Diet · Exercise · YouTube

The hardest day so far…

Well, today started at 9am.  I’m following the vacation schedule this week.  Adjusting one’s eating habits is enough to be dealing with. Excuse noted.  Today was tough.  I felt hungry most of the day despite eating regularly.  I kept busy, and got through it.  I did have 28 points left, but I just had 4 cream crackers with cream cheese.  That’s 8 points gone.  20 remain.  Not bad.

I’ve also decided that, unless something happens of note, I won’t mention the diet daily.  I’ll keep a paper diary and do weekly weigh ins and progress summaries but unless something blog worthy occurs – I won’t bore you with it!

I will keep up the daily blogs, but ensure that I cover more topics to do with goals.  This will become easier as the time goes on, and the diet itself becomes more habitual.


Today was mostly admin.  I cleared the office upstairs of any clutter and rigged up a permanent phone clamp so that I can do proper desk based vlogs.  So that’s one step closer to some content hitting the YouTube channel.  I shot some footage today and I’ve got some more to get tomorrow when I visit my Mum’s place.

The plan with the YouTube Vlogs is to get two weeks ahead of myself, so I’ve always got a video ready to upload.  As my research points out, one of the key things to achieve and grow a successful channel is keep updates regular and frequent.  Weekly is as good as I can do at the moment, based on the content.  I don’t want to spread it too thin.

21 September 2017

Anyway – it’s late and it’s time to hit the sack.  Here’s the WW stats for today.  To those who are liking the blog posts, thank you.  It’s nice to know someone is reading this.

Not a bad day really considering most of the activity is chore related, but it all counts, right?  Tomorrow, we will be walking more, and that’s a fact.




Exercise · Heath · Online Publishing

The morning after the night before

I didn’t get drunk.  I didn’t wake with a hangover.  I did however stay up late last night working on my Dad’s book as my plan was to send it out to publishers and adventure magazines this week.  The result of that was getting up at 10am.  A normal breakfast with a coffee, all logged within the Weight Watchers app.   I also recharged my Fitbit while I was researching publishers and magazines.

I kept plugging away, emailing, tweeting and phoning until 3pm and then I went to pickup my youngest from School. I missed lunch.  Oops.

It was a disappointing day in terms of activity too.  Not abysmal but the worst this week so far.

Wednesday 20th September 2017

I am on track however to exceed my weekly Weight Watchers activity target of 100 FitPoints.  I already have 74, 13 of which I earned today just from some fast walking up and down the mildly hilly town I live in.

On the other hand, I have checked off the first step in something I’ve wanted to do for years.  I’m expecting rejection letters from publishers, everyone gets them.  Beyond that though I’ve started the process of publishing my Dad’s memoirs on Kindle.  Also I have contacted several of my TV friends to have a read and see if there’s any potential for development in that sphere.  More on that as it develops.

Note: I'm hungry now.  Not felt that in a while.

Tomorrow – exercise takes the front seat again.  I’ll get up at 6am and build on that morning routine.


Exercise · Heath

Ups and downs today.

So, yesterday saw me getting up 6am to exercise.  This morning, I didn’t get out of bed.  I did really mean to.  I got up at 9am.  So, this morning ritual thing takes some getting used to.  So, we got in the car and drove out to Oldbury on Severn and walked.  We walked some more and it was lovely.  Blue skies and the temperature was just right!  There was still something niggling at me.


The walk continued and as we neared the nuclear power station, I had walked 3.4 miles.  My heart rate was steady, but I kept the pace up.  Canadian Geese flew overhead, the sun shone – yet still something was bothering me.


As we returned to our starting point, a delightful community cafe – I had a coffee in hand and my wife and I chatted.  Something was still up.  We then walked a further 10 minutes through the village, up a hill, and sat looking over the Severn.  A fantastic view from the churchyard.  I realised what was wrong.  I still felt guilt that I hadn’t stuck to my goal.  It was the first, in the first week, that I had let something slip.  I had been beating myself up for it.


Because I’m new to this, I don’t know how to deal with things not going to plan.  Despite doing the exercise and having a lovely time too, I feel that not getting up and hitting the street as planned – I’d taken a step back to what I was doing.

So, I’m confronted with two options, do I get up at 6am tomorrow, or do I allow myself to find other ways of exercising.  The main point of this morning routine is to achieve exercise when I’m working.  I’m not working at the moment, but is that an excuse?  Probably.

Looking at the stats, I think for this week as long as I achieve the steps, points and tick some goals off my list, or take action to achieve them – I think it’s okay.

Tuesday 19th September 2017

In terms of goals, today I achieved a leap toward achieving something I’ve been wanting to do for years.  During the last 5 years of my Dad’s life he wrote is memoirs, and 2 novels.  He died 13 years ago.  Tonight, I started to prepare one of his novels to publish it online as an e-book.  It feels good.  I’m about 60% done with it, but I’ve never published an e-book before so lots to do and learn.  It’s all on the list.

Anyway, time for bed.  Tomorrows another day!

Exercise · Heath

Morning workouts! Terrible idea?

