It’s Been a Year

As of March 16th, 2021, I have not eaten at a restaurant or gotten take-out food, if you don’t count the half a dozen bagels, I ordered eight or ten months ago in the last year.

I have not been in a vehicle such as a metro (commuter) train, a bus, a car, etc., in a year.

It’s been over a year since I had a drink of alcohol or driven a car.

I have not been farther than a mile and or half to two miles from my house this last year.

It’s been a year since I last was in the office.

Work from Home

In previous years I only worked from home a day or two a year. So at first, it was interesting to switch over to always being home. I learned I liked it, especially when I could sleep until closer when I started my workday. Now that I have spent the last year working from home, I’m enjoying it.

I wish I had paid more attention to what I did that last week and weekend before things locked down here in the United States. It would have been nice to have written it down to see what I did those last few days.

Been a More Relaxed Year(?)

Over the last year, it’s been nice not having as much to do on nights and weekends. Sometimes it’s been a pain because most of the days seemed to have blended together. It’s been like a year’s worth of Groundhogs Day in the last 365 days.

A nice thing is being able to go on purposeful walks. Be that at lunchtime and after work instead of only walking when I commuted.

Being home more has allowed me to meet and chat with neighbors. I have found some of the neighbors have tiny houses, offices, pools, etc., in their backyard. Either from walking instead of driving or because I walked down the alleys behind the houses.

Here’s to the Future

So here is to getting back to a more normal way of doing things. While still keeping a slower pace of life to spend time with each other or other things than work.

On the good side of things, I managed to lose 25 lbs. in the last year.

Have Not Driven in a Year

A week or so ago, I realized it had been a year since the last time I drove.

The biggest reason for the lack of driving was because I no longer have a car. The other is because of the pandemic at this point.

Even after my car had trouble and decided not to get it fixed, I could at least rent one. Then the pandemic happened. Which meant I wasn’t going to rent a vehicle, get on the metro (commuter train) or bus. Or I would have to walk almost three miles to the closest rental place.

Not having a vehicle means I have walked everywhere without getting into a vehicle.  Okay, I used my bike twice in 2020. Walking everywhere has helped with my weight loss. When I walk to the grocery store, there is only so much room in my backpack for food. Which means not much room for unhealthy food.

Being able to drive would be nice to be able to at least go for a drive to get out of the house and into the country.

I would drive to somewhere like Shenandoah National Park. Then head back home without getting out of the car except maybe for gas or a quick stretch along the way.

Here’s to getting a vaccination soon and then feeling a bit better renting a car.

During the last year or so, I realized I could do most everything I need to by walking or ordering other things online.

Eating Healthier

In the last nine months to a year, I have gotten healthier because I have been eating almost all my meals at home and making better food choices.

By only bringing in healthy food, it’s easier not to eat less healthy foods. Doing so has made it easier to eat what is in the house.

Another reason is when you are walking to the grocery store with a backpack, there is less room for junk food. Plus, when you are stocking up on fruit and vegetables, along with kombucha and eggs every two weeks. You buy less junk since there is less room. Not that I haven’t been buying tortilla chips to crumble on my salads for some crunch or dark chocolate bars, etc.

I think I’m healthier partially because I’m not eating at restaurants. Or I haven’t had any takeout since mid-March, and I’m walking more. Doing so has improved my eating habits. I have been making, cooking, or assembling (salads) for all my meals, which I enjoy doing. But hadn’t done much of or as often until this year, especially when cooking for one person.

Changes in Eating Habits

I have managed to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, on tortillas, than in the last ten years. Which is still better than what I would eat for breakfast or lunch from the work cafeteria.

Breakfast at work used to be scrambled eggs and pork sausage. Or two egg, pork sausage, and cheese sandwiches on a croissant or toast or a toasted bagel. At the same time, lunch ended up being about a pound or more of hot food from the lunch buffet.

I have eaten more fruits, vegetables/salad, nuts, this year, which has been a good thing. Along with trail mix of peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins, and M & M’s.

Rethinking My Cooking

When cooking hot meals, I have used more grains, fresh vegetables, and less meat. When using meat, I would put a pound in what I was making. That gets divided amongst the six to eight servings that I ended up eating over time. So there is less in each portion. I even ate more tofu and plant-based meats too.

