It is unfortunate that Menopause often means an increase in the amount of belly fat, and although you may only have put on a few pounds this is most likely where it will be found.
Like many other menopausal symptoms, hormone balance can be behind this as it is excess oestrogen that is often linked to this as when the body shift production of oestrogen from the ovaries it unfortunately starts to make it in the fat cells of the abdomen, hips and thighs.
If this is something you are struggling with, then perhaps some of these ideas might be helpful.
Fibre has many sources, and although we tend to think of prunes they are not the best source. Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and beans are all good for keeping away the fat that stays deep in your belly.
That’s called visceral fat, and it’s the most dangerous kind because it can wrap around major organs, including your liver, pancreas, and kidneys.
What won’t work
Although it is very tempting, there are no “super foods” that burn off visceral fat. And you can’t tone it away with specific moves like crunches.
Instead, look for ways to upgrade your eating habits and add activity every day. Think about your average week and where might you be able to make some healthy changes.
What will work
While anyone can have too much visceral fat, it’s more likely if you’ve got a lot of weight to lose so addressing your diet is crucial.
As you start to take those pounds off, it will help your whole body, including belly fat that’s hidden out of your sight.
Choose fats wisely
What is important is that you do not give up fat altogether, as it is essential for many of your bodily functions but what you might have to do is limit the amount of change the type that you regularly eat.
First limit the “saturated” kind that’s in animal foods, coconut and palm oils, and full-fat dairy by keeping portions of those foods smaller than you might normally do.
Next, check nutrition labels to see how many calories and how much fat is in a serving. Look for fats that are better for you, too, like those from plant foods or fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel that are rich in omega-3s.
It’s no good trying to “burn off” belly fat by pounding the pavement for hour after hour if that’s been what you have tried.
Research shows that a few quick bursts of high-intensity exercise — such as a 30-second sprint or intense pullup set — may be more effective, and easier to fit into your schedule.
You can add bursts of higher intensity to any workout by speeding it up or working harder for a brief time, then dropping back to a more mellow pace, and repeating.
Sleep and weight gain
When it comes to weight gain, sleep is a bit like Goldilocks porridge: Too little — less than 5 hours — may mean more belly fat. But too much — more than 8 hours — can do that, too.
“Just right” seems to be around 6-8 hours and if you don’t sleep that much now, or if you tend to toss and turn, try to go to bed a little earlier, relax before bedtime, keep your bedroom cool, and try not to text and email right before you turn in.
Forget a ‘quick fix’
Tempting though it may be, especially if you have a big event coming up such as a holiday or family wedding, a quick fix really does not help particularly if you’re thinking of cosmetic surgery.
Liposuction doesn’t reach inside the abdominal wall so it can’t get rid of visceral belly fat. Likewise, crash diets aren’t the solution, either as you’re too likely to go off them.
The slower, steadier option — lifestyle changes that you can commit to for a long time — really is the best bet.
Are you stressed out? That can make you eat more the ‘comfort foods’ that tend to be high in fat and sugar. These unleash the “stress hormone” cortisol, which can boost belly fat.
Stress also can make you sleep less, exercise less, and drink more alcohol — which can add belly fat, too. It’s a great reason to take up meditation, work out, listen to music you love, or find other healthy ways to unwind and relax.
Rethink your fluids
Whether it’s a latte, a regular soft drink, a glass of beer, or wine, it’s got calories. And when you’re trying to unwind the numbers on the scale, water (or a smaller glass of your favorite beverage) might be a better choice.
If you drink alcohol, remember that it just might make you throw your willpower out the window when you order your meal, too.
You may not be aware of it, but smoking makes you more likely to store fat in your belly, rather than your hips and thighs. And that’s bad.
Plus the fact that it is linked to a number of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart and lung disease.
If you have tried before, and had difficulty, then get help either from your doctor or the many resources available that can support you while you quit.
Waist size, not clothes size
Most women are only too aware that clothes size can vary hugely from one company to another so relying on that as a guide to your weight is really not a good one.
A better method is to measure your waist and if you’re a woman, you want that number to be 35 inches or less. That’s important because you may lower your chance of having a heart attack, a stroke, or possibly certain types of cancer.
A tape measure can’t check on visceral fat, but along with the scale, it can help you track your weight loss.
There are many aspects of menopause that cause women concern, and certainly weight gain is one of the greatest.
Hormone balance really is critical at this time and because such weight gain that occurs around the middle it is usually related to excess oestrogen, oestrogen dominance, so rebalancing with bioidentical progesterone is certainly a good first step.
The Diet To Help Beat Oestrogen Dominance