Monday, 27 June 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 17

A fairly good week. Despite getting a sore throat on Thursday (which developed into a cold/cough over the weekend) I managed to exceed my 12,000 daily step goal every day but one, and overall my average daily step count was a record high (mostly due to spending all Sunday walking around town with the family as we visited three museums on their annual 'free entry' day - I clocked up just over 20,000 steps that day!). My average daily calorie intake was also OK, largely due to attempting a five-day 'fasting mimicking diet' stint on Wed-Sun. Aside from it being my own gluten-free and modified version of Dr Longo's proprietary FMD 'ProLon' diet (I only try to match the overall carbo/fat/protein/calorie values, not his weird Kale cracker and vegetable soup meal plan), and also not sticking to my diet plan on Friday and Saturday (I had some extra chocolate on those days, as I was finding it hard to stick to the FMD while suffering from a bad cold), the three days of FMD diet helped lower my average cals for the week. By being on the FMD for three days during the week, I suppose the overall effect was a bit like being on Dr Mosley's "5:2" diet.

This week I'll try to stick to my normal healthy eating plan (it's not really a traditional weight-loss "diet" as such, simply what I *should* normally be eating for a healthy CRON-style lifestyle - but due to being overweight and doing lots of walking, it does result in gradual weight loss and improved fitness). I'll also try to do my 5BX exercises every day - last week I managed to do it four times during the week, so it is slowly starting to become part of my daily routine. (Being at level A- on the first page of exercises it is rather easy to do - but it is already improving my core strength (the number of situps/pushups I can manage) and my aerobic fitness (although I am still not very fit)).

Next week I have to drop my car in to the smash repairer on Monday to fix a dinged front bumper bar and broken headlight, so a lot of my daily walking will happen naturally going to work by bus and/or train. I also have to go into hospital on Wednesday for an endoscopy to confirm my Coeliac diagnosis, so I'll have nothing to eat on Wednesday until the evening, and the 'preparation' for the endoscopy will also involve not eating much on Tuesday evening. While the surgery (and 'Picoprep' beforehand) won't be fun, at least it should provide a boost to my weight loss for the week ;)

Overall things are going pretty much according to 'plan' - I should be in good enough shape to enjoy a few days skiing with the family in late July, and then doing (walking) the 14km 'City2Surf' "fun run" with my boys on 14 August. In spring I'll take my kayak out for a few weekend trips, and we'll probably going for a few family hikes in the nearby national parks. I started cleaning our swimming pool last weekend, but it usually isn't warm enough for me to start swimming laps until October/November.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 13       35.6       64.5     18.8    102.5      2,789     93.9     12,589
Week 14       40.8       61.8     22.3     90.6      2,514     92.4      9,721 
Week 15       43.1       60.6     21.0    113.1      2,571     91.9     14,633
Week 16       40.0       64.8     19.3     98.5      2,765     91.4     13,900
Week 17       42.5       60.3     26.5     78.0      2,418     90.3     15,421

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Monday, 20 June 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 16

The week was going very well until Friday - sticking to my diet plan, exceeding my daily step count goal, and even doing my 5BX session every evening. Then over the weekend things sort of fell apart. It was rainy weather, so I found it difficult to reach my walking goal, and I also slacked off and ate some confectionery on both Saturday and Sunday evening. I've noticed that it tends to be easier to stick to my diet plan during the weekdays, and then I often overeat during the weekends - either having a large lunch as well as my normal dinner, or snacking during the weekend. I'll have to make sure I stick to my diet plan this week, and pay extra attention to my diet next weekend. Fortunately the occasional 'bad' day won't derail my long term weight loss and fitness program, provided that I make sure I get 'back on track' straight away. Over the years there have been many times when I either loss motivation and simply cease monitoring my diet and stop exercising, or else the occasional 'bad' day keeps recurring and it soon becomes a fortnight or month of 'slacking off' and the weight has started creeping up again. Checking my weight every morning, planning my daily food plan on a slip of paper in the morning, and then writing down any changes during the day helps keep me 'honest'.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2,752     95.0      9,196
Week 12       38.6       65.2     17.1    106.5      2,570     94.2     11,751
Week 13       35.6       64.5     18.8    102.5      2,789     93.9     12,589
Week 14       40.8       61.8     22.3     90.6      2,514     92.4      9,721 
Week 15       43.1       60.6     21.0    113.1      2,571     91.9     14,633
Week 16       40.0       64.8     19.3     98.5      2,765     91.4     13,900 

