Love handles a bit too lovely

I finished my inelegant attempt to make Super Bowl cupcakes…(the taste far surpassed my football frosting attempt… I didn’t want to waste a full piping bag, and of course, the baggie broke… sometimes my obsession with waste bites me on the arse. This was one of those times, but ALAS, I digress):

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and noticed myself in the screen of the TV. I noticed just too much of me to be honest. Those dastardly love handles seemed to attract way too much attention. They were a bit too lovely.

I tied up the shoes and hit the pavement. The whole run I thought about love handles. I planned the next several Test Kitchen weeks, sans sugar completely! I decided to quash this creep dead in its tracks.

St. Paul had his thorn in the flesh. I have my pound of flesh, but it vexes me similarly. A couple of years ago when I finished losing 100 pounds I was at my skinniest since high school. One of my daughters greeted me by saying, “Dad, you look like you need a cheeseburger.”

I was pretty thin, but that night I took a look at myself in the mirror and those godforsaken love handles were still there, only more prominent now, perched on bony hips, the last bastion of the Tony Soprano-look-alike I had shed over eighteen long months. It disappointed me because who would have thought after all that, they’d still be there. Now they were just more prominent: Two bags of heft on an otherwise lean frame. They stuck out all the more, like President Obama’s ears on his otherwise lean frame.

I swear I could be one of those death camp survivors, nothing but skin on a stack of bones, but I’d still have my love handles. They are like camels humps and simply averse to change.

Our DNA just got an extra heap of love handles. Hell, my brother’s a triathlete, even finished an Iron Man, and he still has our family love handles. That seems profoundly unfair, but he seems OK with it. They look better on him to be honest — more in the flow of his overall body. Mine look like chubby little aliens that globbed onto my otherwise healthy body. You know how some really blessed physical specimens look like an hour-glass? Well, I look like a pastry bag, tied too tight on both ends, poofed out in the middle. If you take the top 30 inches of my body, I look strong. The bottom 30 inches actually have muscle striation. It’s that 10 inches in the dead center that resemble the Stay Puff Marshmallow man.

By the time I hit my fifth mile, I began to challenge my negative thinking. I had maintained my respectable-codger pace of 10-minute miles despite an undulating terrain. I knew I was fit. My core is strong. I tell The Bride all the time I have steel-belted radial abs; she just can’t see them because of all the tread over the top of them. At some point you just have to admit you are what you are and you can’t beat Mother Nature. As my yoga teacher likes to say, “You can’t stretch your brown eyes blue.”

And as I made my final turn up our hill headed home, it dawned on me that a big part of life is acceptance, learning what you can change and what you can’t and, as they say at the end of every A.A. meeting, “the wisdom to know the difference.”

I can’t really change my love handles. I can watch the diet a bit more carefully so I don’t put on extra weight. I can maintain my physical fitness so I am healthy and active. I can be mindful of excess.

I can also recognize I am not alone. Some other rounded body actually figured out how to make lemonade from their DNA, coming up with the phrase “love handles” in the first place. Handles for my lover to hold on to me better… that’s nice.

As I came back inside, the negative energy had been sweated out. My love handles remained, but recognizing that I’m still lovely to the only person that matters — The Bride — is far more than enough for me.


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