Menopause brings hormonal changes that impact how a woman’s body stores fat and uses calories. As a result, many women notice that they gain weight more quickly after menopause and that weight gain is mainly around their waist. From firsthand experience, I can say that these changes are not welcome.
However, it is what it is, and while these changes are real, they do not have to be your reality. In this post, I share three things you can start doing tonight to get rid of menopause belly fat.
Menopause Belly Fat – At-A-Glance
- Causes: Reduced estrogen levels at menopause reduce insulin sensitivity and create hormonal imbalances that make it easier to gain weight and increase hunger signals and cravings.
- Solution #1: Reduce the number of hours you eat daily by performing a 14:10 intermittent fasting routine.
- Solution #2: Reduce your daily carbohydrate intake, starting at less than 100 grams/day.
- Solution #3: List why you want to get rid of menopause belly fat to uncover the compelling reasons that lead to action.
Menopause Belly Fat is Real but Not Your Reality with These 3 Things [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The causes of menopausal belly fat.
- Three solutions to help you lose that fat!
- Additional resources for weight loss success.
Menopause Belly Fat Causes
In a past blog post, I’ve referred to menopause as the perfect storm for weight gain. That is because several different issues arise at this time of life. The most notable is that estrogen levels drop, which reduces insulin sensitivity, leading to easier weight gain.
Those hormonal factors are coupled with a time in life when physical activity and muscle mass are on the decline. Those changes cause a reduced need for calories, so eating the same as we did when we were younger results in fat storage.
To add to the factors that leave you scratching your head, you may have found that your weight on the bathroom scale hasn’t changed, but your clothes don’t fit the same way they had in the past.
While the cause is not fully understood, after menopause, fat distribution on the body changes. The result is that fat is more easily deposited in the belly area than the hips and thighs with or without weight gain.
So, menopause belly fat is a real thing. However, it does not have to be your reality. Let’s go through the three things that will give you the most bang for your buck, and the great thing is that you can start doing them tonight.
One of the most effective and, for many, most appealing strategies for losing menopause belly fat is to reduce the number of hours that you eat in a day. This practice is referred to as intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. It has been found to be a safe practice for post-menopausal women of normal health, and it has also been found to be an effective way to reduce belly fat (3)(4).
Here is how you can start benefitting from intermittent fasting right away. Note the time that you finish eating dinner tonight. Let that time mark the end of your eating for the day. When you wake up tomorrow morning, postpone breakfast until 14 hours have passed. For instance, if you finish eating dinner at 7 pm this evening, put off breakfast until 9 am tomorrow.
There are many different fasting schedules that you can follow. This schedule is referred to as 14:10 fasting because you are fasting for 14 hours and restricting your calorie intake to the remaining 10 hours of the day.
I chose this method for you because a 14-hour fast is manageable and also because this was the fasting routine shown to reduce belly fat in the study that I referred to earlier. Like the study participants, I encourage you to restrict your eating window to 10 hours a day for 12 weeks for full results.
Lower Your Carbohydrate Intake
The second change you can make to start losing menopause belly fat is reducing your carbohydrate intake. If you remember from our menopause perfect storm scenario, one of the weight loss barriers created by lower estrogen levels is reduced insulin sensitivity.
When your cells are less sensitive, insulin levels increase in your blood. Since insulin is a fat-storage hormone, when it is high, you are storing energy, much of which ends up as body fat. However, the opposite is also true. When insulin is low, you create an internal environment that favors fat release.
Therefore, the way to get around insulin resistance is to lessen insulin’s workload. You do that by choosing foods that do not spike insulin levels. Carbohydrates, especially refined carbs, cause the most significant spike in insulin, so they are the ones to limit.
Here’s how you can start using low carb eating to your advantage tonight. For dinner, swap high carb choices like pasta, pizza, and bread for a meat or fish entrée and a non-starchy vegetable such as broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus. This low carb evening meal will keep insulin levels low.
You’ll then follow up that meal with a 14 hour fast. Because there is no food coming in during those fasting hours, insulin remains low, keeping your favorable fat-burning state going strong, even as you sleep.
When you get comfortable with your low carb dinner, you can work on reducing your overall carbohydrate intake for the day. If you are new to low carb eating, start by aiming for no more than 100 grams of carbs per day.
Find Out Why It’s Important to You
The third thing that you can do today, in fact, right now, to get your momentum started, is figuring out why you want to lose the weight. This is a mental exercise, and it is easy to brush these types of things off as unimportant. But, when you hit on the right reason or that compelling “why,” you take action. Without it, you don’t.
In my Freedom Program, members are given the practical tools (i.e., recipes and meal plans) that they need to lose weight. They are also provided with a section that helps them find their motivation.
Here is one of the exercises that they do and what you can do today. Grab a tablet and pen. Have a seat and write down 15 reasons you want to lose this weight. Coming up with 15 is important because you’ll find that the first few reasons are the ones we all have in common.
For instance, I want to be healthier. I want my clothes to fit better. I want to have more energy. Those are valid reasons and great quality of life factors. Yet, despite being factual, they don’t have that “it factor” that really motivates you.
To give you an example, I want to share three things one of our members uncovered when she did this exercise. She wrote…
I want to be comfortable having my picture taken.
I want to stop looking pregnant at 55!
I want to be able to sit on plastic lawn furniture without fear.
These are things that secretly bothered her. They weren’t things that she wanted to share with friends or family openly, but they impacted her happiness. When she was able to dig deep and find these hidden “whys,” she found motivation that turned into action.
When we reach menopause, belly fat is an issue that we must address. However, you can get rid of menopause belly fat by reducing the number of hours you eat, reducing your carbohydrate intake, and uncovering the hidden “whys” that compel you to take action.
If you’d like a simple eating strategy to get started, I encourage you to download my free 0,1,2,3 strategy. It has been downloaded by more than 80,000 others and comes with a video series that is not available on YouTube that I think you’ll find inspiring and motivating.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Chopra, Sakshi, et al. “Weight management module for perimenopausal women: A practical guide for gynecologists.” Journal of mid-life health 10.4 (2019): 165.
(2) Mauvais-Jarvis, Franck, Deborah J. Clegg, and Andrea L. Hevener. “The role of estrogens in control of energy balance and glucose homeostasis.” Endocrine Reviews 34.3 (2013): 309-338.
(3) Nair, Pradeep MK, and Pranav G. Khawale. “Role of therapeutic fasting in women’s health: An overview.” Journal of mid-life health 7.2 (2016): 61.
(4) Wilkinson, Michael J., et al. “Ten-hour time-restricted eating reduces weight, blood pressure, and atherogenic lipids in patients with metabolic syndrome.” Cell metabolism 31.1 (2020): 92-104.