Battling the fluff and facts about menopause belly have completely caught me off guard. The “over 50 fluff” has become a real challenge. One that I was not prepared for.
While I am a self professed “knowledge junkie”, this menopause topic has eluded my interest, until now. Over the past two years I have slowly been putting on weight even though nothing has changed in my diet or routine.
It seems that I can just look at a cupcake and gain weight. In addition, it has been very difficult to get this extra fluff off!!! As someone who is petite and has always been underweight, this is new territory for me.
What Is Menopause Belly?
In an article by Healthline.com, menopause belly is defined as the extra weight gained around the midsection during menopause.
Well, that’s just wonderful. Basically, this means that just because my body’s hormones are changing that I am going to get “fluffy” in the middle! This is not exciting news to say the least. However, I am glad to know what is happening to my midsection.
Menopause belly is the result of many changes taking place in the body. The reduction of estrogen and other hormones can cause an imbalance which can cause weight gain. Bloating of both water and gas may also create added weight to the midsection.
Let’s be honest, there is nothing sexy about this life change! If that wasn’t bad enough, your body can also shift mass from other areas to the midsection. WOW! I certainly wish I could rearrange my “mass” where I want it to go! LOL
This leaves women with a trifecta of potential issues to assess. The good news is that the typical weight gain is 4.5 pounds according to the “experts”. Not sure the “experts” have seen my scale!
What Can You Do?
It is possible to lose this menopause belly weight. The bad news is that it is likely going to be more difficult than before menopause. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help reduce or at least maintain the weight.
- Diet – There is a link between menopause weight gain and high fat, sugar and salt consumption. Choosing high fiber foods and antioxidants are best. Nuts, berries and even dark chocolate are good choices. You may also want to consider eating foods rich in iron and calcium and reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol. (Not sure I can give up my morning coffee or the Chardonnay!) Oh yeah, drink lots of water to cleanse your body.
- Exercise – It goes without saying that exercise is a must. You don’t need high intensity workouts, but you must move your body. Walking, yoga and other low impact exercises are a great way to maintain flexibility, increase muscles and burn calories. If you already exercise regularly, you may want to consider increasing the length or frequency of your workouts. The key is to crank up your metabolism and burn calories.
- Stress – Yes, stress can impact your weight gain during menopause. Not only can stress tempt you to over eat, it can keep your hormones from finding their balance. To de-stress, do things you enjoy, allow yourself time to rest, and embrace all of the the new you.
While your body may have changed, it is important to focus on living a healthy lifestyle, rather than the pursuit of a perfect body.
Knowledge is power. There are literally hundreds of articles filled with information about menopause and the menopause belly. Be informed!
Everyone is different. Your genetics do play a role in how menopause will affect your body. Don’t compare yourself to others!
Whether the weight comes off or not, choosing a healthy lifestyle will absolutely benefit you for years to come.
And finally, change should be expected. Eating differently and less, exercising more and reducing stress are the key ingredients in the battle against the “fluff”. I haven’t reached my goal of losing 5 pounds yet, but I’m staying in the fight and learning to embrace this new season!
Here’s to healthy living and not giving up!