The journey of menopause is a path paved with unfamiliar (mostly rocky) ground. Besides the hot flashes and brain fog, we also get to watch our middles grow. Ten years ago perimenopause became a ‘thing’ in my life, whether I was ready or not. Somewhere along the way my midsection expanded, and now all I can think about is, “How do I get rid of my menopause belly?”
I don’t understand how I suddenly have this belly when my eating and lifestyle hasn’t changed. Ugh. I’ve wondered more than once, “What is happening to me?”
Let’s talk about what’s really going on when menopause belly appears out of the blue. Well, two different issues can be at fault for your expanding belly: true-blue fat that’s being redistributed from other parts of your body, and bloating.
What is bloating?
We all know what body fat is, but what is bloating? Bloating is uncomfortable swelling and pressure in your mid-section. It can be the cause of temporary weight gain, and water or gas retention.
Changing estrogen levels is the culprit for both belly fat and bloating. Estrogen is needed for correct levels of water and bile in the intestinal tract, and when it decreases you get more water in your system, and more gas in your intestines.
Isn’t this the last thing we need as menopausal women? Seriously. I’ve noticed that ‘things’ move much slower down there since I’ve jumped into the menopausal fray. My hands seem to swell more often, just enough to have difficulty removing my rings from my fingers.
Reducing my salt intake has helped with the hand swelling (water retention), as well as daily exercise and probiotics.
The short story on both belly fat and belly bloating is this: The remedies to combat these are the same. Add more exercise and more water to your daily life.
I’d love to send you my free printable Menopause Foods: What to Eat and Avoid! Just shoot me your email at the end of this post.
Belly fat is risky.
Besides the ‘closet’ issue of your clothes no longer fitting, belly fat increases the risk of other more serious health risks like heart disease, breast cancer, uterine cancer, hypertension, stroke and sleep apnea.
There’s plenty of reasons to tame the fat, besides just your outgrown clothes. Your new midlife metabolism is here, and my friends, we just have to step up. And step out more.
In order to work off our middles, we’ve got to get moving. Develop your own workout schedule 4 or 5 times a week that encompasses cardio, weight training and core strengthening. Explore new activities that you may not have tried before. Do you bike or swim?
Now is the time to get serious about exercising. I like high intensity interval training where the exercises change quickly and my focus is peaked.
Change your food fuel.
Your body’s engine is changing and requires different fuel. Sugar is now toxic and so is anything processed. Stay away from them.
BUT, interestingly, losing belly fat does not necessarily mean reducing fat from your diet. There are good fats that are very necessary for brain and heart health like avocados, olive oil, salmon, and olives.
Top ten menopausal belly busters
- Always first, see your doctor. Talk to him about menopausal symptoms so together you can forge a plan.
- Keep food portions in check. Eat slowly and pay attention to the ‘full’ buzzer in your brain.
- Jump start your morning by having a glass of warm water with a 1/4 or 1/2 of a lemon juice squeezed and mixed in. Honestly, this has the same effect for me as coffee.
- Close your kitchen by 7. Eating late may hinder digestion as well as sleep quality.
- Join or create an exercise group. Walk (or swim, or bike) with a group of friends who will keep you accountable.
- Instead of large meals, eat frequent small meals throughout the day to speed up your metabolism.
- Sleep well.
- Nix the stress, try some yoga. Stress activates that ugly cortisol.
- Take supplements. Here are the top sellers on Amazon: Estroven Weight Management, Havasu Nutrition DHEA, Dr. Formula Menopause Supplements.
- Together with your doctor, determine if hormone replacement therapy might be right for you.
Guess what? Deep belly visceral fat is among the first fat you’ll lose once you start losing weight! Yay! I’ve lost 8 lbs so far!! Just the beginning!
Drop me a line if this post was helpful in your war with your belly. I’d be honored if you shared it with a friend or pinned on Pinterest.
Don’t forget to sign up for free access to my Resource Library below. In it you will find Menopause Foods: What to Eat and Avoid plus many other printables and goodies for your midlife adventure.
I’m praying this is my answer to this unbelievable awful weight gain since my hysterectomy!!
Thank you for commenting! Balancing your hormones is key during menopause, especially after a hysterectomy. After that, my relationship with food had to change, including nixing the sugar. But honestly, now I don’t crave sugar anymore. I hope you’re feeling more like yourself now!
Thank you for your article. Menopause and weight gain is so frustrating. So tired of the bloating. I’ve labeled it IBS. After reading your article now I know I need to make an appointment with a doctor to find out the real culprit of my symptoms. Just signed up for your food list. Thank you again ❤️
Fantastic! Bloating is awful, isn’t it? Ugh. Carbs seem to make me blow up like a balloon!
Thanks for sharing! The food list is so helpful!
And thank you for commenting Vanessa!
This is so helpful! What a great way to have a better quality of life!
Learning to eat with ‘new rules’ that make foods work with the menopausal body is a process for all of us. Thank you for visiting!
Hi, when I read about your experience with menopause problems it gave me hope that someday i Will get my body back before.
Thank you very much
Menopause is a new game with new rules that we have to learn. It all takes time. Having your hormone levels checked is very important, because balancing those is key to figuring out those rules. Thank you for visiting!
Thank you for this information! Hysterectomy 2 years ago and my body has gone crazy! I’ve gained so much weight and my usual strategies aren’t working!
Hi Susan! Isn’t this a crazy ride? Until menopause, I had no idea of the impact that hormones have on my belly bloat and weight in general. Ugh. It’s maddening. I’m so glad you found some help! Thank you for visiting!
It’s a real experience what I’m going through. Thank you for the sharing.
Yes, Vani, it is, in fact, an experience. And somehow, no one prepares us for all these changes. I have found that it does get easier, and the symptoms of menopause decrease. Just hang-in there! I hope this blog will help you with other changes as well!! Thank you for stopping by!
This is an informative post. Got a lot of info and details from here. Thank you for sharing this and looking forward to reading more of your post.
health fitness food
Thanks for visiting!! Fitness in these midlife years is becoming ever more important! Thank you for commenting!!