Reduce Your Muffin Top Today With This Simple Step

April 26, 2012   47 Comments

Do you think I am talking about that muffin top above? Naahhhh.

Reduce Muffin Top

I just thought that this picture was easier to look at versus a fat beer belly. It is in black and white because I don't want to encourage you to eat any muffins (we KNOW those contribute to muffin top :)

Why worry about muffin top or belly fat? Researchers have discovered that people with larger stomachs are more likely to have large amounts of deep-hidden belly fat around their organs. It could be the most dangerous kind of fat and could increase a person's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

That's right, people, your belly fat will lead to disease, disease, disease.

All right, enough depressing thoughts - What can we do about our muffin top?

I believe that you already know the first solution to shrinking yourself. I can cite example after example of pals of mine who say things like, " I can't give up my morning scone at Starbucks. It is the highlight of my day."

Yeah, I know those delicious things are addictive.

Me? After trying Weight Watchers, it became clear why I was missing my daily PointsPlus value. The two foods that tripped me up were beer and cheese. If I could just stop drinking beer and eating cheese, I wouldn't have any trouble getting to my target on most days.

So what have I done to address my muffin top? In the last 2 weeks I have covered light beer and lighter cheese. While these options aren't as tasty as the higher calorie versions - losing weight and living longer are very important to me.

In the case of the lighter cheese, it turns out that soft cheese have less calcium than hard cheeses - so I am just trying to decrease my regular cheese intake without giving it up all together.

My preference is to keep my cheese portion size small versus losing the taste and calcium of higher fat dairy.

If drinking Corona Light versus regular beer can give me a few more years on the planet, I'm going to do it.

I guess what I'm saying is that YOU know when you overindulge. Just try one simple step to change your habit. Then after you master that habit - move on to the next one.

I know this won't work for everyone. But, I thought it might be helpful to share what works for me.

How are you going to reduce your muffin top? Please share.

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I feel your pain!! One of if not my favorite food is CHEESE!! Like you, weight watchers is helping me to eat it in moderation. I like the cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar. I also drink beer. I went to the light beers a long time ago! Now I drink the MGD64 and on rare occasions treat myself to a regular beer. I can live with these changes for my health and hope to keep this attitude. Love reading your posts. Thank you.

Lightening up on those favorites is a great idea - but exercise will also really help reduce muffin top. Both cardio and strengthening (remember, there is no such thing as spot-toning) - whatever you can manage . . . start small and work up!

Portion control and journaling. I use the LoseIt app on my IPad and document EVERYTHING! It's quick and easy with the app. Also, I have increased my fruits and vegetables, and have discovered Cabot's reduced fat cheddar. I recently bought the same food scale featured on your website and love it - feels good to get rid of the tippy little postal scale! When I eat out, I plan by checking the nutritionals for what I am going to eat, and document it on LoseIt beforehand.

Drink LOTS of water! I've got some tips here about it:…

Lisa, it was like reading my thoughts! Wow, you are in my head. I have also narrowed my problem down to beer and cheese. Makes me sad just thinking about it. But on the bright side, I have taken active steps to cut cheese out of the food choices during the week. I do provide one dinner with cheese. This makes me happy in two ways, I am happy while I am eating cheese and I am happy because I haven't eaten cheese the rest of the week. Beer seems to be a little harder than cheese to cut out, who knew...By doing this, I and others have started seeing results, yeah! I guess everything is a balance in life after all. Thanks for writing the post!

I know all about muffin tops.. I've joined ww online and started to do some exercises. I'm pround to say that I have dropped 10 pounds in 5 weeks.

Help! I do not know how to follow WW, I do not know how to count my food points....

Cheese was a big one for me too - I found Trader Joe's Monterey Jack sticks - full fat cheese, wrapped in 2-point servings. I suspect I pay a bit more for this than if I just bought a block of cheese, but it's nice to know I have a grab-and-go option. (I like string cheese too but I kind of got burnt out on mozzarella after a while.) Also the wax-wrapped Babybels are a good option. I agree though - find your triggers and work with them!

I definitely agree exercise is also an important part of the soltion but before weight watchers, I exercised and still had a huge muffin top and more. Have been going to WW for a little over 4 months and am down 45 lbs. Like most things in life as with cheese and beer, moderation seems to be the key. I use the light and reduced fat but am careful not to deny myself completely. I think that can be a set-up for failure also. Love Chris' comments regarding "reading her thoughts and sadness." Like Chris, it makes me proud that I am learning to control and moderate these food items in a healthy way. Best wishes to all, it is certainly an adventure to be healthy and change eating habits!

