How to Get Rid of Muffin Top

Google the phrase “muffin top” and you may be greeted with recipes for yummy pastries. Or you may be confronted with images of flabby stomachs hanging over waistbands. The term applies to both, but it is the second option that sends people flocking to the gym or the plastic surgeon’s office. If you have a muffin top, you probably already know what it is. If you’re not sure, we can help you both define the term and learn how to get rid of your muffin top if you have one.

What is a Muffin Top?

The best way to understand a muffin top is to literally take a hard look at a muffin. Notice how the top of the muffin hangs down over the muffin paper or wrapper that covers the bottom of the muffin? Now zip your pants up tight and take a look in the mirror. Notice any similarities?

If your stomach or lower back hang over the waistband of your pants the way the muffin hung over the top of its wrapper, you have a muffin top. While certainly not a technical or medical term, the word muffin top is admittedly descriptive. It’s also a fairly new term that has largely replaced the phrases love handles and spare tire.

What is the Main Cause of Muffin Top?

If you have a muffin top, know that you’re certainly not alone or at fault. A lot of people develop muffin tops, including those who try to eat healthy and exercise often. It’s true that a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle lead to excess fat, and this fat can settle around your waist and lead to a muffin top. But this phenomenon also has several other causes.

One is heredity. Your genetics can play a large role in where and how your body stores fat. If your body’s favorite fat storage compartment is your stomach, you may start to notice a fat buildup there even if you don’t have a lot of extra fat elsewhere on your body.

Hormones can also play a big role in creating a muffin top. And our hormonal makeup changes as we age, potentially shifting more fat to our midsections. This especially true for women who experience hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause as well as the usual age-related changes. The physical trauma of pregnancy and childbirth can also cause a muffin top, which we will discuss in more detail momentarily.

Muffin Top Differences in Men Vs. Women

There are two essential differences between men and women when it comes to the muffin top: how they get them and the potential consequences of having one. As we mentioned briefly above, women are more likely to have a muffin top as a result of physical trauma. During pregnancy, when the abdomen stretches, the muscles of the abdominal wall can tear or split apart. They aren’t always able to repair themselves after pregnancy, which makes it easier for the visceral fat of the abdomen to poke out and hang forward. The problem can be exacerbated by a c-section delivery during which these muscles are cut to gain access to the infant.

The other difference between men and women are the potential consequences of carrying a muffin top. Doctors and researchers know that carrying excess belly fat increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease. But according to Harvard University, women with extra belly fat are even more likely to experience heart problems than their male counterparts.

Why Do I Have Muffin Top If I’m Skinny?

The truth is that everyone has some body fat, including skinny people. This means that the dreaded muffin top can impact anyone, even if they are skinny. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra body fat, a sedentary lifestyle can allow the fat you do have to settle into your stomach, even if the rest of you is fairly thin. Hormonal changes and pregnancy can also cause a muffin top despite an otherwise slender body.

Can You Really Get Rid of Muffin Top?

You can get rid of a muffin top, but it’s notoriously difficult. Here’s why. You have different types of fat in your body, and one is known as adipose fat. Adipose fat is a place where your body stores excess energy (calories), but it also works as a body organ, releasing certain hormones and helping regulate insulin resistance. Abdominal fat also helps to cushion and protect your internal organs.

Because adipose fat serves a purpose in your body, your body will fight to keep it as you start to lose weight. You may want the extra fat gone, but parts of your brain are simply conditioned to resist your efforts to remove it. And adipose fat is most likely to reside in your stomach. You can absolutely win the battle of the bulge, but it will take some effort and could require medical intervention.

How to Get Rid of Muffin Top by Exercising

When trying to get rid of fat, the basic premise is that you must burn more calories than you consume. Eating less and choosing healthier options is a part of the equation, but exercise is the real workhorse of weight loss. Aerobic exercises that elevate your heart rate and burn calories are helpful but should be combined with exercises that specifically target your abdominal area. These exercises include mountain climbers, hip bridges, supermans, trunk rotations, and sumo squats, to name a few.

If you’re unsure what exercises to do or how to do them, consider working with a personal trainer. Many gyms offer affordable training sessions where you can learn what exercises to do and how to do them properly. A trainer can also help you modify any exercises as necessary to avoid injury if you have any health conditions that impact your ability to exercise safely.

How to Get Rid of Muffin Top Without Exercise

When it comes to getting rid of a muffin top, sometimes exercise just doesn’t get the job done. Fortunately, however, a plastic surgeon can help even when it seems exercise can’t. A surgeon can offer you three different muffin top solutions based on your needs.

The first is a liposuction procedure. Liposuction literally sucks out unwanted fat through a very small incision in your skin, removing the fat cells permanently. The result is a flatter, more sculpted, and shapelier you. Your surgeon can perform liposuction wherever you need it, focusing on your abdomen, flanks, or lower back. If you need help in all these areas, your doctor can perform a lipo 360. During this procedure, your surgeon will use liposuction to shape and sculpt your entire midsection, eliminating your muffin top from all sides at once so you look great all the way around. A single liposuction procedure may give you a flatter tummy, for instance, but a lipo 360 can address excess fat in the stomach, flanks, and back all at one time.

If your muffin top overlaps your waistband only in the front, you may be a candidate for a tummy tuck. A tummy tuck can remove more excess fat than liposuction and can also remove any excess skin — something liposuction can’t do. Excess skin is especially common after pregnancy or after significant weight loss. Sometimes people are able to lose the fat portion of a muffin top at the gym, but the result may be hanging skin that is unable to snap back into its former taut position. A tummy tuck can help with this and free you of your muffin top.

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