9 Ways To Beat Menopausal Belly Fat

Fitness: Weight Loss

By: // September 27, 2017

Whether you’re in perimenopause (the two to ten years leading up to menopause) or you’re in the throes of menopause itself, you may notice it’s harder to lose weight than it once was—particularly around your middle. Most women gain some stubborn belly fat (affectionately called the “menopot”) in their 40s and 50s, and it can be extremely frustrating to try and work it off. Here’s the deal: in order to lose belly fat in menopause, you have to take other factors into consideration aside from your daily exercise. Are you eating the right foods? Are you doing things to keep your hormones in balance? Let’s explore nine natural things you can do to banish menopausal belly fat for real.

Why Women Gain Belly Fat In Menopause

During menopause, your hormones get thrown out of whack. Your estrogen levels plummet, and body fat that used to settle around the hips, thighs, or butt tends to now settle around your middle. Your progesterone also decreases, which contributes to elevated cortisol levels in the body. Elevated cortisol can cause you to hold onto stubborn belly fat. (Yikes!) You may have unknowingly become a bit more sedentary as you’ve aged, too; your metabolism slows down as you lose muscle and perhaps aches and pains or a busy schedule have kept you from getting as much exercise as you used to. All of these factors can contribute to an increase of belly fat during your menopausal years.

Why It’s Important To Lose Belly Fat

Belly fat isn’t just annoying, it’s also unhealthy. Fat that appears around your stomach is often visceral fat, which is fat that surrounds your organs within your abdominal wall. This type of fat puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. According to Dr. Axe, having excess visceral fat “increases the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which leads to inflammation; at the same time, it interferes with hormones that regulate appetite, weight, mood, and brain function.” You want to minimize your belly fat not just to look and feel your best but to stay healthy for years to come.

9 Ways To Beat Menopausal Belly Fat

Enough with the doom and gloom—let’s learn what you can do to get rid of belly fat in menopause.

1. Start Your Day With ACV or Lemon Water

Kick-start your body’s natural detoxification process first thing in the morning by drinking a glass of warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar in it. The acetic acid in vinegar helps your body burn fat and rids your body of toxins. It also gives you a little energy boost to start your day. The benefits of apple cider vinegar or lemon in your water are endless! Just add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, or slice a lemon and squeeze it into your water.

2. Add Strength Training To Your Workouts

According to the CDC, you need 150 minutes of cardio each week to stay healthy, but if you don’t add strength training onto that, your metabolism won’t work as effectively as it could. The more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism works. And after the age 30, you start to lose muscle mass if you’re not actively replacing it. So do your part to keep your body strong and your metabolism revved: strength train at least three times per week! You can use your own bodyweight with moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats or use dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands—it doesn’t matter how you do it, just get ‘er done! You can try this quick strength workout to get you started!

Related: Beginner’s Guide To Strength Training

3. Cut Back On The Sweet Stuff

Glass of soda with sugar in it

Excess sugar is not your friend when it comes to belly fat. Eating too much refined sugar is not only unhealthy, but can cause you to cling onto stubborn belly fat. Start by eliminating any sugary beverages or sodas—then focus on reserving your intake of sugary foods like cakes, cookies, or ice cream for special occasions. Natural sugar like the kind found in fruit is fine because it’s accompanied by fiber—and when you eat fiber with natural sugar, your body can process it more slowly. It’s those spikes and crashes from artificial sugar that are harder on your body—they cause an insulin rise, and too much insulin can cause excess blood sugar to be stored as belly fat.

4. Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Another way to manage your blood sugar and thus, your belly fat? By eating smaller meals, more often. When you eat until you can barely move, you’re putting too much stress on your body. You’re spiking your insulin and blood sugar. Conversely, when you then go 6 hours before eating your next giant meal, your blood sugar crashes. This is hard on your metabolism and can make losing that excess belly fat even harder. Help your metabolism out by eating smaller meals more frequently instead of two or three giant meals per day.

5. Strengthen Your Core

It’s impossible to spot-reduce body fat—you need to lose it all over first through cardio, strength, and clean eating. But once you start to shed body fat, you can target your belly by using ab-strengthening moves like these:

6. Minimize Stress

Since you already know that too much cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause you to cling onto belly fat, work on minimizing stress as much as possible. Practice deep breathing and meditation at least 15 minutes each day. Journal. Take long walks in nature. Do yoga. Whatever brings you a sense of calm, spend more time doing it. It’s not just good for your mind, but your body (and belly fat!) too.

7.Keep Emotional Eating In Check

Woman standing in front of fridge

It’s tempting to want to deal with changing hormones through emotional eating. Fluctuating emotions make that late-night nosedive into the icecream even more appealing than normal. Trying to shed extra weight in menopause doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but you should monitor when you get the urge to binge on junk food and try to regulate your emotions in healthier ways—distract yourself, practice self-care, and become aware of whether or not your body is actually hungry.

