OUR TOP 5 TIPS TO REDUCE & PREVENT INCREASED BELLY FAT DURING MENOPAUSE
From hot flashes to night sweats, to mood swings and more, menopause can be an extremely uncomfortable time for us women. Add fatigue, sleepless nights, and weight gain can turn one’s life into total misery! I’m going to be addressing this subject more often because it’s something I have been through the past 3 years and it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride! I want to share what I have learnt, through research and also trial and error. We must remember that there is no one size fits all, we are all different and my symptoms and solutions might be different to yours.
The good news is that there are things we can do to help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of menopause, and I’m excited to share our best tips to help you get rid of menopause belly fat so you can start feeling confident and happy in your skin again!
What is Menopause?
Menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated for 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant. The average age in which women enter menopause is said to be 45 – 51, but it is impossible to predict when this will actually occur.
Some women begin menopause before the age of 40 (known as premature menopause), and others menstruate until their 60s. Genetics, the health of your ovaries, and your ethnicity can all influence when you will enter menopause.
When a woman has gone through 12 consecutive months without a period, she has officially entered menopause. Signs and symptoms that a woman is beginning the transition to menopause can start up to 10 years before she experiences her last menstrual cycle. This period is known as PERIMENOPAUSE and can cause one or many of the following symptoms:
• Irregular periods
• Heavier than normal periods
• Hot flashes
• Irritability and mood swings
• Vaginal dryness
• Low libido
• Difficulty sleeping
• Urine urgency and incontinence
*It’s important to note that even though your body is producing less oestrogen and your periods are irregular, you can still get pregnant if you are still menstruating, so be sure to continue using birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy during this time.
What Causes Menopause Belly Fat?
Many women gain weight during the transition to menopause, particularly around their midsection. This can be extremely frustrating, and as your waist circumference increases, so does your risk for developing things like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. The good news is that weight gain doesn’t need to be an inevitable part of a woman’s post-menopausal life. But before we share our best tips for getting rid of menopause belly fat, let’s take a look at some of the causes of weight gain during and after menopause.
• Low oestrogen. Falling oestrogen levels can cause insulin sensitivity, which can make your blood sugar levels more prone to spiking and crashing, which in turn causes you to crave high carb, sugary snacks. A decrease in oestrogen can also cause fat in your bum, hips, and thighs to be redistributed to your midsection.
• Slower metabolism. Our metabolism slows down as we age, and some research suggests that peri- and post-menopausal women burn up to 300 fewer calories per day compared to when they were in their early 20s.
• Decrease in muscle mass. Our muscle mass also diminishes as we get older, which slows our metabolism and makes it harder to lose weight.
• Genetics. Our genetics can influence how/where we carry weight.
Here I am sharing our 5 TOP tips to get rid of Menopause belly fat.
1. LIFT WEIGHTS
This for me is no 1! Many women believe cardio is the best and only thing they should do to lose weight, but that’s actually not true, especially as women get older. Incorporating regular strength training into your weekly exercise regime will help increase your muscle mass, increase your metabolism, give you more energy, and improve your quality of sleep – all of which can help reduce menopause belly fat!
2. MAKE SURE YOU’RE SLEEPING ENOUGH
Quality sleep is an essential part of your overall health, both physically and mentally. Ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood sugar, anxiety, diabetes, stroke, weight gain, and increased body fat. Not everyone realizes the importance of quality sleep, but it’s just as crucial as exercise and healthy eating. Of course, one of the symptoms of menopause is sleep disturbances, so even if you’re committed to improving the length and quality of your sleep, your body may not cooperate. Try to switch off all your electronics at least 2 hours before bed so your brain can unwind. I found that listening to bedtime stories helped me relax and fall asleep a lot easier. Apps like Calm, help immensely with meditation and bedtime stories.
3.CUT BACK ON SUGAR AND REFINED CARBS
If you want to get rid of menopause belly fat, reducing your sugar intake is key. When we eat sugar, opioids and dopamine are released, which give a feel-good feeling but also make us crave sugar even more. It triggers the pleasure centre of our brains, as well as the reward centre, which makes it a vicious circle to break! Sugar consumption can lead to issues like weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and it can also wreak havoc on your hormones, making you feel tired and sluggish. Beware of ingredients like sucrose, fructose, and pretty much any other words with ‘–ose’ at the end as they contain sugar. Use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup instead.
Cutting back on refined carbs can also be beneficial with weight loss after menopause. Refined carbs like cookies, cakes, pastries, candies, fast foods, breaded or battered foods, sugary cereals, pasta, and pizza are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, causing spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can perpetuate cravings for high-carb, sugary snacks.
4. MANAGE STRESS
If you’re looking for natural remedies for weight gain and menopause, stress management is key. Chronic stress can cause high levels of cortisol – the hormone responsible for controlling our blood sugar levels, regulating our metabolism, and reducing inflammation in the body. Also know as the ‘stress hormone’, high levels of cortisol due to chronic feelings of stress can lead to a whole host of issues, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain. Yoga, meditation, mindful breathing, regular exercise, and therapy are all great ways to keep your stress, cortisol levels, and weight under control.
5. EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Another easy way to promote weight loss is to ensure you are consuming enough protein. Eggs, lean meats, and tofu help you feel full and satisfied, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods between meals. Protein reduces hunger, helps curb cravings, and also protects muscle mass, which is important if you want to boost your metabolism. If fat loss after menopause is your goal, high-protein foods are a must at every meal!
If you’re looking for tips to help prevent and reduce menopause belly fat, we hope you found these tips useful. Make sure you’re sleeping enough, staying hydrated, and eating a well-balanced diet that consists of lean protein, healthy fats, and whole carbs. Avoid sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, and caffeine, manage your sodium intake, and track the number of calories you are consuming versus how many calories you are burning each day! If you find this all too overwhelming and don’t know where to start at Steelextreme we offer nutrition guidance tailored to your needs. We are here to guide you all the way.