It’s almost summer, the time to lose the bulky sweaters, coats or other methods of covering up unwanted belly fat, and say hello to your swimsuit.
If this news rattles you to your core—okay, this is hyperbole—it’s not too late to do something about a muffin top, the egregious roof of skin hanging out atop your pants.
First thing is first: There is no special sauce, so to speak, when it comes to banishing the muffin top.
Perusing the internet, there is no shortage of women’s magazines describing the best methods for muffin top loss. These articles detail the best “fat-unlocking” foods to eat or six-pack carving core exercises to do at the gym.
But, Powell said, to lose your belly fat, stick to what works to lose weight anywhere else – good nutrition, exercise and adequate sleep.
Think of food as gas in a car, fuel to power your day, not as something to assuage feelings of stress or the reason you meet friends for dinner.
Something called “meal timing” is important, too. Meal timing is eating the bulk of your daily calories during breakfast- and lunch-time meals, while having a light dinner. Many people do the opposite – consume a larger portion of calories at dinner. But if you want to lose weight, this needs to change.
“Meal timing makes sense when you think of food as fuel,” Powell said. “We need fuel during the day, not at night, right before we are getting ready to sleep.”
When it comes to eating in the evenings, Powell said she recommends patients eat foods higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates. This better controls the body’s insulin response.
Insulin is the primary hormone to maintain blood sugar; Insulin also tells your body to store fat. Carbohydrates, especially refined and processed foods, are the first to be converted to sugar, signaling the body to release insulin. The body takes longer to break down protein, which leads to longer-lasting satiety.
What is well known about belly fat, however, is that it can be dangerous to health. Belly fat can wrap around abdominal organs, and it is an indicator of future health risks such as diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.
Because of this, it’s worth making an attempt to lose your muffin top. And you’ll be in better shape because, chances are, you’ll be slimmer everywhere.
For more information on how to lose belly fat, speak with your Lahey Health physician.