Summer is here, and, for many, it’s an opportunity to show off the results of their hard work in the gym over the last number of months.

In winter you can hide your food indiscretions under layers of clothing, but hot weather brings added pressure to expose more flesh. Many dare not to bare because to do so would mean revealing their unsightly muffin top.

A muffin top is when a layer of fat hangs over the waistband of your jeans similar to the way a muffin would overflow from a bun case if the chef had put too many ingredients into it.

Grains

As work schedules get busier, the average person skips breakfast, grabs a latte en route to work, and has a mid-morning snack of biscuits, so it’s no wonder the muffin top is so prevalent.

Processed foods, low in nutrients, have been modified and changed from their original state so that they can last longer on the supermarket shelves, not to give you health and vitality.

If you want to be lean, you may think twice about ingesting grains. Farmers have found that grains are an effective method of fattening up cows for market.

Cows are sold by their weight, not body-fat percentage, and if grains can fatten up a cow (with four stomachs for digestion), it will do a tremendous job of fattening up your only one.

Grains are broken down to make bread and if you were to soak a slice of processed bread under a tap, squeeze it and throw it against a wall, it would stick like glue. Try it.

The experiment will help you understand why you feel bloated, have digestive issues and are the not-so-proud owner of your very own muffin top.

White flour and white sugar have been referred to as ‘anti-nutrients’ in that they take more nutrients from your body in digesting them than you actually receive from eating them.

Love handles

Muffin tops are equally distributed among men and women. The only difference is that men affectionately call the extra layers of fat hanging over their jeans ‘love handles’! There isn’t much to love when you realise that fat stores toxins and the bigger your love handles, the bigger your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

Excessive carbohydrate consumption, with the exclusion of fresh vegetables and some fruits, raises our blood sugar quickly. The pancreas secretes insulin in an attempt to bring these blood sugar levels back down.

Insulin acts like a postman and it takes the blood sugar and delivers it to our muscles. If you have been inactive, there is no need for your muscles to accept the mail and so the post will be redirected to your fat cells at your love handles.

This leads to low blood sugar levels, which manifest as low energy and mood swings.

The body then craves more sugary carbohydrates to raise our energy and our blood sugar and so we eat carbohydrates once again as the roller-coaster continues.

There was a time when fresh food was prepared and cooked in the kitchen and subsequently served at the dinner table. Food scientists in laboratories are your chefs of today and their goal is to manipulate your taste buds and, more importantly, the control centres of your mind, so that one helping is never enough.

It is not just grains that end up building the size of your muffin top, but soft drinks, juices, alcohol and anything that turns into sugar quickly.

We live in a multi-cultural society and some races and cultures do well on high-fat, high-protein diets while others favour carbohydrates. Unfortunately Ireland is not one of those cultures that functions well on a high-carbohydrate diet.

Diet changes

The majority of clients, when they come to me for their initial consultation, display high levels of fat around their mid-section, perfect examples of the classic muffin top.

Based on my recommendations, many have reverted to the diet of our ancestors, resulting in hugely positive changes in their body shapes.

When you eat every two to three hours and include lean proteins, fibrous fruits and vegetables and healthy fats at every meal, including breakfast, you will keep your blood sugars level.

You also need to remove temptation from the kitchen. You may feel your sweets, biscuits, ice cream and alcohol are secret indulgences.

They only last minutes on your lips, but they will last a lot longer on your hips, and then they won’t be a secret any more.

If you want to get rid of your muffin top you need to eat fresh food and train hard. Stick to weight-training exercises that require lots of muscle to burn fat. For a bikini blitz workout go to bfit4bikinis.com.

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