For Bayleys Real Estate Agent

Being Prepared Pays Off.

Former New York mayor Rudi Giuliana extols the virtues of “relentless preparation”.

I get that, and in my world of real estate (while I do value “location”) I have been known to offer the following advice to clients – “preparation, preparation, preparation”.

Rudi Giuliana, who went on to be voted Time Magazine Person of the Year following the Sept 11 attacks, was talking big picture, serious stuff.

So how does “relentless preparation” fit into our peaceful world and property transactions half a world-away?

Preparedness is integral to how I function. If my clients want the big picture, sale success story then I tell them they need to get serious about how they prepare for a sale.

You don’t go to a job interview with greasy hair, holes in your clothes, and unprepared. I apply this analogy to taking your property (your key asset) to the market.

I used to work in risk management and I apply theories learned there to this job. I run things like a military camp. I will go in looking for problems. I will see the features and benefits and then ask what is wrong with the property? I will look for things that would-be buyers may think they need to deal with and think they need to factor into their price.

So, if I think a house needs a new roof, I will take $50,000, for example, off the asking price. This is because I will do the research and come up with an accurate quote (three of them) for re-roofing before we go to market. This means the purchaser doesn’t need to catastrophise the problem, which can adversely affect a sale price. I do quite a lot of such leg work first. It is a lot of work, and a lot of people don’t do it, but it pays off in the end and I have happy vendors.

Part of skill is all this is getting vendors on board as the advice you are giving them may not be advice they want to hear. They may not want to hear they should paint the bathroom or replace the carpet. Maybe “I don’t want to do this” could be what they are saying. But, I have to remain very focused on the outcome – on getting the best outcome for them. Yes it is money, but it will assist in getting a sale, and hopefully a premium price. I have to tell it like it is, otherwise I can have owners sitting with a house that doesn’t sell and they are asking “what’s the matter?” I work collegially with my vendors to circumvent that happening.

Having clients asking “why doesn’t this sell” isn’t a big part of my world; thanks in part to this “relentless preparedness” approach. Last year I sold everything within three weeks and had no deal crash. Very impressive. This year I have sold everything bar one (a high-end, expensive home), also within three weeks. This is very impressive in the real estate world. I sharpened my skills at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. I had to think outside the square to stay afloat in the real estate world. I learnt by doing the hard-yards and this is when I fine-tuned my “preparedness” approach.

These days I have excellent assistance in preparing homes for sale. Jacqui Cook, of Helping Hands, is my trouble-shooting project manager and she is great at getting people on board and making the action happen. She has a team of sub-contractors, and a gardener to call on. Vendors feel well supported because of this team approach and it most certainly helps with achieving a high standard of presentation. Having Jacqui on board allows me to go about my business, confident that all the behind-the-scenes requirements are being expertly taken care of.

I work collegially with my vendors. There is robust discussion around comparative market analysis, around advertising and photography, and around presentation standards. That coupled, with preparedness, preparedness, preparedness is a winning formula!


For All About Health and Wellness client

It’s time to stop vilifying the fats, and let’s debunk some carbohydrate myths while we are at it!

Fats, proteins and carbohydrates will be key characters in this column as we discuss how best to fuel your muscles and your exercise in general. It may well be time to look at changing your fuel source for your exercise…and for general health benefits too, including weight loss.

Traditionally, the belief has held that when we exercise, the major source of our fuel should be carbohydrates. This was a strongly held belief that has been prescribed for the best part of 40 years. Now we are saying, “hang on, that isn’t quite the way”.  In a similar way we were told that eating fats was linked to cardio and blood pressure issues. Fats were vilified and carbohydrates were lauded. It’s time to get the facts right.

Flipping the food pyramid

In reality, the traditional food pyramid we have operated by for far too long can be turned upside down. That pyramid has breads, cereal, rice and pasta at the bottom in the “eat plenty of” category, and fats at the top in the “use sparingly” zone.

Things change. What we now know is that we store more fat in our body than we do carbohydrates (glycogen). Essentially, we are now acknowledging that the fat tank provides equal, if not better, benefits. What we need to do is get our body to burn and use the fat tank, not the carbohydrate/glycogen tank. Keto adaptation is the official term for this and is the most efficient path to accelerated fat burning. In short: a keto adapted diet is one that has low carbohydrate intake and higher levels of good fats and protein.

What is Keto adaptation then?

This is the process of shifting your metabolism from relying mostly on glucose for fuel, to relying mostly on fat-based sources of fuel. Not only does fat oxidation increase, but your body will start producing enough ketones. They can be used as a significant source of fuel as well. Ketones are derived from partially metabolized fat, and they can be used in many of the same tissues of the body as glucose can, including the brain. The benefits of using fat and ketones rather than glucose for fuel are many. Fat is an important source of essential fatty acids and nutrients. Moreover, ingesting fat with protein helps to moderate the insulin response. A keto diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, and a high fat diet. How do you know if you are burning fat? Your body goes into a state called ketosis. This can be measured with a quick dipstick into your urine. This will tell you when you are fat burning.

Insulin is a critical part of the whole equation, and this is, essentially, what causes problems. When we are on a high carbohydrate diet we end up producing and having altered insulin and this inhibits fat burning.

Here’s an analogy. If you light a fire you use twigs to ensure it burns fast and hard. The twigs are carbohydrates. If you want a fire for a good barbeque you have to put charcoal on. Charcoal is the fat in this equation. We are teaching the body how to go from burning the twigs to the charcoal.

