According to the National Institute on Aging, the average age a woman experiences her final period and enters menopause is 51 years of age. Of course, this can vary by quite a lot, meaning some women enter menopause in their early 40s, while others may not do so until their late 50s. As a woman’s estrogen production plummets, weight gain in the midsection may become a struggle. The Mayo Clinic, however, states that the ‘middle-age spread’ doesn’t have to be inevitable.
The Beginning of the Process
Some women notice belly fat and other weight gains as soon as they enter perimenopause, which can range from anywhere in the mid-30s to the mid-50s. During this transition period, a woman’s body slows its estrogen production. This, possibly coupled with a more sedentary lifestyle, can lead to stubborn belly fat.
A Three-Prong Approach to Beating Menopausal Belly Fat
While every woman’s body and lifestyle is unique, there are three main strategies for ridding yourself of belly fat: increased exercise, ingesting fewer calories, and drinking adequate amounts of water. If you do these three things, weight loss is guaranteed.
With that said, it’s important to remember that you cannot ‘spot train’ your body to store fat where you want it. The National Institutes of Health conducted a large-scope study and determined that the distribution of fat is largely genetic. If your body is hard-wired to store fat on your belly, losing fat overall is the only way to combat it.
Exercise for a Trim Tummy
To best way to melt fat is aerobic exercise. While crunches and sit-ups can tighten the muscles of your abdominal wall, losing the fat covering those muscles is best accomplished by exercise that gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Biking, swimming, and walking are all great, low-impact options. If you’re an outdoor buff or were in your younger years, activities like hiking, kayaking, and rock-climbing are all wonderful aerobic exercise. Of course, speak to your doctor about your exercise plan before you begin.
While gaining belly fat during menopause and perimenopause is caused by hormonal shifts and, possibly, a more sedentary lifestyle, extra weight doesn’t have to be a certainty. Staying well-hydrated, watching your caloric intake, and participating in aerobic exercise can help you keep or regain your trim stomach for life.
Edited by: Jessa (March 1, 2019)