Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 29

I was going reasonably well last week, until the weekend - when I ate too much and did too little study. Overall it was another week of too many kcals, no 5BX sessions, and no serious effort to prepare for recommencing my postgrad enrolment next month... So far this week I've had a bit more success eliminating junk food, and although I haven't crossed anything off my 'to do' list for my postgrad studies, I did spend some time working on a couple of EdX courses in data science.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653
Week 28       38.7       52.0     32.4    109.5      3,281     91.9     10,911
Week 29       33.3       53.6     28.9    120.3      3,469     91.5     11,568

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 28

I'm still struggling to eliminate junk food from my diet, but at least I've stopped putting on weight over the past month. One 'positive' thing is that the gluten-free bread and biscuits I've tried have generally been rather revolting, so I'm not particularly tempted to buy any more GF biscuits. My fat consumption for the past few weeks has been much higher than my normal 15-25% of total cals, due to buying some chocolate as snack food since I found out that most of the jelly-type sweets I normally buy contain gluten/wheat. So I have to stop buying any chocolate when I go grocery shopping.

My average daily step-count last week was lower than normal, because I didn't go much over my 12,000 daily target on the weekdays, and I also didn't go for a long walk after playing squash on Sunday. I haven't restarted doing regular 5BX exercise sessions either, so I'm not having much success with any of my short term goals at the moment.

I'm due to apply to recommence my enrollment as a part-time post-grad research student from 1 October, so I have to stop wasting time in the evenings 'relaxing' in front of the TV after dinner. That should make it easier to go for evenings walks and do my 5BX exercise sessions, as I'm more inclined to 'take a break' from processing data or reading research literature than I am from watching movie re-runs on TV.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653
Week 28       38.7       52.0     32.4    109.5      3,281     91.9     10,911

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 27

I'm still stuggling to get 'back on the wagon' and eliminate junk food, especially in the evenings when I tend to snack after dinner. The best I can say about last week is that although I didn't do any 5BX, I did reach my daily stepcount goals and played an hour squash on Sunday.

When I recently double-checked the ingedients on some of the confectionery I've been eating, I noticed that they have recently changed the listing - and it now shows that it includes some wheat-derived ingredients. I doubt that they have changed the actual composition, so it must just be a change in the labelling laws. At least that gives me another reason to not buy confectionery! So far this week I've still been eating too much junk food - so I'll have to make an extra effort to stick to my diet plan from now on.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 21       36.5       62.0     24.0    113.2      3,408     90.3     11,695
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424
Week 27       39.0       55.7     26.7    132.4      3,024     91.6     12,653

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Monday, 5 September 2016

Uni choices

The past two Saturdays I've gone to uni open days with DS1, to help him decide which university/degree choices he may put (and in what order) on his UAC (Universities Admissions Centre) next year. These days most information is available online, so we thought it best to spend time attending open days this year, rather than next year when DS1 will be busy studying for his HSC exams. Next year he will have to choose up to nine courses (in preference order) for his UAC application. The UAC application currently costs $41 for Year 12 students, as long as application is made within the initial period (this year it is 3 Aug - 30 Sep). Late applications cost more (eg. $166 for applications made between 1 Oct -  31 Oct), As you can alter your preferences as many times as you like, it is best to apply before the initial 30 Sep deadline.

DS1 is mostly interested in Computer Science and Economics, so he is looking at doing a double degree in Commerce/Economics and Computer Science at either Sydney University or The University of New South Wales. At the moment he is leaning towards making UNSW his first choice, as he is familiar with the campus and already knows some of the faculty in computer science (having attended several courses there). He would also get credit for the first year programming course he did there last year, which he thinks would free up some time to concentrate on the compulsory math courses in year 1 (he is finding some of the subjects in Math Ext 1 a bit difficult, and has already decided he won't attempt doing Ext 2 Math for his HSC).

Another reason to preference UNSW over USyd is that their double degree in Commerce(Financial Economics)/Science(Computer Science) would only take four years (at ~$10,500 pa HELP fees), whereas the similar double degree course at Sydney Uni is a five year course. My view is that it would be better to do the double degree in four years and put the extra year/cost towards then doing a 1.5 year long Master of Economic Analysis post-grad course at Sydney University (if he wants to). UNSW also seems to have a more structured process for integrating overseas study at a one of 200 'partner institutions' in 39 countries as part of their undergraduate programs.

