The “muffin top.” Not sure how I feel about that phrase. It’s perhaps a bit too cute. At any rate, abdominal fat is a real problem for many. Generally, women are unhappy with their midsection because of the way it looks, and that’s fair. As a nurse and a health coach, how things look are only a small part of a much larger problem – fix the problem and the appearance issues go away.
So, what’s the problem with abdominal fat?
It’s a sign of some underlying health issues. An increase in abdominal fat is tied to an increase in a risk for heart disease, cancer, and Type II Diabetes. It may also be connected to gut health, an increased risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and a ton of other health problems that you just don’t want.
Let’s be clear, weight gain is a symptom – not a cause – of disease. If you’re gaining weight, especially around the midsection, that’s a sign from your body that something’s amiss. It needs help. Solve the problem and the weight gain goes away.
So, what’s causing the abdominal weight gain? What’s causing your muffin top and how do you get rid of it?
#1 – Ditch the Starchy Carbs. Starchy carbohydrates cause insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, and then eventually they can cause diabetes. Insulin sensitivity causes your body to convert this excess sugar from starchy carbs in your blood into fat. Plain and simple, if you eat a starchy carb, the majority of the fuel from this bagel, muffin, tortilla, or cookie is going to be stored as fat.
You can exercise your heart out and it’s still going to be stored as fat. As women move past 40 and their hormones change, fat will start being stored in the midsection. Sure, you’ll still get it in your backside too, but it’s also being deposited around your waist.
***If you want to get rid of your abdominal fat, stop eating baked goods (including bread), grains, potatoes and rice. You do need carbs in your diet. I’m not saying don’t eat carbs, just make sure the carbs you eat come from veggies and a little fruit.
#2 – Slow the F Down. Stress causes cortisol levels to rise and cortisol impacts everything, including your metabolism, your digestion, your insulin sensitivity and your hunger hormones. One of the biggest reasons that women in their 40s and beyond struggle with weight gain is that their stress levels aren’t being managed.
I’m not saying that you need to quit your job, disown your kids, and run away to Tahiti (sounds kinda nice sometimes, though).
What you can do is:
- Exercise – It reduces stress if you’re doing something that you enjoy
- Hang out with your amazing friends – If you don’t have amazing friends, join a local group and make some. Women in our age bracket are so freaking cool!
- Meditate – Find 5-10 minutes a day to focus on your breath, let go of your thoughts and feelings, and be present. It makes a difference.
- Get rid of shit you don’t love – Declutter, downsize, ditch the toxic people in your life. It’s a process.
#3 – Sleep. If there’s one common theme amongst my coaching clients, it’s a lack of quality sleep. Sleep impacts everything in your body from your mood regulating hormones to your stress management and immune system hormones to hunger hormones. It even impacts how your body responds to food. One bad night’s sleep can make your body’s ability to manage blood sugar much worse.
I fully realize that for many, getting a good night’s sleep is a struggle. It’s important so let’s get down to basics about what you CAN do today.
- Go to bed at a reasonable time. You need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Do the math and go to bed when you need to. (I’ve gone to bed at 8 pm before because I had to get up at 4 am the next morning.)
- Stop drinking alcohol 3 hours, or more, before you go to bed.
- Turn down the lights. Light stimulates hormones designed to keep you awake. Darkness stimulates hormones that tell your body to sleep. Watching television or working on your computer needs to stop at least an hour before you want to fall asleep.
- Try Hemp CBD. I’ve found that CBD from hemp oil (you can buy it on Amazon or in your local health food store; it’s NOT marijuana!) is a natural way to sleep through the night. You don’t wake up groggy, you don’t develop any type of resistance or dependence, and it has healing powers. It’s been shown to improve gut health and reduce anxiety.
Start Getting Rid of Your Muffin Top Today – Action Steps!
- Turn off bright lights an hour before bedtime tonight.
- Meditate for 5 minutes. Try HeadSpace.com or InsightTimer.com.
- Find nutritious replacements for your starchy carb habit. If you need help, contact me and we can, often in one session, create a plan for you to enjoy your food and lose weight.
The Middle Age Midsection is a Myth!
Don’t buy into it. It’s not inevitable and if you have a muffin top, you can get rid of it and get healthy again. You have the power to change your health and to change the course of your future. Whether you just want to look and feel better in your clothing, or you want to avoid chronic disease – or a combination of both – you have in your power the ability to change your life. Start taking action today.