What Causes Menopause Belly Fat?
Weight gain overall may be influenced by a variety of things, going from how many calories you consume to how many calories you burn throughout the day. If you consume excess calories without doing too much exercise, you are going to carry quite a bit of excess weight – and this includes belly fat. Plus, as you age and hit menopause, your body might also go through changes.
There isn’t any definite proof that menopause causes weight gain; you’ll still gain the same amount of weight that you did before. The only thing that will change here is where all that weight goes. As your belly seems to be getting bigger, you are probably noticing that your thighs are also getting smaller. The thigh part would not have normally been a problem if the belly stayed slim as well, but it appears we can’t just have everything in life.
While menopause doesn’t affect the number of calories that are being absorbed, it does affect where those calories are going. Those wondering what causes menopause belly fat should know that the main culprit here is estrogen. This is because as the level of estrogen decreases, the fat is no longer directed where it used to be.
When the estrogen levels were high, they would tell your body to deposit that fat in your bums or your thighs. However, now that your estrogen levels are lower, that fat is deposited in your belly. As you can see, you are not gaining weight, but you are gaining a belly.
The main culprit of menopause belly fat is the hormone estrogen.
How to Lose Menopause Belly Fat
Sadly, it is not possible to lose fat just from a specific body part. If you want to lose weight in one area, you will have to lose weight in others as well. Still, this does not mean that you need to welcome your belly fat with open arms. There are still a few ways for you to keep that stubborn belly under control, even as you reach a certain age. Here are some tips on how to lose menopause belly fat that will help you have a healthy lifestyle as well.
First of all, to lose weight, in this case, fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you use during your day. None of the below points work if you skip this one.
You know the saying: no pain, no gain. Sure, we all love being lazy, at least once in a while, but belly fat loves this too. This is why, in order to lose weight, you should create a routine with menopause belly fat exercises. This way, even if the fat stubbornly wants to deposit itself on you, you should be able to stop it by burning it off first. These exercises can be anything from yoga to Pilates and high-intensity cardio.
2. Eat Healthily
If you eat chaotically, it’s obvious that your belly fat will stay with you until the end of days. To shed it off, the most important thing to do is to say goodbye to junk food. Eat a lot of veggies, greens, and fibers. Also, bear in mind that protein and healthy fats are also necessary, since you may burn through fruits and veggies very quickly using menopause belly fat exercises.
Hydration is very important, especially once you reach a certain age. Bear in mind that juice and other sugary beverages don’t count as “hydrating;” water is your best friend here. Eight glasses of water represent the standard but remember that this number may change based on how much you weigh. The heavier your body is, the more water you may have to drink.
4. Practice Mindful Eating
Are you the type of person that loves to eat while watching TV? Maybe you grab a lot of your meals on the move, as this is your method for saving time. If you said yes to those, then you might want to stop and begin practicing mindful eating. When you don’t focus all your attention on the food, your brain simply does not process the fact that you have eaten enough – causing you to eat more than you are supposed to. Sit down at the table, focus on the food, take in the way it tastes and feels – be mindful of every moment as you eat. This way, you will only eat as much as you need.
Mindful eating is a great tool to keep calorie intake low.
5. Ditch Sugar
You already know what causes menopause belly fat: it’s the hormones that are starting to act up and mess with the way your body stores the fat. Well, sugar also messes with the hormones in your body, adding even more to the problem. Ideally, you should cut sugar out completely, but if you can’t do that at once, you should cut back gradually, at least. Your belly will thank you.
Menopause Belly Fat Exercises to Try Out
Many women are struggling with ways to lose menopause belly fat, but 50% of the answer for that is usually standing right in front of you. If you want to shed off the menopause belly fat, you need to start doing some menopause belly fat exercises regularly. Exercise can balance your hormones, including estrogen. Therefore, not only will you be burning the unwanted fat, but you will also be reminding your body where it is that it’s supposed to store that fat.
Pretty much any kind of exercise will do here, as long as it tackles your core. Under most circumstances, cardio exercises are the best ones to use – in other words, those that make you sweat.
Combine the below exercises with bike runs of 1-2 minutes at a high pace or 1 minute of jumping jacks, and repeat the whole sequence three times.
1. The Plank
If you want to shed off the belly fat, EAT LESS, then you turn towards our good friend, the plank. This exercise is perfect for burning belly fat regardless of your age, and the nature of the exercise can tackle your whole body as well. This yoga pose can help you shape your belly, your arms, your thighs, and even strengthen your back.
30 seconds to complete 1 set.
During plank, make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands and your torso is engaged.
2. The Lunge
Not only is this exercise perfect for strengthening thighs for women over 40, but it is also a great way for you to strengthen your core. We know why your body is no longer distributing fat correctly – so, the best way to get things back on track is to get your thighs working as well.
Do 15 reps per side to complete 1 set.
Keep your torso straight and avoid impacting on the floor with the rear knee.
3. The Crunch
Likely your go-to when it comes to shedding off your belly fat, crunches represent a great way to engage your core. Lie flat on your back on the yoga mat, bend your knees, and then lift your upper body off the floor. You don’t need to do a full sit-up, just a small raise will do. Once at the top position, hold it for 3 seconds. Repeat this 10 times to complete one set.
During crunches, make sure to place your hands at your temples to avoid overexerting your neck.
4. The Boat
The boat might be a difficult pose for some, but at the same time, if you want to strengthen your core and thighs, this is a great exercise. As your bum is resting on the yoga mat, lift your upper body and your legs until you are sitting in a V-shape. Stretch your arms at shoulder level and keep them parallel to the floor. Ideally, you should keep this pose for about 30 seconds to complete one set.
Keep you chest high and engage your core to avoid your spine from rounding.
5. The Side Plank
Those that have mastered the plank might want to go a few steps further and try out the side plank. These menopause belly fat exercises can tone your core muscles, and the side plank works wonders for your obliques. This pose is just like the average plank, but instead of facing the yoga mat, your chest is facing the sides and you are only lifting with one elbow. Make sure to maintain a straight body line for 30 seconds per side to complete one set.
Remember to include some sort of cardio exercise for 1-2 minutes between each of the above exercises. Then repeat the whole sequence three times.
VERY IMPORTANT: warm-up before getting started. Do some mild cardio for 5 minutes, and then a few reps of each exercise to warm-up all the muscles that you will be using later.
Keep your hips stacked and facing forward. Avoid letting them sag during side plank.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know what causes menopause belly fat, you should be able to get rid of it more effectively. Eat correctly (and mindfully), exercise, drink your water – and overall, take care of yourself and your lifestyle. If your body has found its equilibrium, your hormones won’t go as crazy as to store fat incorrectly.
Mother, wife, schoolteacher and yogini. Finds peace and a much-needed exercise in yoga. After a few years of just yoga, she’s now exploring other kinds of training and eating routines looking to stay fit to keep enjoying traveling and discovering the world.