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How to Get Rid of Menopause Belly Fat

By Mary Kyle Blogger
 
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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.

Add a Comment48 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I was wondering (from p. 1) if this was going to lead to exercises for TVA (Transverse Abdominal Exercise). The core is located under the diaphragm (between lungs and stomach area). Your lower abs extend down your hip bones. I know exercising these areas works. It's more in the breathing you do with the exercise so that must be a part of it. I'm fairly blessed with abdominals. My problem is the pesky thigh area. No way. No how am I gonna rid myself completely of it. I'm going to share a couple of websites that will cure this problem for you. It will also get rid of any digestive issues or GERD you may have caught along this glorious life path. This first one is the stomach vacuum, comprising of about 6 or 7 exercises. This article touched on one, getting on all fours. www.best-abs-exercises.com/stomach-vacuum.html. This second one works on your core, i.e. your diaphragm and your hip bones. It's all relative. Trust me. It is: http://mutusystem.com/how-to-engage-your-transverse-abdominis-muscle-cor... --Good luck ladies. I'm positive this will help your situation. It flattened what belly I did have.

August 14, 2014 - 3:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Here's the REAL DEAL. Ladies, wise up! As you age and go through menopause, Mother Nature (remember her?) directs your body to take fat from your rear end, thighs, hips, and even your shoulders and upper arms, and causes it to end up in your lower belly. You cannot CHANGE what Mother Nature is doing. You can be sure that you watch your diet, exercise, and don't allow yourself to simply go to pot (so to speak) but you CAN'T change the fact you are now post-menopausal and that your middle and lower belly especially is going to be bigger; your waist will thicken no matter what you do (like eating only carrots and lettuce and running 10 miles a day). And if you do the latter (run ten miles a day) you will succeed in doing not much more than punishing your knees and soon, you will be scheduling knee replacement. Seriously, most women get fat cells (while in the womb of their mothers) distributed throughout the lower abdominal area. These fat cells enlarge during but especially AFTER menopause, and they glom onto every little bit of fat that you eat. Even if you are not eating much, they do their dirty work quite efficiently. And as stated earlier, the brain directs the body to lose fat in the rear end and those other areas mentioned, and deems it be stored in the lower belly. It also deems that your once curvy thin waist thicken. YOU CANNOT STOP THIS PROCESS. The only way to get rid of the lower belly after menopause is a tummy tuck and that is only cosmetic. It won't get to the deep visceral fat around the organs. These articles that tell you that you can reclaim the shape you had pre-menopause are absolute trash. No one stays looking like they did at 25 unless they have gone through tens of thousands of dollars of cosmetic surgery. And they keep going through it. We age, we wrinkle, and unfortunately fat often ends up where we don't want it to. Live your life and skip these worthless articles. Seriously.

July 26, 2014 - 3:48pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I think your wrong ! And I'm just about to prove it and I'll be back on in about 3-6 months ! And if I'm wrong I'll admit it and put my picture up and if im right I will anyway before and after shots !

September 14, 2014 - 8:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Simple - since I have been following those exercises for several years due to a lower back condition and never eaten large amounts of rice, pasta or bread, I can confirm that it is rubbish and you will still have increasing weight around your middle. Looks like there is bugger all you can do other than listen to the quacks preach at you!

July 16, 2014 - 6:08am
Junebab

curious as to results or updates, 50+ with pregnant looking belly. Watching what i eat, taking calcium, D3, Garcina Cambrogia, and putting in at least 21/2 hours of walking/hiking and reclining biking/w farklets, or aerobic video. some weight training. no results.

July 8, 2014 - 8:28am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Junebab)

actually, after I took garcinia cambogia I got more "flabby" fat in my belly :( uggh and I thought that stuff was amazing. My tummy was not as hard as it was, but it was fuller and flabbier, I would take out the garcinia and just do stomach exercises

August 13, 2014 - 3:56pm
BHRTConsultant

BHRT!!! Testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone...You need all 3 for your body to act right and be balanced!!! Then, you will lose the weight you gained when you went through menopause and lost your hormones.
Below are two medical research documents showing it is true!
Besides that, I am a patient consultant for BHRT & TRT for men. I am a Patient as well.... So I can tell you first hand, and from 100's I have spoken to...this works! You will feel Great! You will lose weight! You will be healthier and happier...even look younger!
www.program27.com Free Consultation!

Testosterone is known as the personality hormone. It gives us motivation, assertiveness, a sense of power, feeling of well being and enhanced sex drive. When we have an adequate level of testosterone we are able to take risks and live our lives with zest. Without testosterone we exist as if in black and white. It is testosterone that brings us into full living color.

Testosterone conveys powerful anti-aging effects. It turns fat into muscle, keeps skin supple, increases bone mineral density, gives us positive mood, and boosts our ability to handle stress. It supports cognitive functioning, and keeps the liver and blood vessels clean. Low testosterone levels have been associated with heart attack, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, and depression. If you are freezing cold all the time and your thyroid levels are adequate, you are probably low on testosterone. For women, a little bit of testosterone can go a long way in improving looks, figure, energy level, outlook on life, enjoyment of living, sex appeal and sexual fulfillment.

