Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 82: Peanut Butter Portion Control

"Does peanut butter's siren call reach out to others in the same way?"


[iStockPhoto: DonNichols]

Ever since I started my serious diet 82 weeks ago I've had to give up peanut butter. And I mean really give it up. Cold turkey. No messing around. Why?

Because peanut butter is my weakness. I have had a peanut butter jones my whole life. Once I start eating peanut butter I can't stop. Armed with a spoon or knife, a loaf of bread, some jam, and a glass of milk to wash it down, I am a peanut butter-eating fool. Creamy, chunky, honey-sweetened, no sugar added, I love it all. I have been known to finish a big jar of peanut butter in a day if not a single sitting--without thinking about it. So that's why I had to quit peanut butter cold turkey.

But this week, in the wake of my conversation with Frank Bruni about binges, I've started eating peanut butter again.

The question is whether armed with a year and a half's worth of knowledge, not to mention a successful weight loss of more than fifty pounds, can a serious eater eat just a little peanut butter and be content?

Does peanut butter's siren call reach out to others in the same way? Or does some other food stand in for peanut butter in your life?

My reintroduction to peanut butter took place less than a week ago.

I was on vacation with Will and Vicky, and Will bought a big jar of Skippy Creamy home from the grocery store. We had already bought a jar of my favorite local New Lane Sun-dried raspberry jam, made by our neighbor Linda Alley, and a quart of milk, so unfortunately everything was in place for a peanut butter binge.

Up before everyone else as usual, I went to the kitchen in search of cereal. Unbeknownst to me, Will had finished the Honey Bunch of Oats the night before, so there was none to be had on my morning foray.

But there was all those peanut butter fixins' and they were calling out my name, over and over again. So I did something seemingly radical: I measured out two tablespoons of peanut butter and one tablepoon of jam and spread them both evenly and lightly on the lightly toasted seven grain bread.

I was, gasp, practicing peanut butter portion control. And you know what? I didn't touch the peanut butter the rest of the day, and I managed to do the same thing the following morning. Maybe, just maybe, the new Ed can handle peanut butter in small, measured doses. We'll see. This peanut butter experiment is still only a week out. But at least the early test results are promising.

The Weigh-In

I'm back in the city now. I tried to limit my pie and fried clam intake on Cape Cod, and I think I succeeded. I haven't had any peanut butter yet here, though there is a jar in our New York fridge. So maybe my new regimen can work. All right, it's scale time. 214. Same as last week. I survived the first week of peanut butter retraining.