It’s only taken me years to realize my sweet tooth’s hypnotic power

Posted by Al Boyle
On August 6, 2023

“Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.”

“Little Lies”

Tango in the Night (1987)

Fleetwood Mac

I think my sweet tooth has a sweet tooth. Anyone else?

Few raised hands in the back, okay. A few more, good.

I see all of you. Even those who didn’t raise their hands but know it’s their truth, too.

You may hide it well – no cavities, managing a healthy weight, active lifestyle, no diabetic risk – and that’s just it: You’re only hiding it.

And you may hide it like the Predator camouflages itself or the Romulans cloak their Bird-of-Prey.

You may also have people helping you hide it. They’re not literally helping you hide it. Matter of fact, they may be blissfully unaware they’re complicit. But they mean well.

They say things like:

“You look great!”

“You eat so well…”

“How do you stay so fit?”

“I wish I could eat whatever I wanted.”

You may look like you’re crushing it and you can eat whatever you want without consequence. Embrace the narrative, though, and you become part of your problem.

I fell into that trap. And I’m still climbing out of it, to a degree.

My eating habits have baffled some people: How do you resist the temptation, Al?

I keep it real with my answer: Most of what tends to occupy dessert tables, cruise ship buffets, and restaurant menus doesn’t appeal to my limited palate, so there’s no temptation. I’ve got the immunity idol.

However, put me within striking distance of the sweet treats that do tempt me, and I’ll pedal a bike cross-country through a ravaged, post-apocalyptic world to get it. When my sweet tooth wants its fix, it’s loud, insistent, relentless, and when necessary, ruthless.

If I haven’t indulged in a while, it’ll remind me. If I have, it’ll tell me I can work out a little longer or put in some extra work to make up for it. Or, I can forgo my next fix for a greater period.

Like it’d let that happen.

Can I resist it? Yes. I’ve succeeded plenty of times. I’ve also failed far more than I care to admit. I am getting better of late, and some progress is better than none.

My amygdala is interrupting me for this public service announcement: Cravings aren’t this simple, it’s a team effort from several parts of the brain, and I owe it big time for making it the fall guy.

Not sure how that last point serves the public, but I’m not going to say that aloud, either. To question the beast is to challenge it. And I consider myself lucky based on what I know today.

My active lifestyle and limited dessert palate help me paint a prettier picture to observers and may give me more margin for error.


My last couple of physicals suggest that margin may be shrinking. Cholesterol’s creeping up and trying to coax triglycerides along for the ride. I do not want to take medication to manage my cholesterol if my body will reverse the slowly evolving trend with only dietary intervention.

It’s time for some tough love. My next annual should be in September, and I’m working toward a success story. As Ed Harris said in Apollo 13, “Failure is not an option.”

If they can bring astronauts home, I can move the needle in my favor.

Might even be cause for celebration…

What about you? Fighting the good fight? Winning? Working toward a rally?

Let’s hear it.



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