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5 tips to beat the menopause belly

One of the most common complaints of women over forty is the sudden and unexplained weight gain around the midsection. Menopause belly, also known as "meno-pot," is a common issue for many women during and after menopause. It is characterized by an increase in abdominal fat and a shift in body fat distribution, which can be frustrating and difficult to manage.

While our bodies do change as we grow older, belly fat and weight gain over 40 is not something we need to accept. Here are 5 tools you can use to beat the menopause belly:

Tip #1 - Eat more protein

Hormonal changes during menopause, low protein intake and low physical activity are all risk factors contributing to the gradual loss of muscle we experience as we age. Protein is crucial for maintaining and building muscle mass which can increase your metabolic rate, potentially aiding in weight management.

Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means that an 180 lb woman should consume around 80-120 grams of protein spread out throughout the day (about 30 grams per meal).

Tip #2 - Eat more fiber

Most women eat less than half the fiber they need. Menopausal women need more. Fiber feeds your gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a key role in our energy metabolism and is altered during menopause. These changes may increase fat, lower metabolism, and increase insulin resistance during the menopausal years.

Eating a diet high in fiber can also help promote feelings of fullness, reduce constipation and reduce overall calorie intake.

It's important to aim for at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day from a variety of sources, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help keep your digestive system healthy.

"Most women eat less than half the fiber they need. Menopausal women need more."

Tip #3 - Take a probiotic

Similar to tip #2, probiotics are another way to support the growth of good gut bacteria. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria you can find in live yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso, kombucha, and tempeh. Probiotics can be taken in supplement form as well.

Tip #4 - Work out the right way

Strength training preserves and increases muscle mass which keeps the metabolism revved up, improving the body’s ability to burn fat. Aim to strength train at least twice a week.

Another strategy for burning fat is aerobic or zone 2 exercise. High intensity training has its place but should not be the default. The magic is in Zone 2 training. Zone 2 training allows the body to recover and access fat stores.Think of it as going for a jog while you can still hold a conversation, or taking a brisk walk. You will be somewhere between 60 – 70% of your maximum heart rate. This is where the body uses stored fat and sugar and turns it into energy, thereby causing weight loss. Aim for 150 minutes of Zone 2 exercise per week.

Tip #5 - Take time to de-stress

Entering your 40s can usher in a time of peak responsibility in your life. Workplace stress, caregiving roles, and all the obligations that come with middle age can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. High levels of cortisol can contribute to weight gain around the abdomen. Practice stress-reducing activities, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Exercise, amongst its many benefits is also a powerful tool to cope with stress.

Aging is inevitable but fat gain over forty is not. Which one of these tips can you try... today?



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