A week and a half ago, Jason and I had a party over at our place. Whilst buying snacks for said party, I picked up a bag of Tootsie Rolls and a bag of Starburst. They were placed in a bowl less centrally located than other snacks, and as a result there was quite a bit left over.
This is a problem. Tootsie Rolls are the devil.
Only having one Tootsie Roll or Starburst or other small candy is restraint. After all, my desire is to eat a ton of them, so only having one or two is self-control. It takes no effort to pick one up and eat one since I can do it on the way to someplace else, and it gives me a small burst of happiness. Unfortunately, it ends up being an issue of exercising restraint a dozen times a day. Few places in my house are so remote that I will not pass by them endlessly, when getting drinks, dinner, going to the bathroom, or whatever else. When you pass by an object of confectionery desire a dozen times in a day, having one or two small candies becomes significant—effectively by the end of the day you've eaten a candy bar.
To pick a fairly round number, 250 additional calories a day is noticeable. That would be a pound of fat gained every other week! We're bombarded effectively constantly by delicious things in easy
reach, and doing a really good job of barely eating any of them is still
not a good plan. It's not enough to simply exercise restraint, in the same way that putting a 90% effort into losing weight simply isn't effective. Those sorts of occasional treats may be acceptable if you're just trying to stay at your same weight, but losing weight is really, really hard, and it makes little sense to put in 90% of the effort and get 10% of the results. I'm annoyed that I've been doing this for almost two years, lost more than 70 pounds, and I still have to keep reminding myself of these things.
(Luckily, the Tootsie Rolls are gone; there weren't that many. Some evil Starburst are still left.)
To lose weight in a reasonable amount of time, I need to be hardcore about it, and not be "mostly hardcore," which is how I respond these days when people ask how serious I am about losing weight. If I'm to lose more weight, I'm going to have to do what I did when I was really shedding the pounds—eat horrible, healthy food, and make no exceptions or excuses. I'm going on vacation in a few weeks, and when I return, I think it's time to go back to eating leaves and berries and chicken breasts. It'd almost be a good thing if I gained a couple of pounds on vacation—it would be a much bigger motivation to get serious than this general sense of wishing I were losing weight more quickly.