Saying Good Bye to the Muffin Top

By Unite Fitness Retreat Nutritionist, Brooke Bouwhuis

That darn muffin top! Belly fat is some of the most dangerous and scary fat we have.  Belly fat and waist circumference is linked to heart disease, diabetes, increased cortisol(stress hormone that correlates to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes).

Tips on How to Begin to Lose the Muffin Top

Doing millions of sit ups won’t blast it away. Paying attention to what you eat is the most important step. Leaning out and losing weight starts with eating PILES of veggies.  Especially green leafy veggies at EVERY meal.

  • Spinach or kale in your protein green smoothie.  Sautéed with other veggies in your omelette, a heaping handful with your scrambled eggs or a frittata of salmon, eggs, onions and a mountain greens.


  • Lunch and dinner are easy peasy. Buy the tub or pillow of spinach because you can and will use it up. When you pull out a plate or bowl for your lunch or dinner the first thing that goes down is a handful of spinach, broccoli slaw or diced cabbage. EVERY single meal.  Enchiladas for lunch, oh yes! but atop a bed of greens. Paleo beef and broccoli for dinner, stacked on a mountain of spinach!  Every single meal doesn’t have to be a heaping salad (your dietitian wouldn’t complain though), but each meal on a foundation of greens to help you achieve your goals. Why all these greens? They fill you up with fiber, water, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. All things you need to help support your body to burn fat, lower inflammation and cinch your belt a little tighter.


  • Stay away from the sweets.  Sugar is everywhere we turn and in 75% of all packaged food at the grocery store. If it’s handed to you from a window, comes in a box or a crinkly wrapper with beautiful designs and words that pop, leave it!


  • Just say no to alcohol for the time being (and especially if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic). Gobs of calories that go down fast. Alcohol will lower you blood sugar and not in a positive way. Remember, your liver treats alcohol like a toxin and it works overtimes to get it out of your body as fast as possible. This lowers your blood sugar as glucose isn’t produced until the alcohol has been processed and eliminated.


  • Protein, protein, protein. The steadier your blood sugar is the more controlled your appetite, cravings and ultimately your weight will be. We are not talking Hulk-ish, Herculean quantities of protein either; 4-6 ounce servings with meals and making sure your snacks have protein as well. RxBars (whole real ingredients) for convenience and portability, string cheese or nuts with fruit; keep it simple, whole and real.


  • Don’t forget the importance of including fat in your diet. It keeps you full longer and is key to feeling satiated. When you are satiated and satisfied, it’s easier to stay away from the snacks and treats that fill that void – eating fat will help you lose weight.  Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil and coconut oil are healthy fats you need to include in your daily meals.


  • Now it’s time for exercise; Not only crunches, planks or knee raises but cardio to burn calories and build muscle. Think walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, boxing, barre and more.  Moving and stressing our muscles is what gets them to get bigger.  More muscle means more calories are burned, which gets you closer to your goals!

It’s hard to wrap our heads around a multifaceted approach but it’s the reality. Improving the way we eat and move will lead to clothes that fit better, belts that cinch tighter and energy levels to propel you to accomplish your goals!