Stay In The Moment And Stop Rushing Off To Do Things
Focusing on just one thing seems so 1980! Who does that? We have texts to read and send, emails to check, selfies to take, and a whole host of other things that take us away from the moment at hand. This one. Now this one
Stay in the moment, and youre likely to have less belly fat, according to a study from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
Focus on the moment at hand, breathe, and take in your surroundings instead of constantly rushing off to do things. Unconsciously, you may find yourself slipping into a smaller pair of pants.
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.
Menopause Hormones And Fat
In menopause, the function of the ovaries deteriorates and eventually stops. This leads to a reduction in production estrogen which also affects the levels of progesterone and testosterone. This change in hormones has significant effects on your health and ability to burn body fat.
Technically you enter menopause when you have your last natural spontaneous periods. On average the menopause happens between the ages of 45 and 55 but there is natural variation from 40 to 60.
The most typical symptoms from the hormonal changes of menopause include sweating and hot flashes. Sleep disturbances are also very common.
Depression, mood swings and lack of motivation are also possible mental effects of menopause. Reduced estrogen and testosterone levels naturally affect libido and lowered libido is very typical.
Menopausal belly fat is linked with testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. All of these hormones have important function in your metabolism. They keep your muscle mass at youthful levels and help you keep active. They also directly affect how your body uses nutrients.
Essentially after menopause, your body is primed to lose muscle mass and to store fat.
Loss of muscle mass is natural as we age and menopause exacerbates the problem with these hormonal changes.
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Tips To Get Rid Of Menopause Belly Fat
1. MAKE SURE YOURE SLEEPING ENOUGHQuality sleep is an essential part of your overall health, both physically and mentally. Ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood sugar, anxiety, diabetes, stroke, weight gain, and increased body fat. Not everyone realizes the importance of quality sleep, but its just as crucial as exercise and healthy eating. Of course, one of the symptoms of menopause is sleep disturbances, so even if youre committed to improving the length and quality of your sleep, your body may not cooperate. If this sounds like you, weve written an entire post about insomnia with tips for a better nights rest HERE.
2. CUT BACK ON SUGAR AND REFINED CARBSIf you want to get rid of menopause belly fat, reducing your sugar intake is key. When we eat sugar, opioids and dopamine are released, which make us feel really good and crave it even more. It triggers the pleasure center of our brains, as well as the reward center, which makes it a difficult addiction to crack. Sugar consumption can lead to issues like weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and it can also wreak havoc on your hormones, making you feel tired and sluggish. Beware of ingredients like sucrose, fructose, and pretty much any other words with ose at the end as they contain sugar. Use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup instead.
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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.
Read Also: Menopause And Dizzy Spells
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.
Focus On What You Eat
Eat to balance your blood sugar. A plant rich diet is nutrient dense, low in calories, and full of fiber. Fiber is a Meno girls best friend. It helps keep you full longer, reduces depression in premenopausal women, and feeds the gut microbiome a key factor in keeping the immune system strong and metabolizing estrogens.
A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate or more with non-starchy vegetables . Think leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, tomatoes Then add a portion of protein , and some healthy fats . Fill out the rest of your plate with a portion of whole grains, starchy vegetables, or fruit if desired. A lower carb diet can help many manage blood sugar. Snack smartly with something that has protein, fiber, and a little fat to keep you satiated. Minimize processed foods and those with added sugars.
Remember enjoying a few glasses of red wine in your 20s and making it to work the next day all full of energy? You may have noticed that you dont tolerate some foods as well as you might have in the past. Now is a great time to listen to what your body is telling you, even if you dont like what it says. Notice which foods dont leave you feeling as well after consuming them, such as alcohol, coffee, dairy, gluten, or other grains. Experiment with removing them, and then add them back and see what happens.
Also Check: Is Dizziness A Symptom Of Menopause
Vary Your Workouts And Try New Activities
Its easy to get into an exercise rut, and even easier to fall out of the habit of exercising at all. But at this stage of your life, not getting your move on is not an option. Ideally to keep your weight in check, youll be working out three or four times a week with the injection of some HIIT and it only needs to take 15 to 20 minutes, says Peeke. Its extremely effective at keeping excess body levels of fat down, and make sure to get in some weight training, even if its just using your own body weight.
