Getting Started With Hiit
HIIT can look daunting, but the keys to success are starting out at a pace that works for you, not comparing yourself to others, and sticking with it for 4-6 weeks. Dont give up! After a few weeks, youll start to notice that the sessions are getting a little easier, you are less winded and sore, and you feel stronger and more confident. Weve seen women in their 60s and 70s in HIIT classes alongside women in their 20s and 30s, kicking butt, and adapting the exercises as they need to. Even if you are nursing new or old injuries, most people can adapt HIIT to work around them. These older women inspired us to give HIIT a try, and we were happy we did. We lost weight, gained more energy, and found that several annoying menopause symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and brain fog started to diminish.
If youre having trouble losing belly fat, or weight in general, during menopause, HIIT may be worth a try. If anything, it can be fun to try a new exercise routine – and it just might be the change you need to see the results youre seeking. You might surprise yourself by just how much your body is capable of doing!
For more recommendations on losing your belly fat and staying fit as you age, sign up for Lisa Health and join our Stay Active Journey.
Can You Prevent Menopause Belly
There are also preventive steps you can take to limit how much menopause affects your body shape. Keep in mind that genetics and your prior health history play a role in how menopause affects your body, so these steps might not completely prevent some menopause belly bulge.
- Maintain an active lifestyle. If you are able to be active 3 to 4 times per week, consistently elevate your heart rate, and/or participate in strength training, you may find that you experience fewer menopausal symptoms as your estrogen levels decline.
- Consider quitting smoking. If you smoke and have put off quitting in the past, menopause is a great time to reconsider doing it. As you age, the health effects of smoking continue to increase. If you quit smoking, you may find you have higher energy levels and are more motivated to take care of your body.
- Talk with a doctor about your specific health concerns.Menopause is typically an indicator that youre going to need to take care of your body a little differently and that you may have different health concerns going forward. Adjust your mindset to steward your body as well as you can during the years to come.
Choose Fats Wisely And Eat Meals With Healthy Fats To Counter Weight Gain
Fat adds flavor, makes our food taste better, and is part of a healthy diet. So the good news is that it isnt necessary or recommended to completely eliminate it from your diet altogether. You just need to learn how to be more choosy, says Palumbo. Think more walnuts, and fewer Whoppers.
The healthiest fats are the ones that derive from vegetable sources like olives and nuts, but keep in mind that healthy fats like those found in avocados have the same number of calories as the fat found in an ice cream sundae. An ounce of nuts has 170 calories, so you have to be very careful, says Palumbo. The same goes with extra virgin olive oil. The American way is to go overboard, so you have to be extremely cautious when you use it and measure the amounts of fats and oils that you consume.
And restaurant meals once again are not your friends in the fat department. Restaurants are not in business to make us healthy. They add a lot of flavor carriers, which are known as fats, Palumbo says. Salad dressings are one of the biggest sources of added fat in our diet, so be sure to order your salad with the dressing on the side.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Perimenopause
What Our Patients Say
As of March 2021, I have been a HerKare patient for 3 years. I have driven from the Austin to Ft. Worth and Southlake since March 2018. In fact, today I attempted to drive to Southlake to see the provider, Dania Khoncarly, because she is so amazing, but the roads were too dangerous with the current ice storm in Texas, so I visited the Mansfield location instead as it was closer for me. The patient care has been nothing short of amazing. In fact, I cant imagine my life without HerKare. I struggled with hormone deficiency since 2003 until March 2018. The treatment plan provided by HerKare has positively impacted my way of life socially, emotionally, and physically. One of my closest friends now drives from Copperas Cove to the Mansfield location. I have several friends in my age group mid to late 40s & early 50s who would benefit from HerKare. I understand with our nation experiencing COVID, now might not be the time to open a new location, however, your services could positively impact the well-being of so many women. When the time is right, please open more HerKare locations!
Patient since March 2018
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
Another way to manage your blood sugar and belly fat? Eat smaller meals, more frequently.
