How to lose my belly fat: Getting rid of belly fat after menopause
Losing belly fat is mostly a matter of exercising; Not getting more of it is the real challenge! Your fat tissue isn’t going to help because of all the changes they already have to deal with. But a healthy nutrition should do wonders!
The time of menopause in woman's life brings a great risk of becoming overweight and obese due to the menopause hormonal changes occurring in the body1. The distribution of fat tissue changes in a specific way. In place of gynoid fat, characteristic for the reproductive age, in which fat tissue is deposited on the thighs and hips, the android body fat appears. Excess fat accumulates in the subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen causing something that we colloquially call “the belly"2.
What to Do to get rid of belly fat after menopause
- Avoid so-called miraculous diets, e.g. fasting, fruit diet or high protein diet.
- Your diet should also be high in fiber: At least 400g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables should be consumed per day.
- Limit your free sugars intake to less than 10% of your total energy intake.
- Reducing the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of your total energy.
- Avoid processed, baked or fried foods
Furthermore, following a rational weight loss plan provided individually by a dietitian may contribute to improvement, not only in looks but what is more important in health condition1.
Personalize your diet & hit the gym
Exercise and healthy nutrition are the answer3. The general dietary advice follows the energy deficit diet. An energy deficit of 500 kcal/day should result in an approximate 0,5 kg loss per week(4). Also, body weight loss should not exceed 4 kg per month. A dietitian prepares a low energy diet by estimating energy requirement (calculating basal metabolic rate (BMR) by means of the Harris-Benedict equation; defining physical activity level)(1).
There are many so-called miraculous weight-loss diets, e.g. fasting, fruit diet or high protein diet. These diets usually give a rapid decline in body weight, but methods like this are highly dangerous. They can cause deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, loss of protein, and even disturbances in water and electrolyte balance. We lose not only fat, but also muscle mass. What is more, often a yo-yo effect occurs(5).
So, what is a healthy diet to lose weight?
First and very important rule to lose fat is to eat optimal number of meals. That means 4-5 meals a day every three hours. Diet should also be high in fiber and eliminate high foods (GI > 65) . Fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, chickpeas), nuts and whole grains (e.g. oats, brown rice) are very important. At least 400g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables should be consumed per day. It is important to remember that potatoes, sweet potatoes and other starchy roots are not classified as fruits or vegetables. You should limit your free sugars intake to less than 10% of total energy intake (ideally less than 5%). That means excluding sweets such as cakes, cookies, and chocolate bars. Also, remember that most free sugars are added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, and can also be naturally found in products such as honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Always remember to read food labels
A healthy diet is also maintained by reducing the amount of total fat intake to less than 30% of total energy. It can be done by changing how you cook – remove the fatty part of meat, use vegetable oil (not animal oil) and boil, steam or bake rather than fry. Also, limit the consumption of foods containing high amounts of saturated fats such as cheese, ice cream, fatty meat, sour cream, butter.
Last but not least, avoid processed, baked or fried foods (like chips, fries) containing industrially produced trans-fats. It is also important to use less than 5g of salt (equivalent to approximately 1 teaspoon) per day (this also applies to the salt contained in the products like bread, salted butter, and snacks). And don’t forget physical activity6. In conclusion, the diet in menopause should be selected individually by a dietitian. However, there are only a few basic rules that need to be necessarily implemented in order to feel good and healthy.
Key Elements to Remember to get rid of belly fat after menopause
Menopause is an important change, but some rules don’t change that much! In order to lose your belly pouch, the rules are the same:
- DO regular exercise.(link to : article with ID 26 “How to keep my shape during menopause ?)
- DO opt for healthy nutrition.
- DON’T eat sweets and fatty foods.
The rules of a healthy diet to lose weight:
- Eat a correct number of meals.
- Eat fiber-rich products.
- Avoid sugar.
- Avoid fatty meals.
If following these rules isn’t enough to lose belly fat, just seek for a bit of help. Reach out to a dietitian.
- Brończyk-Puzoń A, Piecha D, Nowak J, Koszowska A, Kulik-Kupka K, Dittfeld A, Zubelewicz-Szkodzińska B.Guidelines for dietary management of menopausal women with simple obesity. Prz Menopauzalny. 2015 Mar; 14(1):48–52.
- Pertyński T, Stachowiak G. Menopause — facts and controversies. Polish Journal of Endocrinology; vol 57; no5/2006 ISSN 0423–104X.
- Jull J, Stacey D, Beach S, Dumas A, Strychar I, Ufholz L, Prince S, Abdulnour J, Prud’homme D. Lifestyle Interventions Targeting Body Weight Changes during the Menopause Transition: A Systematic Review. J Obes. 2014;2014: 824310.
- Mastorakos G, Valsamakis G, Paltoglou G, Creatsas G. Management of obesity in menopause: Diet, excercise, pharmacotherapyand bariatric surgery. Maturitas. 2010 Mar;65(3):219-24.
- Ciborowska H, Rudnicka A. (2007). Żywienie w otyłości (adipositas). Dietetyka. Żywienie zdrowego i chorego człowieka. Warszawa. PZWL
- World Health Organisation Global Infobase. http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
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