What's the best way to melt menopausal belly fat and get rid of that extra weight gain? Women over 50 - you know what I'm talking about!
As if hot flashes, night sweats, and moodiness weren't enough, turns out your metabolism slows and where you gain weight changes during and after menopause. Lovely :).
Just because your body changes, doesn't mean you have to fight it or accept it.
I've had 3 children. My tummy will never be like it was at 20 years old, but...and that's a big ol' "but!"...you can still be in incredible shape and healthy - and happy - with how you handle menopausal weight gain - especially in your belly area.
There are ways you can lose the extra weight, get in shape, and feel great about your new and improved body after menopause.*
HOW TO LOSE THE MENOPAUSAL WEIGHT GAIN - ESPECIALLY IN YOUR BELLY
Lessen sugar, alcohol, and highly processed foods.
This seems obvious to many, but difficult to actually do. Our willpower wanes as the day goes on and if you have food and drinks in your home that are not healthy, it makes it much harder to say no to them. I recommend not having them around at all if you need to lose some serious belly fat. That excess middle weight is not healthy and can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
What I've found helpful is meal-planning. Have your meals and snacks already planned out so you're more aware of what you're eating and when.
Get good, quality sleep.
I really don't like black-out curtains, but my husband and I do use them in our bedroom. The darker your bedroom is at night, the better it is for the quality of your sleep. I also take melatonin* at night - about an hour before bed, and it is a time-released tablet. I have never slept better. I also have blue-light glasses* that I wear to watch tv and to read my iPad and phone at night.
Lessen your stress.
So much is written on how to rid your life of stress, but I am one that thinks that we don't want to be completely flat-lined going through life, do we?
It's okay to have a little stress if we're encountering a new challenge, like a job or task. When you find yourself unable to relax, if the stress is from ruminating on too many negative thoughts, basically, if your cortisol is running too high, too much of the time, it's time to lessen your stress.
Your body tries to tell you in so many ways! This is where therapy can be helpful (but choose a great therapist - you want to come out of your sessions in a better state than how you went in), or good friendships, where you can "decompress" with a kindred soul. Even some kind of social interactions with others is helpful to our spirit and stress levels. Connection is important.
I also like Bach's Rescue Remedy* for day-to-day stress. Having a cup of tea is relaxing, working out is relaxing, a bath, reading, conscious breathing, journaling...think of some things that are relaxing for you and make it a point to implement them when - or even before - you get stressed.
Work out differently. Move more.
Pre-menopause, I was running 5 days a week, doing hills, speed runs, and other high intensity workouts.
As you get older, your joints are more sensitive and more prone to injuries, and your muscles take longer to recover.
As I got older, after over 100 running races, my hips and knees finally let me know enough is enough. I still needed to be active though!
Find ways to exercise - and make these fun and varied workouts so you stay motivated!
Additionally, it's a great idea to move more during your day. Many of us are sedentary and this leads to weaker muscles, tendons, and even bones.
Look at your portion size. Eat less.
During and after menopause, your metabolism slows down. I used to be able to eat a lot of food! Not so much anymore! I'm not doing running races every weekend now so that will bring the metabolism rate down, but we all tend to slow down as we get older. How much you slow down is up to you!
I digress...this is about eating and as you get older, you'll find you have to eat less - or those extra calories you aren't burning up will be added on as extra weight. Look at your portion sizes. In America - our portion sizes are bigger than most of the world's. We also tend to eat a lot of processed foods - which are comprised of ingredients that can inflame your body.
Another point I'd like to make is to pay attention to what you are drinking. There are a lot of calories in "healthy" juice, in an alcoholic beverages, and the like.
As I get older, I eat more protein and have lessened my carb intake. When I have carbs, I avoid the highly processed foods and gluten (I am sensitive to gluten so I want to eliminate as much inflammation from my body as I can). I avoid dairy because I'm lactose-intolerant. This is a perfect time to look at how you eat, look at how you want to be eating, and make the appropriate changes.
Have good support (friends, family, environment).
Are you around someone who eats crappy food or drinks a lot of alcohol?
Do you live in a home where there are temptations (junk food, etc) around?
Are the people and the environment around you supportive of you and your health?
What changes can you make that will better support you in your health and workout goals?
In this article, I wrote about your diet, sleep, stress, working out, and your environment. All of these factors contribute to menopausal belly fat. Having a menopausal middle once you reach middle age is not something you have to get used to or accept - you have options and choices you can make. You have the power, indeed the responsibility should you so choose, to slim that waist down, lose weight, feel great, and be your healthiest self.
the small print: I am not a doctor. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or advise. Information provided in this blog post is of a general nature only and is for entertainment/educational purposes. It is strongly recommended that you consult with your physician if you have any questions or concerns.
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