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 15

A good week overall. I overate slightly on Friday and Saturday, but stuck to my diet plan for the rest of the week. I also managed to exceed my target 12,000 steps every day, and got over 15,000 steps doen on three days last week - resulting in a record high daily average step count. I also did my '5BX' exercise session twice last week, and the usual weekly hour of hitting a ball around the squash court with my sons on Sunday. My blood pressure readings have been well below 120/80 for the past couple of months, so when I saw the my GP on Saturday we agreed I could halve my daily doe of blood pressure medication. Hopefully by the time I'm down to my 'ideal' weight (~70-75 kg) my blood pressure might be normal without needing to take medication. The weight loss and exercise should also lower my cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels, although I'd have to do sessions of vigorous exercise several times a week to see much increase in HDL ('good' cholesterol) levels.

My parents visited us during the long weeked, and we all went for a walk on Monday afternoon. My 81 year old mother has a heart condition, but managed to stroll along with me for an hour (~7,000 steps), but my 84 year old father decided to take a break along the way, and we met him again on our back home. They should go for a gentle daily walk to keep in shape - my great-great-Aunt recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and still goes for a daily walk to her local shops.

My weight is now the lowest its been since March 2006, although my previous 'best' weight since 2000 was 84.1 kg (in May 2005). I'm aiming to be under 90 kg by the time we go skiing in late July, and should be under 88kg when I do the 14km 'City2Surf' fun run (walk) on August 14.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2,752     95.0      9,196
Week 12       38.6       65.2     17.1    106.5      2,570     94.2     11,751
Week 13       35.6       64.5     18.8    102.5      2,789     93.9     12,589
Week 14       40.8       61.8     22.3     90.6      2,514     92.4      9,721 
Week 15       43.1       60.6     21.0    113.1      2,571     91.9     14,633

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Monday, 6 June 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 14

A mixed week. My average caloric intake was improved by my new 'gluten free' dietary requirements precluding most of the confectionery I used to have trouble avoiding, so I only ate slightly more than my diet plan on two days during the past week. However my average daily step count was slightly below target due to torrential rain over the weekend, which limited my walking to doing 'laps' of the local shopping mall. On Sunday afternoon I had a flat tyre and spent and a couple of hours in the rain (trying to change to flat, and then waiting for the NRMA to come and do it for me when I got stuck with the flat off and the spare not fitting on because I had the jack in the wrong spot!) rather than going to play squash. Ah well, at least I got some exercise jacking up the car and manhandling the flat and spare tyres! I also didn't do any 5BX sessions, so my goal this week is to hit my target step count every day, and to start doing my daily 5BX sessions.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 10       31.3       59.6     24.1     98.4      2,436     94.7     11,811
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2,752     95.0      9,196
Week 12       38.6       65.2     17.1    106.5      2,570     94.2     11,751
Week 13       35.6       64.5     18.8    102.5      2,789     93.9     12,589
Week 14       40.8       61.8     22.3     90.6      2,514     92.4      9,721 

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Friday, 3 June 2016

How "rich" am I?

This of course is a very subjective question, but one measure of my "richness" that I choose to track is my net worth estimate at the end of each year versus the cut-off net worth required to get onto the Australian 'Rich 200' list. The "BRW rich list" was started by the now-defunct magazine 'Business Review Weekly', but is still published every May (currently by the Australian Financial Review).

I am, of course, no where near wealthy enough to make the "rich list", but I aim to eventually achieve a net worth of 1% of the cut-off figure. When I started tracking this at the start of this century I was initially making good progress every year, and was even thinking about the possibility of  'early retirement' at age 57. Then the GFC struck, and my net worth not only plummeted in absolute terms, it also did very poorly compared to the "rich 200", who are predominantly invested in property, whereas I had a large (geared) exposure to the stock market (and failed to 'roll-over' my index 'put' options at the end of 2007. D'Oh!). And then the EFC put an end to the post-GFC 'bounce' in my stock portfolio, and then it suffered a bit more as the 'mining boom' came to and end...



But at least for the last couple of years it seems to be improving once more versus the "rich 200" cut-off (which currently it stands at 303 million A$).

On the one hand, my target of achieving a net worth of 1% of the "rich 200" cut-off is a fairly challenging one, as the "rich 200" represents an ever-more-exclusive "club" as the population of Australia climbs. On the other hand, the average age of the "rich 200" stays fairly constant (as the old rich die and are eventually replaced by younger "new rich"), and net worth should increase with age (at least until retirement hits) - so my net worth should be gaining on the "rich 200" at this stage of my working life.

