L2 Fitness Blog

The Peanut Butter Weight Loss Prison

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We all have that one food that we can’t stop eating once we start.

That one trigger food that we know we must stay away from or our nutrition plan is doomed to hell in a handbasket.

Can I get a big ol’ “AMEN” if that food for you is peanut butter!

I know that if I don’t weigh out my peanut butter I am destined to eat twice as much as I’m tracking – because what’s left on the knife and the lid after measuring out my portion doesn’t really count. And neither does that extra bite I took right before putting it back in the fridge.


Have you ever gone weeks at a time without losing any weight because you were letting the little things (like peanut butter licks) go – naïve to how quickly they were adding up?

Maybe you were telling yourself things to justify the extras, maybe you were completely oblivious to them even happening or that they mattered.

Unfortunately, they matter. And they add up faster than you think.

Here’s the major beef I have with extra bites…

  1. They don’t actually fill you up or satisfy a craving,
  2. They have the potential to pull you out of a caloric deficit resulting in spinning your weight loss wheels,
  3. You are still mentally “dieting” even though calorically you aren’t. This mental strain is enough to leave you frustrated when you aren’t seeing the results you’re working so hard for.

Peanut butter is just one (very common) example of this – but we all perform this behavior with different foods at different times in different ways.

Maybe it’s the extra handful of nuts you grabbed as you walked out the door, or the cookie you finished when your toddler didn’t want any more, the extra bites you took while cooking that you decided not to account for, or the extra glass of wine at dinner. These all seem small and insignificant in the larger picture. And you’re right – a one off occurrence of this over the course of the week is no big deal and won’t affect anything all that much.

The one-off occurrence isn’t what I’m talking about here.

It’s the habit that is forming around this behaviour. Thinking that extras don’t add up to enough that you shouldn’t still expect the same result as if you weren’t eating them.

Yet this is what we all do!

Who has stepped on the scale and thought “what the hell, I ate perfectly yesterday!”

Any maybe you did – you had all your meals planned out, what was on your plate was measured and tracked, and you even said “no thank you” to the cake in the staff room…

…but you selectively forgot about the cream you added into your coffee, the extra bite of peanut butter before bed, how you tasted the meal you were preparing a few times before dishing out at dinner, and you forgot about the few tastes of the cake you did eat off your co-worker’s plate.

So on the surface your adherence was 10/10 – but if we look deeper at where you’re at in your journey, how much weight you have to lose, how long you have been dieting for, and how aggressive your caloric deficit is will determine whether those extras were enough to pull you into maintenance that day.

Don’t miss the point here – it’s not that peanut butter is inherently bad. It’s the fact that it’s so damn easy to overconsume it without even realizing it. I could have just as easily wrote about how dangerous granola overconsumption is, or trail mix, or Chicago mix. All the mixes.

For foods that are high calorie, hyper palatable, and triggering you should take care to be extra diligent in how you dish them out. An extra bite, lick or taste isn’t worth undoing your hard work elsewhere.

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