I have been working out for 2 years including long distance running & weightlifting. My belly is where all of my fat is. I don't think low-fat or "light" versions of food are the way to go. Usually they are loaded with more sugar. I use full fat but in moderation. I did not start to lose my muffin top until I seriously reined in my portions. Even though I was eating healthy I was eating enough for 3 people. It was hard at first but then it got easier.

Great post. I appreciate a good challenge and I, too, have been thinking about more ways to "healthify" my life. For me, it's saying "no" to the office treats and sweets. I actually just wrote about this on my blog yesterday. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

Love your posts! For me, it is WINE and CHEESE. Oh so good together. I try to limit myself to only one glass of red wine and a small slice of Tillamook cheddar. Lots of cardio and strength training too to offset the calories. My muffin is finally decreasing:-)

I didn't have muffin top, than Christmas came and the muffin top hasn't left my side! For me, I have been trying to cut WAY back on white sugar and stick to natural sugars if I must have any. I have also been doing lots of ab work! I'm trying so ghard but that pesky muffin doesn't want to leave!! Arrrr!!

that is very true.

Any thoughts on stress belly-fat? Other than lowering stress (not really an option right now), how do I get rid of that?

Like Shelli, wine is my drink of choice (although I love a nice Sam Adams every once in a while). I know some people have a glass or two with dinner or to unwind every day... What abuot only having a drink on the weekends - definitely helps me keep to my points during the week, then I use all my "extra 49" during the weekend - my toughest time...

We have to be very careful about how we look at this message. Fats -- in general -- are NOT why we're fat. Sugars are why we're fat. Foods that turn rapidly into sugar have created our current obesity epidemic. Our over-consumption of sugars, sugar substitutes, sugary drinks, dairy, processed grains, breads, cereals, pastas, processed snack items, etc. all contribute to the problem. Remember that there are actually healthy fats such as from avocados, olives, and coconuts. The body -- especially the brain -- needs healthy fats.

@Sunnie - You can go online to join Weight Watchers or join a local group which you can also find online. There are other options though if you don't want to pay. @SnackGirl had a post about it not long ago. As for me, my weakness is ice cream. I love the stuff. It should be easy enough to stop eating, but I always crave some sweetness and ice cream is top on the list for me.

@Janet - have you tried the frozen banana option? I found that quite satisfying as a way to keep ice cream eating in check. Thanks for your comment!

@SnackGirl - I have tried it and actually forgot about it - thanks for the reminder. I seem to end up throwing bananas in the freezer before they rot cuz I can't seem to eat them fast enough. My plan is to use them for banana bread, but I think the banana "ice cream" is a better option. :)

This is sort of like a WW meeting, so many good ideas and thoughts. Like Maria I limit myself to alcohol on weekends only and usually just one evening a weekend. Really difficult at first but getting used to it now. I agree sugar and foods that rapidly turn into sugar are big culprits as far as weight. Did anyone see the 60 Minutes episode on sugar? According to research, many scientists consider sugar toxic! Cancer researchers are doing extensive studies linking sugar to cancer. As a triple negative breast cancer survivor, that really caught my attention!!

I'm sure most have figured it out by now that diets don't work. Oh, maybe for a time,but the weight loss never stays when it's lost through a diet. Unfortunately, most women are focused on weight loss versus a healthy lifestyle change, which ultimately brings the weight loss one desires. Food deprivation for a time (a diet) is only short lived (until the diet ends) then most are back to old eating habits because their original goal was only commitment to weight loss and not a lifestyle change. What you eat and how much you eat (portion control) is key to lasting weight loss. As far as exercise goes it's good to remember that you can never out exercise a bad diet. :)

p.s. just wanted to include that sugar is not the enemy, over consumption of it creates the enemy. I lost 50lbs while eating sugary type foods, but the amounts ate were small. I believe one can eat anything they want, especially the foods we love most, but only in extreme moderation. Any food that one eats glutenously will become an enemy.

I, too, enjoy a glass of red wine to relax at the end of the day. I have found that, since I'm one of those crazies that enjoy ALL of my wine chilled, I fill my wine glass with ice cubes first, then put in the wine. It tricks me into thinking I'm having a 'big ole glass' and I can stick to a smaller portion, then I just enjoy sipping it. Works for me...

Just a reminder you can't spot reduce that belly fat. :)

Also, experts suggest doing plank over crunches for ab work. :)

I would not stress over the regular beer. Just log it if you use a free program (Lose it, MyFitnessPal) and move on. After all, Guinness has less cals than most other beers.

I have been using the Lose It! website and app for a week now! I love it. I was on WW for about a year and a half. While it worked, it wasn't maintainable. Tracking calories seems to work better for me and the Lose It site is freeeee!

