Have you been struggling with stubborn midlife belly fat or menopausal muffin top? The seemingly inexorable slide of our middle over our jeans just isn’t fair! Midlife belly fat is one of the slightly unpleasant surprises about how menopause impacts our bodies.
Estrogen levels that drop before and during menopause may be one of the causes for extra belly fat but there are a number of contributing factors. Those of us who’ve always watched our weight find it more challenging to control excess weight gain around our middles after fifty.
The bottom line?
The fat that used to settle around our hips, thighs and bums now gets stored deep in our bellies.
Since we’ve been told carrying extra fat in our abdomen carries additional health risk, it’s time to do something about it!
If the measurement around your waist at your belly button is over 35 inches, you’re at greater risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
If you’re like me, you watch what you eat and keep active. But all of a sudden your body and belly just stubbornly refuse to respond to exercise and diet as they used to and the pounds are slowly gaining.
I’d love to tell you it’s going to be easy to keep that midlife belly healthy but give yourself some grace. Trust me, awareness is everything. Just become a little more aware and practice a little more self love and you’ll get there!
On with the tips.
12 Tips to Tame Midlife Belly Fat
- Keep an eye on your stress levels. Extra cortisol can hijack your other hormones and make it harder to keep belly fat off. Practice yoga or start an exercise routine to help de-stress your life and health.
- Sleep is another casualty of a stress filled life. It’s been proven that less sleep can equal weight gain. Isn’t being tired punishment enough! Good sleep helps strengthen leptin, our bodies natural appetite depressant. Try these tips to practice good sleep hygiene.
- Talk to your GP, practitioner or naturopath about using bio-identical estrogen & progesterone HRT to supplement your hormone levels. A drop in your estrogen levels can be a contributor to belly fat.
- Practice core building exercises like these workouts to strengthen your abdominal and oblique muscles. Try yoga poses like these by Yoga by Adrienne on Youtube for a gentle routine you can practice 3-4x a week.
- Honey, just avoid those trans fat and white carbs when you can! Packaged foods, enriched flours (pasta) and partially hydrogenated oils for example. Trans fats have been shown to increase belly fat compared to other foods with the same amount of calories.
- Choose MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) foods like seeds, nuts and olive oil. Surprisingly, good fats are essential to taming your belly fat. Avocados and whole grains are good fat burners too.
- Try and ration the amount of sugar in your diet. This one is hardest for me! But excess sugar leads to too much insulin which leads to higher blood sugar that gets stored as belly fat.
- Commit to exercising 3-4x a week to rev up your digestion. Simply by walking, cycling, hiking or running a little more you can sleep better and tame belly fat.
- Try eating smaller portions. Trick your eyes by using a smaller plate or bowl and filling it. You may find you can still be satisfied once you get used to eating a bit less.
- Finally! It’s finally becoming OK to eat your main meal earlier in the evening. Try to aim to eat at least 4-5 hours before going to bed.
- Walking after eating your main meal for as little as 5 minutes can help tame blood sugar levels, improve digestion and help sleep and weight loss.
- Only eat when you’re hungry! When you can, be mindful about when you eat. Try to resist the urge to snack throughout the day from boredom, stress or tiredness.
Eat a little less, move a little more and get enough sleep and rest and you’ll soon be creating good belly-busting habits!
Having a flatter belly is a healthier way to age, but don’t we feel better and look better when we take care of ourselves? Heck ya!
What’s the one thing you can try today? Start with one and work through the list. I hope this inspires you. x