A key point is that, when you adapt your diet accordingly, your body gets better at burning and utilising fats as a primary energy source.

It is literally an adaptive process – a time to look at what is in your diet. Now is a good time to increase good fats, nuts and fibrous vegetables and reduce bread, pasta and white rice, for example.


In brief

  • Carbohydrate-based fueling is a self-perpetuating cycle: it runs out quickly, and every time you eat more carbs you delay adaptation to fat-burning.
  • Fat-based fueling is sustainable, because it allows access to a very large store of energy without you frequently stopping to refuel. Blood sugar is maintained though precise internal processes without wild swings. These two together create a desirable flow of even, stable energy, mood, and alertness.

It takes time for our metabolism to adjust to dietary change

So, if we reduce carbohydrates in our diet, we reduce insulin levels and with this comes an increased ability to burn fat. But, this doesn’t happen in a day. It takes time for the metabolism to adjust to producing and using ketones at a significant rate – you may feel a bit slow during the change-over. Even though changes are evident within days of carbohydrate restriction, improvements continue for weeks.

We recommend committing to a very low level of carbohydrate intake, and staying with it consistently for at least long enough to get ketone production in full force – about thirty days. Remember, you can measure this in your urine. We have the urine sticks to measure this by. Rest assured, if you experience any discomfort at all, you are likely to feel fully functional within 4 or 5 days. However, metabolic changes continue for at least two weeks and often more.

The individual touch – we’re here to help

Unfortunately results can vary from individual to individual. Paddy and I are here to provide assistance and help you gain maximum advantage from this positive paradigm shift.

I am here to talk about exercise your muscles will thrive from, and how your performance will be better on this recommended type of fuel source. Paddy can offer expert advice on how to make this adaptation easier and incredibly effective – all backed by the latest science. She will also be able to discuss keto diets and assist with the weight loss benefits to this.


For All About Health and Wellness client

Knowing what to feed your athletic (as well as not-so-sporty) children may seem an increasingly mysterious thing given the varied, and often conflicting, information we are fed these days.

At All About Health and Wellness we can provide science-backed dietary recommendations that will enable your children to be the best they can be. We appreciate this is an area parents may well want help with given that one minute we are told carbohydrates are king and all fats are bad, and then the next minute we are left confused as to who’s who on the good guys and bad guys front. Come and see us (we’re good guys) and we will de-mystify, ensuring your children are consuming what really is good for them.

Obviously this isn’t just about feeding young people – it applies to athletes of all ages. But, the topic for this month’s blog came about after a conversation with a friend about her 11-year-old daughter was off to play rep hockey. The daughter was armed with a note detailing what the coach felt were the right requirements in terms of nutrition, while away at tournament. The advice was well meaning, but quite a way off the mark. Sticky buns, and other sugar-type food, were recommended for after performing, on the basis they would create quick reserves of energy. And no, that’s not what we want to encourage at all.  We’ve talked about changes of diet in relation to weight and implications on diseases, now let’s talk about what fuel you need to burn to utilise your energy. The movement away from loading up with carbohydrates if you are an athlete is totally consistent with what we have been talking about in previous blogs. The dietary concerns we have talked about in relation to health have direct implications for athletes.

The idea of food as fuel – aimed at getting the best results out of an athlete -has long been a topic of conversation. Back in the 1980s it was thought carbohydrates were the best way to go. The likes of Dr Steven Phinney and Dr Jeff Volek wisely negated that belief. From them we heard that if you load up on carbohydrates your body’s reserves store that as glycogen in the muscles. If we think about how much glycogen we can store, that sits at about 2,000 kilocalories. Whereas, our natural fat reserves contain about 40,000 kilocalories. So what Drs Phinney and Volek decided was worth investigating was whether athletes could, preferentially, burn their fat rather than carbohydrates (seeing as fat reserves were greater). What they found was – when they put their athletes on the ketogenic diet of low carbs and high levels of good fats – metabolisms converted to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. This was the desired, effective, result. (See earlier blogs for more on the ketogenic diet).

Drs Phinney and Volek studied the blood chemistry of athletes on carbohydrate-high diets and found – of no surprise to them – that their insulin and body cholesterol was out of whack and they were at an almost pre-diabetic state. They took two of those endurance athletes to task – literally, putting them on a ketogenic diet (low carbohydrates, and a diet high in good fats and protein). As mentioned in an earlier blog, and of high relevance here, is that consuming carbohydrates as a fuel source is like burning twigs – carbohydrates burn hard and fast.  But, we want to burn like charcoal – this sustainability is what is achieved when fat is your fuel source. The two athletes being studied exercised for 18 hours a day (they rowed from San Francisco to Honolulu) for four days. Their blood chemistry was tested at the end of it, and they were asked how they felt – the results were all positive. The athletes, who had been using their fat reserves as fuel, said they felt quite fantastic. Drs Phinney and Volek have since written a book called The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Dr Phinney is also quoted in the following youtube clip called Cereal Killers.

All of the above applies to anyone who has grown up with the belief that they need to “up the carbs” to improve their performance, but it is especially relevant to endurance athletes.

Here at All About Health and Wellness, Paddy (naturopath) and I (physiotherapist) are united in our keenness to help athletes get their fuel source sorted. Come and have a consultation. We can measure how you are going and give dietary advice. Recipes and a shopping list are also part of what we offer as we assist you on your journey to exercising on the right fuel.