Hormones And Body Fat
During menopause, your hormones get thrown out of whack. Your estrogen levels plummet, and body fat that used to settle around the hips, thighs, or butt now tends to settle around your middle.
In menopause, your progesterone also decreases, which contributes to elevated cortisol levels in the body. Elevated cortisol can cause you to gain that so-called menopause belly.
Bonus Lever: Focus On Your Strength
The more muscle mass we have, the more calories we burn even in a resting state! So after checking with your doctor, find a set of dumbbells and start adding in an at-home resistance training workout 2 to 3 days a week. If resistance training is new to you, you can find many 10-minute beginner workout videos online, and also lots of workouts for more advanced lifters as well. And in case you are wondering about the age-old question of whether you will get too big or bulky, the answer is NO! Use lighter weights with more repetition to build lean and long muscles. Just pick up a set of dumbbells, find an easy and short free workout on YouTube, and your sexy new arms and abs will thank you for it!
Lets be honest managing menopause belly fat is about health care first, and vanity second. Use this time to transition your thinking about what, when, and how much youre eating to optimize your health and longevity. While it may feel overwhelming, approach this time with curiosity and listen to your body. Adopting a nutrient dense, plant rich diet will nourish you from head to toe, rebalance your weight, and before you know it youll be saying, Bye Bye Belly Fat!.
Why Does Menopause Belly Occur
Everything is related to menopausal fluctuation in hormones. During this stage, a woman experiences how the estrogen and progesterone drop and lead to symptoms and body changes such as weight gain or altered metabolism.
Besides, once estrogen drops, the body fat starts being redistributed from the thigs, buttocks, and even hips to the actual abdomen. Previously the body fat was stored outside the abdomen in a fuel reservoir-like environment for breastfeeding and childbearing.
If a woman gains only little weight, it is pretty normal, however, when the gain is calculated in more than 2 pounds, the abdomen starts accommodating visceral fat which in excessive amounts is considered a toxic fat.
The good thing about How Can I Lose My Menopause Belly is that there are many options available, and you do not need to spend ages when choosing the right approach.
As was said above, the first method is to consult a doctor or nutritionist who builds plans for menopause belly and menopause women health management in general.
Also Check: Relactation After Menopause
What Causes Belly Fat After Menopause
Many women who have entered menopause are well aware of the shapeshifting that happens with the fat in their bodies. In the past when they gained weight it would be in their hips and thighs but now it seems to go straight for the midsection. Belly fat isnt only unsightly but its also worst for your health than thigh fat . Women with an apple-shaped body with visceral fat can have higher blood pressure and more at risk for heart disease .
The reason this shapeshifting happens is from your hormones changing the way your body distributes fat. It shifts the fat that once was in your hips and thighs directly to your belly . Your body then stubbornly wants to hold on to this belly fat to rebalance your estrogen production .
When entering perimenopause in your 40s your body starts to gradually decrease estrogen production . For many, weight gain is the greatest and muscle loss the worst in their peri-menopausal years . By the time you fully hit menopause your body produces the least amount of estrogen ever . Your body then develops a hormonal belly as it begins to shift your fat cells from your hips and thighs to your stomach.
Womens metabolism also decreases with menopause causing them to not burn as many calories as before . With a slower metabolism comes fat gain. And with menopause, youre more likely to become fatigued. With chronic fatigue, youll be less likely to engage in physical activity and live an active lifestyle . This also leads to fat gain.
What Causes Belly Fat During Menopause
The phenomenon referred to as menopause belly fat occurs due to an activation of the menopausal gene as well as a shift in hormone levels. Changes in diet and exercise routines can also lead to its developments.
When the estrogen levels start to decline, the fat cells located in the middle region immediately begin to store additional fat. In some cases, it can also affect the bodys capacity to burn the extra fat.
Activation of the menopausal gene often leads to the creation of belly fat. The downside for most women is that they often end up gaining between five and ten pounds. This weight is gained within the first ten years after reaching menopause.
Studies indicate that women in this phase will normally notice an upsurge of their intra-abdominal fat. An upsurge in this type of fat has often been linked to elevated cholesterol levels, diabetes, myocardial infarction, and high blood pressure.
As such, a change in the body fat storage options affects more than your physical appearance.
Read Also: Menopause Dizzy Spells
So How Do We Tackle This Menopause Belly Fat
Really its a two-pronged approach: Diet and Exercise!
