Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 93: Can Pizza Be Diet Food?


From Ken's Artisan Pizza in Portland, Oregon. Read more hereĀ» [Photograph: Adam Kuban]

Why do I ask this question? Because over the course of the last few weeks, Adam and I have been hitting pizzerias all over the country for a March Madness-like tournament of pizza we are writing up for Rachael Ray Magazine and posting about on Slice.

While Adam has been to Seattle (twice), Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Phoenix in the last three weeks, I have been to two pizzerias in Atlanta, five in Chicago, four in Philadelphia, one in New Haven, and half a dozen in New York City. You will be reading more about our adventures in the coming weeks, but suffice to say that it has been a lot of fun.

The last time I embarked on such an ambitious pizza regimen I was doing the primary research for Pizza: A Slice of Heaven. In that case I have estimated that I ate a thousand slices of pizza in the course of a year. The key difference? Back then I weighed 265 pounds; back then I just blythly accepted the fact that I routinely overate, because that was who I was. Back then I guess you could say that I was willing to do die for my art, or my craft, or whatever one-word descriptor I could come up with to succinctly depict what I did back then.

But then is then, and now, four years and thousands of slices later, is now. I'm intent on staying around for a long time, no matter what I do for a living, I and I have lost almost fifty pounds in an effort to do so. So how does one eat a lot of pizza and face the scale music every Friday?


Serious Pie in Seattle, Washington. Read more hereĀ» [Photograph: Adam Kuban]

I don't know for sure, but I am trying out various strategies and tactics in an effort to stave off gaining too much weight.

Thinner comes with me on every flight and train ride that involves an overnight stay. Silly, I know, but he helps. I weighed myself in Chicago, Atlanta, and Oxford—no matter how much pizza I ate the evening before, no matter how ugly the number was going to be.

Give most of the leftover pizza to other serious eaters. In Philadelphia my friends Fay Stanford and Craig LaBan ended up with a lot of pizza just so I wouldn't. The same thing happened in Chicago with Daniel Zemans, Nick Kindelsperger, and Blake Royer (all Serious Eats contributors) and in Atlanta with my friends David Lewis, Danica Kumbol, and John Kessler.

I paced myself, and I tried to know when to say when. Chicago was tough, because we did eat at five pizzerias in five hours. But I lucked out, because we happened to hit my favorite of the night first, so it was a little easier not to overeat at the next four stops.

The Weigh-In

So we are about to see if employing the above-mentioned tactics and strategies worked. My interim weigh-ins have been reasonably encouraging but inconclusive, but you know what, there's one more tactic I haven't mentioned that might be the most effective one of all: getting on the scale and posting my weight every Friday, like I'm about to do.

Facing all of you, sharing this diet adventure with serious eaters everywhere, not being afraid to post my weight for all the world to see, has helped immeasurably. Because whether I lose a pound or two or three or gain a similar amount while eating pizza or biscuits or fried chicken (hazardous duties all), you all have stayed encouraging and supportive. And that means an awful lot.

Most of all it's helped me stick with the serious diet. And I say that no matter what Thinner is going to say right now: 217. Same as last week, and 48 pounds less than I weighed when I finished Slice of Heaven.

Not bad, not bad at all after quite a few pizza-filled weeks. Many, many thanks, serious eaters.

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