The term ‘muffin top’ refers to the fat around your hips and lower tummy. It is aptly named for the resemblance of this fat to the top part of a muffin when it spills over the waistband of your pant like the rounded top of a muffin spread out over the bottom of the muffin top.
The lower tummy is one of the most common problem areas for women. It is very easy to gain fat in this area for a number of reasons—some of which are within your control and some of which are not—and it is very difficult to successfully target and lose excess fat around your lower tummy and hips.
Muffin tops and lower tummy fat, in general, can be very, very difficult—and in some cases impossible—to get rid of for good. There are countless reasons why women develop a muffin top—many of which have nothing to do with living a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 reasons why you might have a muffin top that can help remind you not to be so hard on yourself if you’ve got a few extra pounds around your lower abdomen.
High Levels of Stress
If you have a lot of stress in your life, those high-stress levels could very well be contributing to your muffin top.
Having high-stress levels can also increase your cravings for foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat—which are a muffin top’s best friends. Plus, women who are very stressed out tend to get lower-quality sleep and fewer hours of sleep per night. Getting too little and low-quality sleep can disrupt the way your body processes insulin, which can cause you to gain more fat around your lower abdomen. As surely you know, lack of sleep is the cause of many health-related problems, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it can affect your cortisol levels that can increase your body fat.
Major shifts in your hormone levels can lead to excess fat and weight gain around your lower abdomen. This is especially true for women’s reproductive hormones. Women who have high levels of testosterone and/or low levels of estrogen tend to develop more fat around their lower midsection. If you notice that you start to develop more fat around your lower midsection soon after you become pregnant, give birth, start or stop taking birth control, change the type of birth control you take, or enter menopause, hormonal shifts might explain your muffin top.
Insulin resistance is a condition that unfortunately affects people of all ages. Yes, older individuals are more likely to suffer from it, but still, there are many young people who live it, especially young girls that have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
This pre-diabetic condition can be the cause of fat accumulating around your belly, but of course, there are others signs such as the rise of blood pressure, drop in good cholesterol, etc. Obviously, if you haven’t experienced any of these additional symptoms, you should look for the cause of your muffin top elsewhere.
Food intolerance is another surprising cause of muffin tops. When your body is unable to do its job of effectively digesting and absorbing the food you eat, that can lead to bloating and weight gain around your lower midsection.
If you notice that your body reacts badly to or has trouble digesting certain foods— especially if you notice an increase in bloating when you eat them—that’s a good sign that you may be intolerant to those foods. Try cutting them out of your diet for a while and see if your muffin top becomes less noticeable within a few weeks of you not eating those foods.
Having food intolerance isn’t the only reason why you should change your diet. If you do not have any health issues, the problem might be in the processed food you eat every day. We cannot stress enough how much this can harm your body. Try to incorporate more fresh fruits and veggies in your diet, and avoid junk food, sweets, soda, and other products that contain high levels of sugar. After a few weeks, we are sure that not only are you going to see that muffin top disappearing, but you will also feel better, improve the quality of sleep, and have more energy.
Insufficient physical activity
Finally, there is another reason why you have that muffin top on your body. Do you go to the gym? When was the last time that you engaged in any kind of physical activity? It has been a while, hasn’t it? If your answer to the last question is affirmative, then you know what you need to do.
Go and start working out. Yes, we know, not everyone finds this activity satisfying, for some people its sheer agony. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you do not want to do, you have to gather your strength and get up and go out.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that literally any kind of physical activity is good for you. No, you do not have to go to the gym a few times a week. Instead, you can go and ride a bike or play your favorite sport with a group of friends. Basically, anything that you enjoy.
The next time you’re feeling insecure about your muffin top, remind yourself that having a little extra padding around your lower midsection doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unhealthy or that you lack willpower.
If you’re struggling to lose your muffin top and feel like you’re already doing everything you can in terms of keeping up with healthy habits, consider some quick and easy fashion fixes to help reduce the appearance of your muffin top and boost your body confidence.
Ditch your low-rise jeans for high -waisted jeans and leggings that hide fat around your hips and lower tummy instead of exaggerating it. If high-waisted bottoms aren’t cutting it, consider wearing tummy control shapewear. Find some of the best options for shapewear that targets lower tummy fat and muffin tops here.