Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 109: Do I Eat Sensibly?

"Thanks to our divide-and-conquer sandwich-cutting techniques, I managed to avoid a serious diet meltdown."


There have been many sandwiches at SE headquarters lately. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

We've all heard every diet platitude over and over again.

Eat a well-balanced diet. Chew your food more slowly. Don't eat anything standing up. Everyone I can think of revolves around the idea of eating sensibly.

But what I realized this week is my idea of sensible eating may make sense only to me, and that one man's sensible eating regimen might seem absurd and preposterous to other folks. Because sensible eating is all about making sense given the varied eating lives we all have. It's all about eating in context.

I can't pretend that I eat like everyone else or even anyone else for that matter. I think you'll understand what I'm talking about when I explain what and how I ate this past week. It might even make sense to you.

Let's start with breakfast. If I don't have a business breakfast or meeting, I have a very sensible breakfast: Cheerios with 1% milk with bananas and some dried fruit (either raisins, cranberries, or if I really want to treat myself, tart dried cherries).

But I had a breakfast meeting at New York restaurateur Danny Meyer's new Maialino, which is supposed to have a great breakfast menu. So my breakfast mate and I ordered an olive oil muffin, two kinds of eggs, a side order of house-cured pepper bacon, and a hot chocolate. Not an order that makes much sense if you're watching your weight.

Unless you eat one strip of bacon, a couple of forkfuls of eggs with pecorino cheese and black pepper, a bite of the olive oil muffin, a quarter of the roast pork, egg, and arugula sandwich, and a few sips of the hot chocolate. All in all, I think I ate sensibly and very well, I might add. Maialino has an amazing breakfast.

Lunches this week: They've been filled with Carey's extensive sandwich forays. One day she brought in some really solid Italian sandwiches from Bottino made with prosciutto, turkey, chicken, and an assortment of Italian cheeses, including parmigiano-reggiano and mascarpone.

How did I make sense out of this lunch? We cut the sandwiches into sixths so we could try them all.

Another day Erin brought in some very fine sandwiches from Brooklyn Fare, including a most excellent roast beef sandwich with Peter Luger's steak sauce, cheddar cheese, and bacon; a surprisingly fine pastrami sandwich on baguette, and a tuna melt panino.

Each one of these sandwiches could have spelled disaster to a serious dieter. But thanks to our divide-and-conquer sandwich-cutting techniques, I managed to avoid a serious diet meltdown.

Dinner this week: It was filled with light meals that compensated for the not-too-light breakfasts and lunches. One night I had a toasted bialy with melted Alpine Lace American cheese.

Another evening I limited myself to some toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and a banana. These evening meals may not sound sensible to other people, but they made perfect sense to me given what I had eaten already that day. In their own way are well-balanced nutritionally and calorically. More importantly eating like this works for me given the kind of food life I live.

The Weigh-In

Of course Thinner is the ultimate judge of whether any given week's eating makes sense. Here goes: 222. Same as last week.

How do I make sense of the fact that I have weighed the same for three weeks? I seem to have hit one of those weight plateaus. I think with more of what constitutes sensible eating for me I'll be able to break the 220 pound barrier again.