Think Eating Plan Not Diet
Ultimately, you need to pick a healthy eating plan you can stick to,Stewart says. The benefit of a low-carb approach is that it simply involveslearning better food choicesno calorie-counting is necessary. In general,a low-carb way of eating shifts your intake away from problem foodsthosehigh in carbs and sugar and without much fiber, like bread, bagels andsodasand toward high-fiber or high-protein choices, like vegetables, beansand healthy meats.
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.
Food That Helps To Get Belly Flat
To get the flat belly you need to consume more natural foods that fight against inflammation and cut out all the junk foods and see the difference in just 1 week. The foods that help to get the belly flat are green vegetables, berries, ginger, turmeric, salmon, nuts and seeds and low fat foods. All these foods help to burn stubborn belly fat and make your belly appear less bloated.
Also some drinks like mint, lemon, honey also helps to cut the fat in the belly and make a quick process to get the belly flat.
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How To Finally Get Rid Of It
What can you do about it? A lot. You can rebuild muscle mass with 20-30 minutes of resistance and strength training two to three times a week and get 150+ minutes of high-intensity interval cardio exercise weekly, which stokes your metabolism. And you can upgrade your diet by eliminating ultra-processed foods, enriched flours, partially hydrogenated oils, and saturated and trans fats. That reduces fat-storing inflammation.
Menopause And Belly Fat 101
Sue was like most other girls. At the age of 12, she got her period, and besides the usual monthly cramps and mood swings, she managed her menstrual cycle just fine.
Her monthly cycle ran on autopilot, and she was blissfully unaware of how her hormones were causing her to ovulate on day 14 and bring about her period on day 28.
During these early reproductive years, there were two main hormones driving her monthly menstrual cycle: progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone is linked to ovulation .
For the first two weeks of your cycle, progesterone is almost non-existent, but then it shoots up like a rocket immediately following ovulation and stays high until just before your period.
Estrogen is linked to your period because it helps to build up the lining of the uterus.
Estrogen is always present but does go up and down during the month.
Your ovaries make most of your progesterone and estrogen with smaller amounts of both coming from your adrenal glands.
Estrogen is also made by your fat cells, and thats true for men and women.
Attention Alert: The fact that your fat cells make estrogen becomes significant later on in our menopause and belly fat story.
At the age of 35, Sue started her first stage of menopause, but she didnt know it.
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Resistance Training: The Answer To The Menopause Belly Fat Problem
You cant change your hormonal structure, so there are some uphill battles of menopause that youll just have to face in order to fight off the belly fat. But there are others we can address a bit more easily to maximise results. There are three core factors that we can look at:
Notice a pattern here? Beating that weight around your belly can benefit from strength training, and many women see great results from lifting weights. Generally speaking, its more common for women to favour cardio exercise over muscle-building, but introducing weight training to your routine can increase your bodys requirement for energy, boost overall metabolism and contribute towards the stabilisation of high insulin levels that are creating all that unwanted belly fat.
Reduce Bloating This Week
Although you cant lose substantial fat in a week, you can jump start the weight-loss process. Also make a few dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce bloating so your tummy feels flatter.
Avoid over stuffing yourself at meals eat small meals throughout the day. Chewing gum and drinking with a straw can cause excess air to gather in the digestive tract. Carbonated beverages, spicy foods, large servings of beans or cruciferous vegetables, dried fruits and fruit juice often induce gas and bloating. If youre lactose intolerant, avoid dairy products to help reduce belly swelling make sure you obtain important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, from milk alternatives or other fortified foods.
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Why Menopause Makes Weight Loss So Hard
Menopause officially starts when a person hasnt had a menstrual cycle for 12 months. Around this time, it may be very hard to lose weight.
In fact, many people notice that they actually start putting on weight during perimenopause, which can begin a decade prior to menopause.
Several factors play a role in weight gain around menopause, including:
- Hormone fluctuations. Both elevated and very low levels of estrogen can lead to increased fat storage .
- Loss of muscle mass. This occurs due to age, hormonal changes, and decreased physical activity .
- Inadequate sleep. Many women have trouble sleeping during menopause. Poor sleep is linked to weight gain .
- Increased insulin resistance. Women often become insulin resistant as they age, which can make losing weight more difficult (
Whats more, fat storage shifts from the hips and thighs to the abdomen during menopause. This increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease .
Therefore, strategies that promote the loss of abdominal fat are particularly important at this stage of life.
Menopause may lead to hormonal changes, loss of muscle mass, poor sleep, and insulin resistance. These effects may, in turn, increase the risk of weight gain.
Choose Healthy Carbs Fat And Protein
Focus on nutritious foods while on your weight loss diet so that you make every calorie count. This has two benefits — it helps ensure you’re meeting your vitamin and mineral needs — and because nutritious foods tend to be more filling than “junk” — you won’t feel hungry and deprived.
This means you should fill up on vegetables at every meal include fruit in your meal plan choose nutritious sources of fat, such as avocado, olive oil and nuts and choose lean proteins such as beans, poultry and fish. Emphasize healthy foods that provide lots of calcium — such as nonfat dairy, as well as broccoli and leafy green vegetables — since a diet high in calcium is linked to a lower risk of excess visceral fat.
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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.
Why Exercise Is Important Now
Losing excess weight may be a top priority, but there are so many positive effects of exercise for menopausal women. Remember the long list of unwanted symptoms? It is essential to understand that movement can reduce the severity and frequency of several symptoms. Exercise is known to cause the release of endorphins , promote peaceful sleep, regulate hormone levels, and boost libido.
Yet the most significant contributions exercise can make is the relief of stress. High levels of stress can cause weight gain, hot flashes, and anxiety. Exercise has been found to lower the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Quality of life can improve significantly during these challenging years by exercising regularly and at a higher level of intensity than what youre used to.
