Muffin Tops: the “rolls” of mature life.

The body of its "over-40's"-owner says hello.

The summer brings it to light: "Muffin tops on stomach and hips"! Just a few years ago, you could keep the distribution of pounds in check by avoiding calory bombs and getting enough exercise. But now the "best age" look in the mirror reveals the unsparing truth: there is physical resistance!
An interview with doctor and scientist Dr. med. Ute Martens:

Why do men have so few problems with their front or side rolls, while women are on the verge of a nervous breakdown when it comes to the smallest roll?

The doctor and cabaret artist Dr. med. Eckart von Hirschhausen gives women some good suggestions - "no man would come up with the idiotic idea of looking at himself from the side in a full-body mirror" - and contrasts the German "Rettungsring" with the poetic terms used in other languages, like "love handles" in English or "poignées d'amour" in French. Even though most people might like the English expression "love handles" - the owners of the bacon rolls themselves usually don't! Surprisingly, the small curvatures do not seem to bother anyone except their wearers. So what is the problem? The inner attitude? Or the origin?

Dr. med. Ute Martens spent many years doing research at the University Hospitals of Heidelberg and Tübingen. She treats numerous people with body schema disorders.

Dr. Martens, why do women in particular find it difficult to cope with the changes in their own bodies?
“On the one hand, genetic factors, on the other hand ethnological, i.e. origin-related, influences within the respective civilisation. In this country, society and the media have been propagating an ideal of slimness since the seventies. That is why women here are always critically concerned with their appearance. Their own appearance is therefore important in order to be attractive for their own men. To be able to bind the man to themselves in the long term ensured the survival of women in the Stone Age. Today, these forces are still at work for them, although their lives are no longer dependent on men's care.
So this mechanism continues to work, through all cultures. But the ideal can be different in different cultures. In Polynesia, for example, a woman is only really beautiful when she is round and overweight. And Stone Age men probably also had better chances with the opposite sex if they were loaded with muscles instead of a belly.”

Why are women today so much more self-critical than men?
“As far as I know, this has not been proven. But women do address their own apparent deficits, while men prefer not to talk about them. It probably has more to do with the style of communication if you talk about "problem areas".”

Which raises the question: why are they "problem zones" for us at all, and not simply "more luxuriant body regions"?
I think it's because of the demands we make on ourselves. If we are strict with ourselves, perfectionist and not very benevolent, we also criticize ourselves more quickly. Yet this "ideal image" is given by the media and society. On the other hand, those who admit to themselves that their own I, the person with his body, neither has to nor can be 'perfect', treat themselves in a much friendlier and milder way. This is also how we treat our friends - we are usually not as strict with them as we are with ourselves. As a rule, we do not find bacon rolls disturbing at all.

Is there an age-related difference in body perception?
“Yes, there is. If only because pain and discomfort naturally increase with age. These are very real changes that a person has to cope with. The decrease in vitality and physical performance must also be integrated into the personality. Just as the increase in bacon rolls and the decrease in youthful firmness was accepted years before. But older people often show a little more serenity.
A note, by the way, to those people who cannot pass a mirror without looking in it: Mirror images are distortions and do not reflect reality! This means that we always look more stocky than we really are. In addition, when we look in the mirror, we automatically focus on our "problem areas", which are "aggravated" even more by this alone.”

Even if beauty is in the eye of the beholder: What's your advice for slimming down over 40s?
“I consider the so-called 16/8 diet to be a good, fast-acting method, in which one does not have to give up beloved foods, but changes the daily rhythm of calory intake. For 16 hours, for example from 8 p.m. in the evening until 12 noon the next day, you drink only water or unsweetened tea and then eat what you want for the remaining 8 hours.”

(Edited from article by Heike Bludau)

Michel Robeers