Menopause Belly

Changes happening to a woman’s body during menopause affect both our health and our looks. Unfortunately, some of these changes are hard to deal with, especially those we see in the mirror daily. For example, increased belly fat is one of the most common complaints among women going through menopause. But, of course, no woman wants to lose her body shape, and I’m here to help.

In this guide, I’ll explain what menopause belly is and why it occurs. Additionally, I’ll explain how to lose belly fat during and post-menopause. Finally, I’ll recommend the best exercises for losing menopause belly fat.

What Is a Menopause Belly?

During menopause, hormone levels change, and a decline in estrogen causes our bodies to store more fat in the abdominal area. Furthermore, metabolism tends to slow down, so the consumed food is more likely to turn into fat instead of energy. 

Combined with frequent fatigue and pains resulting in lower activity, these factors cause the belly to grow. Statistically, most women gain at least five pounds during menopause, primarily located in the abdominal area. Finally, a large percent of this fat is visceral, or deep fat, which is harder to burn than regular fat.

menopause belly
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Is It Possible to Lose Menopause Belly Fat?

Now, there’s no need to feel miserable. I’ve got good news – the menopausal belly issue is solvable. We’ve all seen fit medium-aged or elderly women, and they certainly aren’t unicorns. The reason for their fitness also isn’t genetics, although holding genes fully accountable for our looks is tempting. 

The truth is, these women know what to eat, which supplements to take and don’t forget about regular exercise. As simple as that sounds, let’s take a closer look at how to deal with menopause belly. Below, I’ll list the best recommendations for losing belly fat during and after menopause.

How to Lose Belly Weight During Menopause

The best time to start is tomorrow, though the second-best time is now. Those who are currently going through menopause can consider my recommendations to eliminate the weight gain before it gets severe.

1. Maintaining Estrogen Levels

Black cohosh natural remedy for menopause belly
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The core reason for gaining belly fat during menopause is the decline in estrogen levels. Thus, by maintaining our hormones, we can avoid this issue entirely or slow down the process. It isn’t always necessary to go to a doctor and opt for hormonal therapy. Natural remedies are a great alternative. There are plenty of supplements in offline pharmacies and online marketplaces that contain natural estrogen. For instance, black cohosh, a Native American herb, is rich in phytoestrogen, reducing several menopause symptoms, including weight gain. It can be found in the form of capsules, tinctures, or tea.

2. Exercising Is Key

woman running for exercise
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When we are young, it’s easy to lose weight by exercising even if we don’t change our diet. While the effectiveness of exercise may decrease over time due to slower metabolism, it remains a great way to preserve women’s health and fitness. In fact, sport is known to boost metabolism. 

In addition, it affects the physical appearance and how quickly a woman recovers from illnesses, and how energetic she feels. So, the more active we are, the better we feel. Those who don’t like sports may consider walking more, doing yard work, or taking the stairs. The core objective is to not spend half of your life on a couch but to enjoy life and movement – any movement.

3. Sleep Isn’t for the Weak

woman sleeping in bed
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Insomnia is yet another common menopause symptom. The issue is, most of the symptoms are interconnected. The less we sleep, the more belly fat we gain. That’s because sleep affects our metabolism and hormone levels. This, in turn, affects our appetite, body fat composition, and energy expenditure. 

So, during menopause, women should make good sleep a priority. Hot flashes and night sweats may interrupt our sleep. In this case, natural supplements and herbal teas are of great help. Exercising also helps to sleep better.

4. Stress Management

menopause belly depression
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Cortisol, a stress hormone, may lead to an increase in vascular belly fat. Even young people may start gaining abdominal fat during stressful periods. Although stress, mood swings, and irritability are hallmark symptoms of menopause, we should learn to control our emotional wellbeing. 

There are plenty of ways to reduce stress without taking harsh chemical treatments. Women in menopause can learn relaxation breathing techniques, drink chamomile or peppermint teas, or try herbal supplements. Naturally, our sleep is also directly interconnected with our stress level.

