What is a Menopause Belly Fat?
Menopause causes several body changes, one of them being weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region.
During a woman’s pregnancy years, her hips and thighs are the most common places that gain weight.
But once she gets to perimenopause, her midsection is more likely to grow.
Estrogen directs fat to the hips and thighs to support pregnancies, but when its production ceases, the fat shifts to the abdominal region, otherwise known as the belly.
The location shift isn’t the only difference because weight gain in the hips and thighs is subcutaneous. But, when a woman starts gaining weight in her abdominal region, its visceral fat, increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
According to a study recorded in the AHA (American heart association), women with a lot of belly fat (visceral) has at least a 10% greater risk of getting a heart attack than women with more overall body fat (subcutaneous).
In this review, we’ll look at the causes of menopausal belly fat apart from the cessation of estrogen production and several ways to reduce this belly fat.
The Causes of Menopausal Belly Include:
Belly weight gained as a result of menopause is expected due to the cessation of estrogen production. However, other factors can cause a menopausal belly, including
1. Family background of obesity
2. Anti-depressant and anti-psychotic meds
4. Lack of adequate sleep
5. Loss of muscle mass
6. Number of pregnancies
7. Reduction in physical activity
8. Slowing metabolism due to aging
How Can You Reduce Menopausal Belly?
Cut Back on Sugary Foods
Sugary foods aren’t recommended, particularly if you want to shed menopausal belly fat. Not only is refined sugar unhealthy, but it also prevents the body from shedding belly fat.
Natural sugars like those in fruits are not a problem because they have fiber meaning your body can break them down more quickly.
Spikes from refined sugars can cause insulin to increase, and too much insulin can cause blood sugar to be stored in the body as belly fat.
To reduce your menopausal belly, start your days by drinking a glass of water with a hint of ACV (apple cider vinegar) in it.
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps your body burn fat and also rids the body of toxins. Not only that, but it also replenishes your energy levels.
In fact, the benefits of adding ACV to your drinking water are endless, just add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water daily and watch the magic happen.
Don’t Succumb to Emotional Eating
It’s tempting to want to deal with hormonal imbalances by eating. Hormonal imbalances make you want to wake up at night and have a slice of pizza or leftover dinner.
Shedding belly fat during menopause doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of all good things in life; however, you should be careful when you get the urge to snack on junk food and try to control your emotions in better ways.
So how can you do this? You need to distract yourself, for instance, by reading or watching something and practice self-care.
Eat More Fiber
Eating foods rich in fiber, particularly the soluble kind, is recommended. Soluble fiber dissolves in liquids forming a gel-like substance that helps lower cholesterol levels. As a result, it can help reduce menopausal belly fat.
According to one study on obesity, for every 10g soluble fiber consumption increase, there is a 4% decrease in the amount of belly fat.
Some of the best sources of soluble fiber include fruits (apples, berries, and citrus fruits), leafy greens (broccoli and Brussels sprouts), whole grains (barley, bulgur, oatmeal), etc.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) exercises are a great way to make your body expend a lot of calories in a very short time, thanks to the level of intensity involved.
HIIT exercises require you to engage in short bursts of all-out activity followed by short periods of rest.
HIIT exercises differ from steady-state workouts such as jogging or walking because they increase your heart rate, causing your body to burn fat quicker.
Keep Your Portions in Check
Menopause causes your metabolism to slow, with some studies indicating your body burns fewer calories daily.
So if you don’t reduce the number of calories you consume per day, it will increase your menopausal belly fat. As a result, cutting back on takeout, such as fried foods, is an excellent way to control your portions.
Also, the number of meals and the time you have meals in a day can also make a significant difference.
You can try having several meals in a day, but the portions should be small. This helps your body to break down the food quickly.
Stay Vertical More Often
When your body is in motion, it burns a lot of calories. Staying vertical isn’t the same as working out, albeit you should also do that, but when your body remains upright more often, it can expend more calories than when you’re sitting down.
If you love binge-watching and don’t want to stand up often, you can get a pedal exerciser and place it in front of your couch. This will help you exercise while still catching up on your favorite movies, sports, and TV shows.
According to the CDC (center for disease control), you need at least 2 and half hours of cardio every week to stay healthy. Most women get the cardio portion right but what they don’t do is incorporate strength training into their routines.
After 30 years, the female body starts to lose muscle mass if no strength training is done. So you need to do strength training at least thrice per week to keep your body strong.
You don’t need to go to the gym; you can use your own body weight via push-ups, squats, etc. You can also invest in dumbbells or resistance bands.
To sum it all up, you can reduce your menopausal belly by following the tips listed above.
If these tips prove challenging, consult a physician to check your hormonal levels. You might have thyroid issues which makes losing a menopausal belly more difficult.