The Dreaded “Meno Pot Belly”

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: October 19, 2014

Contributed by Nurse Barb
Red Hot Mamas® Medical Expert 

Before menopause rolled in, I could hold my breath and zip up my skinny jeans and head out without thinking about whether I needed to find a top that camouflaged the muffin top. And then one day, holding my breath wasn’t enough. I needed industrial strength Spanx to get anything zipped, buttoned or hooked over the feared and dreaded “Meno Pot Belly.”

There are as many theories about menopausal weight distribution and weight gain as there are experts.

Research supports what countless women have discovered for themselves: menopause brings with it a rapid accumulation of fat smack-dab at our waists and it happens virtually overnight. What the heck?

This seismic shift occurs when lower estrogen levels and age-related changes all conspire against us to decrease our lean muscle mass.

Why is that important?  Because less muscle means less calories burned.

You simply can’t eat the same way you did in your twenties, thirties, or even five years ago. Women tell me that their diets are the same but their waistline is where it all goes. A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!

It’s not as if all women at midlife suddenly started indulging every night in hot fudge brownie sundaes with whipped cream, or bags of salty potato chips, or both, thank you very much. No, despite being good, having salad with dressing on the side, and looking wistfully at the dessert menu, and then deciding to skip it, many women notice that their actual weight hasn’t changed; the scale hasn’t budged, but there’s new bulging rolls of belly fat.

Now that you know why the dreaded Meno Pot Belly has arrived in your life, here’s the secret for helping it go away, consistent exercise to increase lean muscle.

I’m in the same boat, or if you prefer a different metaphor, a cruise ship with an all night buffet. I’m going to the gym, but now instead of doing the elliptical and maybe a Zumba class, I’ve signed up for a personal trainer and I’m doing weights. I specifically asked for a nice trainer who wouldn’t yell at me. No drill instructors or Navy Seal, in your face trainers for me. In fact, Lisa, is very nice, encouraging, is 50 with 3 kids, and is not in perfect shape. I can relate to her and she showed me how to do the weights properly.

Who knew?

I didn’t know that I needed to slow down, that I actually needed to use less weight for some exercises and more for others.