5 Ways To Melt Away Menopause Belly
This week, I’m in beautiful Flagstaff, AZ where my daughter is doing altitude training in preparation for the Rio Olympics.
As I travel and meet other women who around the country, I often notice certain themes and topics that recur in my interactions.
Lately, one of my favorite topics has come up several times: MENOPAUSE BELLY. Any woman who is in her early forties or older knows what I’m talking about!
“Menopause belly” is that dreaded extra flab that tends to hang onto your midsection after the age of 45. After this time, belly fat often develops around the midsection due to the huge drop in estrogen that occurs during menopause. But getting rid of belly fat isn’t just about vanity — the extra weight around your tummy triggers greater amounts of inflammation, putting your body at an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes. If you’re ready to melt the menopause belly, here are 5 ways to tackle that layer of belly fat.
Fire Up Fat Burn With The “Flash-Fighting Four”
When perimenopausal and menopausal women eat foods often referred to as the “Flash-Fighting Four,” that combine lean protein, vitamin D, magnesium and calcium, they can lose weight up to 6x faster. And as a bonus, hot flashes cool, and bones are protected.
Find Your Trigger Foods
If you’re not already eating a well-balanced diet, menopause is a perfect time to start! Start to fend off sugars and look for the foods that trigger your symptoms, and avoid these foods.
Have a well-rounded diet incorporate foods such as: healthy snacks, including fresh fruits, fish rich in omega 3s, lean protein and of course, lots of vegetables! A diet like this will help you both manage your blood sugar levels and keep your stress levels low.
Try these 22 simple snack ideas.
Tell Stress To “Take A Walk!”
Any kind of exercise is beneficial in decreasing stress levels, but studies show that women who go on walks regularly have less menopausal symptoms than women who didn’t.
In order to make walking an effective exercise, one that burns calories and tones muscles, you have to get your heart rate up. You cannot go at what I call a “window shopping” pace. Of course, that uses up some calories, but not enough to make a difference. You have to move at a rate that forces you to breathe a bit harder than just going for a stroll.
Start by incorporating an aerobic interval, which is a short burst of greater exertion. After warming up by walking at a comfortable rate (say a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10), kick it up to a 6 or 7 for three minutes, then return to your steady speed. This is a recovery period. After three minutes recovery, pick up the speed again and repeat the cycle throughout your walk. Intervals keep your muscles on alert, which makes the workout more effective.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
Pamper Yourself For A Good Night’s Sleep
\When you’re going through menopause, getting a good night’s sleep can sound like an impossible dream! There you are…tired but wired, tossing and turning with hot flashes and insomnia. Maybe you’re waking up at 3 am, like I used to, and can’t get back to sleep, causing you to be irritable and short-tempered the next day.
But getting a good night’s sleep is critical for weight loss, healthy aging, and elevated moods.
To help ensure peaceful dreams, try this tip… Before you slip into your sheets, treat yourself like a newborn baby. Take a warm bath, lather on your favorite creme or lotion, and play relaxing music. Make it a ritual…just like brushing your teeth!
For an even more calm and restorative night’s sleep, doctors sometimes recommend adding supplements to your routine. Dr. Sara Gottfried recommends either 300-600 mg of valerian root extract before bed (2-3 g soaked in hot water if dried) or 0.5-3.0 mg of melatonin. If taking melatonin, be sure to check the dosage carefully.
Keep Your Cortisol In Check
Cortisol has three main purposes: regulate immune function, raise blood sugar to kick in your fight-or-flight responses, and raise blood pressure. At certain times, it can be helpful, such as when a car cuts you off in traffic and you need to suddenly break.
Cortisol starts to become bad news when it sticks around for too long, and is constantly fed by stress.
Belly fat cells contain four times more cortisol receptors than with other cells. So every time you spike your cortisol levels, you’re feeding that menopause belly monster.
The secret to keeping your cortisol levels in check AND banishing the menopause belly is as simple as four little letters – HIIT. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the key to getting results in less time.
Research shows that three shorter HIIT workouts each week is as effective as five longer moderate workouts.
Interval training refers to the extra energy and intensity added to a workout, usually in quick spurts. Say you’re jogging along at a moderate, comfortable pace, but then for the next 30 seconds, you run at a full sprint before dropping back into a comfortable pace (called a recovery period). Then you repeat the pattern for several minutes. That short burst of extra effort is an interval, and while it doesn’t last very long, it creates amazing results – for your waistline, your health, and your hormones.
Try this 4-minute HIIT workout clip from my Super Slimdown Circuit DVD: