Menopause brings on a large number of biological, physical and emotional changes in the body due to sudden alteration in the hormone levels. It is very common for women to gain some weight around their belly once they reach menopause. It is commonly known as ‘muffin top’. Most women have a tendency to gain excess belly fat, particularly deep inside the belly, while transitioning from perimenopause to menopause. The reason for this unusual fat gain is due to drop in estrogen level, in response to which the body fat is redistributed from thighs, buttocks and hips to the belly region. Some amount of weight gain during menopause is considered normal reaction of body to the hormonal changes; however, excessive weight gain can contribute to other medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes, colo-rectal cancer etc. Besides this, sudden weight gain can lead to emotional stress, low self-esteem and depression. It has been seen that menopausal belly fat respond well to exercising and healthy diet.
9 Ways to Get Rid of Menopausal Belly Fat
Management of menopausal belly fat mainly depends on extent of physical activity and following a balanced diet. This has been discussed in the following points. It is advised to maintain a waist circumference of below 35 inches.
#1. Regular Exercising to Get Rid of Menopausal Belly Fat:
It is advised for women to exercise regularly and vigorously once they descend towards menopause. Experts recommend aerobic exercises such as swimming, bicycling, running, walking, dancing etc. in addition to resistance or strength training in your effort to get rid of menopausal belly fat. It is important to work harder and longer to cope up with the drop in metabolism. Exercise regime should include 30 minutes of intense aerobic workout 5 times a week and 15 minutes of strength training 2 to 3 times a week.
#2. Stay Vertical:
It is advised to stay as physically active as possible to burn more calories and stay in shape. Sitting for long period of time can turn off the fat burning enzymes. Simple changes in lifestyle and everyday activities can benefit the body in a big way and help you in your effort to get rid of menopausal belly fat. Walking and pacing while talking on the phone, walking instead of driving, taking the stairs, placing a treadmill in front of the TV etc. can help in staying physically active.
#3. Controlling Food Portions Can Help Get Rid of Menopausal Belly Fat:
As mentioned earlier, the metabolism rate reduces by 20 percent once women hits menopause as compared to the younger days. As a result of this, food takes longer to release energy. In view of this it is advised to cut down the food portions to avoid unwanted fat deposit around your belly. A standard menopause diet consists more of fruits and vegetables and less of sugar and fats. It is recommended to consume lean meat products and low fat dairy products. It is also very important to add more fibre to the diet.
#4. Choose Healthy Fats In Your Efforts to Get Rid of Menopausal Belly Fat:
Healthy fats (which includes fats from vegetables sources such as olives and nuts) should be preferred over unhealthy fat (such as hydrogenated oils, trans-fats etc.). Healthy fat should also be taken in moderation to avoid weight gain.
#5. Timely Eating:
It is recommended to avoid heavy meal at night. Overeating and over snacking should be avoided. It is encouraged to follow an everyday meal plan along with timings and stick to the plan strictly.
#6. Mixing up Routine:
It has been seen the after following routine exercise for a while, the body stops reacting to workout sessions as before. It is advised to occasionally mix up regular routine with something different at times (e.g. going for a bike ride). This will prevent acustomization of the body to regular exercises.
#7. Get Adequate Sleep at Night:
Adequate sleep at night is equally important as following a healthy diet and staying physically active in order to lose belly fat. It is important to give the body its required rest. It is advised to get 7 to 8 hours sleep every day. Sleeping in a cool room can help in getting a sound sleep as it can help offset hot flashes.
#8. Stress Management:
Stress is known to increase the production of a hormone known as cortisol, which in turn leads to fat deposit around the belly. Indulging in activities such as reading a book, long warm baths, watching a movie, spending time with family, can help in reducing the stress level and maintaining positive outlook. Other activities such as yoga and meditation are also considered helpful.
#9. Consult an Expert:
In many cases, post-menopausal women are recommended hormone replacement therapy depending on their physical condition. This is mainly done to counter the side effects of fall in estrogen level. It is advised to consult an obstetrician-gynaecologist for considering medication or treatment which may affect the menopausal symptoms.
Moreover, it is advised to socialize with women of same age group who are going through post-menopausal symptoms. This helps is staying motivated and positive. Exercising with a friend is known to yield better results than exercising alone. Menopausal belly fat can also make you prone to type 2 diabetes post menopause. Hence, it is very important to keep the weight gain under check and get rid of the belly fat that you have already gained.