Ed Levine's Serious Diet: Week 2
Week 2 was filled with many diet challenges unique to people who eat and then write about what they ate for a living. Sometimes I think there's nothing more pathetic than a food writer and lover--a serious eater--on a diet. Then I conclude that it's not pathetic, just hard and worthwhile.
I was in Minneapolis for two days this week on business (thanks, everyone, for all the excellent dinner and breakfast suggestions). Whenever I'm traveling on business I feel compelled to explore the food culture of that city with local food writers and restaurant critics leading the way. Actually, it's much more than a compulsion. It's a source of great pleasure. I don't like to waste meals on mere fueling up. So my meals were charted out with the idea that each of them would be grist for my blogging mill.
Tomorrow I will give you my take on what I ate in Minneapolis, but suffice to say it was a challenging time to be on a diet. I did practice extreme portion control, except for a second extra polenta-crusted fried prawn I absolutely didn't need (it wasn't even very good). And I did miss an opportunity to exercise when I neglected to bring my workout clothes and running shoes.
How did I fare in general when it came to exercise, food, and self-control?
In New York, I did get off the subway a few times one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to either the office or home. I even took the opportunity to walk to the gates my flights took off from rather than take the people-movers. I played squash twice and, according to my heart-rate monitor, worked off 700 calories the first time I played and 600 the second time.
I even managed to roast some not very fresh carrots I found in our fridge. They didn't get very sweet, but the onions I roasted alongside them did. I made a single pork chop to serve with the carrots and onions. My wife made a low-calorie cauliflower and sausage dish from my friend Faith Willinger's great Italian vegetable cookbook, Red, White, and Green.
On the eating front, I discovered that having many different kinds of 100-calorie snack packs at my fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. It turns out you can go through four or five of those little bags of temptation without even thinking about it. Now I try to limit myself to one sweet and one savory 100-calorie snack bag a day.
I had another business dinner in New York with a couple of folks from Minneapolis who really wanted to eat classic New York pizza. I took them to Lombardi's, where we sampled three different small pies. Again, I tried to limit myself to one slice of each.
In stressful moments I, like many folks who struggle with their weight, tend to eat anything I can get my hands on. So now I realize that I have to keep some guilt-free kinds of food and drink around when those moments occur. And the answer is not 100-calorie snack packs. I've taken to eating satsuma Mandarin oranges or half a banana in stressful moments. The California satsumas have been really good this year.
Anyway, the struggle continues. When you know where you can get your hands on really, really good food any time you want it, losing weight is not going to be easy.
I forced myself to get on the scale the morning I came back from Minneapolis (yesterday, Wednesday) and I was even for the week. I played squash yesterday and ate judiciously, so I am cautiously optimistic that I might be down a pound for the week or at the very least even when I get on the scale this morning.
YES! I'm down a pound for the week. Minneapolis didn't get the best of me. Talk to you next week, Serious Eaters.