The abdominal fat we refer to as ‘the muffin top’, is a problem for many, especially women. It’s nicknamed the ‘Muffin Top’ because it spills out of our pants just like a muffin.
Did you know that the contributing factor to the ‘muffin top’ is the activity of hormones? Estrogen causes the body to store fat in specific areas such as the thighs, hips and chest. With age, as estrogen levels decrease, females tend to store even more fat in the abdominal area rather than those areas we would prefer… like our thighs, hips and chest.
For a long time, fitness magazines, exercise DVD’s and personal trainers tried to sell us that abdominal fat can be spot reduced, i.e if you do crunches you will get a flat stomach. Of course any exercise will help you lose fat, but it’s mostly reduced evenly or depending on your genetics. Doing 100 crunches every day is not going to solve all your ab problems. So what are the real reasons for the muffin top? And what can you do to effectively get rid of the bulging belly and sides?
Why We Develop the Muffin Top
- Sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting is the curse of our generation, it weakens muscles and leads to health issues such as high blood pressure, back problems and obesity. People with sedentary jobs are generally less active and tend to snack while working at their desks. All of this causes abdominal fat accumulation. Sadly it can often be internal fat which covers our vital organs. That’s why if your weight is accumulated in the abdomen you should be even more determined to lose it – your internal organs may be in danger and you may be at a higher risk for diabetes.
- Lack of sleep.
We are constantly busy and most of us probably sleep between 5 and 6 hours a day. The Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep every night for optimal health. During sleep, all the cells can cleanse and regenerate. Sleeping produces growth hormones, which helps keep muscle and other tissues healthy. Sleeping also minimizes the production of stress hormone – cortisol. Cortisol is one of those hormones which can inhibit you from losing weight.
- Lack of time and too much stress.
Since we don’t have time for regular, healthy sleep, we also struggle with sitting down to at least 3 nutritious meals a day and 2 snacks. Some busy people don’t have time to eat during the day and end up binging in the evening which is followed by watching tv on the couch and some (low quality) sleep. In such cases all the unused energy will immediately be transformed into fat tissue. Such a lifestyle accompanied by stress which releases more cortisol will certainly make you more likely to develop a muffin top.
- Wrong approach to exercise.
Since there is no such thing as a ‘spot fat reduction’, doing a hundred crunches a day will not change much for a muffin top. You may get strong abs, but those abs will still be covered in a layer of unwanted fat. You should opt for a variety of both cardiovascular and strength exercises for maximum fat loss. The type of food you choose to eat will also play a large in getting rid of abdominal fat.
How to Get Rid of the Muffin Top
- Get moving.
Even if you have a sedentary job, take a walk during your break or take 5 minutes every hour to walk around and stretch out. Instead of writing emails try to walk over to the person’s desk. Park further away from the office or store and force yourself to walk a few more steps.
- Get enough sleep.
Don’t stare into your phone or computer before sleep. The ambient digital light can mess with your melatonin production and cause you to not sleep as well. Maybe consider making your bedroom a digital-free zone. Taking a nice hot bath or stretching before bed will encourage your body and mind to relax, thus allowing a more restful sleep.
- Make time to look after yourself.
There is nothing more important than your health and happiness. Regular healthy meals will help you feel better and enable you to get rid of the muffin top. Stay hydrated – water helps move fat cells around and out of the body! The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” exists for a reason.
- If you aren’t sure how to exercise, find a trainer.
A personal trainer will help you establish the best training routine and nutritional program. Or you can simply try different things such as mixing up cardiovascular exercises (swimming, jogging, walking etc) with strength and resistance training. The key is to keep it consistent (preferably incorporate some activity every day).
- Don’t wear clothes that don’t fit you.
A super tight waistband will make your muffin top look even worse. Accept the fact that you currently have the muffin top and buy pants that fit and flatter the figure you have. Ask a massage therapist for a slimming massage to drain toxins and some fat cells out of the area.
Loosing the Muffin Top requires a Lifestyle Change
Losing the muffin top may be a challenge but if you stay consistent, the small, diligent changes in your lifestyle will certainly bring results sooner than you think.