For women in menopause, or perimenopause, that is the two to ten years leading to menopause, you may have noticed an increase in weight gain particularly around your mid-section. Women in their 40’s and 50’s mostly have the menopausal belly.
What causes menopausal belly?
Menopausal belly is as a result of shifting hormones as an activation of menopausal gene, as well as changes in exercise or diet. As a woman ages, hormonal imbalances cause a shift in fat distribution. This causes the fat to be easily stored in the belly leading to a bulging belly.
Oestrogen hormone, produced by the ovaries and fat cells, is to blame for post-menopausal belly fat. During menopause, ovaries produces less or no oestrogen making the body look for oestrogen from the fat cells in your body.
Therefore, menopausal belly comes in handy during menopause to help keep oestrogen levels in check. The natural oestrogen drop causes more fat to be stored in the belly area and less in the lower body.
Menopausal belly isn’t good for one’s health as it puts you at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. However, changing your lifestyle and diet can help one lose the belly fat, not just to look and feel your best but also to stay healthy. Here are some tips to help you get rid of menopausal belly fat:
1.Exercise more often and intensely
Your exercise routine should include aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking, cycling and running. You don’t have to go to the gym but you have to do enough heavy lifting to keep your muscles strong and your metabolism high. Activities that involve lifting, pushing and pulling help in burning belly fat. After the age of 30, you’ll notice that your muscle mass has reduced but strength training helps replace the lost muscle mass. Additionally, push-ups, lunges, and squats aid in muscle gain.
Accompany these exercises with dumbbells, kettle bells or resistance bands to ensure a more efficient strength training.
Remember, the more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism works.
2.Limit sugar intake
Without fibre, there’s nothing slowing down the absorption of sugar into your blood stream. The high blood sugar level must be cleared out quickly leading to most of it being dumped in the fat cells.
To beat belly fat, start by eliminating sugary beverages and replace with natural sugars which contain loads of fibre making it easier for your body to process it slowly.
The spikes and crushes from artificial sugars cause an insulin rise and too much insulin can cause excess blood sugar to be stored as belly fat.
3. Eat smaller meals more often
Eating too much food at once puts too much stress on the body and spikes your insulin and blood sugar. Spacing meals for long hours also makes metabolism hard since your blood sugar has been disrupted. This makes it hard to lose belly fat. Improve your metabolism by taking smaller meals more often instead of two or three large meals in a day.
4.Find ways to cope with stress
Cortisol hormone is released in times of physical or psychological stress. It stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy. It also speeds up insulin release hence disrupting the blood sugar. These end results may leave one craving for sweet, high-fat and salty foods.
Cortisol hormone also reduces the muscle mass which makes your body burn fewer calories. Elevated cortisol also tends to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips.
Understanding your stress triggers will come in handy in helping you minimise stress. For stress relief, practice deep breathing and meditation, write a journal or take long nature walks to help clear out your mind.
5.Get enough sleep
The recommended hours for sleep are seven to eight hours per night. The connection between sleep and weight is how sleep affects one’s appetite. Several studies have shown that people who are sleep-deprived tend to choose foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates. Insomnia often leads to metabolic dysregulation.