So potentially take a Zumba or barre class. See what all your buddies are talking about and join them one weekend for a beginner class at a CrossFit center. Give PiYo a go . There are so many different exercises to try, youll be able to find ones you like and stick with them.
Or maybe youll enjoy the chase of trying out new workouts regularly. According to research published in the Journal of Sport Behavior, adding variation to your exercise routine may be the most successful way to make you stick with it. Any kind of physical activity is better than none at all, but if your body gets too accustomed to a routine, it wont burn belly fat as efficiently as when you first started working out.
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.
Also Check: Dizziness During Menopause
Subcutaneous Vs Visceral Fat In Menopause
Belly fat isnt just annoying, it can be linked to poor health factors. The fat you can pinch is called subcutaneous fat. But the fat that appears around your stomach is often visceral fat, which is fat that surrounds your organs within your abdominal wall.
This type of fat puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. High levels of visceral fat can result in increased insulin resistance, which may lead to glucose intolerance and even type 2 diabetes.
You want to minimize your belly fat not just to look and feel your best but to stay healthy for years to come.
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.
Recommended Reading: Perimenopause Dizzy Spells
Start Your Day With Acv Or Lemon Water
Kick-start your bodys natural detoxification process first thing in the morning by drinking a glass of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar in it.
The acetic acid in vinegar helps your body burn fat and rids your body of toxins. It also gives you a little energy boost to start your day.
The benefits of apple cider vinegar or lemon in your water are endless! Just add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, or slice a lemon and squeeze it into your water.
There Are Ways To Manage Belly Fat
Belly fat is not just a cosmetic issueit has real health consequences. Excess visceral fat increases your risk of , and a waist size of larger than 35 inches is associated with an increased risk of developing , , , and . You may not be able to completely prevent or halt the accumulation of belly fat, but you can keep it in check.
Exercise is the most effective way to lose belly fat. Eating a healthy diet is beneficial, but diet alone cannot reduce belly fat. So, incorporate physical activity into each day. Studies have found walking 50 minutes a day three times a week or 30 minutes a day six days a week can prevent belly fat.
Taking estrogen can keep belly fat under control, but because estrogen may also increase the risk of developing endometrial or as well as the risk of , , and , estrogen therapy is not recommended solely to control weight or belly fat. There are risks and benefits to hormone therapy after menopause your healthcare provider can help you understand these factors in the context of your personal health history.
You may not be able to eliminate belly fat after menopause, but you can remain healthy and active. Your healthcare provider can help you manage your health risks and stay vibrant.
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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 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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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.
Weight Gain And Metabolism
You may have unknowingly become a bit more sedentary as youve aged into your 40s and 50s as well, making weight gain all the more common. Your metabolism slows down as you lose muscle, and aches and pains or a busy schedule may keep you from exercising as frequently.
All of these factors can contribute to an increase of abdominal fat during your menopausal years.
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How Long Does It Take To See Results
Within 6 weeks of starting to include some exercises that increase lean muscle mass, you might see some shifting and definition, but youll already notice your strength has increased. Its so empowering it feels great! says Carol. Youll get faster results than youll get on your own. Its a kick start that involves all sorts of changes , including a shift in upper body posture, and more defined muscles.
Why Belly Fat Is So Dangerous
Belly fat can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Fat comes in several types. When you pinch your skin, youre feeling whats calledsubcutaneous fat. But theres another type of fat, called visceral fat, thats far more dangerous.
Found deeper in your abdomen, visceral fat produces hormones and other substances that can increase insulin resistance.
When this occurs, your cells cant take up glucose as effectively, so your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin. Eventually, insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Visceral fat can also increase chronic inflammation, which contributes to many diseases.
This type of fat can increase your risk for specific health conditions including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. A vicious cycle results as inflammation forces your body to hold on to fat, and belly fat keeps you more inflamed.