As a woman progresses in her later years, aka her menopause years, she loses estrogen. One frustrating consequence of this lost estrogen is that the normal contours of her body change. What she now finds that instead of weight settling on her hips, it goes to straight to her belly.
Even a thin woman may be frustrated to discover that, as her estrogen levels decline during perimenopause, she is suddenly sporting belly fat, a place that she may never have had to worry about before now.
And it is not only women that suffer this fate.
Men often refer to their belly fat as "the beer belly", beer gut, pot-belly or front butt. For men, this sudden increase in belly fat can be due to the loss of testosterone levels that results in them suddenly developing belly fat in their later years.
Whatever the reason, belly fat occurs when excessive abdominal fat accumulates around the stomach and abdomen and has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on health.
Making it a priority and trying to lose some of your belly fat is important, not only for personal appearance and vanity, but also for your health with research showing the significance of belly fat and its role in the risk of acute myocardial infarctions, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as other inflammatory conditions.
Understanding the Causes of Belly Fat After Menopause.
Stubborn belly fat is a major problem for many people. It doesn't matter if you are trying to get rid of it through various diets or different exercise routines; this fat remains and seems impossible to remove. Hence, why it's called stubborn fat!
Women are more likely to gain excess belly fat, especially deep inside the belly, as they go through perimenopause and into menopause. This is due to the fact that as estrogen levels drop, body fat is redistributed from the hips, thighs and buttocks to the abdomen.
For men, the natural reduction in testosterone that occurs as they age means excess calories are often stored as visceral fat and thus the accumulation of belly fat occurs.
The increase in stress levels and the cortisol connection that goes with this added stress, have been attributed to the reason behind belly fat also. Research findings support the hypothesis that cortisol secretion might represent a connection between stress and abdominal fat distribution.
Here are a few suggestions on how to lose weight after menopause.
1. Simple dietary changes that help your body lose its fat stores.
The number one rule in trying to reduce belly fat means that you DO NOT start by decreasing your fat intake. Not all fats are created equal and not all fats are bad fats. In fact, eating certain fats can help you in decreasing belly fat.
Good fats that you need to be adding to your eating regime include avocado, olives, salmon and coconut oil. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight loss than following a diet that didn't include fish.
Dan Mendilow shares some fantastic points on what you need to do to turn your body into a belly-fat burning machine by replacing a few unhealthy foods with healthy foods. Dan goes on to explain the importance of eating certain fats and why you should not be shunning them in your quest to lose your belly fat.
Apple cider vinegar is a great way to kick-start your metabolism and get belly fat moving. The acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that can help you burn up fat stores. With stress and the resulting increase in cortisol secretion, your body starts to produce more insulin as you age, since your muscle and fat cells aren't responding to the increased levels of cortisol properly. With the increase in insulin comes fat storage, especially around your belly. A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, thus decreasing belly fat.
Zack Arnold helps to put things in perspective by saying the following: There is no such thing as the perfect diet, only the perfect diet for you.
Zack continues to explain, what works for one person perfectly may be a miserable failure for another person. Diet is based on individual tastes, ethnic background, environment, genetic makeup, as well as your caloric needs based on your level of physical (and mental) activity.
These are just a few tips to help you with your belly fat challenge. I would love to hear if you gained belly fat in your later years and, if so, do you have any tips you would like to share?
Julie Dargan is a Nurse, Naturopath BHSc and has worked in the wellness industry for over 30 years. Julie's FREE 5 Day Kickstart Program is excellent to get you on the right track to help you lose weight and find hormonal harmony in the menopause. Sign up now and enjoy the free program in 2016. Julie recently released an exciting eBook that explores why diets do not work and how to get you in the correct mind frame to lose weight. Julie also has a Facebook page for women over 50 and looking for solutions to halt weight gain in the menopause.