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Why my teeth hurt today

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I was driving home from work Wednesday night and suddenly had a hankering for Sour Patch Kids. This is not good, my inner dietician told me. You haven’t had supper yet. Go home, eat something wholesome, and this craving will pass. Besides, there is nowhere you can buy a little bag of Sour Patch Kids on the way home.

Wait, I replied. I just remembered I need to buy some cat food. Oh, and some coffee too. I’ll just pull into Wal-Mart and buy the cat food. And the coffee.

And maybe a little bag of Sour Patch Kids on the way through the checkout line.

So I bought the cat food. And some coffee. And a bag of Sour Patch Kids.

A 2-pound bag.


As soon as I shut the truck door, I was tearing open that bag of candy as if it contained the meaning of life, a check for a million dollars, and the formula for growing all of my hair back. Yum! The next thing I knew I had so much candy in my mouth I could barely breathe.

I must say, however, that after the 20-minute drive home I showed great restraint with that 2-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids. It took much self-denial, but I didn’t finish that bag for two whole days. That’s right: I limited myself to just a pound of Sour Patch Kids the first day and a mere 16 ounces the second. Yum!

And when the bag was empty Friday night, I tried eating all of that loose sugar at the bottom of the bag, but it was much more sour than sweet. Reluctantly, I crumpled the bag and threw it away.

I had eaten so many Sour Patch Kids that my teeth hurt from all the chewing. Literally. My teeth hurt. They still hurt. Not my jaws, not my jaw muscles, not my gums. My teeth. I think all that gooey candy peeled away a layer of enamel. And I think the citric acid from the candy singed the roof of my mouth like hot pizza does. Same with my tongue. None of that, however, kept me from eating the candy as if it were the last foodstuff on earth and I was the hungriest man alive. Yum!

Episodes like this have finally convinced me that I never will be able to lose weight by simply changing my diet. I do well for a day, maybe two or three, and then the next thing you know I’m plunging into a bag of Doritos like a scurrying woodchuck diving into its burrow, or eating half of a carton of ice cream, or chowing down a dozen cookies—you name it: If it greatens my girth, I can’t stay away from it.

I suppose this wouldn’t be such a problem if I exercised, but since the end of August, the most exercise I’ve had involves yard work: mowing, bagging leaves, etc. And you know those aren’t particularly effective exercises because you don’t see any lawn mower-related exercise DVDs being peddled on TV. Rake aerobics is a fitness regimen that hasn’t been discovered. The only time my heart rate rises in the yard is when I discover a hornet’s nest about a second after the hornets discover me.

I wouldn’t be too concerned with any of this if it weren’t for the fact that I’m running out of trousers I can fit into. Here’s how bad this situation is: a long, long time ago I bought a pair of trousers that was too big for me, but the price was better than right and I reasoned I could have them taken in or else cinch my belt in another notch. Well, I never had them taken in, and because the tightened-belt plan didn’t work, I used to refer to them as my “Davy the Fat Boy” pants after the Randy Newman song of the same name. Well, even my Davys are snug now.

And, turning serious for a moment, I’m finding myself becoming shorter of breath much more easily. My hips hurt from carrying too much of a load. And when I change the way I move to compensate for pain, something else starts hurting (usually my knees) because the compensation makes those muscles and bones work in ways they’re not supposed to.

So this afternoon, after weighing in this morning at a tad over 204 pounds, which is 16 pounds north of where I want to be, I cranked out some tunes and climbed on the treadmill, starting at such a leisurely pace that if I’d been going any slower, I would have been walking backward. The first muscle I heard from was my left calf, which blew out like a bicycle tire one night this summer on the local school’s running track. I was going so slowly today, though, that the calf went back to sleep. I think it was just annoyed at having its nap disturbed.

My right hamstring was the next thing to sing out. Once it realized that the pace was a couple of continents away from “brisk,” it, too, resumed its relaxation. As the minutes passed, I kept telling myself that this was just a get-acquainted-again session with the treadmill. No sense rushing things. No sense trying to go too fast too quickly.

Eventually, I ratcheted the speed up to about two miles per hour short of the pace I’d like to run at eventually. I didn’t last five minutes. This time, my ankle began nagging me. Sometimes your muscles just complain; other times, they’re being serious. The ankle wasn’t serious yet, but it was on the way, so I turned off the power. No need to cool down gradually; I was barely warm, hardly sweating.

Forty-four minutes. It’s a start. With the break coming up, I should be able to get on the treadmill more, build up my legs and wind, get to the point where I can burn a few hundred calories a clip.

In the meantime, if you see me in the supermarket with a bag of candy in the cart, feel free to hip-check me into the shelves.

Comments

patrick_vecchio
Dec. 7th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
As if you ever had five pounds to lose ...

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