Ed Levine's Serious Diet

Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 20: Sneak Food Can Be a Real Problem

20080306-scale.jpgLast week, on Martha's Vineyard, I too often found myself in sneak food mode, a condition that frequently afflicts those of us of the dieting-living persuasion. What is sneak food mode? I'm sure at least a couple of serious eaters know it all too well.

Sneak food mode is just that, a moment, a window of opportunity that allows me to buy food to eat (all in the name of research, of course) that my wife (and sometimes my son, who is about to turn 21) will never find out about.

On the Vineyard sneak food moments or opportunities abound, as you are about to find out. And let me tell you, my serious eaters, this sneak food stuff is a slippery, slippery slope, which, if I let it get out of control could cost me up to 1,000 calories of food that I absolutely do not need.

The first sneak opportunity on the Vineyard is the morning paper run. I tell Vicky I'm going to Alley's General Store to get the papers. Alley's sign says it is "Dealers in Almost Everything." With my particular issues the things that they deal in that get me in trouble are chips, chocolate, and penny candy. So in attempting to buy the New York Times, the New York Post, and perhaps the local Martha's Vineyard Gazette, I often end up with a Mary Jane (10 cents), or a mini-Toblerone bar (35 cents, and a bag of potato chips that I convince myself I have never tried before. A little sweet, a little savory, neither of which do I in the least bit need. I usually throw out the bag of chips after eating about ten of them. This ritual tossing of the chips saves me from eating the whole bag and also destroys the evidence of my sneak food foray.

Sometime they are sold out of the Post at Alleys, so I have to drive to Conways, the pharmacy a couple of miles down the road. That drives takes me past Mrs. Blake's, which as you know from last week's post, would be insanely dangerous sneak food territory except for one thing. Her optimal sneak food items are her cookies and her hermit bars, and they're not all that good. If she made an individual pie now that would be a sneak food delight or disaster, depending on the way you look at it. But thank God she doesn't, and I have never figured out a way to buy a whole pie as a sneak food.
A whole pie requires a slicing implement and a fork, neither of which I carry with me. If I ever did start carrying both of those then, Roger, we would have a problem. A very big problem.

But right between Mrs. Blake's and Conway's is Fella's. Fella's makes a pretty good breakfast sandwich, which is of course a perfect sneak food because it's meant to be eaten in its entirety by one person on the go in the car. If I throw out the butcher paper it's wrapped in and brown paper bag it comes in, no one will ever be the wiser.

My last opportunity for sneak food is if I have to drive into Vineyard Haven to do a major food shop. Right before Cronig's is John's Fish Market. Attached to John's is a pretty good fried seafood window, Sandy's Fish & Chips. Sandy's makes swell fried clams. I have been known to polish off a small box of clams and leave no telltale signs.

But this week I managed my sneak food impulses pretty well. I did have a few Dijon Honey potato chips (damn fine) at Alley's and a mini-toblerone (I have to say that Toblerone bars just aren't that great. They're too sweet and not chocolaty enough).
But that's it. No fried clams, no breakfast sandwiches, no mediocre Mrs. Blake's hermit cookies. I did sneak in a still-warm oatmeal raisin cookie at the Artisan's Fair, but I threw out half of it. So all in all I think I battled my sneak food demons pretty successfully this past weekend.

I weighed myself two days ago and I was in pretty good shape. Of course in the interim I ate my review meal, and review meals are a most worthy meal for a future diet post. So what's it going to be this week, Mr. Scale? Damn, up a pound. You let me down this week, Mr. Scale. I am now down a total of seven pounds.

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