The ATAR cut-off for a double degree in Commerce/Computer Science at USyd is around 95.00, whereas 'on paper' the UNSW cut-off is slightly higher (96.50). However, Sydney University doesn't offer 'flexible entry' for the Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science course, where UNSW offers up to 10 'bonus points' - he could get 2 'HSC Plus bonus points for getting a band 5/6 result in Advanced English, and another 2 'HSC Plus" bonus points for getting a band 5/6 result in Mathematics, Also, if he finishes off the requirements for his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award to be finalised/approved by around this time next year, he would also get an additional 2 'EAP' (Elite Athletes and Performers) bonus points. So, the 'real' ATAR required for entry into the UNSW Commerce/Science double degree could be as low as 90.50.

As a fall-back position he will probably put Science/Computer Science at UNSW and Computer Science and Technology at USyd as his third and fourth choices, as the ATAR cut-offs for those courses is considerably lower (92.00 and 81.30 respectively), and he can always apply to transfer to the commerce/computer science double degree at the end of his first year (if his results are good enough).

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

Net Worth: August 2016

A mediocre month with my geared stock portfolio down a bit (-$35,025), our home valuation down slightly (-$5,183) and my retirement savings up fractionally (+$1,887). DW needed to redraw $1,000 from our home loan account to fund her payment of stamp duty on an apartment she bought 'off the plan' last year, so the same amount was redrawn and sent to my savings account (as we split all transactions on our home loan 50:50 as our house is in joint name - the home valuation I list is only for my half).

Next month we'll be signing an MOU agreeing to sell our house as part of the consortium of local home owners that have banded together to market a contiguous block of ~60 properties to developers that are interested in building apartment blocks on the combined site (due to its proximity to the new hospital being built nearby). It's hard to guesstimate what the final sale price might be, as the local council still hasn't brought out the draft 'Precinct Structure Plan' regarding future development of the land lying within the 'special area' around the hospital site. My current home valuation is based on current 'normal' house sales data for our suburb. If a developer buys the property it *could* be worth 2-3x that amount,  but...

The hospital precinct structure plan was originally supposed to be released in late 2015, then delayed until March 2016, then May/June, and currently the report isn't due to be reported to council until later this month... and it then has to be released for public feedback, revised, and finally adopted. So any possible rezoning to allow height/density increases won't happen for quite a while yet... initially agents spruiking their services to our consortium were saying that the marketing campaign wouldn't need to wait for rezoning to occur, and that developers would be interested in buying the properties anyhow, Now that we've appointed a real estate agency group and have a lawyer ready to draw up the 'MOU', they seem to have changed their tune, and any sale might be a 'put/call' option to buy the properties if/when a favourable rezoning takes place.


The chart is quite misleading, as it appears as if I've recovered all the losses that occurred during the GFC/EFC. In reality the large jump in 2014 was when my parents gave me their hobby farm, so I still haven't recovered the stock losses crystalized during depths of the GFC.

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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 26

I managed to cut back on snack/junk food last week, but not eliminate it entirely. When I went to the Sydney Uni Open Day with DS1 on Saturday I took along a couple of ham sandwiches I made using Buergen Gluten Free bread with Sunflower Seeds and Chia (I got a free sample loaf from Coles), which was actually quite nice but quite high calorie. On Sunday I took DS2 to Camden aerodrome for his Cubs excursion to the Scout Flying Activity centre where they had a 25-minute joy flight in a Cesna-172, learned a bit of aviation theory and built a balsa rubber-band powered model plane. I was doing quite well diet-wise until we stopped on the way home for some McDonalds fries and some snack food.

At least I've stopped gaining weight, and so far this week I've been doing a bit better at sticking to my diet plan (more or less). I'm due to recommence my postgraduate MSc(Research) enrolment at Sydney Uni from 1 Oct, so I've started spending time in the evenings getting my computer system setup for my astrophysics research rather than watching TV. It's a lot easier to avoid eating junk food when I'm not sitting in front of the TV and playing games on my tablet... I still haven't resumed doing my regular '5BX' sessions.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 21       36.5       62.0     24.0    113.2      3,408     90.3     11,695
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955
Week 26       33.1       65.9     19.3    115.1      3,388     91.3     12,424

