4

votes

Tips on losing the muffin top?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 07, 2012 at 2:18 PM

I've been about 90% paleo for a year now - only cheats come in the form of 1 meal on Sundays. I don't eat sugar, drink copious amounts of water, and participate in CrossFit 3-4 times per week.

My body has significantly leaned out, but the female-minded body conscious person in me is just so tired of the dang muffin top that wont go away! It's very minimal, but I certainly notice it.

Are there any specific paleo recommendations that I should eat/avoid in order to tackle this extra flab around the middle?

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 05, 2012
at 08:53 AM

Wow. That's made me feel better about my own muffin top and I'm a 6ft2 hairy man.

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:18 AM

To quote Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own - "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." Credit where due, someone posted this on T-Nation the other day. I had forgotten what a great dialogue this is. http://youtu.be/GOdAbjebs-g

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Nope don't have kids. And that worries me! I know its harder once you have them and if i'm struggling this much now, i know it will be a lot harder once i have the little ones! Or at least that's what i'm scaring myself about :)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:55 PM

For some, the gut irritation from wheat causes swelling in the belly (hence the "Wheat Belly" concept), as your immune system ramps up fluid in the area to fight the invasion. So it might be lymphatic fluid, rather than fat. In people with a strong sensitivity it can take just a small exposure once a month to bring about the swelling. I've also noticed for myself that trying to digest meal-sized quantities of fresh produce seems to induce more of a bloat than if I lean towards mainly pastured meat and a small side of cooked or fermented veggies as being the basis of most meals.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on February 07, 2012
at 05:01 PM

You are my kindred spirit. Can't stop the cheese. I've finally stopped melting a couple slices on a plate every night and eating it with parmesan.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:50 PM

Ditto this -- I only eat fruits occasionally and only in season.

Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

(1579)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:30 PM

You may not be eating enough. A cheat meal isn't a big deal and probably keeps you on track the rest of the week, but start tracking your calories. Often if they aren't high enough the body will hang onto fat for dear life and it's usually around the mid section.

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:17 PM

DNO - I find that eating clean all of the time makes it easier for me to avoid "cheating". With frequent cheat meals you are constantly either heading into a cheat or coming out of and recovering from a cheat. Just not worth it to me. If I feel really hungry and if I have been restricting for awhile, I will eat more of the foods that I normally eat (paleo) and that's my "cheat". Good luck with it. You will be muffin top free this summer!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:12 PM

My comment wasn't to suggest it was the one burger bun a week. It was questioning whether that was a realistically all she was cheating with. Seems to me if that was it she might not have this issue. I know for myself I thought I was being super strict until I kept a food journal and realized I wasn't quite as strict as I thought.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Good idea about cutting back on the fruit. I do eat about 2 cups of fruit a day. Bet I could live without it! Thanks.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Thanks, Missi, one of the reasons i'm glad I found this site. While I've been paleo for a while, there is plenty of information i'm missing knowledge on - like the wheat! Yeah, only a little fat left to loose, guess i'm just going to suck it up! :) Thanks for your response.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:03 PM

One burger bun a week, though. GEEZ. It's not like she's pounding a bag of Doritos and a 20 oz coke. I think we also need to be realistic that women's bodies really want to hold on to that little bit of belly fat, and that shaming women into better compliance isn't the way to go. There's some gray area there.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Enjoy the burger with your hubby, just leave off the bun! Wheat is probably the worst especially for muffin top. I only lose when I'm strictly not "cheating", especially when we don't have that much left to go. Sometimes that sucks, my husband isn't Paleo either, but think of it this way at least Paleo is otherwise a great way of eating, lots of good foods, not difficult.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Breakfast - Apple, Hard Boiled Eggs Snack - Carrots, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Other Veggies, Almonds Lunch - Spinach Salad with Chicken or Pork, Balsalmic Vinegar Dressing Dinner - Fish, Grass-fed Beef, Chicken, or Pork with Vegetables on the side.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Thanks, Sophie, this is something i'll definitely look into.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 02:37 PM

For example - my cheat on Sunday was a buffalo burger with a wheat bun. Yeah, I certainly try. I need to step up the will power. Problem is my hubby does not eat paleo so I am constantly dealing with temptations. I've been able to change most of my views of what is "good" to me, but there's still a little birdie that occasionally sits on my shoulder telling me I want the "sinful" foods :)

Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on February 07, 2012
at 02:31 PM

what DO you eat?

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11 Answers

11
166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:10 PM

Sometimes I find comments on here to be a bit like those on a vegan forum: "Try harder! You're fat because you eat one burger bun a week!!" when that likely isn't the issue- or at least not the only one.
Recently I've been getting into Leangains, which I always thought was too extreme and obsessive before. Apart from the idea of fuelling your muscles post workout and draining your fat stores at all other times, the part that really struck a chord was measuring calories and macro ratios. I just completely ignored them when I went paleo, thinking I didn't have to worry, and didn't realise I was eating an awful lot of fat, which is easy as it's so palatable and not very satiating by itself. Another thing is that weight round he middle is often linked to stress and high cortisol, so it could be that-- and intense exercise, eg crossfit, that is causing it. Perhaps take a look at your calories and macros. It's not always carbs and it's not always that weekly cheat.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:14 PM

Thanks, Sophie, this is something i'll definitely look into.