On a positive note, the 'net worth' figures I use in this spreadsheet doesn't include the value of the rural property I pre-inherited at the start of 2015. But it will, eventually, reflect any windfall profit we make when (if) our home gets bought by a developer (which could potentially boost my net worth by around 0.25% of the "rich 200" cut-off amount).

Anyhow, with a personal net worth well below 1% of the net worth of the poorest of the "rich 200" Australians, I feel somewhat justified in feeling "comfortably off" rather than "rich"...

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Net Worth: May 2016

Another positive month, with an improving stock market lifting my retirement savings account (+$27,716 or 3.81%) and boosting my geared stock portfolios considerably (+39,285 or 30.46% due to the high gearing ratio). Our house price estimate was almost unchanged this month (+$777 or 0.11%). As usual I left the estimated value for the rural property at the valuation used for the transfer of the property to my name last year. Overall my net worth reached $1,925,536 (+$67,578 or 3.64%), so I may soon hit $2m and become a 'multi-millionaire'.



Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Monday, 30 May 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 13

A fairly good week, exceeding my daily step count target on all but one day last week. But in the first half of the week I had several days where I overate, which made my average daily calories too high overall. I had an a appointment with a specialist doctor on Friday, and the results of some recent blood tests strongly suggest I have Coeliac disease (yet to be confirmed by an upper GIT endoscopy and biopsy - a fun addition to my overdue 'colonoscopy day'). So I've been told to stop eating ANY wheat containing products and I will also need to avoid Rye and Barley gluten. Since I typically ate Weet-bix for breakfast, and wheat pasta for dinner, this will require making some changes to my diet (and a lot more careful reading of ingredient labels). On the plus side, perusing the labels of various confectionery products on the weekend I found that nearly all of them contain glucose from wheat, so I'll have to eliminate them completely (which I find easier to do that 'cutting back' a bit).

Apparently around 1 in 100 people have Coeliac disease, but around 75% of them are un-diagnosed (and they often have no obvious symptoms). I had heard of this condition before, but didn't think eliminating wheat was likely to help my eczema much, as I only have a 'low' allergy to wheat according to previous blood tests. However, it turns out that Coeliac disease is not an allergy to wheat per se, but an autoimmune disease. Coeliac disease is often thought to be associated with being underweight (as it causes malnutrition), but studies have found that a large proportion of undiagnosed patients are overweight or obsese at the time of diagnosis. One worrying finding was that ~80% of patients gained weight after a couple of years on a gluten-free diet. [I suspect that un-diagnosed Coeliac sufferers may naturally eat more calories in order to get adequate nutrition, and that once the gluten-free diet has allowed their small intestine to recover they will tend to put on weight if they continue to eat the same quantities of food as before -- so I'll have to be especially vigilant to avoid overeating once I'm on a gluten-free diet].

I went for a hike in the local national park with DS2 (with his cub scout group) on Saturday, and we did quite a bit of extra walking when we (I) got lost on the way back to our car (we had gotten off at the wrong bus stop). And on Sunday I did some walking in addition to the weekly squash session with DS1, so I'm feeling relatively fit and slim at the moment (although I'm still on the borderline betweem being merely 'overweight' and 'obese' according to my BMI -- so a long way still to go).

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Wt       Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 10       31.3       59.6     24.1     98.4      2436      94.7     11,811
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2752      95.0     9,196
Week 12       38.6       65.2     17.1    106.5      2570      94.2     11,751
Week 13       25.6       64.5     18.8    102.5      2789      93.9     12,589


Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Monday, 23 May 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 12

Quite a good week, meeting my calorie and step targets most days, and ending up with reasonable averages for the week. My average weight for the week was the lowest this year, and I ended the week at my lowest weight since 2012. I still haven't got into a regular habit of doing 5BX, so that's the next thing to work on. The new Milo activity band has been working OK, although it does record a few 'phantom' steps (when moving my arm rapidly), which the Aldi tracker didn't do. And the Milo app is rather useless (it takes ages to 'sync' despite the app only displaying daily total step, and not a graph of five minute totals which the Aldi device/app did).