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 25

I didn't have much success eliminating junk food and snacks from my diet last week, although I've made some slight progress so far this week (I'm still not completely back on track, but my weight has stopped increasing). Next weekend I'll be busy on Saturday taking DS1 to a university open day, and then on Sunday taking DS2 on a Cub Scouts excursion to an airport to have a 'joy flight', take a tour of the maintenance facility, and build a model glider for his 'flight' badge. Hopefully I'll be too busy to buy any junk food while I'm out and about. Instead I'll prepare some apples and carrot sticks to take along as my 'snack food'. One of the downsides of Coeliac disease is that I can't pack traditional ham sandwiches for lunch (I've tried the gluten-free versions of 'bread', and I find them very dry and unappetizing). Instead I'll make 'sandwiches' using rice/corn thins, which taste quite nice but tend to fall to bits as you eat them.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 21       36.5       62.0     24.0    113.2      3,408     90.3     11,695
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417
Week 25       41.2       64.8     21.7    120.2      3,555     91.9     12,955

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 24

The boys and I completed the 14km 'City2Surf' event last Sunday without any problems, and we even went for our usual one hour squash session that same afternoon. We walked the course in 2 hrs 34 min ~48 sec. The winner ran the course in about 42 minutes! I "placed" 56,214th out of the 67,634 people who finished the race (there were 80,023 entrants, so about 15% of entrants didn't turn up or complete the race). And in the male 50-55 age group I placed 3,251st out of 3,754. So there is considerable room for improvement ;) If we enter again next year we'll try to improve our time by jogging on the downhill portions of the course.

Aside from successfully completing the City2Surf, last week was a bit of a diet disaster. I still didn't stop buying and eating junk food, so my average daily kcals were still way to high, resulting in a not-so-slow weight gain. I'm still meeting my daily goal of walking at least 12,000 steps/day, but haven't started to do 5BX sessions again as yet.

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 17       42.5       60.3     26.5     78.0      2,418     90.3     15,421
Week 18       44.4       59.6     21.7    114.2      2,721     89.6     13,569
Week 19       36.2       70.0     16.7     99.0      3,075     88.7     14,720
Week 20       35.3       66.9     18.8    104.5      3,181     89.4     16,644
Week 21       36.5       62.0     24.0    113.2      3,408     90.3     11,695
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421
Week 24       42.4       63.7     21.5    118.0      3,376     91.5     17,417

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Monday, 8 August 2016

Diet & Exercise update - Week 23

Yet another week has passed and I still haven't got 'back on track'. Although I exceeded my daily walking target on all but two days last week, I continued to buy junk food while shopping (and then eating it). I also haven't resumed doing '5BX' exercise sessions as yet, so the only aerobic exercise I did during the past week was a bit of squash with the kids on Sunday afternoon. Next Sunday is the City2Surf 14km walk, so I really need to resume doing my 5BX sessions asap, and also continue my daily walking routine (I'll take it easy the day before the race). My weight has been creeping back up during the past month, so I guess the answer is to completely eliminate the junk food once and for all...

.             Fibre      Carbs    Fat     Protein    kCals     Avg Wt   Steps
              g/dy       %        %       g/dy       /dy       kg       /dy
Week 17       42.5       60.3     26.5     78.0      2,418     90.3     15,421
Week 18       44.4       59.6     21.7    114.2      2,721     89.6     13,569
Week 19       36.2       70.0     16.7     99.0      3,075     88.7     14,720
Week 20       35.3       66.9     18.8    104.5      3,181     89.4     16,644
Week 21       36.5       62.0     24.0    113.2      3,408     90.3     11,695
Week 22       34.8       66.0     19.7    112.0      3,425     90.1     11,545
Week 23       43.2       62.8     21.9    139.7      3,835     90.6     14,421


I had an appointment with my dermatologist last Friday, and he reviewed the upper GI biopsy results that had confirmed his Coeliac disease diagnosis. The latest blood test results (taken the previous week) were already showing some improvement since I eliminated wheat from my diet about six weeks ago. He expects I should see some significant improvement after being 'wheat free' for four months or so. One 'side effect' might be an increase in cholesterol levels as my upper GI absorption improves - my triglyceride levels are already higher than they should be, so that is another reason to ensure I get down to my 'ideal weight' range asap.

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Monday, 1 August 2016

Net Worth: July 2016

July turned out to be a good month, despite some pundits fearing the brexit vote was going to decimate global sharemarkets. By the end of the month my geared share portfolio was up $40,712 (30.45%), and the strength of the share market had also boosted my retirement savings by $31,901 (4.30%). The estimated value of our home continued to rise (up $10,365 or 1.44% in July) despite many pundits calling the end of the Sydney property boom (some recent estimates had projected that sort of rise for the whole of 2016).



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