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on February 08, 2012
at 01:18 AM

To quote Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own - "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." Credit where due, someone posted this on T-Nation the other day. I had forgotten what a great dialogue this is. http://youtu.be/GOdAbjebs-g

9
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 07, 2012
at 07:23 PM

By muffin top, do you mean you have weight centered in the middle of your stomach? If you are describing lower-stomach weight (the kind that starts at the belly button or just below) and it is a separate, distinct fat pad, this is actually a pretty healthy little resource your body is keeping for baby-making. Like the weight on your hips, inner thighs, and breast, the lower-stomach fat pad (plus pubic fat pad, which is actually distinct from the stomach) is a useful source for not only supporting a pregnancy, but supporting the demands of breast feeding post-birth. If anything, the fact that your body just "won't let it go away" is probably a tribute to how healthy you are. It sounds like you are in great shape, and if you describe it as "very minimal" as you described, it probably is not noticeable to anyone else but you!

I have always had a lower stomach fat pad (along with what my mom describes as "proper woman hips, why do you think I have 15 aunts and uncles, can't survive the famine without them hips"), and only lost that little fat pad once (for a single month, haha)- during a time when I was rowing varsity and had been without my period for almost a year. That's what it took for it to "drop off", and believe me it was not healthy! I think it is better to just learn to like your body the way it is, and appreciate how much health you have.

Of course, if you have an upper-stomach muffin top (around your waist between your ribs and belly button area), then everything I said is not relevant.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 05, 2012
at 08:53 AM

Wow. That's made me feel better about my own muffin top and I'm a 6ft2 hairy man.

8
Fc891327db916c10347b008acde0daca

(1022)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:15 PM

What works good for me:

IF by skipping breakfast

Workout fasted (For me: training in the morning (Kettlebells), and eating Lunch about 2-3 hours later)

Relatively Low Carb, only a handful of Blueberries in Cream/Coconut Cream/Greek Yogurt in the evening

Moderate Fat, high Protein

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:29 PM

Meat-only (with just enough carbs to fuel activity) helps me to drop body fat FAST. Basically, you burn your body fat stores as your fat source.

This seems to work best after nutrient stores are replenished, so I don't recommend it until you've been Paleo/Primal without cheats for about 3 months. Get your Vitamin D, Magnesium & Zinc dialed in.

I'm 49, 5'6" 125 lbs

5
1d1738cf2e03d99b2aaeec2813c4669f

(204)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:46 PM

I have the same problem and also know the solution for me. My cheats are primal baked goods. I love almond flour cookies, homemade primal ice cream, etc. They are delicious, almost zero carbs, however I found that I keep weight on like woah. Same if I eat nuts and cheese. If I stop eating those things I lean up with in a few weeks to a month. My problem is that with nuts and cheese, I can't just eat a little. I want to eat the entire thing... and it shows.

7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on February 07, 2012
at 05:01 PM

You are my kindred spirit. Can't stop the cheese. I've finally stopped melting a couple slices on a plate every night and eating it with parmesan.

4
9009ca1e4adfd82d19103c11611ba03b

on February 07, 2012
at 03:39 PM

I found that by really limiting all fruits my mid-section leaned out a lot. And I definitely don't do cheat days ... maybe a meal where I have some gluten-free grains or a glass of wine but only one meal per week or two.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

(4238)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:50 PM

Ditto this -- I only eat fruits occasionally and only in season.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:10 PM

Good idea about cutting back on the fruit. I do eat about 2 cups of fruit a day. Bet I could live without it! Thanks.

3
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:28 PM

If you look around at middle-aged ladies, fat around the mid-section is definitely a female trend. I'm not saying it's good, I think it's unhealthy, but it does seem to be our natural weakness.

On cheating, I don't blame you at all for wanting to splurge once a week but how about this--try to come up with a weekly or every-2-weeks small paleo treat you love and reserve non-paleo cheating for the major holidays that occur every few months. In my case, even the holiday treats have to be non-wheat but other than that I've found I can have what I want on holidays without going backward in my fat-loss efforts.

I usually get an urge for a splurge about every 2-3 weeks. On Super Sunday I did this: I took 2 squares of a 100% choc bar and smeared them very thinly with local honey (probably a total 1/4 tsp) and then put 3 raw pecan halves onto the honey. Now, if you aren't casually eating chocolate or nuts on a daily basis, which I don't, that really tasted like a candy bar and was a fabulous treat yet it was totally okay within my rules. The less often you splurge the more exciting and wonderful your splurges will taste so I go very fundamental on the average day.