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Wt       Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 10       31.3       59.6     24.1     98.4      2436      94.7     11,811
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2752      95.0     9,196
Week 12       38.6       65.2     17.1    106.5      2570      94.2     11,751 

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Diet & Exercise: Every step counts

An alternative title for this post would be "Every step is in the right direction when it comes to health benefits" - but that doesn't scan as well ;) I must admit that aside from being overweight (OK, obese) since my undergraduate days, and always hating getting sweaty due to my eczema, I had also had the preconception that to be of any real benefit you had to do do substantial amounts of vigorous exercise, otherwise it wasn't worthwhile. For many years this meant I'd alternate between periods of gym membership (when I'd do more than an hour of weight training and brisk aerobic conditioning using a mix of stationary bike, rowing machine and treadmill, three times a week) lasting from several months to a couple of years before 'dropping off' and becoming almost completely sedentary again.

However, a recent online course I did on EdX ('The Body Matters') helped convince me that while it might be best to be of ideal weight/BMI and doing the recommended minimum of 3x30 min sessions of vigorous exercise a week, it is still important to do regular exercise when overweight. Indeed, according to Dr Steven  Blair, being 'fat and fit' you can be as healthy as being 'lean and fit' (although personally I think it would be easier in the long term to maintain a high level of fitness if you are in the 'normal' weight/BMI range than if you are overweight/obese). This encouraged me to pursue a daily walking regime immediately, rather than postpone 'getting serious' about my fitness until after I'd shed my excess weight.

However, I still thought that simply walking, while being 'better than nothing' was a poor substitute for real exercise - such as going jogging or running. But with my weight, history of knee and foot problems, and tendency to get heat rash and eczema problems when jogging or running, I thought I'd just have to 'make do' with walking at least 10,000 steps/day.

But apparently walking can be JUST AS GOOD as running in terms of health benefits! This article reported research results (studies of 33,000 runners and almost 16,000 walkers) that found that walking had essentially the same risk reduction effects as running for Hypertension, Cholesterol, and Diabetes Mellitus. To quote the abstract:

"The risk reductions were not significantly different for running than walking for diabetes mellitus (P=0.94), hypercholesterolemia (P=0.06), or CHD (P=0.26), and only marginally greater for walking than running for hypercholesterolemia (P=0.04)."

One proviso is that this was the case when adjusted for equivalent energy expenditure - so you'd have to spend more time walking than running to gain the same health benefit (for example, the MET (metabolic equivalent) rating for brisk walking at 4.8 km/h is 3.3, whereas the MET value for running is around 8.0 - so walking 10,000 steps in around 90 mins would only be as beneficial as running for 40 minutes or so.

So, while it is nice to supplement my daily walking regime with a weekly hour of squash and the occasional kayaking trip, I no longer feel that walking isn't 'real' exercise. And my focus is now to increase my weekly average for daily step count, and to increase the pace of my walking as I get fitter. Of course I'd also like to get into the habit of doing an 11 minute '5BX' session every evening if I can manage it.

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-2016

Monday, 16 May 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 11

I was going reasonably well until Friday afternoon, when I bought some confectionery and also didn't go for my evening walk. My eczema was really bad as we had been rearranging office cubicle allocations at work and with all the 'tidying', packing, unpacking, and vacuuming being done at work my allergies were really kicking in. I've noticed that when I'm really sick and sorry for myself I tend to over eat. I also ate junk food and didn't get enough walking done on Saturday, but by Sunday I was feeling better and got a lot of walking done, in addition to playing squash for an hour with the boys and even doing my 5BX on Sunday night. Overall my average daily calories for the week were too high, and my activity (walking) too low, but it wasn't too bad.

I somehow managed to misplace my Aldi activity tracker on Saturday evening,  and couldn't find it on Sunday morning despite looking everywhere for an hour or so. In the end I decided to buy another 'Milo Champion Band' activity tracker from Woolworths for $30, and I used an 'Exacto' hobby knife to slice a window into the black Aldi wrist band as it was the right size to fit the Milo device. It looks quite cool (just like a proper FitBit) and the 'band' works quite well, although the Milo app is nothing flash. I managed to clock up 14,644 steps on Sunday, and my weight was down to 94.1 kg this morning, so this week is off to a good start.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Wt       Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 7 (STD)  28.9       67.2     16.4    108.5      3121      96.3     3,973
Week 8 (STD)  32.1       65.2     16.0    128.4      2884      96.3     8,378
Week 9 (STD)  37.8       61.8     22.2    106.5      2748      96.2     8,560
Week 10       31.3       59.6     24.1     98.4      2436      94.7     11,811
Week 11       39.2       65.6     18.4    102.9      2752      95.0     9,196 

Subscribe to Enough Wealth. Copyright 2006-20016