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Understanding the Midlife Muffin Top and How to Make it Disappear

Have you wondered why you and many of your friends have a muffin top and others don’t?

Well, I know I am a stress eater and my forties have definitely contributed to my ever expanding muffin top but, is that all that contributes to the development and growth of abdominal fat? Here’s what I have learned as I try to figure out how to lose the muffin top.

Why do we store fat in certain areas when we experience midlife changes?

Fat storage placement is determined by the following factors:

  • Gender
  • Hormones
  • Genetics

Gender and those Darn Hormones

Men generally store fat around their middle. This happens because the male hormone testosterone predisposes men to accumulate fat in their abdomen. Estrogen in women causes them to store fat in their hips, butt and thighs.

Now here’s the kicker, during menopause as estrogen levels decrease, women start to store fat around their abdomen, more like men.

Another interesting contributor to the midlife muffin top is stress. Stress causes an increase in visceral fat. This triggers the hormone cortisol, which stimulates the storage of fat in the abdomen.

Where Genes Fit In

We are all genetically programmed to store fat in variable proportions all around the body. Some people store fat in their arms, legs, ankles and shoulders while others store fat around their face and neck. The good news is that if you don’t take in more calories than you burn, you won’t have to worry about fat.

So, that’s why I have an ever expanding muffin top. I just have to find a way to burn more calories than I ingest and I can then conquer the muffin top. That’s simple. right?

Well, yes, but there are other complications. For menopausal or post menopausal women, the combination of estrogen loss and the loss of muscle tissue as we age, causes us to need fewer calories and in different combinations, such as increased proteins, good carbohydrates, whole foods, etc… Check out the healthy diet page for ideas and guidance.

I have my work cut out for me but at least I now understand why my muffin top is looking more like a pound cake and I know what I have to do to melt away the abdominal fat. It’s time to get to work and burn that fat as fuel.

So, what’s your strategy for losing the muffin top?

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