Like most everyone who posted - I too LOVE cheese! And I had a hard time with the lower calorie stuff. So I cut it out of 99% of the time. And you know what?! I don't miss it!! I realized I was putting cheese in nearly everything - my salads, on my tacos, in sandwiches, etc. When I cut it out, I realized I didn't miss it and when I put it in I realized I didn't even taste it!! So now I am extremely choosy when I use the cheese - will I really taste it and will it make a difference? :-)

One thing I've changed is using the 50% solution from the author of "French Women Don't Get Fat":…

Alcohol and cheese are two of my big problems as well! I love a good blue moon or regular corona (light corona is just bleh). I'm fresh out of college and go out with friends a lot on the weekends which always involves drinking. I've changed my cranberry/orange juice/any juice/red bull vodka to a vodka soda to get rid of all the juice calories and sugar. During the week I sometimes like to have wine with dinner so one trick I've started using instead of wine I just have soda water or seltzer water with lemon and lime and it's tasty and refreshing and feels like a mocktail! I LOVED your article on laughing cow cheese with cucumbers. I went out and bought it instantly and can't get enough of it. The good thing is that it's filling so I don't overindulge and i just love the way it tastes. You're so awesome please keep coming up with great snacks!

I think this is my boyfriend (and my) biggest issue! Dang you delicious beer & Delicious pepper jack cheese that we try and put on everything! lol. Thanks for this. A little motivation goes a long way!

AND READ THOSE LABELS! Food manufacturers are sneaky! They have "Only 100 calories per serving" blazed across the front of the package, but reading the teeny tiny print on the nutrition label shows there are 2.5 servings per little package. One or two bites is a serving? If you didn't read the label, you are getting 250 calories and all that added fat, sugar, etc. you were not counting on. Moderation is the key to long time success. It isn't a die-it, it's a live-it. And just changing up our attitude, even subconsciously, makes a big difference! Don't say you are "cheating" or "denying" yourself a 'treat' ... that implies someone or something else is in control. Say instead you "choose" a different, healthier item instead of the fat and sugar filled one, or you "choose" to eat the treat later or you made the "choice" to only eat half a portion. That reinforces your brain and your thinking that YOU are in control. Continually using those positive words and thinking will help you be a healthier person with a better attitude and outlook on food and choices.

Sooooooooo interesting to read what works for different people. Rene,I am green with envy that you have been able to do without cheese and not miss it!! I tried but my experience was very different. I simply did not like a lot of healthy food items without cheese and didn't eat them hardly at all like salad and a variety of veggies, not good! I've learned to moderate the amount, use some reduced fat cheeses, and strong cheeses because I don't need as much to get the flavor of the cheese. My doc thinks this is a sensible and healthy approach so I've stuck with it and am losing. I am really working on the mental aspect of coming to terms with the fact that this is not a diet but a forever life change to be more healthy. I'm not there yet but still a work in progress. After 45 lbs lost, all my lab numbers are a great deal better so that is very encouraging to make this a permanent life style change. My doc just called this morning and told me I could quit taking two of the many meds I am on! Yahoo!!!

I love reading all these! I'm a nutritionist and find it helpful to hear some realistic problems we are running into. To avoid over-indulging, I try to drink a glass of water before every meal so I feel full more quickly. This also increases my energy I've noticed. I also have a healthy breakfast that consists at least one fruit to get my metabolism in check for the day.

If you're not into exercising try to get out for a simple walk to get fresh air. Even just 10 minutes! It makes SUCH a difference in your mood and confidence!

Isn't it cool, what tracking and paying attention can do? Once we determine, the foods that are tripping us up we can figure out how to deal. I love your approach of customizing what works best for you. I remember reading about a woman who was having a couple of beers each evening. It was a holdover habit from college. She didn't really care about the beer so much, so started having herb tea instead. If you really love the beer, light ones are a great substitute.

For me, smaller portions of the foods I love have been the solution. I went down the whole low fat no fat path back in the 80s and 90s and was never satisfied. I've become a food snob who would rather have a couple of spoonfuls or sliver of something really good, than a plateful of something that isn't. That being said, I'm happy to eat Nonfat Greek yogurt all day. I find it just as creamy and satisfying as the full fat kind.

Ok, I have to write. I started following you a few weeks back, and I have to be careful not to drink coffee while reading....I am afraid I will snort it out while lauging. You are witty, snarky, smart smart smart, and delightful to read. Plus you are helping us learn about nutrition. Its nice to find an intelligent food blogger. The comment about beer and cheese...that is why I had to write. I recently joined WW's and am down 30 lbs. It would be more if it wasn't for beer. It was nice to hear that other's deal with that too. Cheers!

