the year I'll need to have some more expensive work done to insert a 'prosthetic' tooth in the gap. Makes me wish I'd done a bit more cleaning and flossing of my teeth during the past forty years!

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Monday, 19 June 2017

Diet & Exercise update - 2017 Weeks 7-24

Well, 2017 has so far been a diet disaster ;(

We had a very hot and humid summer, and my eczema got quite bad due to a heat rash, so I've been feeling unwell, lethargic and irritable. I'm not sure if being unwell was the main cause, but I found it impossible to stick to my diet, and I had been buying confectionery whenever I went grocery shopping, and then eating lollies in the evenings as 'comfort food'. The heat rash and eczema also reduced the amount of walking I was doing (at least until the weather cooled down in May), and I haven't been doing my weekly game of squash due to my skin.

Overall, my weight increased from 97kg at the start of the year, up to 105kg last week! Considering I had got my weight down to 89kg this time last year, it is a really bad result.

A recent course of antibiotics and prednisone seems to have finally gotten my skin back under control, and I've been walking a bit more since the weather cooled down in May. I managed to stick to my diet plan last weekend, so I intend to stick fully to my diet starting from.... NOW! Hopefully doing a weekly blog post might also help motivate/embarrass me into sticking to my plan.

I won't bother listing all the weekly stats for 2017, but the overall figures from weeks 1-24 and the past week are below:

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
2017
Weeks 1-24    37.5       64.1     18.3    118.9      3,019    102.1      6,025
Week 24       32.8       64.5     17.7    116.2      2,803    105.2      7,258

Goes to show what a few hundred extra calories every day, and a lack of exercise will achieve ;(

I'll start reporting weekly figures again from now on. Wish me luck.

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