Women produce increased amounts of testosterone during puberty. Levels of testosterone peak for women in their early twenties. The decrease in sex drive through the twenties, thirties and forties is often exacerbated by oral contraceptives which suppress all sex hormone production (testosterone, estrogens and progesterone). By the time a woman has reached natural menopause, she may have only half of the level of testosterone she once had.

Since the results of the Women's Health Initiative Study, women have been reluctant or even fearful of supplementing falling hormone levels. If a woman does choose hormone therapy, she finds that the replacement of estrogen alone does not correct an absent sex drive, loss of muscle tone or general lack of mental "get-up and go". The good news is that several recent studies have documented the safety and efficacy of testosterone replacement. In fact, studies have shown that testosterone may be protective of breast tissue.

Association of Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy With Large Artery Remodeling
Gompel A, Boutouyrie P, Joannides R, et al
Fertil Steril. 2011;96:1445-1450
Background
With life expectancy now exceeding 70 years, a woman will spend more than one third of her life in menopause. Menopause is characterized by important hormonal and physiologic changes. Diseases from which women seem to be protected during the premenopausal years occur with increasing frequency during menopause. Vascular disease is relatively rare in the early decades of life, but by the time a woman enters her 50s, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases become the leading causes of death.[1] The known risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) include smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and diabetes, and most of these risks increase with age.
It has long been suspected that hormones also play an important role in age-related cardiovascular changes. A reduction in estrogen production affects vascular physiology and lipid levels. Mood changes in the perimenopausal years may affect a woman's physical activity level and dietary patterns, both of which can influence her body weight and blood pressure.
Estrogen replacement is known to induce several favorable vascular and metabolic changes and has long been credited with preventing CVD.[2,3] Recent randomized trials that questioned these benefits significantly influenced the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in perimenopausal women.[4,5]These findings also prompted further analysis of the data, and additional studies have been conducted that suggest that estrogen may not be "harmful" for all women with respect to cardiovascular health.[6]
Study Summary
This report is a cross-sectional analysis of the CASHMERE trial, which evaluated the vascular effects of atorvastatin vs placebo in menopausal women (≤ 10 years from menopause and ≤ 70 years of age) with elevated cholesterol levels (low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol ≥ 3.37 mmol/L and ≤ 4.92 mmol/L). The following ultrasonographic markers of vascular disease were evaluated: common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT), carotid pulse pressure, and pulse wave velocity.
Of the 538 women in the study, 138 took HRT. Body mass index was higher in women who were taking HRT but cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose levels were lower. Current age, age at menopause, smoking status, and blood pressure did not differ between women who took HRT and those who did not.
The CCA-IMT and carotid pulse pressure were lower in the HRT group, whereas pulse wave velocity was similar between hormone users and nonusers. The CCA-IMT increased with age in both groups, but the increase was faster in HRT nonusers. Finally, CCA-IMT was positively associated with age at menopause (+25 µm for 5 years' younger age at menopause) and time since menopause (+27 µm for each 5-year duration of menopause) but negatively associated with HRT use (-40 µm).
The investigators concluded that age at menopause and duration of menopause were both associated with arterial rigidity. The younger the age at menopause, the worse the findings. HRT was associated with a slowing of the negative vascular changes.
Viewpoint
Estrogen use is associated with lower total and LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and a higher HDL cholesterol level. Estrogen plus progestin opposes some of these effects, but overall, HRT induces favorable changes. Estrogen also increases the synthesis of nitric oxide and other vasodilating substances to improve blood flow. However, estrogen also has a prothrombotic effect.
It is now understood that a healthy ("young") blood vessel responds differently to estrogen than a damaged ("older"), atherosclerotic vessel. Estrogen may have beneficial effects on healthy vessels through the mechanisms discussed above; therefore, women who are recently menopausal and do not have CVD may enjoy beneficial cardioprotective effects from estrogen therapy. In contrast, older women with preexisting vascular disease are likely to respond to estrogen therapy with an increase in CVD. The sclerotic plaque in their vessels could rupture, leading to vascular occlusion.
This study lends support to this hypothesis. Menopausal women who were younger and closer to the onset of menopause had more favorable ultrasonographic markers of vascular health. Women who used HRT also had better markers.
These findings support the current practice that HRT should be used when indicated (eg, for vasomotor symptoms), without the fear of inducing adverse cardiovascular changes in recently menopausal women without known CVD. In these cases, the lowest effective dose for the shortest required time should be prescribed.

February 21, 2014 - 3:29pm
Sanford Hall

Perhaps try a lighter diet for a period of time to see if it helps.

August 14, 2013 - 10:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

The other suggestion is drink more water. And journal everything that goes in your mouth. Including liquids and solids. Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

December 17, 2012 - 2:37am
imillberry

The Mayo clinic information is useful but diet and exercise doesn't always cut it when dealing with menopausal weight gain. I've found this ebook to be helpful in explaining some additional options. http://www.amberen.com/wlgdownload

October 19, 2012 - 4:47pm
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