BTW, health-wise you are already in great shape if you have only a little extra fat so relax and enjoy that and, by cheating a little less often and perhaps making sure you are well rested, maybe just maybe that last little bit of fat will get bored and leave.

2
193b7fb0fec8913d5ebb3b99a04d21c6

(2918)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:12 PM

Do you have kids? Before I had kids I gained weight in my thighs but after, all of my weight gain seems focused right around my midsection - lovely.

I think the muffin top is a female thing. Sophie had some excellent points about how it might not entirely be diet. I agree that eating 1 burger bun a week isn't going to make you a muffin top, so it could be other factors.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:59 PM

Nope don't have kids. And that worries me! I know its harder once you have them and if i'm struggling this much now, i know it will be a lot harder once i have the little ones! Or at least that's what i'm scaring myself about :)

2
A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

on February 07, 2012
at 02:29 PM

Would you consider no longer cheating on Sundays? What constitutes the cheat meal? My recommendation would be to remain strict seven days per week and reducing the frequency of "cheating". Perhaps not what you want to hear. I "cheated" for the first time in two months on Super Bowl Sunday. I had a cheesy potato caserole thing and some cheesy dip with tortilla chips. Frankly, it wasn't worth it - made me feel bad and wrecked my weight training and energy level on Monday morning. Right now you're taking six steps forward and one step backward. Maybe try going 30 days with zero cheating?

A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

(2053)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:17 PM

DNO - I find that eating clean all of the time makes it easier for me to avoid "cheating". With frequent cheat meals you are constantly either heading into a cheat or coming out of and recovering from a cheat. Just not worth it to me. If I feel really hungry and if I have been restricting for awhile, I will eat more of the foods that I normally eat (paleo) and that's my "cheat". Good luck with it. You will be muffin top free this summer!

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:16 PM

Enjoy the burger with your hubby, just leave off the bun! Wheat is probably the worst especially for muffin top. I only lose when I'm strictly not "cheating", especially when we don't have that much left to go. Sometimes that sucks, my husband isn't Paleo either, but think of it this way at least Paleo is otherwise a great way of eating, lots of good foods, not difficult.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 02:37 PM

For example - my cheat on Sunday was a buffalo burger with a wheat bun. Yeah, I certainly try. I need to step up the will power. Problem is my hubby does not eat paleo so I am constantly dealing with temptations. I've been able to change most of my views of what is "good" to me, but there's still a little birdie that occasionally sits on my shoulder telling me I want the "sinful" foods :)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 07, 2012
at 05:55 PM

For some, the gut irritation from wheat causes swelling in the belly (hence the "Wheat Belly" concept), as your immune system ramps up fluid in the area to fight the invasion. So it might be lymphatic fluid, rather than fat. In people with a strong sensitivity it can take just a small exposure once a month to bring about the swelling. I've also noticed for myself that trying to digest meal-sized quantities of fresh produce seems to induce more of a bloat than if I lean towards mainly pastured meat and a small side of cooked or fermented veggies as being the basis of most meals.

Ebcbbdcb8b727e69e06eaa102d49a84c

(1804)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:08 PM

Thanks, Missi, one of the reasons i'm glad I found this site. While I've been paleo for a while, there is plenty of information i'm missing knowledge on - like the wheat! Yeah, only a little fat left to loose, guess i'm just going to suck it up! :) Thanks for your response.

1
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 07, 2012
at 03:01 PM

I don't mean to be harsh, but I think you need to evaluate how badly you want this vs. how badly you want to cheat or eat "sinful" foods as you call them. I tend to find that people that claim to cheat only once a week aren't actually as compliant as they think they are. Also you say you're 90% paleo, what makes up that 10% and are you willing to try and do better? I would recommend keeping a food journal so you can objectively assess you level of commitment, and so you will know what you're actually giving up to attain your goals. One meal a week is easy, but if you're unknowingly cheating a few more times a week it would be helpful to know.

Sorry to say, but I think the specific recommendation is "suck it up and try harder." :) I get that it's hard, but my life seems to be a continual discovery of the fact that nothing worth doing is easy.

You also might want to look into Dr. K's leptin reset, or some IFing.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:03 PM

One burger bun a week, though. GEEZ. It's not like she's pounding a bag of Doritos and a 20 oz coke. I think we also need to be realistic that women's bodies really want to hold on to that little bit of belly fat, and that shaming women into better compliance isn't the way to go. There's some gray area there.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 07, 2012
at 04:12 PM

My comment wasn't to suggest it was the one burger bun a week. It was questioning whether that was a realistically all she was cheating with. Seems to me if that was it she might not have this issue. I know for myself I thought I was being super strict until I kept a food journal and realized I wasn't quite as strict as I thought.

-1
01d19dd69710054ad977b71bc02f0739

on September 04, 2012
at 10:23 PM

go on a diet, eat high protein foods, more vegetables, exercise at least 2-4 times a week or more or less,eat more fruits and yogurts for breakfast with a little of oats on top, and last NO JUNK!!

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