When I told my wife that I was planning to wake up at 6am and go for a 4 mile walk she literally snorted.  To back her up a little I have a reputation for “sleeping in”.  In my defence, I normally stay up until 2am “researching” or working on my next great plan.  So, the result of that is I do not normally get out of bed until I absolutely have to.  That said, if I have, it’s no problem.  I can deal with tired.  I might be grumpy but I have been surviving on 5 or 6 hours of sleep.  I have been to “tired” to exercise.  What an idiot.

So, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve be researching morning routines.  I found that the majority of successful people wake up early and get all the stuff they have to do between the hours of 6 and 8.  So, a morning routine needs to be formulated.  The first and the most mentally gruelling is waking up early and exercising.

This morning, the alarm went off at 6am and I rolled out of bed.  I put my shorts and T-shirt on and left the house.  I followed a walk my wife and I did the day before to test the FitBit Charge 2.  I took my phone so I could track my route (because the Charge 2 uses the phones GPS to track location).  The difference with my walk and the day before was that I pushed it a little harder and it was longer.

The morning light was lovely, and it wasn’t raining.  I grabbed a few shots of myself for the weekly vlog (coming soon) and I took an occasional peep at my heart rate to ensure that I wasn’t about to pass out or explode.  I was fine.

As you exit the green leafy section and turn left up the hill….there is a hill.  I walked with determination up it and the result was sweat and heavy breathing.  Day one, lesson learned – I am not in good shape.  Clearly.  That’s what I’m really looking forward to doing in 6 weeks time.  Look back at this blog and my video diary and see a difference.  Hell I might even be able to have a conversation with someone after walking up that bloody hill.

I doubled the walk I did yesterday by tracing my steps back.  I did a very respectable 3.34 miles.  Normally I’d be asleep!  Ha ha!  I also burned through nearly 700 calories.  My wife owes me 50p.

Monday 18th September 2017

So, the new schedule is:

  • Get to bed by 22:30 – 23:00
  • Get up at 06:00 and be out of the house by 6:30.
  • Walk for an hour.
  • Return to house and shower.
  • Eat breakfast and drink coffee
  • Leave house at 08:00 for work.

The end of day one of the fitness schedule saw me eat 43 daily points out of 55.  I also earned 30 FitPoints.

Yay!  Lets see how tomorrow goes.  Rain is forecast!  Gonna eat popcorn (9 points!) and watch a film now (Alien Covenant).




Week 1 – Goal Report


Last week, I set out a few initial goals for the week.  The idea is to make more as I go and build on them.  Here’s a quick update on how it’s going.

  • By next Monday, I will walk 10 miles. ACHIEVED!

My pedometer ++ App reports that over the last week I have walked 15 miles, and if today’s FitBit report is anything to go by – I will aim for 20 miles next week (3 miles a day).

Pedometer++ 17Sept2017

  • I will have found a nutritionist (I will also learn how to spell it).
  • I will have started a diet plan. ACHIEVED!

I’m lumping these together this week as I have joined Weight Watchers and this is both a diet plan and aids nutrition.  I realise that a nutritionist will be able to tailor make an eating plan, but research has shown that this will cost more than a FitBit tracker and a Weight Watchers subscription and in my first week I think this is enough to be dealing with and something that I can work on once I have reduced calories and upped the amount of exercise.  Despite being on the WW diet for only 3 days I appear to have lost 7lbs!  My official weigh in date is on Friday mornings.

  • I will found a way to monitor my spending.  ACHIEVED!

I have a Monzo card now and that is enabling me to monitor my spending.

Monzo Card
Note: This isn’t my card, it’s a generic photo – but it is that colour!
  • I will have created a detailed and lengthy list of goals.  ACHIEVED!

I have been formulating additional goals.  I have written a list but have not published them.  I will in due course.  Tomorrow, I will publish some of them within my WEEK 2 GOALS.

  • I will have completed one online free course about setting life goals. ACHIEVED!

I have watched a series of free seminar videos from Project Life Mastery.  I have also watched many additional YouTube seminars about life goals.  I am still undecided as to whether a paid course or life coach is a good investment.  More investigation is required.

  • I will have completed one online free course about online commerce. ACHIEVED!

I have watched an online seminar (again from Project Life Mastery) and a podcast about selling on Amazon.  I haven’t yet decided to which seminar to pay for yet.  Further research is required.

So…  One week has passed.

I’m very happy with the results of the week.  Having goals to tick off a weekly list is an effective tool to getting things done.  For many who have done this before, even casually might be like “Duh”, but that’s why I’m doing this – to get back up to speed with being an effective human.  I’ll keep it up.  Adding goals and tasks as I go.  Some, I suspect, will migrate to the “ritual” category as I adopt them into my working week.  Tomorrow I start a morning ritual.  Get up at 6am and go for an hour walk.  Back for 7am – breakfast and then work.  I’ll document this first week of this ritual.

My wife doesn’t think I’ll manage it.  I like sleeping in.  She’s got a point!

Exercise · Heath

Why did I buy another FitBit?

A couple of years ago – I bought a FitBit and killed it dead within a couple of weeks.  

