Have you ever looked up the origin of something … and wish you hadn’t?
I could have dove right into the meat of this post. Just, cut the fat and got down to the nitty-gritty. See, back in 1981 — when we were all whistling the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and marveling at the first space shuttle (I was 10) — the book Richard Spears’s Slang and Euphemism introduced the world to the concept of love handles: the “fat on the sides of a man or woman held onto during copulation,” the book sayth.
I’ll give you a minute. (It’s also called “side butt,” which makes me want to move on quickly from the history and nomenclature.)
As someone who has come equipped with said apparatus since, oh, the fifth grade, I feel license to feign disdain at the idea. But it’s there, and despite its crude dawning, love handles are something even great aunts and neighbors remark on when they see our muffin top degrading the lines of a tucked-in T-shirt.
For the sake of the title of this post, we’ll assume I’ve been successful in vanquishing these unrefined furnishings and want nothing more than to share my magic transformation with the neo-COVID-15 homebound snackers who scour the depths of Medium.
I am a dad with dad bod and a Medium account. Also, a functioning keyboard and 43 minutes until he feels obligated to log into zoom for work visibility.
Step 1: Cut out added sugar
Start with the basics. Especially in an era in which crosstraining means putting both shredded and chunks of cheese on your nachos, we must recognize those opportunities to “do a body good.” (I’m not asking you to change your cheese habits. I’m not a monster.) Trust me, cutting out the added sugar is the key. For instance, if you have three windmill cookies, that’s cool. If you have more cookies, follow the recommended serving sizes for a different kind of cookie.
How I did it: I still butter my frozen waffles in every single square (is there any other way?), but I bypass the step in which I roll the stick of butter in a plate of granulated sugar.
Step 2: Move it
I prefer a regiment that includes dozens of woodchoppers, Russian twists, side plank hip lifts, and chimichangas. Balance. If you find yourself struggling to rap out dozens of woodchoppers, aim for several. Three are several. I considered adding a tutorial video in this section but then realized there are many variations of the woodchop. There’s a whole genre of woodchopping workouts. You can do this with dumbells or cables. Express yourself.
How I did it: After exhaustion from looking up woodchopping, I skipped to the chimichanga and binging Supergirl. (Crushing on Kara, Alex, and Cat simultaneously rips through mad calories.)
Step 3: Reflection
You can’t just Russian twist your way to a slim waist. It’s time now to reflect on why you’ve been blessed with the handles. Hormones are a culprit. Tons of cortisol. Lack of physical activity. You have to challenge yourself at home. Put the KitKat on the top shelf of the pantry. Do 10 crunches every time Netflix asks if you are still watching. According to my research, diets high in fats, sugars, and high-calorie foods create a happy home for handles.
How I did it: Next on the list of obstacles: Sleep deprivation. I supplement 4 solid hours of almost-REM sleep with various 11-minute naps and fast from 3:30 to 3:41 a.m. without fail.
Step 4: Be patient
This could take a while. Despite what infomercials might tell you, there’s no way to target a spot for fat loss, no matter what you wrap it in or rub it with. Experts recommend a routine of 30–45 minutes of cardio 3 or 4 times a week, weight training 2 to 3 times a week, and a day of rest. That’s like, a full-time job. I’m supposed to do that and post to Medium and clap for all your good shit and scour Twitter about Supergirl without stumbling upon spoilers? I’m only human.
How I did it: I’m hitting the yoga mat every day for at least 7 minutes. Not getting Capn Crunch every time I order grocery delivery. And I’ve taken some walks. I feel like Shaun T. Fitness.
I’m always looking for the positives. Gyms are closed, but I don’t have a membership anyway. I have the Couch to 5K app, but it needs updating. My running shoes are all the way over there. But I’ll take walks, exercise discipline when baking Totino’s frozen pizza (see, exercise!), and wish for the best for you our shared battle against turning soft as butter in lockdown.
Minus the roll in sugar. Mostly.