How to ditch your muffin top: 7 essential tips

As women get older, particularly leading up to the menopause, the weight around the middle can become increasingly difficult to shift. 

It is no secret women tend to lay down more fat than men in certain areas and the dreaded muffin top is always a bone of contention. 

Nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top secret tips on how to eliminate the bulge and become a healthier, fitter, and slimmer you. 

Nutritionist Sarah Flower explains why it is so hard to get rid of midriff fat


Sugar is in almost all processed foods, so we should be particularly wary when consuming them in excess. 

A diet high in sugar can have devastating consequences on our weight, as sugar is converted into glucose and pushed into our blood to be stored in our liver or muscle as glycogen. 

Any remaining stores are pushed into our fat cells, often straight to our muffin top! 

Sugar consumption not only causes an insulin response, it also causes hormone imbalances, and can affect our ghrelin, leptin, and even cortisol production. 

Ghrelin is a hormone which sits in our stomach and when stimulated, makes us feel hungry and unsatisfied. 

On top of this, when consuming excess sugar our leptin response is shut off or slowed down, meaning we miss the signals of feeling full. 

Recent research has also found that a consumption of pure fructose, such as in fruit juice, shuts off our leptin response. 

Added sugars creep into so many foods and drinks without us realizing 

Although fruit is full of antioxidants and an essential element of a healthy diet, always consume your fruit in its whole form as the additional fibre slows down the digestion. 

Opt for the lowest fructose fruits such as berries, which are packed with phytonutrients.

View fruit as nature’s candy and eat as a treat only.


When we are stressed our bodies produce more of the hormone cortisol. 

This in turn can make us more prone to weight gain, heart disease, and even diabetes. 

We all lead stressful lives, and when we have a family to consider we often end up putting everyone first, leaving little time for ourselves. 

It is vital to find at least 15 minutes a day to de-stress. 

Whether it be going for a walk, or breathing in the fresh air and allowing your stress to evaporate. 

You may prefer to read a book or just relax in a bath. 

Whatever you opt for, ensure you are away from computer screens, mobile phones, and distractions, creating your own ‘time out’.


Sleep deprivation can upset your natural hormone levels, including Ghrelin; which stimulates appetite, particularly for carb-rich and sugary foods. 

At the same time, our leptin response falls, meaning our brain does not receive the message that we are full, and as a result, we are constantly hungry and will subsequently eat more. 

Research has indicated this as a reason why shift workers find it so hard to maintain a healthy weight. 

If you have trouble sleeping, try to relax beforehand by reading a book or having a hot bath. 

Avoid caffeine and ensure your bedroom is a screen-free room. Lights, particularly those omitted by screens, can reduce your melatonin production, making it harder for you to fall asleep. 

Magnesium is also worth considering as it is a fantastic muscle relaxer. 

Opt for a magnesium citrate supplement or soak in an Epson salt bath. 

Alternatively, balance your hunger hormones with a supplement, such as Slim-Nite from Power Health (available to buy from £11.39) which uses amino acids to regulate hormones affecting appetite and weight.


Moderate exercise can not only help tone your body, but also help to increase your respiratory rate and pump feel good endorphins, making you feel more energized and positive whilst also helping to balance hormones. 

Core workouts will tone you up – and blast hunger pangs by giving you energy

If you want to target the muffin top, focus on abdominal crunches, oblique twists, and leg raises. 

Strengthen legs and bum by incorporating squats into the workout, and don’t forget to introduce some weights which will speed up the toning process.


Good posture relies on good core strength, and can help to make you look leaner and tone the core muscles. 

If you are not sure how to maintain good posture, try a Pilates class, where the focus is on building core strength and improving posture, as well as toning muscle. 

Pilates is a low impact exercise making it suitable for all ages and abilities.


In the diet world, fat has long been demonized, however a diet rich in natural fats can actually aid weight loss whilst also having massive health benefits. 

Carbohydrates have half the calories of fat, making us steer clear of fats, especially healthy fats, which fill us up, plump up our skin and have a major role to play in almost every part of our metabolism. 

Eating a diet rich in natural fats, free from sugars and refined carbohydrates, with moderate protein choices, can help you feel fuller for longer as well as regulate your blood sugar and therefore insulin response. 

Opt for good fats such as oily fish, grass-fed meats, avocados, nuts, seeds, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.


We can often confuse being thirsty for hunger pangs. 

Drinking plenty of water will not only help combat dehydration, but also help detoxify your body, clearing any debris from our cells and flushing them out of the body. 

Water can also be the key to weight loss as a hydrated body can burn fat and metabolize faster.