Many wouldn’t consider buying another one but I’m easily persuaded by shiny new promises of features and abilities – and as an early adopter I’ve had this kind of thing happen before.  Before it did die – I found the FitBit very handy until it died.  It was also kinda my fault as I got it wet.  The FITBIT CHARGE is not WATERPROOF.  I know that now.

Today, I found myself in an Argos and picked up a Charge 2 for £109.  I also got a discounted charging cable as a bundle.  Handy as I do go away on business a fair bit and having two cables  just means I don’t have to upset my bedside charging setup or lose a cable and have an excuse.

"I cant exercise as my tracker is flat."

I bought a FitBit Charge 2.  The price was it’s main selling point along with a heart rate monitor.  Up until now I’ve been using a tracker on my phone.  A paid app called pedometer++ did a good job but lacked the ability to measure heart rate and, it’s a phone, so hopefully not in contact with your body all day.


The Charge 2 – It is quite small, light and is water resistant which means rain and sweat proof.   Not dunking.  I will not be swimming or showering in it.  I know that now.  It also collects GPS data from your phone – so that’s okay.   The more expensive and slightly bigger Surge has built in GPS.

Setting up and pairing the App to the device was super easy and quick.  Standard device pairing routine then a quick questionnaire about my age, height and weight.  It also checks to see what wrist you are planning to wear it on, and if you are right or left handed.  I set up a new account and it all got going.  The time and date were correct, as was the syncing process to the online account details.  After a quick charge and an update… it was ready to go!

So it does a lot but what it also does is inspire me to get out there and walk and get the heart pumping.  In just a few hours of use, I’ve been on a walk and it has reported distance, exercise type (walking) and heart rate.  The biggie is that it communicates with Weight Watchers app and gives me shiny new Fit-points.  After a 60 minute walk I gained 17.



In the WW App you can configure it to offset Fit-points with your food points but so far my 17 Fit Points are intact! 🙂  This function to transfer your hard earned exercise points to edible ones is hidden away in a menu somewhere.  At the time of writing, I have not looked for this function.  I ate dinner 6 hours ago and I’m hungry.  So, that’s something! 🙂

Anyway in summary – I know I didn’t NEED a fitbit to get out and go for a walk, track my sleep, monitor my heart rate while at rest, calculate the total amount of steps I walked over a day, month or year – but it does help.   Integration with Weight Watchers is also a big thing as I said earlier.  Seeing it on my phone makes me feel like I’m achieving something.


Now, moving forward with this.  This hour of walking was easily achieved at the weekend.  How do I ensure that an hour is possible during a busy working week?  My next step is to work on a morning ritual.  A schedule for my first 2 hours of the day.  That is entirely alien to me, but many successful people that I have been researching over the last week do it.  If it works for them, then hopefully it will work for me.



My first few days with Monzo MasterCard

A competely fee free pre paid card, with an app and contactless?  There must be a catch!?

Monitoring spending, on a personal level has got easier since joining online banking 5 or so years ago but I’m always looking for smarter ways of doing stuff.  I’m also not a “credit card” person.  I don’t get on with them.  So why get a Monzo card?

Monzo Card.png

Also my accountant has mentioned on several occasions that it would be better to separate business expenditure from personal spending.  So, in looking for a solution I discovered Monzo.  It’s an online contactless pre-paid debit MasterCard that is run entirely with an app on your phone.  It came highly recommended on Money Saving Expert too.

About 3 weeks ago, I did some research and found that they offer all all their services with no added fee’s.  That includes international spending and transfers.  I downloaded the app and  joined a queue.  Quite a big queue!  Thousands of  other people ahead of me on this.  I checked the progress hourly and my progress to getting a card was slow.  Monzo was crowdfunded back in 2015.  They raised £1,000,000 in a staggering 96 seconds!  

They aim to re-invent how banks work and are among a growing number of online banks starting to challenge traditional bricks and mortar financial institutions.  As of October 2016 they now have over 200,000 users.  They are currently rolling out current accounts too.


While I was away on business I got an exciting notification that my card was ready to be sent out, pending a couple of ID requests.  With those completed the App told me my card was on it’s way.  When I got back from Glasgow – there it was.  I opened it up and activated the card.  They insist that you top up £100 with a debit card.  As I did so, my balance was instantly updated.  They use the same software tech that make Amazon and Google work.  They are keen on user feedback too.  The queue didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  I was up and running!

I paid a visit to Tesco and spent around £9 on shopping.  I used my new neon orange contactless card and instantly it updated my balance.  The payment was located correctly and automatically categorised as groceries.  This is very handy!  Monzo, despite being pre-paid, allows real time access to my spending, and on what I spend on.  Before I would spend and that would be mixed in with other spending.  As my accountant isn’t really interested in costs that fall outside business spending – analysis of how much I spend on what would be discarded.

It’s also interesting that Monzo don’t charge for international use so for the future – it will be useful when travelling.

So, I will transfer £100 as and when I need to.  I will do that for a month to see what I spend on non-business related stuff.  The fact that it adds each transaction to categories and allows you to monitor and limit spending within those sections.


So, this Monzo card has no catches yet.  My main question is… how do they make money from us?  I’ll keep updating how I get on with Monzo and the results of my spending breakdown!