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How can I get rid of belly fat during menopause?

By Anonymous February 9, 2015 - 1:11pm
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I am active and recently have struggled with weight gain mostly in my midsection. What are ways I can target belly fat?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your post - this is quite a common problem with menopausal women.  

Even though you are active, you're going to have to become even more active and even more importantly - cut calories. It's a real pain but it's a true fact for many. 

We have some great information on reducing menopausal belly fat, including these tips:

1) Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates like whole grains offer more nutrients and fiber than do refined products like enriched bread, cereal, pasta and snack food. Refined carbs can throw off your glucose (blood sugar) balance and alter your hormone levels. This can bring on food cravings that can take you off your intended course.

2) Avoid Saturated Fats in Mayo, Cream Cheese and Ice Cream

Want to enjoy the taste of your food without craving sugar, and build up some muscle instead of belly fat? Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats like avocados, fish, nuts and olive oil.

3) Eat Monounsaturated Fats

Swap your mayo for some avocado. Spread on the almond butter instead of cream cheese. Scoop up the Greek frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Other good choices are nuts and seeds which pack healthy fats and leave you satisfied.

4) Raw is the Rage

Go for foods rich in nutrients and high in water content. Eat lots of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables in their natural raw state, combined with smaller amounts of denser plant foods such as sprouts, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits like olives and avocados.

5) Could Caffeine Be the Belly Fat Culprit?

“When you combine stress with caffeine, it raises cortisol levels more than stress alone. In one study by the University of Oklahoma, consuming the equivalent of 2½ to 3 cups of coffee while under mild stress boosted cortisol by about 25%—and kept it up for 3 hours,” Prevention.com reports.

“Over time, this hormonal imbalance can lead to hardening of the arteries, thinning bones, increasing waistline girth, and impaired functioning of the immune system.” Womensinternational.com says. “If you find that you are struggling with stubborn belly fat coupled with fatigue, moodiness and poor sleep despite your best efforts at a healthy lifestyle, you may be suffering from a hormone imbalance.”

6) Be Mindful About Menopause

Exercise trends come and go, but two forms of mind/body exercises which have been a foundation for wellness are yoga and Pilates.

Through years of training women in various stages of menopause, I have found that rebuilding that mind/body connection, often forgotten throughout childbearing and the aging process, helps not only to relieve the symptoms of menopause but carries over into a better quality of life.

7) Make an Impression with Pilates

”Imprinting” is a Pilates prep exercise and it's how I start out many of my classes. To start, lie on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

I want you to notice where your body rests on the mat with a natural curve, leaving a small space between your low back and the mat. You are now in what is called neutral spine.

Next, you should relax your shoulders, making them release to the floor. This means, making sure they are not curved forward nor pressed upward towards your ears.

Inhale and focus on allowing your spine to sink into the mat, imprinting your low back into the mat or floor. Exhale and release the low back, coming back to leaving that space between the low back and the floor.

You will want to take your time and do this for three to five minutes.

8) Brace Your Abs Against Belly Fat

The abs-bracing exercise can help bring awareness to your deep core muscles such as the transverse abdominus.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and legs pressing together. Bring your hands behind your head and flex your toes up toward the ceiling.

Inhale to prepare and begin to exhale, pull your navel in toward your spine and gaze down toward your navel. Think about creating the letter “C” with your body. Breathe in again deeply as you lower back down.

Repeat 10 times.

9) Create Purr-fect Abs with the Pilates Cat Exercise,

Kneel on all fours, hands aligned directly under shoulders, knees aligned under hips. Inhale, then exhale and bring chin towards chest rounding spine. Inhale, then exhale and return back to center.

Repeat 6-10 times

10) Yoga: From Downward Dog to Playing Dead with Corpse Pose

As featured on Livestrong.com, Dr. Timothy McCall originally told Yoga Journal that stress and cortisol can add to belly fat. “ A spare tire around the belly may indicate insulin resistance -- a precursor to Type 2 diabetes ... To practice Savasana, a Sanskrit word that means Corpse pose, lie down and take a few deep breaths. Spend five minutes relaxing all your major muscle groups. Conscious relaxation can help you manage stress and prevent excess belly fat.”

I hope this helps! 













February 9, 2015 - 4:42pm
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