My Weight Loss

My weight loss over the last fifteen or so months has been slow and steady. Been working on what I eat and don’t eat, along with portion size and healthier choices.

Eating Habits

My eating habits have changed a good amount since I’m no longer buying breakfast and lunch at work. Which has allowed me to save more money.

During the height of the summer, lots of my lunches started with tortillas. I added garlic hummus, mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple), and a cheese slice. I started eating more salad too as my dinner a few nights a week.

Most of my salad was the bagged kind with a dressing pack and some crunchy element. You would think that might not be healthy, but it was better, I guess than what I used to eat. But I would add some smoked sunflower seeds and two slices of torn up sliced cheese. I would even crunch up tortilla chips for some crunch.

I almost forgot the halved heirloom cherry tomatoes that I added when possible to my salad.

Breakfast or lunch could also include peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla. Or eggs and cheese in a tortilla with some hummus if I had some and mixed greens too.

Lots of Tortillas

You might have noticed all the mentions of tortillas. It’s been more because I saw that when I purchased bread, it dried out or got moldy much quicker. So I went with the tortillas, which cut down on the carbs, I think a bit more, but I’m no scientist.


Snacks have been better also. Meaning I now eat more peanuts, cashews, fruits, carrots, and hummus when I need a snack than before. Sometimes after dinner, I will put a good handful of peanuts in a bowl. Then a half a pint of blueberries, a sliced banana, and add a bit of chocolate sauce. So it’s feels like a fancier dessert minus the ice cream etc.

New Habits

With all this and more purposeful walking and eating better. Not perfect, but an improvement from what I have been doing. I have lost about 60 lbs (27.2 kg or 4.3 stone) since the end of September 2019. Half of that has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

What Other’s Noticed

Seeing friends on Zoom after a long time like today, a bunch were amazed at my weight loss. I haven’t seen some of them since I lost the 60 lbs, and others only the last 30 lbs since mid-March 2020.

New Things

I even had to buy a set of metal leather whole punches to put new wholes in my handmade leather belt. I purchased the belt from an old friend in June or July of 2019 when he was in town for an art show. I had ran out of wholes so that I couldn’t tighten it anymore. I didn’t want my pants to fall down.

I even purchased one new pair of jeans this fall because the others were at least four to five sizes too big. I only bought one pair for now. Since I’m mostly sitting in the house working and then out for a walk in the cold. So I don’t need more than one pair. I can put on some shorts or sweats when I need to wash them.

Walking Everywhere

Another thing that has helped is having to walk to the grocery or farmer’s market. Which are a mile or more one way and using a backpack. I found there was less room for junk food that way.

Okay, at one point, I was down 65 lbs. For the last two months or so, I have been getting more foods like pastries or cookies from the farmer’s market or the store. Now with doing a bit less walking and the holiday’s being over this will stop except for once in a while treat.

Slow and Steady

So my weight loss has been slow and steady for the most part and has become more of a change in my eating habits. That needs to be tweaked now and again.

Adding some exercise besides walking will come when I’ve lost more weight.

How much that is, I don’t have a goal in mind besides feeling better and more rested.

Need for Change

Over the last few weeks during the first winter of the pandemic, I realized I needed to change my walking routine.

My Typical Walk

Most days at lunch, I walk one or two routes. Then after work, I go out for a longer walk in the neighborhood. I tend to follow the same routes most times.

Doing it this way allows me to see what is new and different in the neighborhood. It is also helpful to see people on your walk to check on how they are doing. That way they even notice you are out and doing well too.

Changing My Walk Route

I have found it’s helpful to change up your walk route. Instead of always going out one and then back can be boring. Especially during the winter when there is nothing new and everything is brown and gray.

So in the last week or so, two different houses in my neighborhood have been torn down. One recently had a basement poured. The new footprint is at least twice as large as the previous house. The new house’s footprint now takes up most of the entire yard.

I have found doing my walk in reverse once in a while has helped. Meaning go in the direction you end in most days and end in the direction you would start.

