How to lose menopause belly fat

Not everyone would want to lose some weight or belly fat. But, if that is part of your fitness goal, the tips shared in this article may help.

An elderly woman in menopause working out

Key takeaways:

  • Menopause is associated with significant changes in the body, including the accumulation of visceral or peri-abdominal fat.
  • Some ways to lose menopause belly fat include exercising regularly, limiting food portions, and eating healthier fats.
  • While obesity, overweight, and excess visceral fat in the abdominal area have been linked to increased risk of health conditions like diabetes, not everyone with belly fat wants to lose some weight. Also, it is not always a cause for concern.

Menopause marks the end of the reproductive cycle in people with ovaries. People experience different changes during menopause. Also, the symptoms vary from person to person.

Some people welcome the development heartily because it means they will no longer experience the symptoms accompanying their monthly menstrual cycle, also called period flu. Some others find the changes that come with menopause quite discomforting.

One of the most common changes that accompany menopause is increased belly fat. This is also called menopause belly and can occur due to different reasons, such as hormonal imbalance and a lack of exercise during this phase of life.

Although menopause belly fat is very common, you can burn it with mindful practices.

Below are some tips on how you can lose menopause belly fat:

1. Regular Exercise

If you are yet to reach midlife or menopause, exercising regularly will help you build firm muscles. If you are already in menopause, you can still exercise regularly to lose excess body weight and belly fat.

Take your time and find exercises that are suitable for you. You can start with low-intensity exercises and alternate them with high-intensity exercises.

Also, target muscle-strengthening exercises that will help to develop the muscles of your legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms. If you are unsure about the exercises you should start to help you lose your belly fat, you can speak with a fitness expert.

2. Avoid excess carbohydrates

For some people, excess consumption of carbohydrates makes their body store calories, leading to added weight gain and increased belly fat. If your goal is to lose some belly fat, you may want to try limiting your carbohydrate intake because excess carbohydrates gets stored as fat in the body.

A study showed that carbohydrates are one of the major macronutrients that provide energy to the body, but when consumed in excess, they can lead to weight gain.

3. Limit food portion

Limiting food portion sizes may help prevent further weight gain. One way to ensure a person does not add much belly fat during menopause is to keep weight in check even before menopause. One of the most effective ways to do this is by limiting the amount of food you eat.

Don't eat more than your body needs because excess calories will be stored as fat. To help you with this, you should create a healthy meal pattern. Try limiting your eating frequency to three times a day. You can always have a light breakfast and dinner and have your main meal for lunch.

4. Eat healthier Fats

While seeking to lose belly fat, some people cut out all fats completely. This is due to the general misconception that all fats are bad for the body. In contrast to the general belief that all fats are harmful, there are healthy fats that your body needs.

The three types of fats are saturated fats, trans fats, and unsaturated fats. The healthy one you should consume is unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat does not cause weight gain and helps lower the risk of other diseases.

You can get unsaturated fats from foods like vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish. While feeding on unsaturated fat, you may want to avoid other types of fat, as they tend to cause weight gain and, in some cases, health issues.

5. Be mindful of the time you eat

You should be mindful of your eating time to reduce belly fat and prevent it from increasing further. Even if your meal has a healthy composition, eating it at the wrong time can cause weight gain or increase your belly fat.

The best time to eat is anytime before 8 p.m. Eating close to bedtime increases the likelihood of gaining weight and accumulating fat in the abdominal area. Also, try to avoid late-night snacking.

6. Alternate your exercises and workout routine

Exercise is a healthy lifestyle habit that can influence weight and general fitness. At the initial stage of menopause, you may want to do targeted exercise to help burn your belly fat.

However, sticking with one exercise may cause you to lose interest. It is sometimes necessary to alternate between different exercises that are appropriate for you.

You can also join a group of other people whose fitness goals include losing belly fat. This will keep you active for a long time and help you stay consistent.

7. Get enough sleep

One common problem many people face during menopause is insomnia (the inability to sleep). This will always make you feel tired. Lack of sleep causes a decrease in leptin and an increase in ghrelin. Leptin and ghrelin are hunger hormones.

Leptin suppresses appetite, while ghrelin stimulates it.

This can be linked to the feeling of hunger, especially when awake in the middle of the night. When leptin is suppressed, it causes a person to be excessively hungry and develop bad eating habits, which, in turn, will increase belly fat.

To get enough sleep, try to eat early and avoid being exposed to your screen late at night. These little habits will help to regulate your sleep cycle and help you get the desired amount of sleep.

8. Avoid stress

Stress is one of the major causes of increased weight gain. Many studies have linked stress and an increase in cortisol levels to increased abdominal fat. During stressful conditions, the body releases excess cortisol.

Also, when stressed, you are likely to develop bad eating habits. All these can be linked to increased weight and the accumulation of fat in the midsection during menopause.

Does everyone develop menopause belly fat?

Most people develop a menopause belly during menopause, but this may not apply to everyone. Also, the increase in belly size will differ from person to person.

Most people enter menopause between the ages of 40 and 51. This phase of life usually comes with symptoms like night sweats, depression, hot flashes, anxiety, and sometimes irritability.

There are numerous reasons people with vagina increase in weight and belly fat during menopause, but it is primarily due to hormonal imbalance.

This imbalance occurs between two hormones, estrogen, and androgen, which help build sexual characteristics in the female and male genders, respectively.

People assigned female at birth produce estrogen in large quantities and little androgen. But when estrogen levels reduce and androgen levels increase in people with vaginas, this often leads to an increase in weight and belly fat.

Other effects of menopause on the body

Menopause naturally marks the end of reproductive age; during this period, most people notice changes in their bodies. Apart from an increase in belly fat, there are other effects of menopause on the body, such as:

1. Changes in the reproductive system

During menopause, there is no monthly cycle, so the ovaries do not make eggs every month like they used to. This is also accompanied by the absence of ovulation symptoms, increased vaginal dryness, and sometimes a decrease in libido.

2. Changes in nervous/hormonal system

During menopause, you may notice changes in your nervous system, especially in relation to mood. Rapid mood changes are common during menopause, such that a person will notice they often drift from a sad mood to a happy mood.

You may also notice occasional feelings of anxiety and depression. However, if the anxiety and depression last for more than a few weeks, you should reach out to your doctor.

3. Changes in the endocrine system

The endocrine system includes different hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. During menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels often decrease. This reduced estrogen level causes some of the symptoms experienced during menopause, such as hot flashes.

4. Changes in the skeletal system

During menopause, bone densities may reduce, making the bones more susceptible to fractures. At this stage, the joints may feel stiff, accompanied by a painful sensation.

When to get medical support for excess belly fat

While belly fat may be linked to certain health conditions, such as diabetes and liver problems, it is often not a sign of underlying health conditions. However, many people would prefer not to have excess belly fat, as it often goes hand in hand with excess weight.

If you are concerned about your belly size and want to lose the fat around your midsection, you can speak to a doctor, who can offer more helpful tips.

You can also schedule appointments with a dietitian and a fitness expert to help you reach your goals.