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Part 1 What Is the Problem?

article by: Dr Michael Colgan 30 March 2015

To correct the muffin top we get mostly women over 30 who have had children. The muffin and pooch affect 40% of all women after childbirth (1). This series is directed to them. (Men have the same problem but tend to rationalize their “love handles” and pot, and seldom seek specific correction.)

Most of our cases have unsuccessfully tried various exercise and diet routines. One woman came to us recently with muffin and pooch swelling her waist by about 5 inches. She had done a year of exercise, including 36 “muffin top” sessions with a trainer at $40 a session, plus workouts on her own. In her own words, “I lost one-and-a-half inches round my waist. That’s dismal. $1000 an inch.”

Not surprising, because about 90% of programs we see on the net, show woeful ignorance of the way human physiology works. Look at yourself in the mirror. Your body is a superb instrument, by far the most complex and malleable instrument we know, just waiting for the right information to show you its power to change.

There are several problems going on in most women we see. Many have had years of horrible nutrition emphasizing sugar, especially HFCS, or yo-yo dieting, which has filled their belly inside with visceral fat and loaded their hips with fat (2). The invisible but hard-to-lose visceral fat adds to the surface fat and expands the waist every which way, making both muffin and pooch stick right out. Fortunately, the right nutrition and exercise can fix it good.

Many also have a diastasis recti from pregnancy (a stretched gap in the valley of connective tissue between one side of the ab heads and the other. The connective tissue is very difficult to correct.( But, fortunately, just behind the ab heads lies the corset muscle of the waist, called the transversus. Being a muscle it is easy to correct – provided you know how it works, and do the right exercises.

Some women have also had cesarean sections never corrected after surgery. (The usual wrapping and rehab is largely ineffective). Often they have developed a flap hanging from their muffin that usual dieting and exercise will not correct. Don’t despair, I will tell you the most effective solutions.

Some women wanting to lose the muffin, have all three problems together; surface and visceral fat, diastasis, and caesarean flap. All can be fixed, permanently, provided they realize it will take about one year, and are prepared to work consistently during that time.

Muscle cells take about 28 weeks to turn over. No matter how hard you try, the cells you have now can perform only up to the level of the conditions under which you created them. Cell turnover cannot be hurried.

Consider it this way. A neglected houseplant droops with straggly stems and wrinkled leaves. But, given consistent water, nutrients, and a little exposure to the sun and breeze, within months, all that degraded plant flesh will die off and be replaced by new, sprightly stems and leaves. These new plant “muscles” then need only minimum care.

Your body is exactly the same. You have to apply a new nutrition and exercise program correctly targeted to the muffin and pooch, in order to grow the new muscle you need to trim your waist. Once you have it, just like the houseplant, it will stay blooming with minimum care.

Nutrition to lose the muffin is very complex. That’s why none of the calories in-calories out programs work worth a damn. But once you start to understand the insulin pendulum, and which particular foods can control it, and when to take them, visceral and surface fat, and a lot of the adipose cells that contain them, will slowly slough off. Our minimum program is 30 weeks, and we seldom have a failure.

Although nutrition and exercise form an essential part of every solution, some diastases and caesarean flaps are correctable only with adjunctive surgery (3). I will explain the pros and cons and show you the latest science of the best procedures. There are very few cases where the right exercise, nutrition, and surgery, have failed to provide a solution. The human body is a miracle of powerful design, just waiting for the right stimulation.

In Part 2 of this series, I will cover the right nutrition to persuade your muffin it’s time to go.

1. Fernandes da Mota PG, et al. Prevalence and risk factors of diastasis recti abdominis from late pregnancy to 6 months postpartum, and relationship with lumbo-pelvic pain. Man Ther. 2015 Feb;20(1):200-5. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2014.09.002.
2. Basaranoglu M Fructose as a key player in the development of fatty liver disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Feb 28;19(8):1166-72. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i8.1166.
3. Parvizi D A Multiple Regression Analysis of Postoperative Complications After Body-Contouring Surgery: a Retrospective Analysis of 205 Patients. Obes Surg. 2015 Jan 23. [Epub ahead of print]

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