On My Walk Today

Today on my morning walk, I was partway through my walk and decided to walk up the hill. Doing so allowed me to walk on other streets that I don’t walk on too often. Making this decision added an extra mile to my walk because I had the time today.

To change things up you can walk on the other side of the street for a change of pace.

Different Routes on the Weekend

On my weekends, I get more walking in because I have the time to do so. Plus, going to either the Del Ray Old Town Alexandria Farmer’s markets give me a change of pace. I only go to one per week, but I have time to do both on the other weekends.

When going to a specific place such as the grocery store, farmer’s market, etc., I take the back way there. Which tends to have fewer people to worry about running into people.

You Should Change Your Routes

So make things different when on your walks, go left where you typically go right. Or maybe even skip the walk or the second walk some days.

A Lazy Saturday in January 2021

Today’s one of those lazy Saturdays where I have no major plans.

I managed to sleep until 9:06 AM after waking up around 6:26 AM and then falling back to sleep sometime after 7:00 AM. I stayed in bed for a bit, reading some Twitter. Before getting ready to head to the Del Ray Farmer’s Market to drop off my compost.

Farmers Market

I left the house around 9:37 AM to walk the mile-plus to the farmer’s market. I managed to walk in the street the entire trip there. Okay, I did have to walk across the sidewalk from my driveway to the road, but otherwise managed to do that.

I ran into a few friends sitting outside in the cold (36 F of 2 C) of a local coffee shop (St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub) talking. They were getting ready to leave, so I went to the market a block away. I dropped on my compost.

Then I picked up a Philly style tomato pie that was on a Focaccia type bread. Along with some Ecuadorian beef, empanada’s at another stand.

On my walk home again, I was taking the long way. I stopped at Adli’s to get some salad. Because last night, when I went, they were sold out. The salad was on sale for like 80 cents to a dollar per bag, which is why there was none. I also grabbed two ginger-based GT’s Kombucha’s.

Made it Home to Start Cooking

Once home emptied my backpack and put things away.

Then started soaking 8 oz. of Trader Joe’s Wild Rice and Rancho Gordo heirloom Classic Cranberry beans. I think it was around 14 oz because I save 50 beans to grow them myself later.

The heirloom classic cranberry beans, wild rice, slow-roasted farrow from Anson Mills will get combined with garlic, onion, Trader Joe’s Corn and Chile Tomato-less Salsa, Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles, a 12 oz packed of Impossible Burger, salt, pepper, and some spices. Who knows what else will end up in there.

Once the beans start cooking, I’m going to continue reading Heydon Pickering’s book “Inclusive Components – Accessible Web interfaces, Piece by Piece”. Maybe nap some and watch more of Ron Finley’s MasterClass on gardening. You need to watch Ron Finley TED Talk if you haven’t heard of him before.

To More Slow Weekends

So here is to more slow Saturdays or even Sundays or any day of the week for that matter.

Yes, I will post a final list of what goes into the soup/stew, whatever it’s going to end up in a later post. I might even add a photo or two.

Met My Neighbors

With all the walking around my neighborhood, I have met more people on my block or within six or eight blocks of my house. All this since the pandemic started.

Some I met for the first time, and we have lived a few houses away for over ten or fifteen years. I had seen others a few times a week and would say hello on my commute to and from work, and I finally learned their names.

Interesting Neighbors

I even met a couple that is retired and is now Certified Master Gardeners. That we talked about plants, gardening, politics, or whatever came up that evening.

I even got a small fig tree that I replanted in a five-gallon bucket. By talking to another neighbor about all their fig trees. Of course, I spoke with the two master gardeners about the best way to replant the small fig tree.

They gave me advice on how best to replant the fig tree. The master gardeners informed me not to use potting soil. They had soil, compost, etc., on their driveway, they would give me.

So a few days later, I dropped off two five-gallon buckets for them to fill half to two-thirds full. By doing that, I would have enough soil, and it wouldn’t be too heavy to carry it the two blocks home.

