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A doctor’s advice for getting rid of your muffin top

First of all, I would like to maim the person who initially coined the term muffin top (apparently the etymology is of Australian origin, thanks mates!). God knows we needed a more succinct description than delightful shelf of fat that hangs over the waist band.

Second, fuck you to all the designer jean makers who decided that low waist bands were somehow in style. Many women would have a far less obvious overhang if the jeans were not so low and tight (some jeans are so low they can’t be worn without clamscpaing!). I’m not sure how a muffin top in the front and a bird’s eye view of the natal cleft in the back is sexy, but finding jeans with more than a 9 inch rise in the crotch is practically impossible, so I guess skin is in.

But perhaps the manufacturers of premium denim have really done us a favor. After all, central obesity (tummy fat) is a major risk factor for diabetes and so the less muffin top, the better. However, as practically every woman who has ever had a baby knows, the muffin top has incredible staying power.

There is cool science that tells us that belly fat is different from, say, thigh fat. An increasing body of evidence that suggests that endocannabinoid dysregulation (endocannabinoids are lipids that have an important role in appetite, weight gain, pain and yes, the psychoactive properties of weed) may occur preferentially in some sites, specifically belly fat. This local signaling snafoo may contribute to belly fat’s proclivity for being notoriously difficult to dispatch.

As I long suspected, those of us with belly fat are working against unseen and nefarious microscopic forces (although there is a clear evolutionary disadvantage to having belly fat, so I’m not sure what that’s all about). Regardless, I am of the belief that hard work and perservence can trump a lot of nature. And so with that in mind, this is the approach I took to blasting my belly fat. And trust me, I had a fine example of the muffin top – remember, I was pregnant with triplets and that does things to a woman’s body, never mind the nephrectomy that left my belly looking somewhat uneven since the age of 11.

I got my BMI in the normal range: 19-24. That took calorie restriction. If your BMI is 25 or higher there will be fat. I am maintaining a BMI of 22.

Vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. Some new studies tell us that compared to moderate intensity exercise, vigorous aerobic exercise plus calorie restriction may preferentially affect the local dysregulation of the endocannabinoids in belly fat (translation, if you exercise a lot and really get your heart rate up, you might be able to undo some of the screwy messaging that is keeping your belly fat). Lots of studies tell us that exercise helps metabolic syndrome, the hallmark of which is belly fat, so it makes sense. I increased my running to 4 days a week and added in boot camp 2-3 days a week back in in July. I exercise until I drip with sweat and if I can talk while I’m working out, I’m not working hard enough. I plan my week around my exercise, not plan my exercise around my week.

Core work and resistance training. I do 250 crunches four times a week in addition to all the core work at boot camp. We also do resistance training at boot camp. Regular resistance training strengthens and tones muscles. Having a strong core makes me better at aerobic exercise (see above) and when I stand up and my core engages, well, it really helps my belly look flat.

So that’s it. No supplements or injections, just hard work and some evidence based medicine. Nothing sexy, except the results.

Oh yeah, I also gave up on the super-low rise jeans.

And let me tell you, if I can do it, so can you.


8 thoughts on “A doctor’s advice for getting rid of your muffin top

  1. Great post – thank you. I had twins and thought I will always have my “twin skin”. Now I see I don’t have to. Ok, I’ll hop to it!

    Posted by Jackie K | November 6, 2011, 8:10 pm
  2. It’s only women’s jeans that have low waist bands. When I was a student, everybody wore men’s jeans because that’s all there was. Voting with wallets, etc…

    Posted by anarchic teapot | November 6, 2011, 8:20 pm
  3. You are very funny.

    Posted by Ana Maria Sierra | November 6, 2011, 8:36 pm
  4. “if I can talk while I’m working out, I’m not working hard enough”: how true that is!
    Also ” if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work” IMO.
    You do have an impressive regimen, I do wonder how you find the time to juggle that, your kids and a busy job, AND be an interesting blogger to boot! Respect.

    My solution to encroaching waist expansiveness was to change to a job I could commute to by bicycle (lucky I did get that job). I now cycle 100km+ a week, some of it uphill with a toddler on the back, and do other stuff when I get the chance, mainly track running at the week end, and pull push and sit ups. Said toddler “helps” by climbing on my back during push ups, and jumping on my stomach during sit ups. Kids sure keep you sharp don’t they?

    Posted by Nicolas Fanget (@nfanget) | November 7, 2011, 12:11 pm
    • “if I can talk while I’m working out, I’m not working hard enough”. That is too not true. I was a fitness instructor for 25 years and one of the first things they tell you is if a person can’t have a conversation with you will exercising you should be very concerned, and possibly be prepared to give CPR. I’m here reading this because since I’ve hit 50+ I cannot get rid of my muffin top and it keeps getting bigger. So much to the point that I get constant yeast infections there. It hurts, it’s gross, it weeps out onto my clothing and to make matters worse, my dog is always trying to lick it. I think cool sculpting, tummy tuck and/or plastic surgery is the only thing that will help at this point.

      Posted by Shay | June 23, 2016, 2:33 pm
  5. Pilates is also totally awesome for toning up the core and getting that cut ab look. Also great for your balance, which we all appreciate now that it’s walking on icy sidewalk weather, and will appreciate more when we’re 80 and don’t fall and break a hip.

    Yoga too though you have to be careful what form of yoga you do. Some are useless. Iyengar is the best, if you can get it.

    Posted by aprilpublichealth | November 7, 2011, 3:55 pm
  6. Fabulous picture, Wonder Woman! Funny article.

    Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I don’t know what clamscpaing is. Enlightenment please? Google was no help.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    Posted by Shawn | November 7, 2011, 4:02 pm


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