Embracing the natural changes that come with menopause is crucial for every midlife woman. However, the belly fat that stubbornly clings on during this phase can be frustrating. With the right mindset and a few lifestyle tweaks, you can conquer the menopause belly fat and feel confident in your skin again. Here are some top tips to help you along this empowering journey.
Embrace a Balanced, Nutrient-rich Diet
Aim for a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains to fuel your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Eating protein with every meal keeps the mid-morning and afternoon snack attack at bay.
Prioritise Regular Exercise
An active lifestyle not only helps to shed excess weight but also boosts your mood and energy during midlife. Use every opportunity to stand up and move around, standing up burns twice as many calories as sitting. Engaging in a combination of cardiovascular exercises, like brisk walking or swimming, and strength training exercises can help tone up your body and increase your metabolism, leading to a reduction in belly fat.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress can exacerbate hormonal imbalances, often leading to weight gain around the midsection. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is key. Prioritise self-care and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga or even a warm Epsom salt bath. Engaging in hobbies you love, spending time with loved ones, or seeking support from a therapist or support group can also reduce stress. Surround yourself with positive influences and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can exacerbate menopause symptoms and make losing belly fat more challenging. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to support hormone balance and keep cravings at bay. Create a calming bedtime routine, limit screen time before bed, and ensure your room is cool and comfortable.
Limit Refined Sugars & Alcohol
Highly processed and sugary foods should be limited or eliminated from your diet. They not only contribute to weight gain but can also lead to increased belly fat. Try natural sweeteners like honey, and maple syrup and satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead.
Drinking ample amounts of water daily not only aids digestion but it helps control your appetite, keeping you satiated and preventing overeating. Swap sodas and sugary beverages for herbal teas or infused water, adding a refreshing twist to your hydration routine.
Keep Portions in Check
Pay attention to portion sizes and eat on a smaller plate. A portion of protein is roughly the size of your palm. A closed fist is one veggie portion. Use an app such as My Fitness Pal to monitor your calories, nutrients and exercise.
Feed Your Gut
Obesity, reduced insulin sensitivity and increased body weight may be linked to low gut bacteria. Improving your gut flora might help with weight loss. Prebiotics such as garlic, and leeks feed the good bacteria. Probiotics such as kefir, live active yoghurt, sauerkraut and kombucha increase the number of good bacteria in the gut.
Working on habits like eating a balanced diet knowing how many calories you need in a day, doing regular physical activity that you enjoy, and managing stress are all the things that can help you get to and maintain a weight that supports your health through menopause and beyond.
About Sabrina Zeif:
Sabrina Zeif is the Nutrition Lead at Liberty Health Clinics which specialises in holistic menopause care, and the contributing nutrition author on the Natural Menopause book by Dr A. Henderson. Her own experience of perimenopause and menopause drove her to research and learn more about women’s nutrition, weight gain, stress, and exercise.