8.Get 7-8 Hours Of Sleep Per Night

Ok, similarly to the “minimize stress” advice, this one is something you probably already know: you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. But did you know that getting less than that can throw two of your body’s hunger hormones out of whack—leptin and ghrelin—which can cause you to hold onto more fat and crave sugary, salty foods more frequently? Prioritize sleep, like stress management, for your mental well-being as well as your weight!


9. Circuits and Intervals!

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a great way to burn more calories in less time—as are circuit workouts! Interval workouts require you to do short bursts of all-out effort followed by brief periods of rest, while circuits are one exercise after the next without rest until the whole circuit is over. Both of these methods are different than steady-state cardio workouts like walking or jogging because they get your heart rate up and help your body burn fat better.

Psst! Want me to lead you in HIIT and circuit-style workouts from the comfort of your own home? Check out our HIIT workouts and circuit workouts on Get Healthy U TV!

If losing stubborn belly fat proves impossible and you’re also overweight, you may want to talk to your doctor. You can have your hormone levels checked—many women also have thyroid issues that can make weight loss harder than it needs to be. A talk with your doctor can’t hurt if belly fat or weight issues in menopause are affecting your health or well-being!

READ THIS NEXT: The Hidden Ingredient Making Your Menopause Symptoms Worse

Printed from GetHealthyU.com


on April 15, 2019 at 2:31 PM Reply

I am going to be 60 soon and the belly fat is out of control. I now have an inverted belly so I have to figure how this is fixed. Is this a surgery fix or as I loose belly fat will it repair itself? I can’t do any belly training that most can because my belly shoots out in the center like a volcano. Any exercise reccomendations? I am also feeling very puffy faced n dealing with belly bulge. What is the best way to rid myself of sugar carvings? It’s is an addiction I’m sure at this point. Why do I feel resentful that I can’t enjoy what others around me can?

    on June 3, 2019 at 9:44 PM Reply

    Susan - Just want to tell you that it is never too late to start focusing on YOU and your health. Age is just a number and it does not defy anything. So just remember that. My biggest piece of advice that I always tell people when they are struggling with their weight or belly fat is to really focus on nutrition. We can go to the gym and workout all day, but it is true when they say you cannot out train a poor diet. When it comes to loosing fat in general and more specifically fat around the belly area, we want to be conscious of the health choices we are making when it comes to food and nutrition. I always tell my clients to make sure you are eating as whole as possible and try to stay away from processed sugars! Sugar cravings are a real thing. Check out this blog that I have written about my top tips to quitting sugar in just 5 days. This will be a guide to help you with these sugar cravings. And believe me, these sugar cravings will not go away over night, but just stay strong and you can do it :) https://gethealthyu.com/how-to-quit-sugar/Last but not least as far as exercise goes, find something that YOU enjoy! Whether it's running, walking, rowing, elliptical, biking, find something that you enjoy and don't consider a chore doing. But what I would advise is doing a few days of cardio training and a few days of strength training. Whatever that looks like for you, you have to like doing it :)

on February 4, 2019 at 7:04 PM Reply

So just a low carb, not NO carb?

on February 4, 2019 at 7:02 PM Reply

Here's one... the scale says I keep getting lighter. I'm assuming it's from muscle loss due to menopause. Meanwhile, my abdomen has never been bigger! I don't want to lose anymore weight in the rest of my body. So, I'm assuming, not much to do here, huh?

    on February 13, 2019 at 5:25 PM Reply

    Hi Verbena - That's awesome to hear the scale is talking! However, lots of us women deal with a little extra something in our stomach, so I promise you you’re not alone! The best thing you can do is eat healthy and exercise – I know it sounds cliché but that is what truly makes a difference. The workout and blog link I have attached below specifically targets the lower abdomen so add this to your workout routine 3x a week to start seeing results. It can take some time but if you keep up eating well, exercising and strengthening the muscles in your abdomen, it will make a difference!https://gethealthyu.com/15-minute-flat-ab-workout/You may also want to check out this next article giving you 7 tips on how to get a flatter tummy! https://gethealthyu.com/7-things-you-can-do-for-a-flat-tummy/I hope these tips help but stay with it, you can do it!

on January 27, 2019 at 10:57 AM Reply

I have a lot of health issues, but I someone am cleared to start a light workout. I have 2 knee replacements, 6 stomach surgeries. I have gained 45 pds. in 5 years and now I am a diabetic. I am 55 and had a hysterectomy in 1997. Please, someone help!!