This is great advice that I've tried myself this time around on WW. Less can be more--more healthfulness and more success at shedding pounds. My trick for trigger foods (when I can't avoid them) is to have a small bit first to savor. Often, it's all I need to get past the rest of it and run away!

I love this! It's fortunate I prefer light beer, but I do love me a good Shocktop as well, and unfortunately they have too many calories that I should be consuming! One of my favorites is Michelob Ultra, those are delicious and low calorie! :)

Weight Watchers, spin, running, and swimming are doing it for me! I am so full of joy right now -- I always had 'good legs,' even thighs, but gained in the MIDDLE. I had no idea how much until I lost it. I just looked 'solid,' I thought. "Oh, you're well proportioned' people would say (they just meant I had good legs!). Now somehow, with WW and the athleticness, I have lost about 25 pounds since January I bought a pair of size 8 jeans at the Gap. I just stood there staring in the mirror. Perplexed. Amazed! I feel my ribs! I said, 'honey, what's this bone up here?" He said, "Dear, I have that too. It's your xyphoid process." I am holding off another 10 pounds though before I get a cholesterol test done, though, see how much THAT went down! Thanks for being a part of it, SnackGirl!

For me, it's sticking with what I call my Four Healthy Habits: minimize liquid calories, watch portions, no after dinner nibbling, exercise

What's really upsetting is my mum lies about her weight, says she eats healthy but can't eat fruits/veggies because they "tear her insides up", and whenever I go into her room she always has a box of sweets laying around somewhere. And whenever I try to offer her some tasty vegan goodie, she ALWAYS refuses to even TRY it. Well I will note when I was on the CLIF bar kick, I got her to try a couple and she hated em, but I think that's more because she made up her mind before she even tried em(several different varieties)

I'd just be happy if she was honest with us and herself and quit lying. Okay, so she wants to eat crap and subject herself to a higher rate of disease? Then admit it, stop saying you're eating healthy when most of what you're eating is processed JUNK with hardly any greens.

*got off chest*

Does anyone have any advice? Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery- I know that myself, and while I've always been thin, I'm trying to eat less junk- a habit I developed when I was jobless- because it made me "feel good" when eating it, I got addicted.

Has anyone heard about the "wheat" belly? Wonder how much truth there is to this?

Weight watchers has been my miracle. I am with you I LOVE Beer..not just any beer..I am quite the beer snob(being married to a Dutchman will do that to you..especially after living in beer and bread EVER!! And having Belgium beer, you never will want anything out of the can ever again! I also LOVE cheese and very good bakery items, from petit fours to rustic artisan breads (that what happens when one used to be a baker and a restaurant critic) My thing that saved me was having my 'treat' day/s. Yes, sometimes it was a treat weekend. I love the point system, I get extra points all week as well as any exercising I do I get points. So I earn my treats. I keep the full fat cheese and full on awesome beers...I just have less of the better item, instead of more of the no so good item. I am better off with that, as I can't compromise on taste...but I can compromise on my portion. :)

Lisa, believe me it was like reading my thoughts! Wow, you are excellent. I have also narrowed my problem down to beer and cheese. Makes me sad just thinking about it. But on the bright side, I have taken active steps to cut cheese out of the food choices during the week. I do provide one dinner with cheese. This makes me happy in two ways, I am happy while I am eating cheese and I am happy because I haven't eaten cheese the rest of the week. Beer seems to be a little harder than cheese to cut out, who knew...By doing this, I and others have started seeing results, yeah! I guess everything is a balance in life after all. Thanks for sharing the post!

I've got to stop eating sweets, specifically chocolate chip cookies. What's your light version of those? I also need to stop diet coke. Please help.

I quit drinking soda all together.
I haven't had one in almost a year,
I also went coffee that was half decaf

so I don't have as much and I eat smaller meals

plus if I am really craving something

I get a small portion of it that way I don't binge later I've lost about 30 pounds im still

trying hard but I try to live by the saying if you goof up one day don't beat your self up try again another day

Another idea for an ice cream substitute is a smoothie! Use a frozen banana, some nut milk or coconut milk, a little natural peanut butter, and a dash of cocoa. You can adjust all ingredients to taste and add more or less milk to get the thickness you want. Just like a milkshake but better for you!

Do you all know about 3-2-1 cake?

Take a box of regular cake mix (any flavor) and a box of angel food cake mix. Find a container to keep it in and mix them thoroughly together. Now you're ready.

In a coffee mug...
3 tablespoons of your new mix
2 tablespoons of water
microwave for 1 minute in a cup

I add a few berries, a little cool whip or a few chocolate chips if I really want sugar.

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