More Birthday Candles, More Belly Fat

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: November 19, 2012

Belly Dance

Studies show that on average women gain between 10-15 pounds during menopause and most of this weight accumulates around a woman’s middle section, or “menopot”. You may try to eat healthy and exercise, but the pounds don’t seem to come off. The fat accumulates in places it has never gone before.

Women in midlife tend to pack on the pounds, but the culprit is not menopause alone. A comprehensive review by the International Menopause Society found that hormonal changes at menopause are associated with a change in the way that fat is distributed, including around the belly.

The Hormone Belly Fat Connection

During menopause, when estrogen decreases rapidly, your body looks for other places to get it, including in fat cells. Unfortunately, fat cells are less efficient at burning calories, so they build up. A lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and glucose less effectively (insulin resistance), thus increasing fat storage and making it more difficult to lose weight. Other hormones, including progesterone, androgen and testosterone also decrease during menopause. This may cause water retention and bloating and may make you feel like a balloon!

The good news is, there is hope. The Nurses’ Health Study, which tracks women through menopause, found that women who exercised moderately, once a day (brisk walking, dancing, cycling, swimming) avoided menopausal weight gain. Maintain a healthy weight as you get older and prevent the accumulation of fat in your midsection. Start a plan to loss that “menopot”. It may take a little work, but it will be better for your health.

Menopot BE GONE!

Here are some belly flattening strategies to help you cast off that extra belly fat:

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation has been associated with low energy. If you are feeling tired, certainly you are not going to feel like exercising. In addition, it may also set you up to make poor food choices as well. We need about 7.5 hours of good quality sleep per night. If you feel sleepy after you wake up, talk to your doctor. There may be a treatment plan that can help you get a better night’s sleep and it may also help you get slimmer as well.
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. That also may be a culprit to keeping you up at night.
  • Keep those sneakers handy and start walking. It will get your heart pumping and keep you physically fit as well.
  • Take a Pilates class. It may be challenging at first, but it will help your core muscles.
  • Incorporate strength training to keep your metabolism up and to maintain bone density.
  • Weight gain during menopause is more than aesthetically concerning. The trouble with belly fat is that it’s not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs. Although subcutaneous fat poses cosmetic concerns, visceral fat is associated with far more dangerous health consequences.

    Weight gain increases your risk of heart disease and stroke (high cholesterol and high blood pressure), Type 2 Diabetes, and various cancers (Colorectal and Breast Cancer). Before you make an appointment for liposuction, there are things that you can do. It is important to move more, eat less, and seek support to living a healthy lifestyle.

    References
    Preidt, Robert. “Menopause Won’t Spur Weight Gain, But May Boost Belly Fat.” MedlinePlus. N.p., 18 2012. Web. 19 Nov 2012. .

    More information
    Move Your Body
    Take Charge of Your Menopause

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