If there's one thing I get asked about by women in the midlife season, it's "How do I get rid of belly fat?"
I had the same question just a few years ago, and getting the answer was challenging. But thanks to the Trim Healthy eating plan, we have a shortcut to increase belly fat loss without deprivation and dieting.
Today on the podcast, I'll show you a few fundamental changes to make to your meal plan in menopause so you can reduce belly fat and feel better. It's like Trim Healthy Mama 2.0. The same basic principles of protein-centered meals but with a strong focus on your E (energizing) meals over your S (satisfying) meals. Because of declining hormones over 50 and sometimes younger, you need to fuel differently. You need fuel to turn on fat-burning, and as your hormones change, your fueling needs to change too. You can lose the extra belly fat, but you'll need to understand the hormones disrupting your body's ability to lose weight and what nutrition and exercises will move that needle.
That's easy to answer. Yes! What you put on the end of your fork plays a massive role in your fat loss and overall health. You've probably heard you must eat less and exercise more… WRONG! Not in your menopause season, you don't. Those two methods are sure to backfire on you and cause increased belly fat instead of a decrease. Increased belly fat is due to lower estrogen levels in your body, which causes your cortisol levels to rise, sending a message for fat to stockpile in one place on your body, your middle.
And if that's not frustrating enough, all those decadent heavy dairy Trim Healthy desserts you've been enjoying. The ones that helped you lose weight as a Trim Healthy beginner are now causing the same issues.
What you don't want to do in this season is eat less. Eating less will slow down your metabolism. So this is a crucial time when you want to focus on reducing belly fat and boosting your health. When you have more abdominal visceral fat, you increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, the #1 killer of women in menopause.
You can enjoy incredible, delicious food freedom, treats, and foods on the Trim Healthy plan, but the key is to lighten up. Not your calories. You do not need to lighten your caloric consumption. But lighten up animal protein, lighten up fat, and even lighten up carbohydrates. What does this look like on your plate? It's eating more fish and more vegetables. It's using less fats and dairy in your S (satisfying) meals.
Menopause is a fabulous time to choose slow-burning carbs that are gentler on your blood sugar, such as beans, black lentils, sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice, and oatmeal. Utilize root vegetables and slow-burning grains. Experiment with the number of carbs you're eating in your E (energizing) meals. You may do better with a pulled-back E meal with about 25 grams of carbohydrates. Or you may feel best eating around 45 grams. The number of carbs you need can be related to your insulin resistance. Please keep in mind how your body responds.
Make your S (satisfying) meals light. That means a garnish of fat. Start with your protein, add non-starchy veggies, and then add your fat, but keep it to less than 1 Tablespoon of fat. Focus on healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado, nuts and seeds, nut butter, and lighter cheeses, like feta, blue cheese, or sheep cheese.
If you're freaking out thinking you might lose your go-to decadent Trim Healthy desserts. Never fear! It's all about time and place, and you still have freedom. I like to focus on the 80/20 rule. Most of your S meals need to stay in the light S zone, but you can enjoy some fantastic desserts and meals with no fear on special occasions. As you age in menopause, your fat cells get stiff and don't want to release the extra fat. But when you make these small changes to your meals, you will not only see your body turn fat burning back on you will also give your metabolism an extra boost.
Increasing your E (energizing) meals and lightening up your S (satisfying) meals is key to nourishing your thyroid and sex hormones. Your body needs beautiful foods full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. So get curious about what changes you can make and how they make your body feel.
Please look at where you are right now and see what you need to shift or change. Press play on the entire episode to learn more about what hormones are causing the extra belly gain and what you can do to stop or reverse it.