Crunching numbers to prevent early death
Phil Riley: Writer and broadcaster
When Phil Riley caught a candid glimpse of himself in a hotel mirror, it was a wake-up call. He says the realization that he was clinically obese was one of his most “unnerving experiences.” Health and fitness had never been a top priority for the British broadcast industry executive – but Phil knew he had to change. He had also been hard by the loss of some long-time friends, at a relatively young age. It was the start of a journey that saw Phil delve into the data surrounding premature death and the actions he had to take to get his own life in order. The result is a remarkable physical transformation and an analytical book, The Life of Riley, outlining the lifestyle changes that made it possible. In this LLAMA podcast interview, with Peter Bowes, Phil explains his new found love of intermittent fasting; his nerdy fascination with food, feeding times and spreadsheets; and the driving force behind his goal of living to 90.
Photo: Emile Sandy
Posted: 28 May, 2018 @ 2020 PST
NOTES AND QUOTES
In this interview we explore:
- How Phil went from having a career-focussed lifestyle to paying more attention to his health and longevity.
- At different stages in his life, he was a smoker, clinically obese and a heavy drinker.
“I love looking at numbers, and stats and models, and building things. And that was a real part of my interest to try and find out why my friends were dying in their late 50s early 60s. What, perhaps was causing that?
Was there a defining moment in Phil’s life that prompted him to change his lifestyle?
How Phil conquered his health and overcame health obstacles before writing and publishing The Life of Riley: Mastering the five secret habits to enjoy a longer and healthier life
Phil explains that heavy smoking and drinking may not always mean dying much younger than others – but their impact on quality of live is overwhelming.
Is a person ever too old to start making healthy changes?
“Even aged 60 or 65, making healthy lifestyle changes can have an immediate benefit. That was a real encouragement to me … that it is never too late to make some changes.”
The book is the result of years of research and includes strategies for conquering smoking and drinking habits.
According to Phil’s research simple changes like a 20-minute walk a couple of times a week, can land you in the bracket of people who will likely live a decade or two longer.
“I will regularly get a train that gets me in half an hour, 45 minutes before the meeting that I’m due to go to and I’ll walk to the meeting.”
What are the benefits of tracking your own body’s data?
“Just putting a pair of trainers on, going out for a walk every day, feeling like you’ve come back and you’ve actually done it. That’s all you need to do.”
How importance is exercise and strength training as you age?
What difference does attitude make in the quality of your life, particularly as you grow older.
Phil’s tips to easily schedule a reasonable amount of exercise in your day – to live long and healthy life.
“I’m going to carry on lifting those weights and walking the dog and trying not to drink a bottle of wine every night, and eat more healthily, in order to get there.”