If you’re feeling frustrated by your jeans feeling tighter or loosening your belt another notch, then you aren’t alone. A woman’s body goes through multiple changes between the ages of 40 and 60. Some of these changes you’ll notice (weight gain) and others you won’t (higher cortisol).
But often the result of both is the same - needing to buy larger jeans and an increased muffin top.
Dealing with stubborn weight and a wider waistline was not my dream for midlife and I doubt it is yours. So let me walk you through 4 Strategies you can start to move toward a trim belly in midlife.
There are specific reasons why we gain weight in midlife. Menopause isn’t all to blame.
Age-related factors like decreased estrogen, loss of muscle mass, and increase in cortisol levels all play a part in the fat packing around your middle.
You don’t have control over your estrogen without help but you do have control over three key areas:
Your eating habits and food choices are top of these three to get under control and the best place to start is to eliminate inflammatory foods while increasing anti-inflammatory ones.
Inflammation is your body responding to problems in your system, like excess cortisol or decreased estrogen.
Cortisol increases during midlife because of declining estrogen which may cause your insulin to get out of balance and trigger your body to store fat.
Inflammation causes a wide range of symptoms but decreasing it is not as hard as you might think.
If you haven’t already, now is the best time to remove inflammation-increasing foods like processed sugars, white flour, and excessive caffeine.
Choosing foods like leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds will help decrease your inflammation which in turn allows your body to shed extra fat.
Slow-burning carbs are essential to a trim belly. One of the worst choices you can make in midlife is to limit or eliminate healthy carbs.
In midlife, your body doesn’t have hormones to help with energy, so when you reduce your carbs with something like a Keto diet, you limit energy.
Carbs help give energy, and support hormones like the thyroid, and stabilize blood sugar. Stabilized blood sugar is key to melting fat from your abdomen but needs to be eaten safely. Choose slow-burning, low-glycemic carbs - anchor them with a lean protein choice and add a small amount of fat.
Great options include oatmeal, whole grains, sweet potatoes, lentils, rice, and quinoa.
The advice to fill half your plate with veggies is not wrong. Food high in fiber can be a game-changer in your efforts to shrink your waistline and reduce the number you see on the scale.
Fiber is so beneficial to losing belly fat after 50. It acts as a prebiotic and feeds your gut microbiome. Gut health is another key to weight loss because it aids in proper digestion, promotes fullness, and helps lower your inulin levels.
A good target to increase belly fat loss is 20-30 grams of fiber daily. Choose fiber-rich foods to add to your plate at every meal. These include berries, beans, low-glycemic whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Often an increase in belly fat can be traced to a more sedentary lifestyle and the hormone changes you experience after 40 can mean lower energy levels. Set a goal to reach add 1,000 steps to your total until you reach 5,000-10,000 steps daily.
Fat-burning happens while the muscle is built. Build a foundation of strength by starting with bodyweight exercises and then gradually adding weights.
Choose low-impact exercises like biking, swimming, jogging, or fast-walking to bring your heart rate up to 60-70 percent.
Keep these short and sweet but do get breathless. Too much or too long works against your body by increasing cortisol.
Trimming the fat from your belly in midlife is a multi-prong approach. But when you boil it down you will make the most progress by controlling what you put in your mouth, how and how often you move your body, and providing care and kindness to yourself in this season.
Get control over what is going in your mouth. Ditch the white flour white sugar and caffeine. Get off the bad fats (canola, vegetable, corn, etc) and choose healthy fats like olive, coconut, and palm oil instead. These foods do not bless you no matter what your brain tells you otherwise.
Choose today to move your body more by going for a walk, adding an extra serving of veggies to your plate, eating oatmeal with an extra lean protein for your breakfast instead of eggs or cereal, and stocking your fridge with lovely anti-inflammatory foods for handy snacks.
Let food be your medicine.
You don’t have to be stuck with menopause weight gain and you can lose the belly fat.