Unfortunately for many women, the hormonal and chemical changes in your body during menopause also mean additional fat around your midsections. This can cause you to lose self-confidence and put you at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Fortunately, through managing your diet, exercise and stress levels, you can lose excess, post-menopausal belly fat and feel like yourself again.
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Don't go on a diet. After menopause, the body is more apt to store fat. Going on a diet to get rid of your belly fat will only have a reverse effect. Your body will notice that you're depriving it of the food and nutrients it needs, and it will store fat to keep itself from starving. Keep your body fed by eating well-balanced meals every day.
Start an exercise routine. Regular exercise gets your blood flowing and helps increase your body's metabolism. If you're not accustomed to exercise, start by walking to playing a sport with a friend. Increasing your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time will also strengthen your heart and help lower your blood pressure. Focus on working out and strengthening your abdominal muscles through crunches and side crunches. These will build muscle in your midsection. Muscle takes up less space than fat, and it also burns calories more efficiently when you're not working out.
Lower your calorie intake. A pound of fat equals approximately 3,500 calories. If you eat 500 fewer calories per day than you burn through daily activities and exercise, you can lose one pound per week. Make sure that cutting calories doesn't cut the nutritional value of your food.
Reduce your stress level. For many women, menopause comes at a time when many other life changes are going on, such as children moving away, the birth of grandchildren or even retirement. The hormone cortisol, which is strongly linked to stress, is also the cause of a lot of menopausal belly fat. Find activities that relax your mind, and practice them daily. These activities could include but are not limited to reading, walking, yoga, bubble baths, meditation, prayer or just taking the time to enjoy a quiet moment.
Tips and warnings
- Find out how many calories and servings of foods you need according to your age, weight, height and physical activity level by visiting MyPyramid.gov.
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