I went through a relatively early menopause. By age 49, I had not only climbed the menopause mountain but was over the top and to the other side. The only problem was that menopause left me sporting a bulging belly, the likes of which I had not seen since I was six months pregnant!
I went on a diet (didn’t work). I jumped rope (didn’t work). I walked (didn’t work). I did a million sit ups (didn’t work). I went in for my annual and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Well, I see you have that menopause belly thing going on. It’s a real @)#(*$#$& to get off!” Needless to say, that sage advice didn’t help me out either in my search for a way to get rid of my newfound companion.
Since my doctor didn’t offer any advice, I’ve spent the last year wearing “fat” clothes in an attempt to hide this new shape. Frankly, I’ve had enough! I’ve decided to fight back and started researching. My search started with the Mayo Clinic. (See, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/wo00128) After all, if the Mayo Clinic doesn’t have a clue, who will?
I learned that women have two types of belly fat – subcutaneous fat (the wonderful unsightly bulge we see around our middle) and visceral fat (fat which is buried deeply underneath our subcutaneous fat and settles around our organs). Viseral fat is the type of fat which causes the real health problems in women – diabetes, high blood pressure, breast and colorectal cancer, to name a few. It’s the visceral fat that we need to attack in order to regain that flat tummy of bygone years.
The good news is that according to the Mayo Clinic, visceral fat will respond well to diet and regular exercise. So, I was dieting. I was exercising. What was I doing wrong?
With respect to diet, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following: reduce portions and caloric intake, avoid saturated fats and replace them with polyunsaturated fats, eat more fruits and vegetables and less white bread and pasta. This should go a long way to reducing your belly fat.
In addition, daily moderate exercise was recommended along with weight training, the amount and type depending on your current activity level.