Wednesday 22 January 2020

Weight Loss: How to melt your muffin top

Damien Maher

Are you ready to reveal your belly to the world this summer?

Last week, we looked at the lives of two entrepreneurs, both accountants in their late 40s.

Tony, you might remember, was living a daily routine of chaos, no time for exercise and lunch was for wimps. His friend Peter, meanwhile, was taking a totally different approach to his health, his personal life and his business. He was building a strong physical foundation because he recognised that by prioritising his health, his career and his family would also benefit.

Tony's wife Jane, also in her 40s, overheard that Peter was attending a personal trainer and she decided to take that step too. She wanted to keep it a secret, though, from her husband as she felt he would most likely disapprove.

I reassured her that this situation was common. Tony was probably feeling that change for Jane would possibly mean change for him, in the foods he would eat, her inevitable growing in confidence and the increased pressure it would exert on him to change his lifestyle.

Jane told me of the impending holiday to Quinta Do Lago in Portugal that was planned for June -- she was dreading it. The stress of revealing her belly to the world was causing her sleepless nights.

She felt she never really regained her muscle tone since she had her boys -- 17 years and 13 years ago respectively.

Jane had an overlay of belly fat bursting over the edge of her jeans, or in other words -- a muffin top.

Jane's waist size should be 70pc of her hip size. In fact it was 85pc, which doesn't seem like a big difference but it means that she is now nine times more likely to get diabetes.

She was confused too about why she stored all her body fat in her middle. No fat legs, no fat bum -- just the belly and the muffin top.

I explained that stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol, which changes the way we feel about ourselves. This often causes us to reach for foods that make us feel better temporarily, but which in turn transform to sugar and subsequently take up residence on our hips and our bellies.

Jane needs to remove processed carbohydrates from her diet -- cereals, bread, pastas and biscuits -- and stick to carbohydrates like green vegetables and foods like peppers, carrots, onions, sweet potato and rice.

We also discovered that she was magnesium deficient. Magnesium is important because it enables the body to get energy into the cells that may be insulin resistant.

She agreed to take 3g of omega 3 with each meal to help reduce her cortisol, improve her mood and to further increase her insulin sensitivity.

I told her to only eat foods below 50 on the glycemic index (GI). The other foods I told Jane to avoid were high insulin-loading foods like dairy products.

They may have a low GI but they are high on an insulin load. Insulin load, also known as a glycemic load, was a better measuring point than the glycemic index.

A carrot is high on a glycemic index but the insulin load is very small.

Health & Living

Editors Choice

Also in Life