When you overeat, youre putting too much stress on your body, and youre spiking your insulin and blood sugar. Conversely, when you wait too long between meals, your blood sugar crashes. This is hard on your metabolism and can make losing that excess belly fat even harder.
Help your metabolism out by eating smaller meals more frequently instead of two or three large meals per day.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Could Menopause Belly Fat Impact Your Health
Most women will likely be concerned with the physical and noticeable changes in their body composition, and the overall appearance of their menopause belly fat. Im not here to tell you that you should feel this way. Modern culture puts a big emphasis on body confidence and pride in whatever we look like, and thats great if it works for you. However, not everyone feels that way, and if abdominal fat makes you feel unattractive or hurts your confidence levels, youre going to want to do something about it.
But menopausal belly fat goes deeper than this. If you gain weight in menopause, you may find youre at a higher risk of some serious health conditions. Menopause increases the presence of deep-tissue belly fat, known as visceral fat. Visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat, which is found elsewhere in the body, just below the skin, such as on your legs and arms. According to Harvard University, studies show us that higher levels of menopause belly fat can lead to increased risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems and even breast cancer. Even if your BMI is healthy, because your overall body weight is low, a high occurrence of belly fat will raise the risk of early death.
What Happens To Belly Fat During Menopause
Perimenopause is the time period when estrogen and progesterone levels decline and menopausal symptoms ensue, but before actual menopause which is defined as 12 consecutive months without a period starts.
As estrogen levels fluctuate and drop, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs, and buttocks to the waist, and as progesterone levels decrease, cortisol levels increase, which can also cause the body to hold onto stubborn menopause belly fat.
In other words: Ugh.
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A Little Support Goes A Long Way
Plus, its nice to hear from other women who are going through the same things.
Get Some Sleep
Yes, that doesnt sound easy when menopause can cause sleep difficulties. There are some natural ways that you can help you, though.
Drinking chamomile tea right before bed can work wonders.
A supplement called Melatonincan also really help a lot. Just make sure you get one that is time-released, so that you not only can fall asleep, but also stay asleep. Theres no groggy feeling in the morning.
- Menopause symptoms can occur as early as the late 30s, so so keep an eye out.
- What you eat can affect how you feel.
- Menopause belly fat is a result of fluctuating hormones, diet, stress, and lack of sleep.
- Exercise your whole body, not just your belly.
- Clean out the toxins in your body.
- Support your hormones, get some sleep, and reach out to a friend and get a supplement that helps.
- Sugar and other simple carbs are culprits for menopause belly fat.
- Grab our free kitchen checklist before your next trip to the grocery store by clicking here
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.
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So Why Is Everything Gravitating Towards My Midsection
Belly Fat Hormones: Insulin and Cortisol.
Key players in fat storage, particularly in the belly area during menopause, are insulin and cortisol. There are many ways that these hormones can interact to cause your body to store more fat.
Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that controls your blood sugar levels and is influenced by the food you eat. It is responsible for telling your cells that they can use the sugar in your blood stream for energy. When you eat foods that are high in sugar, or processed foods such as white flour, your blood sugar levels rise and insulin levels rise too, to tell your cells to use up that sugar.
However, if levels remain high, a vicious cycle can begin between insulin and cortisol.
When insulin levels increase, cortisol is also increased. Cortisol is also known to cause the body to store more fat, especially in the belly area.
Insulin and cortisol function in a bi-directional loop, so that insulin increases cortisol, and cortisol increases insulin. Its pretty hard to get out of that cycle!
In addition, insulin resistance can occur if your blood sugar and insulin levels remain high for a long time . Your cells have a difficult time taking in the glucose to use it as fuel, so it begins to build up in your bloodstream.
Since your cells are having such a hard time using that energy, they starve and send out stress signals.This is where cortisol comes in to play again. Cortisol is a hormone that responds to stress, which causes fat storage.
