The Unnecessary Spare Tire ー「不要なスペアタイヤ」とは?

The Unnecessary Spare Tire ー「不要なスペアタイヤ」とは?

Hello, this is Simon.

The other day, I jumped on the scales for the first time in a while. I won’t tell you the weight that was displayed, but needless to say I had put on some pounds. During the winter break, it is quite common for me to gain a few, but it was never much of a worry because I could always shed them after a few months. However, this time is different. I have really packed on the weight this time. Not only the scales, but the mirror also had some harsh things to say. I usually spend a short time in front of the mirror as I am always rushing to get ready for work. However, this time after checking the scales, I had a good hard look at myself…. There it was, the double chin, and lower down the love handles. I also realized that I was carrying a spare tire. How did this happen?

Thinking back over the last few months, it ‘s easy to see why. First is my age, I’ll be 50 this year and it is clear that my metabolism has been slowing down. Also, I have been very busy lately, and when I’m busy, I eat a lot of comfort food. If I just ate a little, it wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s just too moreish, and once I start, I can’t stop.

I’m beginning to realize that at my stage in life, I need be more careful with what I put into my body, and have started trying to watch my weight. I really want to get back on track.

While thinking about this situation, a few expressions popped into my head. Most people are concerned with their weight, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to introduce a few expressions.

“jump on the scales”

To “jump on the scales” doesn’t actually mean to “jump” on them. It simply means to stand on a set of scales and weigh yourself (e.g. I’ve been quite concerned about my weight recently, so I’ve been jumping on the scales every morning.) It is quite a casual wording, and is commonly used. A quick check on Google confirms this:
“jump on the scales” – 789,000 results

“put on some pounds”

The phrase to “put on…” or to “put…on” means to move something to wear on your body (e.g. Put on your shoes/hat/earrings/makeup/glasses.) In the same way it can be used to talk about gaining weight. For example:
-I put on a lot of weight after I left school.
-Drinking beer really puts on the pounds.
-Whenever I go back home for Christmas, I put about 5 kg on.


The verb “shed…” means to “lose a covering, such as leaves, hair, or skin” (e.g. This time of year our cat sheds all over the carpet./It’s the end of fall. The trees have shed all or their leaves.)
In the same way you can shed weight. For example:
-I shed 3 kg in one month.
-This new diet is really helping me to shed the pounds.
-I keep exercising, but I just can’t seem to shed those last couple of kilograms.

It can also mean to produce tears (e.g. I always shed a tear when I watch this movie.)

“pack on…”

To “pack on weight/pounds/…kg” means the same as to “put on weight/pounds/…kg”. The dictionary definitions are the same, although to me to “pack on” weight sounds a little more extreme than to “put on” weight, as though it is a larger amount in a shorter time.
(e.g. I’ve really begun to pack on the weight these last few years.)

“double chin”

A “double chin” means exactly what it sounds like, although some of the dictionary definitions are a little unfortunate sounding (a roll of fatty flesh below a person’s chin). I have heard that there is an equivalent term in Japanese 「二重顎」. I guess it is a problem that transcends borders.

“love handles”

The term “love handles” refers to “fatty bulges along the sides of the body at the waist”. The dictionary definitions again aren’t very flattering, but there is no nice way to describe them. I guess the term “love handles” comes from the fact that they can be grabbed, and only someone who truly loves you would want to.

“spare tire”

A “spare tire” is a roll of fat around someone’s waist. It is something that is associated with middle aged men. I think it’s pretty easy to picture.
(e.g. As he got older, no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t get rid of his spare tire.)

“comfort food”

“Comfort food” is the type of food that people eat when they are sad, worried or stressed. It is often sweet food or food they liked when they were children.
(e.g. She was feeling down, so she needed a good movie and some comfort food.)


“Moreish” describes a kind of food that tastes so good you want to eat more (e.g. These snacks are dangerous. They’re too moreish.)

“watch my weight”

To “watch one’s weight” means to take care not to gain weight, or to lose weight.
(e.g. A: Would you like a piece of cake? B: No thanks. I’m watching my weight.)

“back on track”

To “get/be back on track” means to return to the right path, or the right direction. It can be used to talk about a range of things such as one’s health, career, motivation, goal or topic.
(e.g. After a few years of drifting aimlessly he decided to get his career back on track./She got into running again, and after a couple of months began to feel she was back on track.)

As I mentioned above some of these expressions are not the most flattering, so I suggest being about when and where you use them. Anyway the coldest month is behind us, so it is a good time to start getting motivated and back on track!

See you in spring!


フルーツフルイングリッシュで英語表現の楽しさ感じてください 。初めての方には英作文添削チケット2回分をプレゼント。



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  • I am afraid of jumping on the scales after the stay-at- home order. I must put on extra weight. By the way, I didn’t know “scales” has to be plural. That’s interesting.

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    Hello! My name is Simon. I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999. My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.