You have always been a regular member of the local gym and the most energetic member of your family. You consider yourself to be as fit as a fiddle! But you still end up putting away all your slim-fit clothes just because of those annoying love handles poking through the sides! “How to get rid of a muffin top?” you wonder. If this is you, then you have come to the right place!
In addition to the external fat layer, any person has a viscous, also called internal fat on the stomach. It is located inside, under the external subcutaneous fat and abdominal muscles. Visceral fat coats the internal organs of the abdominal cavity and is designed to protect them from injury.
An excess of internal fat leads to the appearance of visceral obesity, as a result of which the organs of the abdominal cavity and the heart muscle are enveloped in a dense layer of fat, which does not allow them to successfully perform their functions.
This type of fat is much more difficult to control than external fat.
Here are a few reasons why you might be struggling with that extra abdominal fat.
Some of them might actually surprise you!
1. You are on a cardio-only focused exercise regimen
There is no doubt that doing cardio is an excellent way to keep slim and trim! But, if your exercise regimen doesn’t involve weight training, then you may be losing out on a lot more than you think! Doing cardio every day will definitely help you lose weight, but not in the ways that you wish to.
If you are targeting your muffin top, then keep in mind that your cardio-only workout is taking you nowhere! In order to attain a drool-worthy stomach, it is time to start focusing on building some lean muscle mass, and the only way you can do this is by lifting a few kilos!
A Harvard University research study showed that men who weight-trained for 20 minutes every day gained less overall abdominal fat compared to those who did an equal amount of aerobic exercise per day. Your metabolism is the key to getting rid of your muffin top. As you grow older, you experience a gradual decline in your metabolism. Lifting heavy and reducing your resting period is the best way to up your metabolic rate and start melting those belly flabs!
2. You have a habit of constantly snacking throughout the day
How often do you enter the kitchen to grab a quick snack from the refrigerator? How often do you hungrily eye your bottle of Nutella before finally making a grab for it? If you are finding it hard to keep your hands off the cookie jar, but still crying over your muffin top, you know what you’re doing wrong!
Studies have shown that following a time-restricted eating schedule can help you lose weight by increasing fat oxidation. Although your overall calorie intake remains the same, a time-restricted schedule helps reduce your energy intake and burn out all that excess abdominal fat!
However, intermittent snacking isn’t always a bad thing, provided you’re eating the ‘right’ kind of snacks. If your snack includes a mix of high fiber and high protein foods, then you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’re keen on losing weight fast, then it is highly advisable to strictly follow a scheduled mealtime. After a few months, you can happily watch your muffin top disappear!
3. You’re probably not sleeping enough
Did you know that not getting enough rest can contribute to weight gain? Lack of sleep can result in a major drop in insulin sensitivity which can not only prevent weight loss but, can also have an overall impact on your health. Ever noticed how you always end up feeling tired and being low on energy whenever you’re sleep deprived? “Some carbs will get me going!” you think, as you grab that bag of chips. Well, now you know where that dreaded muffin top came from!
Experts suggest that getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep is essential for maintaining good health. It is believed that people who get the recommended hours of sleep every night are less likely to be obese down the road. According to the National Sleep Foundation, growth hormones that stimulate a process of fat burn called lipolysis are secreted while you sleep. Getting 5 hours or less of sleep every night may result in hormonal imbalances which can eventually contribute to weight gain.
If you are looking to accelerate your fat burn process while you sleep, drinking a glass of green tea before bed will do the trick! Several other healthy after-dinner snacks such as cucumber, banana, yogurt, and cottage cheese can help speed up your metabolism while you sleep. This can rid you of your muffin top faster and help you attain the hourglass figure that you always longed for!
4. Most of what you eat is processed starch
You may be eating less, but if most of the food that you are consuming consists of processed starch and grains, then you can easily guess why you have been unable to rid yourself of that excess belly fat. If you are muffin top conscious, then it is very important to opt for healthier alternatives.
