Dern, I wish I'd invented that term "muffin top." Alas some other smart woman got there first--kudos and thanks for the hysterical yet accurate descriptor. Just in case the subject of this article is not perfectly clear let me say it to you plain.

A muffin top, outside of Dunkin' Donuts, can be found when you zip up your favorite pants.
Just like the shape of a muffin that overflows its baking compartment, so mushrooms the waist as we age.
And it happens over night doesn't it?
And we hate it don't we?

Yes, even the coach, Ms. Love yourself just as you are, is lovingly wondering what fresh hell of aging this is and does Lyposuction really hurt?

So what's to love about this frustrating body betrayal?

In a word, motivation. At a time when many aspects of our lives are changing, giving us reason to reflect the changes in our bodies signal a call to action.

And the actions we usually take when the body wants a new, larger size wardrobe, are exercise--more or any-- and a close examination of what we are putting in the pie hole with a view towards less. Smart moves smart women; and there is a big bonus that follows when we implement these kinds of things at this age, we lessen our chances of creating the most common lifestyle diseases.

Many of us, according to the results of the Mind and Body Survey 2008, say that health is a big reason for exercising and eating well. Many more said that it's "how I feel about how I look, how I look in clothes, wanting to nab a partner" that motivates them to do the same. Guess what?

Your why is not what matters.
What you do to look and feel better in clothes has the added bonus of
being protective to your heart and overall health.

WooHoo, Damn, and Hallelujah! You don't need to know any more than this to stave off heart disease and diabetes--and look age appropriately delicious--exercise til you sweat and 80% of the time eat foods with no bar codes--ie fresh, alive once or still in the case of plants, in colors nature would recognize.

Let me give you a glimpse into why your new found motivation thanks to the muffin top is so powerful at this time in our lives.

1. According to the World Health Organization and other responsible health agencies, an estimated 80% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, and 40% of all cancers could be avoided if common lifestyle risk factors were eliminated. These include a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, stress, smoking, and obesity.

It isn't until age 50 and beyond that women's risks of these diseases increase greatly. Our cardio and bone protective hormones decline, muscle mass which follows suit, and we still have plenty of stress. Stress and mood swings often mean less exercise and more comforting, stress relieving, eating or drinking. It's the perfect muffin top recipe.

2. There is significance to where our extra weight settles, and the waist, it would seem, is the least healthy.

Whereas scientists used to think that fat was simply a layer of insulation, static tissue
designed to store excess calories, they now know that this is not the case. Fat cells are little powerhouses of hormone production. The more fat cells you have the more you are at the mercy of these hormones which affect not only your weight and appetite but how efficiently your body uses calories for energy.

Increased levels of these hormones and hormone-like substances can damage the circulatory system and impair blood flow. As you would imagine, blood flow is tantamount to good health. Impaired flow can lead to heart disease, diabetes, even cancer.

More reasons to limit growing our fat cells;
but what's the connection
with an increasing waist size and our health?

Fat stored in the omentum--the lining of the belly more or less--which is close to our internal organs and becomes their easiest--so why shop anywhere else--source of energy. So the omentum more or less grabs fat for storage with no concern for organs like lungs which makes breathing difficult, or kidneys which when squished release more hormones that can lead to increased blood pressure.

Not only that, but many studies now show a direct link between the nations ever expanding waist line and stroke.

So what if you are working out, eating well, and your body is holding on to the concept that more of you is better? Love yourself--you had to know it was coming-and cast that occasionally critical eye on your exercise program. Do you sweat? A Lot? If you are glistening then you are not listening--til you sweat means icky sweaty workout clothes and the feeling--once you are done--that you are on top of the world. (During the session you may in fact curse, hate life, hate people like me who make you aware of this stuff, and swear you are going to quit right after that next corner, lap, 15 reps, etc. but you don't.)

Eating, well that's often trickier for many. Let me ask you this. When you eat something that's not in keeping with what you believe is healthy are you having a discussion with yourself or does it just slip by your critical mind's eye? Right, so 80% of the time follow your own advice and eat well.

Know this though,
even if you are not having the success you want
eliminating pounds or sculpting muscle
you are still protecting your heart and quality of life with your efforts.

Even the most diligent among us will retain a bit of extra around the middle; gravity does play a part in this aging process. It's why god invented low rise pants and loose flowing shirts.

Raise a toast to the muffin top--make mine a Rose from Provence--for motivating us into action thereby keeping Big Pharma, scary diseases, and stretch pants at bay.

Author's Bio: 

Gregory Anne Cox is a certified life coach who has been dishing up all-you-can-eat servings of women's health and nutrition information for years. Her Lifestyle Tune-Up course is a 28 day wonder seminar for women looking for the missing mid-life manual. You can find out more at Live Better Coach, send her an email, or call her at (631) 728-2456. This article is copyrighted and you may feel free to use it as long as you include this paragraph when publishing it.