Menopause brings on a number of biological changes, and in addition to the obvious hormonal changes, you might also notice a difference in your body shape. Body fat previously found only on your lower body, such as on your hips and thighs, can begin to appear in your midsection, causing stomach fat. You’ll need to undergo a few lifestyle changes — including tweaks to your diet and starting an exercise program — to lose your stomach fat.
Menopause, Belly Fat and Calories
The belly fat you can gain after menopause doesn’t affect only your appearance, it can also increase your risk of disease. Post-menopausal women tend to gain stomach fat as visceral fat, which is fat found within your abdominal wall. This type of metabolically active fat surrounds your internal organs and pumps out inflammatory substances. That spells bad news for your overall health, since chronic inflammation contributes to heart disease.
Here’s the good news — that deep-belly visceral fat is among the first fat you’ll burn when you start to lose weight. To do that, eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
For example, a 5-foot tall, 50-year-old woman who weighs 165 pounds and lives a sedentary lifestyle can maintain her weight with 1,815 calories. She could reduce her intake to 1,565 calories daily to lose half a pound per week, or eat 1,315 calories to lose 1 pound weekly.
Don’t reduce your calorie intake as much as possible — it won’t speed up your weight loss. In fact, eating fewer than 1,200 calories could put you into a semi-starvation state, ultimately slowing down your metabolism.
How To Lose Fat
Change the diet
Simple dietary changes that help your body lose its fat stores.
The number one rule in trying to reduce belly fat means that you DO NOT start by decreasing your fat intake. Not all fats are created equal and not all fats are bad fats. In fact, eating certain fats can help you in decreasing belly fat.
Good fats that you need to be adding to your eating regime include avocado, olives, salmon and coconut oil. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight loss than following a diet that didn’t include fish.
Apple cider vinegar is a great way to kick-start your metabolism and get belly fat moving. The acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that can help you burn up fat stores. With stress and the resulting increase in cortisol secretion, your body starts to produce more insulin as you age, since your muscle and fat cells aren’t responding to the increased levels of cortisol properly. With the increase in insulin comes fat storage, especially around your belly. A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, thus decreasing belly fat.