5. Diet Control

woman preparing healthy food
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An obvious point, though this doesn’t make it less critical. Menopause is the perfect time to reconsider our lifestyles, especially our diet. The best diet during and after menopause in the Mediterranean, rich in vegetables, oil, and fish. These products are highly nutritious and rich in fiber, thus preserve fullness for longer. Omega-3 found in fish additionally benefits the health of the heart, skin, and hair. Furthermore, the lack of red meat in such a diet decreases the saturated fat intake.

6. Supplements

Yellow evening primrose
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Apart from estrogen supplements, women in menopause may seek herbal remedies. Search for capsules or tinctures containing extract of red clover, primrose, black cohosh, Dong Quai, or chaste tree. In addition to controlling weight gain, such supplements can reduce hot flashes, irritability, mood swings, brain fog, and other menopause symptoms.

7. Massage

acupuncture for menopause belly
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Slow metabolism and less frequent exercising aren’t the only causes of a growing belly during menopause. It may also be connected to bloating, constipation, and other gastroenteric issues that aren’t rare during this period. Abdominal massage helps to solve these problems, improving blood circulation and softening old tissue. However, massage alone likely won’t help stop weight gain, though it’s a great addition to other methods.

How to Get Rid of Belly Fat After Menopause

Post-menopause, belly fat is harder to lose as the hormones have already changed. However, it’s still possible by maintaining the proper diet and sleep, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and exercising regularly. Massages also work, though supplements aren’t as effective post-menopause as they are during it.

While this advice may seem apparent, these are the only things that can help get rid of belly fat post-menopause. It sounds a bit daunting as if we must choose between a fun life and a slim belly, though that isn’t true. The core objective here is regularity, and there’s no harm in allowing oneself to enjoy a cocktail or skipping a run once in a while. By changing their lifestyle, any woman can achieve great results even if she won’t start looking like her 20-year-old self.

Another point to mention is that women should monitor their blood compounds regularly post-menopause. In addition, women should pay attention to triglycerides, cholesterol, and glucose levels. If the concentration of these elements isn’t right, a woman may not lose weight even if she maintains a healthy lifestyle.

How to Get Rid of Post-Menopausal Belly Fat

Certain sports are better than others for managing belly fat, including the post-menopausal belly. Here are some of the most efficient exercises for this matter.

Jumping Rope

It’s an excellent cardio exercise that doesn’t affect the joints and doesn’t require much space, unlike running. In addition, it helps to keep the abdomen, thighs, and arms toned, as well as improving stamina. In other words, jumping rope is the ultimate exercise to keep you fit post-menopause.

Pilates

This static exercise is a perfect choice for those who do not like cardio. Just like jumping rope, Pilates strengthens the whole body and improves flexibility. Additionally, it helps reduce stress, in turn eliminating extra cortisol and fighting vascular fat.

Plank and Bicycle Crunches

These exercises help keep the belly area toned and boost metabolism like any other strength workout. I recommend starting with 30 seconds in a plank daily, increasing the time regularly. Additionally, these exercises improve posture, visually making the belly slimmer.

Vacuum

This static exercise helps increase lung capacity, reduce stress levels, and improve blood flow in the abdomen, boosting metabolism. Vacuum daily after waking up.

woman doing yoga
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Yoga for Menopausal Belly Fat

Yoga is one of the best exercises to fight stubborn belly fat for several reasons. Firstly, it engages all body muscles, reaching even the deepest ones. 

As post-menopausal belly fat is primarily visceral, yoga works against it better than any cardio exercise. 

Secondly, it doesn’t require high stamina or large lung capacity. 

Third, yoga is suitable for people with heart issues and other health conditions that prevent them from doing other sports. 

Finally, yoga isn’t simply an exercise; it’s a way of thinking. Yoga is ideal for stress management, resulting in lower cortisol levels and slowing down weight gain.

One of the best yoga poses to start with is the boat pose or Nava Sana. It strengthens the legs, abdomen, and spine. In addition, Nava Sana helps to improve digestion and eliminate stress. Most importantly, it doesn’t require any experience. 

First, lay on the ground with your stomach facing upwards. Then, raise your legs and back, keeping them straight on about the same level. The final pose looks like a triangle. The arms should be straightened parallel to the ground. The core objective is to maintain balance as long as possible.