    on February 19, 2019 at 8:56 AM Reply

    As always, consult your doctor prior to starting any exercise. From there however, my advice would be start doing a form of exercise you enjoy. For instance, you may want to try some of my power walking videos to get the heart rate up followed but some strength workouts. Remember you can always modify exercises or drop the weights. You will want to move at a consistent pace that works for you! No shame in the modifying game and make sure that you are always completing every move with proper form! Check out a few of the links below!10 Minute Low Impact Circuit - https://www.gethealthyutv.com/video/10-minute-low-impact-circuit-workout-016461/ 10 Minute Lower Body Workout For Beginners - https://www.gethealthyutv.com/video/10-minute-lower-body-exercise-016046/ 10 Minute Indoor Walking Workout for Beginners - https://www.gethealthyutv.com/video/indoor-walking-workout-beginners-014814/

on January 16, 2019 at 4:50 PM Reply

I just turn 55 a week ago now Menopause having that for 3yrs now next Total Hysterectomy FIBROIDS remove everything gone! Now the lower tire roll & jst foud out Arthrist in both knees so hw can I do cardio? Spoke to Dr. Answer walk done that still carrying it like a fanny pack!This summer I want to be Healthy Strong & Flat Abbas 65 pounds lightre I jst need to be Rich! Then I can gt the help I need.

on December 27, 2018 at 7:53 PM Reply

If anyone can assist with this type of workout for someone with a bad back, that would be greatly appreciated. :)

    on February 18, 2019 at 3:21 PM Reply

    Hi there - this is a great question! Looking for ways to beat menopausal belly fat but are suffering with back pain. Don't get discouraged. I have linked a few blogs below in regards to exercises to strengthen your back. The first blog I have included focuses a little more on yoga poses you can master to alleviate back pain. And the second blog will give you exercises you can incorporate the gym to strengthen the muscles in your back.https://gethealthyu.com/10-best-exercises-for-your-bad-back/https://gethealthyu.com/5-best-exercises-to-beat-back-pain/Don't get discouraged but listen to your body! It's important you approach every move with proper form to maintain proper alignment in the body!

on November 16, 2018 at 9:38 AM Reply

OK - how do you get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night when you are suffering from menopausal insomnia??? No wonder nothing works ... tell me how to get 7 to 8 hours sleep instaed of 3 to 5, and perhaps my belly will go away ... ?!

    on November 20, 2018 at 7:08 AM Reply

    Hi Marion - yes, sleep can be a real issue during menopause. Sorry to hear that you're dealing with this problem! Check out these articles we have written on our best sleep secrets and tips: https://gethealthyu.com/7-tips-for-a-better-nights-sleep/ https://gethealthyu.com/bedtime-yoga-better-sleep/

on October 30, 2018 at 12:41 PM Reply

I quit smoking exactly at 51 (menopause) , this combination ,a recipe for disaster resulted in 20 kilos weight gained in 2 months. For six months i tried to diet and exercise the regular way , but the results were zero and when I realized the scale was moving up I decided to really take extreme measures , I started walking more till i reached 2 hours of brisk walking most days of the week,I hired a personal trainer and started doing crossfit and heavy weight lifting also most days of the week. I completely quit sugar and all refined carbs , I eat boiled eggs ,tuna,sardines, vegetable soup,salad and few fruits and the result till now is the loss of 12 kg in 4 months plus toned muscles are starting to show . What I also noticed is that as we age or even as we gain weight our bodies start to retain water if we are not active enough which is why it is very important to make sure to sweat during our walk and exercise .

on October 25, 2018 at 8:48 PM Reply

I used to be slim in my high school days, but since college I have been gaining weight, so much so, that I now look bad and everyone around is commenting on my weight. I did try some weight loss programs but honestly could not stick to any for too long, none of them showed results anyway, and my problem is not solved a bit. Please, please can anyone suggest me a good way to lose weight? Thanks in advance.

    on October 30, 2018 at 1:28 PM Reply

    Hi Amy - without fully knowing your situation and what your eating/movement habits are, it's difficult to give you an exact answer. However, if there is one that can be said for everyone, it's that weight loss comes down to healthy eating and exercise. You might want to check out these articles for more info! https://gethealthyu.com/exercises-for-weight-loss/ https://gethealthyu.com/25-sneaky-weight-loss-hacks-really-work/ https://gethealthyu.com/11-solutions-common-weight-loss-challenges/ https://gethealthyu.com/healthy-and-portable-snacks-for-weight-loss/ https://gethealthyu.com/elliptical-workouts-weight-loss/

on October 9, 2018 at 3:59 PM Reply

Belly fat does seem to be stubborn but I am finding a daily yoga practice and the elimination of processed foods and refined sugar is helping. Slowly but surely I'm getting stronger and leaner. I love Yoga with Adriene, which you can find on YouTube. Maybe others would like it too. Good luck everyone!

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