During perimenopause and menopause the number one reason belly fat occurs is the decrease in hormones. During this time estrogen drops. It is the place where body stores fat making women more prone to gaining belly fat. Sleep disturbance is also another factor causing hormonal imbalance. It is common in perimenopause and menopause and is associated with decreased levels of leptin, an appetite suppressant and increased levels of ghrelin, an appetite stimulant.
As you journey through the phase of menopause, you may start to experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swing and night sweats. You may also begin noticing weight gain and weight shifting. Many women begin to notice the weight increase around their mid section. They begin to see belly fat along with back fat and love handles.
It’s not all in your head; the belly fat around your mid section is stubborn. A new lifestyle can help you in conquering the menopausal battle of the bulge. Here are 4 ways to beat perimenopausal and menopausal belly fat:
1. Healthy Diet: Reduce the number of calories you eat each day. Metabolism decreases with age and you require fewer calories than before. Eliminate fatty food and processed foods. Choose lean meats, fish. Cook with olive oil. Eat whole grains and vegetables. Choose foods high in fiber and low in sugar. Fresh vegetables are low in fat and high in fiber. Monitor your portions. Eat foods rich in phytoestrogens such as soy and licorice root; they help increase estrogen that is lost during menopause. Plan your meals ahead of time.
2.Exercise: Exercise as often as possible, preferably 5 days a week. Regular exercise helps shed body weight and strengthens your core. Core exercises tone abdominal muscles and helps flatten your tummy. Free weights can strengthen core muscles as you need to remain balanced to lift weights. They also provide more strength benefits than weight machines. However, in some instances, they are used for stability you may not have at first. As we approach perimenopause and menopause muscle mass is lost and you are prone to increased abdominal fat. Strength training increases muscle mass. Adding strength training exercises can help boost metabolism. Muscle is like a furnace to your body, burning more calories, even at rest, than without muscle mass.
3. Aerobic exercise: moderate intensity aerobic exercises burn calories and fat. Try incorporating this exercise 3 days a week.
4. De-stress: stress enhances fat and increases deep abdominal fat. It releases high levels of cortisol and places fat into cell deposits deep in your abdomen. Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
As it is not unusual to gain 20-25 lbs during the phases of perimenopause and menopause, it is also the inactivity that increases weight. This may be due to menopausal symptoms causing lack of energy and decrease in metabolism. Incorporating the 4 simple ways to your routine can dramatically help reduce abdominal fat and help fight perimenopausal and menopausal belly fat.
Until next time, Be empowered, Stay motivated, Be connected … AnnaMaria
About the author: AnnaMaria is a 49 year old single mother of two. She has had the privilege of assisting many perimenopausal, menopausal and post menopausal woman transform their lives not only physically but emotionally. It is with compassion and understanding as she journeys through the phase of menopause to share her experiences and knowledge with all women. Her goal is to empower women to know that age doesn’t matter, to know that they deserve to look and feel their best and to help solve the menopause puzzle.
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