So back in February 2021, as I moved into the third and final year of my original repay the mortgage plan, I expanded it to also cover weight and wellbeing in response to 100+ days of COVID lockdown and negative habits I developed which I call the COVID Kilos.
Today is the end of the first ten weeks / 5 fortnights and the first major check-in (I also undertake fortnightly reviews and adjustments which is aligned to paydays but major changes are set for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 fortnights).
I’m happy to report that I’ve met all my goals so far and it’s time to slightly expand and adjust my objectives.
With some taxation and retirement saving adjustments I ended up having $776.12 per fortnight available to meet my living expenses (only minus loan repayments) with everything else going into paying off the mortgage.
What I learned
The financial fortnightly targets are extremely difficult to achieve. Just one unexpected bill and it is near impossible to achieve. Right now I don’t need to buy any replacement items (cloths etc) and I’m still struggling to hit my targets. How people on welfare payments live is a total mystery.
I had to move my credit card and loan repayments around, deferring a proportion of loan repayment ($700) by one fortnight, to deal with my quarterly $1,100 Body Corporate Fees. I used the bought forward $700 to ‘reset’ my credit card and avoid interest charges (I never let myself incur credit card interest charges). This is not something someone on a fixed income could normally do so I guess I’m only achieving these targets with some flexibility success.
I did hit the exact loan repayments at the end of the first 10 week period review period, so I’m on track to close out my mortgage in February 2022 just not hitting financial targets each fortnight, underachieving in one and catching up in the next.
The $776.12 fortnightly ‘allowance’ makes it impossible to save in advance for the major quarterly Body Corporate bill. I’ll still struggling to come up with a way to plan to pay it for the next quarter and at the same time; have zero credit card debt and hit my loan repayment targets, by the next major check in on Thursday 24 June. I guess I could ‘cheat’ and pay that bill after the next check-in but that defeats the principle of this challenge.
I have been much more careful with purchasing items, in particularly buying items on sale at the supermarket (changing brands or products as necessary) and using discount rewards schemes (being careful to ensure they work for me not the supermarket chain). You can save a bit this way but it takes planning and discipline, something I’m not always great at 🙂
Weight and Wellbeing Update
My goal was to lose 1 kilo per fortnight so 5 kilos by this check-in. I managed to lose 6.3 kilos (1.3 kilos or 26% extra loss) over the 10 weeks / 5 fortnights. I’m happy with this especially given I lost 8 kilos in the 8 weeks before this year plan started.
Additional side benefit is that according to FitBit in 2020 my average resting heartbeat was 64 BPM and so far this year it has dropped to 60 BPM (even lower for month of March and April).
For wellbeing I’ve also started going out more, in particular to football matches but also meeting family and friends more often which is a great help with mental health, although can be a challenge on limited finances.
What I learned
That it gets harder and harder to hit each fortnight’s weight loss target, for example I only achieved a 1.1 kilo loss is last fortnight. When I do achieve the check in target I backslide for a few days afterwards making the last 10 days of the fortnight a bigger task and focus. I’m not sure I can stop this pattern, I guess as long as I hit the fortnight check-in target it’s fine and maybe a few times of relaxing on focus is good for the long haul target and motivation.
I also learned that this overall weight loss is starting to positively impact my tennis matches. In the last match I was moving freely in the last set for the first time in 2 years. I’ve been getting better movement in the first two sets as well but the last match I really noticed a big difference in the third set for the first time. Unfortunately this is not yet showing up in results but getting a lot more competitive so hopefully results will come.
On Monday 10 May 2021 I’ll be returning to working in an office instead of working almost 100% from home, which means a lot of ‘lost’ time commuting and lots more bad food temptations. This also means more expenses for travel and eating.
I expect I’ll also struggle to keep up my 120,000+ steps each week (roughly 17,000+ steps on average per day). It is much easer to go out on a lunch break for a walk (or before work with is current regime) when working from home then when working in the office.
Added to this will be the start of the winter weather. While I don’t feel the cold as much as some Australians (I feel the heat instead) rain can be a hurdle at times.
With my steps likely to drop off a bit with winter and with me working from the office / communities more, I’ve decided to compensate by doing an average of 60 minutes of strong cardio work in the apartment complex gym, likely the Stepper which should strengthen my legs as well.
I might try to increase this to 80 minutes per week by the next major check-in but for now the aim is a minimum of 60 minutes per week.
I will also not allow my weekly steps to go below 100,000 but hopefully I’ll get higher than that.
I’m also adding a new objective – aiming to drop down from the BMI index rating of ‘Obese’ by February 2022. In a perfect world post this weigh loss plan I’d then aim to be ‘Normal Weight’ for the first time in my adult life but that is getting ahead of myself.
For finances I’ll keep to the same targets but to cover the increased work and travel costs I might have to drop a Streaming service and maybe cut back on my home internet plan.
Given this is the third year of the wealth plan I’m fairly confident I’ll be mortgage free in February 2022 after 26 months of financial sacrifice only 10 more months to go, I can see the finish line for the first time and that is motivating.
Fortnight 6 of 26 (15 April to 29 April) begins today so it’s on to another kilo to lose plus adding the regular weekly cardio workouts for the first time in probably 4 years.
The next major check-in will be Thursday 24 June 2021. I believe that if I can successfully complete the second 10 weeks of this 52 weeks / 26 fortnights plan I will be committed enough to get the weight target as well as the wealth target. We will see. Winter is coming.