How I Replanted My New Fig Tree

I took one of the buckets and drilled a few dozen quarter-inch holes in the bottom. To make sure there was enough drainage if it rained too much. I then mixed the soil from the neighbor with crushed-up leaves from under my car. Along with some chopped up vegetable scraps to add some extra nutrition to the soil.

I filled the five-gallon bucket about two thirds full. Then removed the fig tree from its small pot. Next, I knocked most of the dirt/potting soil off the fig tree. Watered the soil, so even the lower parts were wet.

I made sure there was a mound of higher soil in the middle, as I was told to do by the master gardener. Once that was ready, I spread the roots out so they have more room to grow. Then covered them with more soil that was about three inches from the top of the five-gallon bucket. Once all done, I watered the new soil with another 16 oz. of water.

I met Even More people in the Neighborhood

I have met others in other parts of the neighborhood to stop and chat with on my walks. It’s a nice break on the walks and makes it a bit more interesting. Plus, it was nice to see other people and get to have different conversations.

In conclusion

Because of the pandemic, I saw more of the neighborhood and met new people.

Here’s to more learning about my neighborhood and meeting new people.

No More Car

In the fall of 2019, I had car issues that I decided not to spend the money to fix. For an 18-year-old Honda Civic with 170,000+ miles on it, I had paid between $700 and $1,200 per year to fix things that had broken/needed repair.

So I used the metro (commuter train), bus, and walking to get around the DC area. Being that I lived in a large metropolitan city, I figured it should be fairly easy to do.

Going Places Using Public Transportation

I even managed to attend NOVA Code and Coffee events, which is between 12 and 15 miles from my house without a car. It meant walking to the metro (commuter train). Then take a blue line train. Transfer to an orange line train at Roslyn until the second last stop. There I could either walk the mile to the venue or if I timed it right, grab a bus that got me within two or three blocks.

The nice thing about this event was there were many great places to grab lunch afterward with other attendees.

Another bonus of the event was an H Mart (Korean/international) grocery store was near there. So I could grab a few things that would fit in my backpack with my laptop, charger, etc., that I couldn’t get at my local stores.

Before the pandemic, on Friday nights, I would make sure to bring my laptop to work. So I could go directly to one coffee shop and catch up on e-mail and listen to live music. Afterward, I would go to another coffee shop that stayed open later to do more if I felt like it.

Every other Saturday, I would walk a half-mile to the Alexandria Code and Coffee event to hang out and work on my side project. Then take the bus a few blocks away from M. E. Swing Coffee Roasters to do some more work or e-mail/newsletters, etc. Between 2:30 PM and 2:40 PM, I would head out to take the 10B bus from Del Ray to Arlington to grab a late lunch.

Then walk a mile to Norhtsdie Social for a bit more work. Then down to Three Whistles for live music and a bit more work. There typically was a bunch of Twitter reading and other distractions during all this.

Finally, close to midnight, I would catch two trains to get home. So spent the whole day either walking, taking a bus or train on days like this.

Getting Around Before the Pandemic

So before the pandemic, I managed to get around by foot, bus, or metro.

Okay, there were two weekends where I rented a car. About three months apart to do some large grocery shopping. At places like Wegmans, Sam’s Club, etc., to stock up on more bulk items like toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, etc.

My sister made fun of me for having a 30 part of toilet paper and some other rolls at one point when she visited. I felt good when I still have close to 25 rolls left when everyone else was attempting to buy some at the pandemic’s start.

Plus, I would go on the two Sundays to a buddy’s place who lived in the country and raised pigs on the side. To get out to the city for a bit and get some fresh air.

Finally, Got Rid of the Car

After not being able to use the car, I sold my car to a friend’s friend in late August. Because they thought it would be cheaper to fix mine than theirs. Now I need to find out if that was the case.

I checked. It seems it cost more than I would have wanted to spend, and that didn’t include my friend’s labor. I probably would have bought an eight or ten-year-old car for about the same price.

In Conclusion

Getting to go out in the country is the one thing I miss without having a car.

Since the pandemic, I have not been more than I think a mile and a half or a little more from my house.

I don’t want to get on the metro, bus, etc., at this point.