How To Start Subtracting

subtractLast week, this post on Zen Habits inspired me.

When you begin your life on your own away from your parents, this world propels you to acquire things. You need essentials and consumables, that’s for sure, but then once that’s done, you start hitting the wants as opposed to the needs. And as you progress in your career and make more and more money, you acquire more and more things. Sometimes you trade in your old things for new, other times you keep the old things.

Long story short: the longer you live, typically the more your have. Every time I’ve had to move, I realized that I moved more and more stuff.

Eventually, you get to a point when you have to start subtracting instead of adding.

When I moved into my current house, I didn’t even realize it but I  was already doing that: I had the larger house and realized how much work that was, so we moved to a smaller house. Recently, we’ve been planning out our retirement and realized that at some point, we were going to probably move again, probably to a smaller place.

That’s when I realized – even though our retirement is a long way off, we need to start downsizing – or subtracting – now.

Its a simple rule – on the stuff you have:

  1. will you use this thing between now and when we retire, or will it be something you use when we retire? If so, keep
  2. If not, get rid of. Sell, donate or toss

On stuff you are thinking of buying:

  1. Do you really need that thing?
  2. If so, you can only buy it if you subtract 2 or more others

Result should be net loss of stuff going forward. It might take years, but at least we’ll get there. And its a lot less onerous than doing big, huge cleanouts.

I mean, does anyone really want to end up on Hoarders: Buried Alive…or pay for all that storage? I don’t think so.

How To Best Track Your Exercise – Sports Tracker


We use FitBit in order to track our progress, but one of the things that FitBit does not do is track activity other than steps and floor climbs – in fact the next version of the FitBit tracker, the Flex, won’t even be able to track stairs, due to its wristband form factor. Having just bought a couple of new bikes in February, we wanted to track the number of calories burned by cycling into FitBit as well.

We are currently using the FitBit android app on our Galaxy S3s in order to view and track things, and have already purchased an Aria scale from them (review of the FitBit Aria coming soon) so we’ve bought into the FitBit thing. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t track calories or distance automatically either.

So we went on the lookout for tracking software. What we wanted was something that we could fire up before we starting biking, it would speed, time, calories burned, and then be able to log that. We tried Noom, which worked fine for a while, but had a lot of duplicate features to the FitBit App. Plus it was huge, taking up a lot of space on the phone. noom is a great app, and I would recommend it if you have no other trackers like FitBit or Jawbone Up.

Enter Sports Tracker. This app does exactly what we need it to do – you fire it up before you get on your bike, it will auto pause when you stop, and restart when you start moving again. When you are done it will record your workout. Unfortunately, there is currently no automated way to sync that data with FitBit, but its trivial from that point to just enter the calories burned into your FitBit app.,

So if you are looking for good, bare bones sports tracking software, Sports Tracker is highly recommended.

How To Get Your Exercise In: Bike Places

43537As part of our drive to get healthier, we went to a local bike store and each picked up some new bikes. For the longest time, I’ve never really spent a lot of money of bikes – I’ve always had a bike but I’ve never really had a decent one – the first time I actually did buy a decent bike, it was stolen about 2 weeks after I bought it, from a locked garage in an apartment complex no less. So I’ve always had cheap bikes. Now that we’ve decided to make our health a priority, we figured that spending more than a few bucks on something for our health was probably a good idea. Since every bike I’ve ever had prior to this one has been cheap, its always been heavy and the seats have always been uncomfortable. I figured that’s what bikes were like. Until now. Riding this bike is such a breeze, its light, its comfortable – even though the seat looks uncomfortable I can ride and ride and I never feel tired. It really is worth the money. Whereas before I sometimes dreaded getting on the bike, now I enjoy it so much that I prefer my bike over any method of transportation, assuming that I can get where I need to go in time. We even took the bikes to go for dinner the other day.

If you don’t have a decent bike, and have decided rightly that your health takes priority, this bike is highly recommended.

No More Excuses


Kitty and I just got back from the doctors office, and the prognosis is grim: yes, folks we are getting old. Well, older. Things don’t move as well as they should. Pounds don’t drop off as easily as they should. And you know that once you’ve been told that you have to take a daily vitamin then you’ve passed back into that space where only kids and old people live: the augmented life space. Both kids and old people need augmentation to live a normal life, no? Actually, it’s probably not due to aging, but the fact that we’ve all not put the right foods in our bodies nor exercised as much as we should. We’ve already taken steps on our diet, made attempts at exercise which we going really well until Christmas, until we fell off the wagon. But no more. Not a resolution, but a promise, a commitment. No more excuses.

I know it. It’s tough to balance everything that is going on in life with maintaining both the proper food and exercise. But it’s not really an option. It’s mandatory.

Too many of us just pass things on, saying that we will get to it someday, and just put it off and put it off. There’s a powerful scene in Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead where the brother of the guy who is on the diet keeps saying that he knows that he needs to do something about diet and exercise, but he doesn’t. Eventually he has a heart attack, which doesn’t kill him, but ends up putting him on very expensive drugs. This event is enough to get him to change.

None of us can afford to wait for that climactic event to occur in order for us to DO SOMETHING about our health. This event is YOU, NOW, making that decision to prioritize your health and welfare over everything. Make it so, Number One.

A New Column: 45Up

fitoverfiftyYes – we are all getting older. It seems that some of us may be getting older faster than others. About a month ago, I met up with an old friend and ex-colleague of mine who I always used to think was so incredibly fit: he was my age, my height, my nationality but was so much more fit that I was because he was very athletic in high school. I hadn’t seen him in a few years and figured that he was still at the top of his game. Well, turns out he’s got back and foot issues – since he is nearing 50 like we are.

Turns out I guess that no one in indestructible, I saw my brother at Christmastime and he – who had always been a stickler for remaining lean and mean – had put on a few pounds around the middle and wasn’t exercising as much as he used to.

So, getting older is something we all have to deal with – especially those of us young folks 45 and up who are starting to get those AARP letters in the mail and are saying, who me? No way.

Hence our new column 45Up, where we talk about getting older, health and wellness for folks like us. Also, for those of us with aging parents, how to help and what to do. Support and guidance, and all that great stuff!