Belly Fat  – In Women 50+

Belly fat, oh the dreaded sight of you!!

Is it not enough that us women have to endure hot flushes and night sweats. Oh no, we have to put up with belly fat also.

Oestrogen is the problem yet again!

There are varying reports in reference to the mechanisms behind why women at 50 have to endure yet another insult to their bodies.

Decreasing levels of oestrogen appears to be the biggest culprit in creating belly fat due to its role on metabolic changes causing subsequent weight gain, and most importantly, increase in body fat.

To make matters worse, you can still be oestrogen dominant and still suffer. It is when the ratio of oestrogen and progesterone gets out of sync with each other that unwanted weight gain occurs. In this case, oestrogen production is not balanced by the soothing, anti-inflammatory presence of progesterone.

Other reasons for weight gain in your middle years.

  • The fact of ageing in your body leads to a decrease in metabolism and subsequent weight gain. As your age increase, your muscle mass decreases and fat mass increases.

  • Decreased levels of thyroid are common in women during their menopause years with the result of decreased metabolism and increase in weight.

  • As you age, your rate of physical activity may not be what it used to be. Unfortunately, a decrease in physical activity also means a decrease in our bodies metabolism.

Tips for beating the battle of the belly fat.

1. Find out what foods cause an increase in belly fat. I know for me, the minute I eat bread I will have a nice muffin top within half an hour. I do not care what the so called “expert” say bread and pasta bloat me up like a balloon and, therefore, are rarely eaten. It is not worth the pain afterwards.

2. Make sure to be eating plenty of fibre. I love to start my day with a fibre rich green smoothie. Now before you roll your eyes and say oh boy, Julie is a health nut, hear me out. Processed carbs bloat me so that rules out cereals. Even porridge causes an unsightly protrusion of my belly which surprised me. I do not feel like eggs every morning.

And then I discovered green smoothies and I have been a convert ever since.

Simple Green Smoothie

Here is one of my favourite green smoothie recipes. Simply blend the following:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 pear
  • 1/4 cm cucumber
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons hemp seeds

This usually makes enough for two days or I simply have a second glass in the afternoon. The addition of hemp seeds adds protein and essential fatty acids to the drink and minimises any issue with sugar surges.

Lifestyle changes to help rid body fat

Stress and anxiety are common in the menopause and are a powerful trigger for weight gain.

Stress plays a large role in the appearance of fat, particularly belly fat.

According to a study done at Yale: “Non-overweight women who are vulnerable to the effects of stress are more likely to have excess abdominal fat, and have higher levels of stress hormone cortisol.”

What this means for you is that the more stressed you are, the more cortisol builds and fat accumulate.

It is important that you take time to infuse your day with positivity and relaxation.  Remember bodily stress will cause emotional stress and it all adds up.   You must manage both physical AND emotional stress if you want to be truly healthy and lose weight.

Bodily stress can lead to emotional stress and we have enough of that going on in menopause!

If you have any tips you would like to share, or stories about your belly fat, feel free to email your questions to [email protected]

Julie Dargan

RN, ND, BHSc, Author & Speaker