Do you know the ‘muffin top’?

Yes, the muffin top – yumm, you think: that delicious, flavorful topper, the pastry overflow, cascading down your warm, sweet, morning bun?  Well, of course, yumm….but guess again.   NB: and for you Seinfeld know-it-alls out there, it’s not about those muffin tops!

muffin_framboise_nibs.jpg

While playing catch up in a recent phone chat with a fellow mom-friend of mine, I came across an apt description of what many of us baby birthers (but not limited to) have come to live with: the Muffin Top.  Yes, the muffin top.  4notes.gif“Do you know the muffin top, the muffin top, the muffin top…he lives on top of your hips”.  Apparently the newest name given to that excess, bulging fat and floppy skin, oozing over from your trendy low rise, hip hugger pants is known to many as a ‘muffin top’!  Close your eyes, imagine…(or just lift up your shirt and look south). Yikes.

My funloving Australian friend had me in giggles when she described this nouveau body terminology – which I assume may be part of the daily jargon ‘Down Under’ – or it’s been around for a while and I just never knew that there was such an innocent a term for such a heinous a sight.  According to some bloggers out there, apparently the New York Daily News coined the term last summer muffintop.jpg(photo on left, courtesy of NYDN), for something many before us also referred to as the ‘spare tire’, afflicting both genders of society.  Sadly, we both admitted the horrid reality of this unsightly and vivid visual lurking beneath. 

But why are they so visible and noticeable now?  Is it a result of the new fashion trends, where pants and jeans are worn below the waist, coupled with body hugging mini T-shirts made of 2% cotton/98% spandex, which just refuse to stay down, rolling upwards and exposing the muffin top?  Would there even be a muffin top if we wore waisted clothing?  Or is it just accentuating a health concern which potentially afflicts many post-30, post-baby delivery women?  I know it has thrown me in an agonizing state off and on, until I finally felt I should try to get ‘fit’ again, time and effort permitting.  Motivating factor: primarily, to get rid of the ‘top’ and also to improve my long term cardiovascular health, which I’m sure was also going down-muffin, err, hill as I aged.

My first thought on trying to get rid of of that horrible visual, was to do ab work, sit ups, crunches, leg lifts, pilates – you name it.  All of that does help, naturally. But after starting a short one hour (better than nothing) weekly workout at a no frills, home grown, ‘Mom’s Gym’, as it is called, I learned from the instructors that while toning is key, the more important thing is to actually burn the fat away, and cardio workouts are the main ingredient for that. 

Apparently, according to the medical experts, women tend to have more fat bulges on their sides as that is where fat cells tend to mutate because of the estrogen levels in womens’ bodies.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), elevated waist circumference equal to or greater than 35 inches is one of three components which characterize something called Metabolic Syndrome.  While men are more likely to have heart attacks, the risk for women increases with age – where more than 60% of total stroke deaths occur in women.  The AHA reports that:

Nearly twice as many women in the United States die of heart disease and stroke as from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

The American Heart Association has identified several factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. The more risk factors a woman has, the greater her risk of a heart attack or stroke. Some of these risk factors you can’t control, such as increasing age, family health history, and race and gender. But you can modify, treat or control most risk factors to lower your risk.

Some illuminating and grim statistics to think about:

From the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Link to article: The Heart Truth About Heart Disease and Risk Factors

  • Heart disease is the # 1 killer of American women.
  • 1 in every 3 women dies of heart disease, 1 in 30 dies from breast cancer.
  • Nearly two-thirds of American women who die suddenly of a heart attack had no prior symptoms.
  • Americans can lower their risk of heart disease by as much as 82% just by leading a healthy lifestyle.

From the American Heart Association

Link to article: Go Red Lifestyle: Take Control

  • 1 in 5 females in the U.S. have some form of heart disease.
  • A woman dies from heart disease every 34 seconds.
  • African-American and Mexican-American women have higher heart disease and stroke risk factors than white women of comparable socioeconomic status.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in minority women in the U.S. is among the highest in the world.
  • Coronary heart disease rates in women after menopause are 2-3 times those of women the same age before menopause.
  • Heart disease claims more women’s lives than the next 8 causes of deaths combined . . . including breast cancer.
  • Most women begin to develop heart disease at a very young age.
  • Over 35% of American women are overweight.
  • Over 25% of American women smoke.

-::-::-::-

Going back to the Metabolic Syndrome as cause for excess fat showcasing, medical experts site numerous other factors in addition to abdominal obesity or excess waist circumference.  Elevated blood pressure, insulin resistence (type 2 diabetes), elevated triglycerides and physical inactivity (along with a long list of other risk factors) are causes for individuals at risk for metabolic syndrome, a clustor of these diseases leading to cardiovascular disease which again is the No. 1 killer in women.

According to Melyssa St. Michael, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and author of “Becoming a Personal Trainer for Dummies”,

Exercise can help. Cardiovascular exercise works best, raising your heart and metabolic rate and, in turn, whittling away at the wobble.

A lot of people believe if they do a whole bunch of crunches they’ll slim down the midsection. While crunches will make the midsection strong, they will not burn body fat around your midsection.

Instead, she says, you need to burn the fat through cardiovascular exercise that keeps your heart rate elevated by 60 percent for 45 minutes three to four times a week.

So, my fellow muffin toppers, it seems like hard work and good old fashioned sweat is the sure fire way to help shrink the spill-over factor and ensure that you will still be around for your child’s college graduation. Or, you could just go and purchase the good old jeans we wore in the ’90s – the ones which still had a waist band!

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4 Comments »

  1. Shirley said

    Would you believe my dear friend bought me a muffin pan that only bakes the tops–really shallow. A deadly thing to have around–they’re just too good.

    Your site is intriguing and quite informative. Thank you.

    Think you’ll like mine, too.

    Blessings,

    Shirley

  2. Thank you for coming by my site and leaving a comment.

    Celebrate with me: This morning, I had my 1000th hit!

    Shirley

  3. Shirley said

    Hello again.

    Important new post on my site.

    A blessed Easter.

    Shirley

  4. JDP said

    If it doesn’t work out just get your boyfriend or husband the t-shirt that says “I love your muffin top!”

    Good Luck!

    Regards,
    JDP
    http://www.twistedvintageshopping.com

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