Menopause Belly Fat And Calories
The belly fat you can gain after menopause doesn’t affect only your appearance, it can also increase your risk of disease. Post-menopausal women tend to gain stomach fat as visceral fat, which is fat found within your abdominal wall. This type of metabolically active fat surrounds your internal organs and pumps out inflammatory substances. That spells bad news for your overall health, since chronic inflammation contributes to heart disease.
Here’s the good news — that deep-belly visceral fat is among the first fat you’ll burn when you start to lose weight. To do that, eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
For example, a 5-foot tall, 50-year-old woman who weighs 165 pounds and lives a sedentary lifestyle can maintain her weight with 1,815 calories. She could reduce her intake to 1,565 calories daily to lose half a pound per week, or eat 1,315 calories to lose 1 pound weekly.
Don’t reduce your calorie intake as much as possible — it won’t speed up your weight loss. In fact, eating fewer than 1,200 calories could put you into a semi-starvation state, ultimately slowing down your metabolism.
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Should You Do Hiit Workouts
Note that HIIT is just how it sounds – high intensity – which means that it isnt necessarily intended for beginners who are new to exercise. If you havent exercised in a while, start out with shorter less intense sessions. However, if youre used to regular exercise, HIIT may be just the thing you need to switch up your routine and see the weight loss results you want.
And while HIIT is effective for weight loss, that doesnt mean its the only physical activity you have to do to see results. HIIT can be combined with other exercises you also enjoy. For instance, if you like walking, jogging, biking, or kickboxing, alternating these with HIIT workouts occasionally can also result in long-term weight loss and support healthy weight maintenance.
You can complete an HIIT workout without going to the gym!
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.
Blame Low Estrogen Levels
As women go through perimenopausethe multi-year period that precedes the total cessation of menstrual cyclestheir ovaries gradually produce fewer female hormones, particularly estrogen. By the time a womans menstrual cycles have stopped, her body produces almost no estrogen.
Its this lack of estrogen that seems to trigger a shift in fat. Almost all women gain weight as they get older, but studies have found that women who have entered menopause have significantly more visceral fat, or fat located deep in the abdomen, than similar-aged women who have not yet experienced menopause. Some women remain the same weight before and after but notice a significant challenge in their silhouette. In almost every case, women add inches to their waist after menopause.
Women who use hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms tend to have less visceral or belly fat than other menopausal women, which lends support to the theory that lack of estrogen drives the accumulation of belly fat. Unfortunately, when women stop hormone therapy, they gain belly fat.
When To Get Help
A large waistline puts you at risk for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. If you have any of these related symptoms or are taking medication for any of them, you should see a doctor.
- Abdominal obesity
- High triglyceride level
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Fasting glucose
Increased belly fat is also a primary risk factor for insulin resistancea precursor to diabetes, and a warning flag for heart disease, stroke, fatty liver, and vascular disease.
Other warning signs that should prompt a call to your doctor:
- A rapidly expanding waistline
- Losing weight, but your midsection keeps growing
- Belly bloat accompanied by severe pain, spotting between periods, postmenopausal bleeding, blood in your stools, or fever.
Recommended Reading: Tubal Ligation And Early Menopause
Keep Emotional Eating In Check
Its tempting to want to deal with changing hormones through emotional eating. Fluctuating emotions make that late-night nosedive into the ice cream even more appealing than normal.
Trying to shed extra weight in menopause doesnt mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but you should monitor when you get the urge to binge on junk food and try to regulate your emotions in healthier ways.
Distract yourself, practice self-care, and become aware of whether or not your body is actually hungry.
Find Your Trigger Foods
If youre not already eating a well-balanced diet, menopause is a perfect time to start! Start to fend off sugars and look for the foods that trigger your symptoms, and avoid these foods.
Have a well-rounded diet incorporate foods such as: healthy snacks, including fresh fruits, fish rich in omega 3s, lean protein and of course, lots of vegetables! A diet like this will help you both manage your blood sugar levels and keep your stress levels low.
Try these 22 simple snack ideas.
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