By making larger quantities, I was able even to make enough to have many extra meals. So I only had to reheat them and put others in the freezer for later. That way, I wasn’t cooking every day, but a few days a week. Then I would have salads, etc., so I wasn’t eating the same thing for every meal.

Not Everything has Been Healthy

Not that everything I ate was healthy, but it’s been an improvement. I have eaten more fruits and vegetables, healthier snacks, salads, etc. The snacks have been more nuts (peanuts and cashews).

I nice dessert I have made many times is to take a large handful of nuts. Put them in a bowl with half a pint of blueberries, a sliced up banana, and then add some dark chocolate sauce. To me, it’s like an ice cream dessert without the ice cream and a lot more fiber.

How I Fared with Eating Better

All in all, I have been eating better but not on what I would call a diet per se.

So here is to making more eating improvements in 2021 for the long term.

2020 What a Year

All in all, 2020 wasn’t that bad a year for me. At least there was more positive than negative.

The following are things that went well for me and will be written about in more detail in the coming weeks.

Purposeful Walking

The first thing that improved for me was, I did more purposeful walking this year, Meaning, it wasn’t because I was commuting to and from the house to the train to the office and back, but out taking lunchtime walks most days and then again in the evening after work along with ones on the weekends.

Because of this, I managed to walk 3,200,944 steps, 2,314 flights of stairs, not many living on the first floor of a house, and finally a total of 1,468 miles, which is two or three hundred more miles than an average year of mostly walking during my commute.

More Sleep

Another positive thing with this year has been I have been getting more sleep because my commute is now from one part of the house to another. Even if I woke up at 7:00 AM or before and couldn’t get back to sleep, I would stay in bed and rest until close to 9:00 AM when I would start my workday.

Doing this has been helpful and cut back on my need for naps on the weekend.

Eating Healthier

With not eating out or getting takeout since mid-March, my eating habits have improved. Been making, cooking, or assembling all my meals, which I enjoy doing but hadn’t done much of or as often until this year.

This year I managed to eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on tortillas than in the last ten years, which is still better than what I would eat for breakfast or lunch from the work cafeteria.

I have eaten more fruits, vegetables/salad, nuts, trail mix (peanuts, cashews, almonds, raisins, and M and M’s) this year, which has been a good thing.

When cooking, I even made enough to have many extra meals, so I only had to reheat them and put others in the freezer for later.

Read More Books

The year started out well, and I was reading a book about every five days or so on average, and then when the pandemic hit, it slowed up a lot. I finished the year strong in December and managed to read 22 books.

Some books were longer than others and others not so much. A bunch were between 120 and 150 pages. A list of those books will be coming out in another blog post.

No More Car

In the fall of 2019, I had car issues that I decided not to spend the money to fix, so I used the metro (commuter train), bus, and walking to get around the DC area.

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.

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.

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

I even met a couple that is retired and is now Certified Master Gardeners. I even got a small fig tree from another neighbor that I replanted in a five-gallon bucket.

Attended More Conferences

It worked out deciding not to attend CSUN, which is an accessibility conference in Los Angles, as it was at the beginning of everything closing up related to the pandemic.

Because many other conferences had some time to switch to remote events, I used my vacation to attend more of them, and part of it wasn’t used to travel. I attended four or five conferences, a workshop, a few couple hour food-related classes/demos, etc. More on these in the future.

Learned More

I spend more time at night and on weekends on YouTube learning about homesteading/small farming about grow my own food and raise animals for when I get my plot of land to put a tiny house on, cooking, JavaScript through the JavaScript book club, which I joined in January, tiny houses, and much more that I will write about soon.

My Weight Loss

With all this purposeful walking and eating better. Not perfect, but an improvement from what I have been doing. I have lost almost 60 lbs. since the end of September 2019. Almost half of that has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

I even had to buy a set of metal leather punches to put new wholes in my handmade leather belt because I had run out of wholes.

I even purchased one new pair of jeans this fall because the others were at least four 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, so I don’t need more.

With having to walk to the grocery or farmer’s market and using a backpack, I found there was less room for junk food that way, which helped too.


So all in all not a bad year for me.

I know it’s been hard and difficult for many and will be for a long time to come too.

