Are you exercising regularly but still losing the battle of the bulge at your midsection? Your changing hormones may be the cause of your stagnate weight loss progress. As we age, the level of estrogen in our bodies begins to decrease naturally and changes the way we gain weight. During the reproductive years, normal estrogen levels encourage weight gain in the thigh, hip and buttocks areas to prepare the body for pregnancy and birth. When the level of this hormone begins to drop, this fat distribution changes and settles mainly in the abdominal area. These hormonal changes can begin as early as 40 years old in some women as they enter the perimenopause phase and on average most women experience menopause by age 51. Although the timing and severity of this normal process of womanhood are out of our hands, there are still ways you can blast that belly fat through diet, and properly targeted exercise.
Step 1: Diet
Your body needs a nutrition plan that keeps up with the hormonal and physical changes occurring during perimenopause and menopause. While eating for weight loss may be your main concern, overall diet is important to consider to keep your body healthier, longer. As estrogen levels fall, your metabolism begins to decrease along with bone density and your body’s ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels. These simple diet tips can help you to reduce weight and stabilize these vital body systems at the same time:
- REDUCE YOUR SUGAR INTAKE. Cutting sugar can be one of the most difficult dieting changes to master. Between refined sugar cravings for desserts and hidden sugar in the food and drinks we consume every day, following a low sugar diet can seem impossible. One easy way to lower your sugar intake is to limit your consumption of sugary drinks like soda and juices and to cut out added sugar in your morning coffee or tea. In many women, completely eliminating sugar can lead to unhealthy binges of sugar filled foods so don’t cut the sugar all together. Instead switch to healthy sources to satisfy your sweet tooth by adding fresh, whole fruits to your daily diet.
- FIGHT THE FAT WITH FAT. If you think fat-free foods are the answer to your belly fat issue you could be doing more harm than good. Many fat-free foods like peanut butter and salad dressings have the same or an increased level of sugar as the regular versions. This excess sugar and lack of healthy fats can work against your weight loss efforts and compromise your active lifestyle by zapping your energy. Fill your diet with healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and fish. These foods are full of omega-3s and antioxidants and will give your body the fuel you need to tackle those workouts.
- FOCUS ON FIBER. Bloating can accompany the hormonal changes of menopause and fiber is a great way to reduce that tight and uncomfortable feeling in your midsection. Fiber-rich foods also help you to feel fuller, longer and curb your chance of overeating. Adding fiber rich foods like Greek yogurt, berries, almonds and granola to your breakfast could eliminate unhealthy snacking and keep your energy levels high throughout the day. High-fiber foods help to move waste through your intestines removing cholesterol from the body and shaving inches from your waistline
Step 2: Exercise
One major mistake many women make when trying to lose belly fat is prioritizing cardio exercises in their workout routines. It’s best to start with weight lifting and resistance training at the start of your workout when you’re more active because you’re more likely lift heavier weights and keep energy levels high during breaks between reps. Muscle needs more calories than fat so when you build muscle your body burns more calories when at rest. Building muscle through strength training workouts will improve your overall weight loss efforts and help blast that belly fat.
Power Yoga is a great way to combine both strength training and fat burning cardio heart rates into one workout. Power Yoga focuses on quick intense yoga pose routines that use your body weight for resistance. Power Yoga increases stamina, stability and builds muscle. The therapeutic stretches and breathing exercises can also reduce the stress that is proven to make belly fat even more stubborn.
Step 3: Sleep, Stress and Supplements
The physical changes that accompany menopause can interrupt normal sleep patterns and leave you over tired. Lack of sleep increases levels of ghrelin or the “hunger hormone” that intensifies your appetite. Low sugar diets have been proven to reduce sleep interrupting symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats so you can get a good night’s rest and reduce belly fat while you snooze.
Stress levels can raise your risk of heart disease and increase weight gain so focus on reducing stress thorough exercise, deep breathing techniques, and mood enhancing supplements like black cohosh and maca root powder.
There is more than a trim figure at stake when focusing on reducing belly fat. Excess weight in your abdominal area can play a role in some serious health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and inflammation. To help you kick start your plan to eliminate your belly fat, try this smoothie recipe to start your day with a hearty dose of calcium, fiber, and healthy fat.
Menopause Belly Blasting Smoothie
3 ounces vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup kale
3/4 cup water
Place all the ingredients in a blender, and mix until smooth.
These 3 changes will dramatically help with your belly fat. Because hormones affect every cell in your body, it’s not unusual that hormone excess, deficiencies, or imbalances can produce some very unwanted symptoms. For example, hormones affect your cardiovascular system, central nervous system, blood sugar balance, bone density, weight, and skin. Hormones also affect brain function and mood, so hormone imbalances can impair mental sharpness, ability to focus, and short-term memory, causing you to feel as if your brain is in a fog. At the same time mood swings, irritability, depression, and anxiety may make you feel like you are bordering on insanity. Hormonal imbalances can be detrimental to your overall health, career, relationships, and other areas of your life. Click here to take our survey & see if Infinite Wellness can help restore your hormones to optimal BALANCED levels.