Evening walks, health-conscious snacking and a weekend getaway to Alexandria, Va. That’s the story of Week 6 of Food Blogger vs. Fat.

The Successes

Most weeks I start off by talking about all the great exercising that I did during the past week. But this time, I want to talk about all the snacks that I’ve been eating.

One of the best decisions that I have made this year was to start a subscription to Graze.

cardboard box with four individually packed snacks
My last Graze box arrived on May 1 and everything from popcorn to miso soup.

Every two weeks, I get a care package in the mail with eight assorted, well-portioned snacks. They range from single servings of popcorn to assorted nuts to sweets to mixes of all of the above.

snack pack with pretzels and cinnamon nuts
The Cinnamon Pretzel mix included poppyseed pretzels and cinnamon honey almonds – and just 120 calories.

My favorites are the kern pops – half-popped popcorn that defies explanation – and the themed nut and fruit mixes. I eat one snack every day at 10 a.m. and it helps get me through until 1 p.m. when I take my lunch.

snack pack with pretzel sticks and chocolate dipping sauce
Another favorite – the chocolate pretzel dippers – are a sweet and salty snack with just 140 calories.

I would recommend anyone who likes to snack (and who doesn’t) and needs help with portion control. It’s $11.99 for my box of eight snacks, that includes shipping and handling. I’m not getting paid to write this, but like anyone else who has a Graze subscription, I can earn a free box with a referral. So if you do sign up, use code “ZACHB769P” and help a blogger out.

Now for the exercise: I recorded 5.2 miles of walking between Tuesday and Thursday. Then Julie and I went off to our weekend getaway in Alexandria, Va.

historic city hall in Alexandria, VA
Alexandria, Virginia, is a gorgeous city with historic architecture.

Alexandria is a beautiful, historic suburb of Washington, D.C. located along the Potomac River. It’s a town filled with colonial architecture with a walkable downtown and beautiful riverfront parks.

cobblestone street in Alexandria, VA
Captain’s Row is one of two cobblestone streets still in use in Alexandria.

It’s also just a short drive – or in our case, boat ride – from George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon on a cloudy day
A day trip to Mount Vernon was a highlight of our weekend.

We took a riverboat to the historic estate on Saturday during Mount Vernon’s annual Revolutionary War weekend.

Actor portraying George Washington addresses Continental soldier reenactors at Mount Vernon
General Washington addressing his troops.

It included a historic encampment of more than 100 men and women, a battle reenactment (not based on any actual battle), presentations on Colonial life and, of course, an appearance by General George Washington.

cannon and musket fire during a Revolutionary War reenactment
The Battle of Mount Vernon – OK that’s not real, but this reenactment was still a sight to see.

I did not have my tracker on to count the miles that we walked over the course of the weekend, but I did track the time. Between Friday and Sunday, we spent 7.5 hours walking. Walking from store to store. Walking around the encampment. Walking to and from our hotel. Just walking.

The Challenges

We also spent a lot of time walking to restaurants. Alexandria, like all great downtowns, is loaded with amazing restaurants and sweet shops.

One of our first stops on Friday was to Alexandria Cupcake for an afternoon snack. The cupcakes were phenomenal.

two cupcakes - one chocolate and one vanilla - both topped with chocolate icing
These cupcakes from Alexandria Cupcake look innocent enough, but they are sinful.

I had the vanilla bean and chocolate – a vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing and a raspberry on top. It was nearly perfect. The icing was so rich and so chocolatey. And it was such a simple thing, but the raspberry was a brilliant touch.

Our dinners weren’t any lighter. On Friday, I followed up my rich treat with an even richer dinner at Virtue Feed & Grain.

exterior of Virtue Feed & Grain in Alexandria, VA
Virtue Feed & Grain is a modern gastropub in a historic city.

It was a modern gastropub in the historic waterfront with an eclectic menu that included my duck meatloaf with tomato marmalade, vanilla sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

plate of duck with brussels sprouts and pureed sweet potatoes
Duck meatloaf with Brussels sprouts and vanilla sweet potatoes. I need this on a Berks County menu yesterday.

I absolutely loved the meatloaf. The tomato marmalade on top gave it that perfect balance of sweet and savory. And duck is always flavorful, a darker meat than chicken or turkey with the right amount of fat to work in a meatloaf.

On Saturday, we visited RedRocks Old Town, a craft pizza restaurant in the style of Nonno Alby’s or Rocco’s here in Berks County.

pizza with chorizo
I can’t believe I ate the whole thing…yes I can.

It would have been a good idea to share my spicy chorizo pizza with Julie (or my friend Josh, a resident of nearby Arlington, Va., who joined us for dinner). But I didn’t. I had just spent the day trudging through the rain at Mount Vernon. So I ate the whole thing.

The Results

My normal weigh-in day is Saturday. Obviously, I wasn’t at my scale Saturday morning so instead, I weighed in on Friday morning before I left and again on Monday morning, after the weekend away. Here’s the average of the two:

Current Weight: 179.1
Weekly Weight Loss: -0.5 lbs.
Weight Loss Since Start: -10.3

There was a full one-pound swing between the two weigh-ins, but I’ll consider it a success. And I fully expect to normalize my weight loss at my next weigh-in on Saturday.

The Week Ahead

It’s a routine week for me, hopefully filled with evening and lunchtime walks, less dining out (minus a the weekly blog post, of course) and much-improved weather.

I’m looking forward to it.

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