When it comes to foods as we age, it is a good rule of thumb to focus on high-quality, whole, fresh foods as the basis of all your meals. Think of it as treating your body as well as you can now, for a healthy body for all the days and years to come! The more you care for and nurture yourself now, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally down the road! I am a firm believer in this, which is why I stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, I eat healthy veggies and fruit take up most of my plate, with lean proteins and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil and nuts making up the rest. This not only helps me stick to a healthy eating plan, but it actually curbs my cravings for the bad stuff! But that doesnt mean I dont indulge I love sweet treats and snacks like everyone else. I just keep them in moderation, or at 20%. And I find this to be a really easy and effective way to make sure I am giving back to my body, but also indulging every now and then. A win-win! If you need some guidance on a healthy eating plan, check out the free trial of my Whole Body Plan, which includes a customized eating plan. You can choose low-sodium, vegetarian, gluten-free and more, and get three meals and two snacks for every day! Its a great way to enjoy your food while not having to make the decisions about what to eat perfect for sticking to a healthy eating plan!
Lets get fitter, together inside and out,
Menopause Belly Fat: Does Menopause Really Cause Weight Gain
This simple answer is yes. In a study that followed a number of women through all stages of menopause, it was found that almost all women gained fat and lost muscle mass. There are several reasons for this:
- Hormonal changes during menopause drive hunger, resulting in higher caloric intake.
- These hormonal changes also change where fat is stored. More commonly found around the hips in pre-menopausal women, menopause shifts fat storage to the stomach, leading to more noticeable abdominal fat or meno-pot.
- Menopause is linked to a slower metabolism, which increases weight gain.
- The menopause can result in higher levels of insulin in your blood, which causes your body to store more energy from your food intake than normal.
Other contributing factors to menopause belly fat include lower levels of physical activity amongst postmenopausal women, factors like retirement that lower the day-to-day need for burning energy or conversely high-level career progression that increases stress levels and results in weight-gain associated with said stress.
The long and short of it is that menopause belly fat is real. Whether caused as a direct result of physiological changes or lifestyle factors, its a problem many women experience.
Also Check: Is Spotting A Sign Of Menopause
Recommended Reading: What Causes Vaginal Odor After Menopause
How To Lose Hormonal Belly Fat
Something happens in your 40s and 50s that you wake up one morning and its as if your body has put on 10lbs of belly fat overnight. Yikes! Struggling with belly fat and sudden weight gain as early as perimenopausal thru to post-menopause is really common. Data shows that post-menopausal women really struggle with obesity. Youre not alone. According to science, you can actually lose hormonal belly fat! Below is advice from Doctors, Registered Dieticians and Exercise Physiologists thats exceptionally helpful to women who are frustrated with their menopausal belly . Plus, reducing abdominal belly fat reduces your risk of other serious illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes, which can impact your quality of life.
Why Do Women Gain Belly Fat During Menopause
During menopause, some women find they have trouble losing weight, while others gain weight.
It isnt just the weight gain itself many women find where they lose weight shifts during menopause. Traditionally, women gain weight around their hips and thighs. After menopause, however, that weight gain shifts to her midsection as belly fat.
Researchers arent entirely sure how low estrogen during menopause increases belly fat, but they have some theories. Among them:
- Your metabolic rate slows down, so you burn fewer calories.
- Your fat cells change, so more fat accumulates as belly fat.
- Menopause can impact sleep, which can impact other fat-regulating hormones including your stress hormone, cortisol.
- You might not be exercising as much.
All of those changes can lead to weight loss resistance during menopause. In fact, obesity increases in women once they reach the age of 40 when perimenopause usually occurs. About 65 percent of women 40 59 are obese, and 73.8 percent of women 60 years and older are obese.
Recommended Reading: Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Menopause
Estrogen: The Female Sex Hormone
Men and women both produce estrogen at birth. But especially during puberty, females increase production of this characteristically female hormone. Among its duties, estrogen helps develop breast and reproductive organs as well as initiating menstruation.
Throughout a womans life, estrogen plays numerous roles including strong bones, healthy skin, and regulating mood including anxiety and depression.
But as with any hormone, you want to maintain balance with estrogen. Too much or too little estrogen can create problems.
The latter occurs during menopause. During the time leading to the end of menstruation called perimenopause estrogen and other hormones including progesterone and testosterone fluctuate.
When a woman hasnt had a period for a year, she has completed menopause. Her estrogen and progesterone levels remain low.
Low estrogen levels can create many of the symptoms women experience during menopause, including:
- Low sex drive
- Trouble remembering things
- Mood disorders including depression or anxiety
Estrogen also helps regulate body weight. Animal studies find that lower estrogen levels can increase belly fat in several ways:
One type of estrogen called estradiolregulates metabolism and body weight. During menopause, estradiol levels drop, increasing belly fat.
Why Do We Gain Belly Fat During Menopause
Although theres no magic formula for preventing or reversing menopause weight gain, its imperative to look after ourselves. Trying to lose some of our belly fat is important, not only for personal appearance and vanity but also for our health with research showing the significance of belly fat and its role in the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as other inflammatory conditions.