Starch and carbohydrate-rich foods like bread and pasta can easily be replaced with less starchy foods such as avocado and kale. Consuming energy drinks regularly can also enlarge your waistline. Studies have revealed that consuming one sugary drink per day can increase your weight by 1Kg over 2 years. Now you know what to cut down on in order to lose your muffin top!
5. You have been leading a very sedentary lifestyle
Binge eating muffins during your 8-hour desk job might sound like fun but, seeing a huge muffin top poking through the sides of your skinny jeans may not look great at all. “I’m not eating too many muffins and I still fit into my skinny jeans! But why is my muffin top growing bigger by the day?” you wonder. “Why the heck do I have a muffin top in the first place?” Well, it’s probably not your diet that needs to change. Maybe the reason for your muffin top is your sedentary lifestyle!
Research has revealed that the increase in your screen time could be directly proportional to your increase in weight. Replacing sitting with standing and going out for short walks during your break hours could easily help you become more active. Binge-watching TV shows for long hours at a stretch could also result in a muffin top. So, next time shake off your laziness and control your urge to settle down on that comfy couch after dinner. Choose to go out for a short walk instead! After all, stepping out of your comfort zone will help make all the difference!
6. You are probably too stressed out
Although anxiety and stress may be considered mental health issues, they could be the major contributors to your muffin top for more reasons than you could imagine! The hustle and bustle of everyday life might force you to skip meals, which can in turn make you hungrier and cause you to binge eat at a later time. As you know, binge eating is never healthy! As a result, you would probably end up consuming a greater number of calories than you would intend to on any normal day!
Anxiety and stress may sometimes be too difficult to handle. However, keeping your life in balance is the key to leading a happy and healthy life. Chronic stress can cause your cortisol levels to jump high. A sudden peak in cortisol levels not only feeds your muffin top but also suppress your immune function and make you fall victim to many of other associated health issues! Starting your day with a healthy breakfast will help improve your mood and keep you active throughout the day. Replacing unhealthy mid-morning snacks with fruits can also help you beat stress and keep your muffin top under control.
7. The birth of a baby
If you’ve recently become a mom, don’t be surprised if your belly isn’t perfect. This is due to stretching of the skin, muscles (diastasis is possible) and the appearance of an additional layer of fat to protect the child from external damage.
When a woman is thin, but the belly stick’s out, how to get rid of it after the birth of a child? After 6 weeks postpartum, the excess waist should return to the prenatal state if you have had enough physical or athletic activity before pregnancy. If this does not happen, it is enough to choose a few exercises to adjust the waist (in the absence of contraindications from the doctor), and train yourself to sleep on your stomach. The exercise “vacuum” has proven itself well, which is suitable even for those women who are forbidden to pump the abs.
Keep in mind that when a girl is thin, but her belly sticks out, this can be a sign of some gynecological conditions, which are manifested by bloating in the lower abdomen. These are more serious reasons that must be eliminated by a specialized medical professional.
8. Your natural bodily changes may be the cause of your muffin top!
Are you in your mid-forties or fifties? Have you been slim, trim, and active throughout your adulthood? So, one day, while you are casually checking yourself out in the mirror, you are shocked to notice the beginnings of a dreaded muffin top growing along your waistline! “But how and why?” you wonder. Well, don’t fret! Sometimes, the reason for your muffin top may not be you, but the natural changes that are taking place in your body as you grow older!
Did you know that menopause can trigger the growth of a muffin top? When your body hits menopause, estrogen levels drop drastically, which in turn creates an ideal environment for a muffin top. Before menopause, the estrogen levels in your body were higher, which helped fat to be redistributed and stored in other areas of your body such as the thighs and hips. These changes may not be under your control, but you can still try to control it! Exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet during menopause can help you keep your muffin top at bay!
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Worry no more about looking good in your slim-fit clothes! A balanced diet, enough sleep, weight training, healthy snacking, and an active lifestyle are some ways by which you can rid yourself of your dreaded muffin top! Incorporating these lifestyle changes will take you on a road to a healthier you!