Those little words are more scary for women than standing in front of a four-way mirror while trying on swimsuits. Why is belly fat such a big problem after 60, you ask?
For one thing, the drop in estrogen after menopause changes the way your body stores fat. Up to this point, women tend to store more fat in their hips and thighs, while men tend to store fat in their bellies.
The natural decline in estrogen with age leads to a greater propensity for a more masculine fat distribution, for example abdominal fat. This is also why research shows that women over 50 are more prone to heart disease, as estrogen has a protective value for the heart.
Unfortunately, the grease tends to settle, remaining like the guests of the house who did not understand the conclusion that the party was over.
Second, metabolism slows as we age, a process that begins in our mid-30s.
This occurs in large part due to the loss of muscle mass, a natural process that occurs in both men and women. Muscle burns calories at rest, so the more you have, the more calories you’ll burn while sitting down watching Netflix.
Lastly, we generally move less as we age. It takes more energy to get up as time goes on. So we sit more, eat more, and move less. This creates a virtual trifecta of fertile ground for belly fat to grow and flourish.
Whatever you call that fat, it has to go away. Not only does belly fat make it difficult to zip pants, it also increases your risk of heart disease.
How to get rid of belly fat after menopause
The following are all scientifically proven and research backed approaches shown to help in the battle against belly fat . Ideally, you want to incorporate them into your daily life to give yourself the best chance of a flatter stomach and a longer life.
Lower the stress, live in the moment
Focusing on one thing, we only did that in the 80’s. Now we have texts to read and send, emails to review, selfies to take, and a host of other things that take us away from the moment. Stay in the moment and you likely have less belly fat, according to a study from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine . This is because by storing less stress, you also store less fat. The stress hormone cortisol tends to do that.
Focus on the moment at hand, breathe and observe your surroundings instead of constantly rushing to do things. Unconsciously, you may find yourself slipping into a pair of pants one size down.
‘Unsaturate’ your fats
Not all fat is bad. In fact, we need fat to survive. But you have a number of options. Saturated fat (solid at room temperature, think crisco-hydrogenated fat or bacon fat) is more likely to cause weight gain around the abdomen compared to polyunsaturated fat like sunflower oil, which does not makes you a candidate if you are looking for a flat stomach .
Resistance training is important as it is the only way to reverse muscle loss due to age, a process that begins in your 30s.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that subjects who did 20 minutes of weight training had less age-related accumulation of abdominal fat than those who spent the same amount of time doing cardio. No, that’s not a typo – weight training beats cardio in reducing belly fat .
Combining weight training with cardio produced the best results. So you need both. Strive for two to three days of resistance training and five days of some type of cardio a week, even if it’s for 10 minutes.
Eat more fiber to lose belly fat
Mix raspberries in your yogurt, add more veggies to your salads, and swap that white bread for whole wheat.
One study found that for every 10 grams of increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, belly fat was reduced by almost 4% in five years. So no, it’s not exactly lightning fast, but most people could use more fiber in their diets.
It helps you stay satisfied for longer, helps you to have more dislodged your intestine, and helps with your intestinal flora.
Aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, but gradually build up to this number or you may experience unwanted side effects.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- Acorn Squash: 9 grams per cup, baked
- Artichokes: 10 grams per medium
- Asian pears: 9.9 grams per medium fruit, with skin
- Avocados: 10.5 grams of fiber per cup, sliced
- Black beans: 12 grams per cup
- Blackberries: 7.6 grams per cup
- Brussels sprouts: 7.5 grams per cup
- Chia seeds: 5.5 grams per tablespoon
- Fig: 14.6 grams in 1 dry cup
- Flax seeds: 3 grams per tablespoon
- Peas: 8.6 grams per cooked cup
- Quinoa: 5 grams per 1 cup cooked
- Raspberries: 8 grams per cup
- Split peas: 16 grams per cooked cup