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Extra Tips To Cut Menopause Belly Fat
Lower Carbs Youve probably heard the low-carb rule for diets a hundred times. For those fighting menopause belly fat, though, theres an added depth to this idea. The Mayo Clinic outlines how a low-carb diet reduces insulin levels in your body. As were trying to lower insulin to cut down on fat, low carbs support your goals.
Try Interval Training High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a series of fast-paced movements that are designed to activate lots of muscle groups and raise your heart rate to burn calories within a short period of time. HIIT sessions usually range from 15 to 30 minutes. Theyre favoured by people because theyre quick and effective they also result in weight loss for 48 hours after sessions. While HIIT is great, we only recommend you do interval training once or twice a week because of the stress it puts on the body, so its good to mix HIIT in with other workout ideas. Another note is that HIIT is good for insulin control.
Eat Fibre and Protein Fibre and protein are both excellent for controlling hunger. They are complex nutrients that take the stomach a while to digest. Diets that contain lots of fibre and protein will ensure you feel fuller for longer and reduce your urges for snacks and other food cravings. Another benefit of high protein is that protein is required for maximising muscle growth. A healthy supply of protein helps you build that muscle mass youre trying to achieve to battle menopause belly fat.
Hormones And Menopausal Weight Gain
Estrogen is the hormone that most of us blame for post-menopausal belly fat.
Estrogen is produced by your ovaries and by your fat cells. When menopause puts the brakes on estrogen from your ovaries, your body looks to your fat cells to keep it supplied.
So, after menopause belly fat helps your body make the estrogen it wants.
But, in the big picture of menopausal weight gain, estrogen is only part of the story.
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Importance Of A Calorie Deficit
To lose weight, a calorie deficit is needed.
According to some research, a womans resting energy expenditure, or the number of calories she burns during rest, declines during and after menopause .
Although it may be tempting to try a very low calorie diet to lose weight quickly, eating so few calories can sometimes make weight loss harder.
Research shows that restricting calories to low levels causes loss of muscle mass and a further decline in metabolic rate
So while very low calorie diets may result in short-term weight loss, their effects on muscle mass and metabolic rate will make it hard to keep the weight off.
Moreover, insufficient calorie intake and decreased muscle mass may lead to bone loss. This can increase your risk for osteoporosis .
Adopting a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained long term can help preserve your metabolic rate and reduce the amount of muscle mass you lose with age.
A calorie deficit is needed for weight loss. However, cutting calories too much increases the loss of lean muscle, which accelerates the drop in metabolic rate that occurs with age.
Here are four nutritious diets that have been shown to help with weight loss during and beyond the menopausal transition.
Exercises To Lose Belly Fat In 1 Week
Running is the best way to lose belly fat fast because it burns a great number of calories in a short period of time in just 25 minutes of running, you can burn up to 300 calories. If youre just starting out doing physical activity, then remember to slowly, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
You can also add some abdominal exercises to complete your daily workout to lose belly fat in one week, which in addition to strengthening your core, decreases the amount of fat accumulated in the area, helping you to lose belly fat.
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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.
Burn Stomach And Waist Fat With Cardio
Burning stomach fat also requires doing cardiovascular exercise. Increasing your activity level with exercise means you’ll burn more calories each day, which will help you lose more weight. Prepare for a significant time investment — you need at least 250 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise for significant weight loss, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
That doesn’t mean you need to spend endless hours on the elliptical or treadmill — a simple brisk walk around your neighborhood counts as moderate-intensity exercise. Other low-impact cardiovascular exercise, such as water walking or water aerobics, can also help you burn calories if you don’t want to stress your joints with higher impact workouts like running.
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Boost Your Metabolism With Weights
Strength training after menopause is a key for good health, and it can help keep stomach fat away, too. Resistance training builds muscle tissue and, because muscle takes more energy to maintain than fat, this increases your daily calorie burn.
The hormonal changes that occur during menopause affect several tissues in your body, including your bones, and post-menopausal women face a higher risk of osteoporosis. Strength training can maintain your bone density to help prevent osteoporosis, and might even slightly reduce bone loss and increase bone density, according to fitness expert Len Kravitz, Ph.D., writing for the University of New Mexico.
Consult a fitness professional for help designing the best strength training program for you — your mobility, flexibility, balance, strength and body shape all affect which exercises will be safe and effective, and a professional can also ensure you’re lifting weights with the correct technique to avoid injuries.
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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Chronic Stress Feeds Belly Fat
Some underlying triggers for this weight shift may be out of our control, but other aspects are very much within our control. One factor that we can influence is stress. Belly fat contains receptors for cortisol, our bodys main stress hormone. When we’re stressed our adrenals release cortisol and this stimulates these belly fat receptors resulting in the formation of even more belly fat.
Constantly feeling stressed out may seem like the norm in today’s fast-paced society but that does not mean that it’s healthy. To tame your cortisol levels, do whatever works for you to slow down and de-stress: unplug, delegate, meditate, stretch and relax. Taking a high quality adrenal supplement also helps to support balanced cortisol levels.
Keep in mind that stress can also be physical, mostly due to inflammation. Chronic inflammation alone can make it hard to lose added weight because it inhibits some enzymes that normally break down fats in the body. So, get some help to optimize your health and tackle inflammation. Take care of gut imbalances and other inflammatory conditions, like thyroid disease or hashimotos. Slowing of your metabolism, weight gain and trouble losing it commonly go along with low thyroid function.
These issues may not produce symptoms until you hit menopause, so it’s a good idea for any woman hitting menopause to get her thyroid function checked, including thyroid antibodies, especially if there’s a family history of thyroid problems.