Menopause sends excess fat to the wrong spots, regardless of your body type or how active you are -says endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Dr Ekta Kapoor-. Thats a direct effect of the female hormone estrogen. Premenopause, women tend to carry weight lower in the body our legs and thighs. That changes after menopause. The lack of estrogen in the body redirects the fat to the belly.
The weight gain is also related to a poor lifestyle, lack of sleep, stress and genetic factors. Also, muscle mass typically diminishes with age, while fat increases that means it can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.
Recommended Reading: Does The Texture Of Hair Change With Menopause
Why You May Gain Fat After Menopause
One of the reasons older women gain weight is that blood levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen, decline measurably after menopause. That change in estradiol also changes one of its metabolites testosterone . Together they alter how you burn calories and manage fat. Researchers have found, however, that hormone levels aren’t the only thing in decline.
A study in the International Journal of Obesity tracked 158 healthy premenopausal women, 43 and older, for four years. The researchers found that women who became menopausal were getting half as much physical activity as they had in the four years prior to menopause. And while everyone in the study added visceral belly fat, post-menopausal women added the most.
Tips On How To Lose The Belly Fat After Menopause
As a woman progresses in her later years, aka her menopause years, she loses estrogen. One frustrating consequence of this lost estrogen is that the normal contours of her body change. What she now finds that instead of weight settling on her hips, it goes to straight to her belly.
Even a thin woman may be frustrated to discover that, as her estrogen levels decline during perimenopause, she is suddenly sporting belly fat, a place that she may never have had to worry about before now.
And it is not only women that suffer this fate.
Men often refer to their belly fat as “the beer belly”, beer gut, pot-belly or front butt. For men, this sudden increase in belly fat can be due to the loss of testosterone levels that results in them suddenly developing belly fat in their later years.
Whatever the reason, belly fat occurs when excessive abdominal fat accumulates around the stomach and abdomen and has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on health.
Making it a priority and trying to lose some of your belly fat is important, not only for personal appearance and vanity, but also for your health with research showing the significance of belly fat and its role in the risk of acute myocardial infarctions, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as other inflammatory conditions.
Here are a few suggestions on how to lose weight after menopause.
Earlier on Huff/Post50:
Also Check: How Does Menopause Affect Sex Drive
Move More Once You Hit Midlife Say Experts
Weight gain may feel like its inevitable once youve entered your fourth decade, but the truth is, it doesnt have to be. Natural hormonal changes mean you may start to notice symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, but you dont need to idly accept that the number on the bathroom scale will steadily creep up, too.
Heres whats going on with your body if elastic-waist pants are now your go-to fashion staple: Weight distribution changes as you hit menopause, with the added pounds accumulating right around your belly. I named the extra fat that collects around your middle the menopot, says Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, author of Body for Life for Women.
What we did when we were 30 and what we do when were 60 is very different, says Kathryn A. Boling, MD, a family medicine physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. We have to adjust our exercise some as we get older. If youve lost some gusto, create incentives for yourself to stay moving. I have an Apple Watch, and I like to see that circle closed, she says. Peeke says you dont have to go to a gym, but you do need to do enough strength training to keep your muscles strong and your metabolism revved. Try activities that have you lifting, pushing, and pulling, she says.
Premature Vs Early Menopause
Premature menopause affects 1% of women under the age of 40. The only difference between premature menopause and early menopause is the timing.
Premature menopause occurs before age 40 and early menopause happens after age 40 but before age 45. Many of the same causes of premature menopause also cause early menopause. Both conditions cause similar symptoms.
Also Check: Perimenopause Frequent Periods
Menopause Belly: What Causes It And How To Fix It
Learn ways to beat the menopause belly with diet and exercise.
For many postmenopausal women, one of the most vexing changes is a shift in body fat storage to the front and sides of their abdomen.
This phenomenon, also known as menopause belly, is a result of shifting hormones, an activation of a menopausal gene, as well as changes in exercise and diet.
A decline in estrogen causes fat cells in the abdominal area to store more fat. It may even reduce your bodys ability to burn fat.
When the menopause gene is switched on, it contributes to belly fat. Heres 3 simple ways women can turn this gene off.
Unfortunately, most women gain between five to ten pounds during the first decade after menopause.
Research shows that postmenopausal women have an increase in intra-abdominal and trunk fat when compared to premenopausal women.
The studies found that during early menopause, theres an increase in intra-abdominal fatthe deeper visceral body fat. These changes were consistent across age and weight.
An increase in intra-abdominal fat is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.
Therefore, this shift in body fat storage is more than just a cosmetic issue.
The decline in hormones during and after menopause is just one part of the menopause belly. For many women, their level of activity slows with age.