So here’s hoping for a better year for all of us in 2021.

Focus for 2016 – Healthier Me

So this year I’m focusing on one thing, and that’s a healthier me.

I don’t have all the answers to what that entails quite yet, but I need to start feeling better myself, so I have more energy to accomplish other goals I have in 2016, that I need the energy to complete.

In 2014

Before getting into this year theme in detail let me reflect on my 2014 theme that was “FOCUS”,  since I never did one for 2015. 2014 was to be about focusing on different things for a month or two. This theme ended up being way too vague, which meant 2014 didn’t go according to plan since I never got past improving my writing.

I started out reading a few books on improving my writing that were:

The one that I found most useful was “The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment” by Susan Thurman.

To help improve my writing, I started paying more attention to my reading. To do this, I slowed down and re-read the words I wrote more to make sure things made sense. I started seeing some patterns in what I wrote and came up with ways to improve my writing.

I even started using two web-based applications to help with some of my grammar issues. Some of my issues were either adding too many commas or not having enough.

The main application I use is, which  Ella Waters (@nethermind) suggested I use. I signed up for the 14-day trial and after a few days, I happily signed up for the yearly plan. Currently, it’s $29.95/month or $139.95/year and well worth the money.

I use Grammarly a lot to check e-mails for work to make sure what I’m saying makes sense. There’s one file called, “Grammar Check,” which I drop in short bits of writing that I’m not worried about saving so I can check a sentence or a paragraph or two.

The other application I use is the Hemmingway application. Using this application shows you how many complex sentences you have written are by giving you and idea what grade school level the text was written.

So not getting everything done in 2014 was good and bad. It was good in that it got me to spend my time improving my writing. The sad part was I never did much with any of the other areas from 2014.

2016’s Theme

This year I need to work on getting healthy and here are a few ideas I have on how to get there:

  • Eat more nutritious/quality food and less non-healthy food, along with making better food choices starting with veggies and fruit.
  • More walking during work hours, after work, and on the weekends, which end up being my least amount of steps during a week.
  • Do more stretching using the back porch steps posts.
  • Start riding my bike for some different exercise.
  • Get at least one massage per month to make me feel less sore and stiff.

Ways to Tell I’M Healthier

Some of the easiest ways to tell I’m getting healthier are the following:

  • Work towards making it easy put on socks, shoes, etc. without feeling out of breath/shape when doing so.
  • My Achilles don’t get stiff and sore after sitting at my desk for a few hours.
  • It’s not painful for my Achilles and tendons in my knees when walking down stairs.
  • Be able not to need a seat-belt extension when flying.
  • My clothes fit better, along with moving down a few sizes in pants and shirts.

Helpful Articles

Here are a few helpful articles I read to start me thinking that this is a long-term way of living:

These two articles on losing weight took a long-term approach instead of a quick fix, which won’t last and is not good for your body.

Another two interesting articles are “50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms” by Benjamin Hardy and “Simple Rules for Healthy Eating” by Aaron E. Carroll of the New York Times.

Below is a short list from Aaron E. Carroll’s article:

  1. 1. Get as much of your nutrition as possible from a variety of completely unprocessed foods.
  2. Eat lightly processed foods less often. You’re not going to make everything yourself.
  3. Eat heavily processed foods even less often.
  4. Eat as much home-cooked food as possible, which should be prepared according to Rule 1.
  5. Use salt and fats, including butter and oil, as needed in food preparation.
  6. When you do eat out, try to eat at restaurants that follow the same rules.
  7. Drink mostly water, but some alcohol, coffee and other beverages are fine.
  8. Treat all beverages with calories in them as you would alcohol.

Current Weight

As of yesterday morning (Monday, January 18, 2016), was 247.2 lbs. I started eating better and paying attention to what foods worked and made me feel better on August 10, 2015, where I was 262.2 lbs. So over those five or so months, I’m down 15 lbs so far, with a big folding pattern from about end of October until now.


In the end,  I would like to lose 100 to 125 lbs., over the next two years, but more importantly, I want to feel better. Doing this is a long term goal and not one to quickly lose a bunch of weight, but to change the way I eat, exercise, and live.

I’m going to leave you with this Michael Pollan quote:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.