Even when you're trying to lose weight, the lower abdominal area is often one of the hardest places to slim down. As a result, the extra fat in this area could bulge over your pants, creating what many refer to as a "muffin top" or "love handles." If you're having trouble shedding pounds in this particular region, consider the following tips which are focused on losing fat in this problem area.
1. Do Plenty of Cardio
Burning excess calories is always a good idea when you're looking to lose weight, but doing cardio exercises like kick boxing, swimming laps, or spinning can really focus on problem areas like the muffin top. While you're at it, focus on doing shorter, high intensity exercises rather than longer, moderate exercise like jogging. Workouts like high intensity interval training are great because the bursts of intensity are better for burning fat fast.
2. Work Your Abs
It's a no-brainer that working your abs should be on the top of your list of exercises to do when you want to get rid of a muffin top. Combine basic crunches with other ab-centric exercises like the plank, where you lie down in a push-up like position with your lower arms flat on the floor holding you up for 30 seconds at a time. These exercises will help define your lower stomach and cut down the excess fat in that area.
3. Work Your Sides
Many people focus on strengthening their abs and back but forget to exercise the muscles on their sides as well. Help tone up your waistline by doing exercises that work those muscles on either side of your muffin top. One example is a simple leg lift. Lie on your side with both legs outstretched. Raise and lower the top leg, keeping it straight throughout. Flip over on the opposite side to work your other leg.
4. Avoid Sodium
You should be already by eating a healthy diet if you're trying to lose weight, but focus on avoiding sodium specifically. Excess sodium results in water retention and gas, which will leave your lower abdominal section bloated. Try to eat more whole, raw foods since processed foods often have a lot of sodium. You can also take an over-the-counter medication like Beano to prevent bloating and gas.
5. Avoid Refined Carbs
Refined carbs contain excess sugar that will raise your insulin levels. This, in turn, increases your appetite and makes it easier for your body to store fat. Opt for whole grains instead of foods with white sugars and other processed carbs. You can get a much healthier sugar fix from fruits instead.
6. Eat Proteins
Because protein helps to increase your sensitivity to insulin, it keeps your body from digesting foods too quickly. That means that less fat will be stored in your muffin top area. Meanwhile, it also helps to stimulate your metabolism and keep you from getting hungry too often throughout the day.
7. Reduce Stress
According to Web MD, a stress hormone called cortisol is often stored in the pelvic area, creating a bloated look in the muffin top region. Cut down on your stress by meditating, slimming down an overly busy schedule, or simply finding time for yourself for a few minutes each day. Try not to relax with a beer or a glass of wine too often since excessive alcohol intake contributes to storage of fat in the belly area. In the end, you'll feel and look better in no time.
8. Correct Your Posture
Having bad posture only makes your muffin top look worse. Focus on keeping your back straight throughout the day. This will also work your core abdominal muscles, which will, in turn, help define your abs and reduce the muffin top look. Meanwhile, sitting up straight will reduce the extent to which your excess fat protrudes over the top of your pants to create a muffin top.
9. Wear the Right Clothes
Help draw attention away from your muffin top by wearing loose fitting tops and pants that aren't too snug around the waist. Avoid low-rise jeans that can accentuate the look of a muffin top. Opt for pants with a higher waist, which can help conceal the excess fat in that area instead. You can also look for body slimming shapewear, like Spanx, which are made to conceal problem areas like the muffin top and can be worn discreetly under your regular clothes.
10. Get Surgery
Some people resort to tummy tucks and other slimming plastic surgeries in order to lose the excess fat in their lower abdominal region. However, this requires much more risk than many of the tips listed above, so be sure to ask a doctor if you are thinking about having surgery to eliminate excess fat.