11 March 2021 (updated)

Lose Your Muffin Top Without Losing a Pound!

There's nothing quite as humbling as the feeling of getting dressed in the morning, only to realize that your favorite pants don't zip. Yes, muffin top can happen to the best of us! Read on for some tips on how to win this battle of the bulge without diet or exercise!

What Is Muffin Top?

Sadly, these kinds of muffin tops are not a cute pastry optimizing your culinary experience! No, muffin top has its name for the roll of stomach flab that emerges around your midriff when you wear a pair of pants or a skirt that's just too tight. Muffin top does not discriminate by age or gender-- though you're more likely to hear of a beer belly when referring to a guy than muffin top for a woman.

A muffin top is most likely to pop out during holiday indulgences or times of stress. If you're looking for an article full of weight loss and exercise tips or HIIT workouts, or how to get rid of that spare tire around your midsection, you're not going to find it here! Instead, we've got some great strategies to embrace your body as-is: muffin top and all!

1. Make Sure You Own At Least One Comfortable Pair of Jeans and a Bra that Fit You Now.

I remember my friend giving me this advice after I had my third child and was still delusional about getting back to my pre-pregnancy body. Spoiler Alert: I haven't seen those numbers on my scale in over eleven years-- and that's okay. But sucking it up (or, in this case, letting it out) and buying bigger pants was a very freeing experience.

And yes, it might seem really silly, and we all know that size is only a number, but I definitely bought a new pair of jeans from a company I knew was great at vanity sizing-- The Gap. So even though the jeans definitely weren't the same size as the ones I had before, the label said they were, so no more muffin top!

Good-fitting lingerie is another great investment, and can easily make you look 10 lbs lighter. You might need a new bra with only a 5-10 pound weight gain, so get at least one you can wear now. It will make a huge difference in the way you look and feel in your clothes.

2.  Don't Hide Away in Overly Large or Stretchy Clothing

Technically this look might not cause a muffin top at the time, but if you're not paying attention, you might find yourself with a muffin top when you try to go back to wearing your regular clothing.

One winter I gained close to 10 lbs but was convinced my scale was broken since my clothes still fit. What I failed to realize was the crucial fact that my "Mommy Wardrobe" at the time consisted primarily of stretchy leggings and oversized tunics. So I could have easily gained or lost a good 50 lbs without having to buy new clothes. Friends-- learn from my mistakes! Wearing pajama-like clothes during the day is just not flattering on anybody, regardless of your weight.

Even though your favorite jeans from 5 or 10 lbs ago might give you a muffin top today, wearing shapeless clothes is not the answer, either! Instead, you can make a few little tweaks. Wear high-waisted pants (even better if they have a tummy panel) instead of low-rise jeans that let everything spill out. NYDJ and Gretchen Scott also sell great pull-on jeans, which can give you the feel of leggings, but they look like jeans.

3. Don't Try on Your Tightest Clothes-- They Will Give You a Muffin Top!

Genius advice, right? It can be hard when your weight is just a little bit heavier than usual and you just can't find anything to wear! But you won't be doing yourself any favors putting on that dress that was a little tight when you were 5 pounds lighter! Instead, focus on those outfits that are comfortable and make you feel great when you wear them now. If it makes you sad to see the ghosts of outfits past in your closet, but there's still a chance you can wear them well again, put them in storage for a little while. Then try on those favorite things when you know they'll make you feel and look your best. But until then:

4. Accentuate Your Best Features and Play to Your Strengths

Even if some of your things might not fit as well as you'd like, you can still look just as gorgeous. The simple trick is to draw the eye away from a bulging middle and towards the parts of you that are looking amazing right now.

Here are a few styling tips:

  • Invest in accessories- a great handbag, pair of shoes, or statement earrings will always fit! And they'll win you lots of compliments.
  • Get a good blazer or sweater- Whether it's from a thrift store or a boutique, a blazer, sweater, or overcoat brings extra definition and flair to your outfit. A blazer, in particular, adds structure to your outfit, while also covering up parts of your body that you might want others to overlook.
  • Know your colors-- and wear them! During a muffin top season, we tend to not want to draw attention to ourselves, and since black is a slimming color, there's a temptation to wear that exclusively. Some of us look stunning in black, so if that's you, then wear it with confidence! But many of us look better in more festive colors. And when we wear the colors that look best on us, people notice our overall outfit, and that we take pride in our appearance (in a good way, of course)! They won't notice our extra poundage.
  • Create cohesive outfits. As a general rule, wearing a solid column of color (no belts!) from top to bottom, especially if you pair that with a sweater, blazer, or jacket, is especially slimming. It creates a clean, cohesive line that makes you look slimmer. V-necks are often more figure-friendly than crew necks since they elongate your face/neck region, so go for those, too! Finish the look with a great accessory, and look and feel great!

6. Keep Your Mind in Check

Most of the time, we're all too focused on our own insecurities than noticing the excess flab on somebody else. And if we do notice that type of thing, it's often more a reflection on ourselves than the person who might look a little flabby.

So much of grappling with those extra few pounds isn't so much about how we look, because to other people, we pretty much look the same as we always have. According to a study by the Journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, it takes a weight gain of about 8-9 pounds before someone notices it in your face. So people really can't tell if you've put on a couple of pounds.

The real challenge of weight gain comes in the way we feel. So if we're focused on the positive, and embracing who we are here and now, rather than lamenting our past selves, we'll look better, too!

7. Take Care of Yourself

When we're feeling good about ourselves, we can minimize some of the extra stresses in life. So it's much easier to lose weight and rid ourselves of unwanted muffin top! There's so much more to being healthy than numbers on a scale. And often our improved emotional health leads us to make better eating choices, without even counting a calorie. We're focused more on the day at hand, rather than building muscles or getting in another cardio class.

So, even though it sounds cheesy, one of the best ways of ridding yourself of belly fat, toning your abs, and defining your muscle mass isn't another crash diet. It's making the most of who you are in your specific season of life.

As the holidays provide ample opportunities for food and family togetherness, focus more on enjoying the moment. Even if you still have a lingering muffin top after too many Christmas cookies, you'll be glad you did!

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