At 64, my waist line is now what it was when I was in my 20’s, and I feel just as fit as I did then, but I didn’t always look and feel like I do now. At 51, I made some lifestyle changes, mainly to reduce my belly fat and make changes to my lifestyle to cope with the menopause. I focus a lot now on reducing my belly fat, as it makes all the difference to how I look and feel.
Belly fat is made up of what is called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat, that behaves like other fat in our body. There is another fat in the belly which is known as visceral fat, which is found around our organs. Visceral fat can cause a lot of dysfunctions in our body. The cells of visceral fat are larger than regular fat cells, and are filled with excess fatty acids, which go directly to our liver. It’s definitely not a good fat to have around in our body.
Visceral fat can also build up in the pancreas, heart and other vital organs that are not meant to store fat. This is problematic because it can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin helps to breakdown the sugar in our body, adjusts our blood sugar imbalances, and helps to regulate our cholesterol. As visceral fat accumulates in our body it can cause challenging health issues in women regardless of their weight or size.
Five steps to help you lose belly fat
There are good, proven ways to reduce belly fat that will work best if you can focus on what’s causing fat to accumulate around your waist and your organs.
1. Start by eating the right kinds of carbs
Avoid ‘white’ foods such as white bread, white rice, sugary sweets, cakes, sugar in drinks, they just make you u put on weight and increase your belly fat.
When it comes to losing belly fat, you want to get the most nutrition out of everything you eat. Create meals with colourful vegetables such as, broccoli, peppers, green beans, cabbage, carrots, avocados, are easy to start with and use extra virgin olive oil instead of normal vegetable oils.
I’ve swopped potatoes for sweet potatoes, which I bake in their skin, boil and mash or make chips using extra virgin olive oil, and I only eat brown rice. I rarely have cakes or puddings now as they add to my belly fat.
2. Burn of the fat with regular exercise
There’s lots of talk about doing regular exercise and how that can help up to stay fit and lose weight and it’s true. When I started my menopause, I made 2 changes to my lifestyle. Firstly, I significantly reduced my carb intake increased my protein intake, so I have meat or fresh fish every day and I stepped up my exercise routine,
Now I exercise 4 to 5 times a week, I do 2 sessions of strength training with weights, Pilates, Yoga and a cardio session.
My belly fat and waist size has significantly reduced, and I have dropped two waist sizes in the last year.
3. Practice stress management daily. Your stress levels have a big impact on your body composition. Practicing meditation and yoga can help lower cortisol levels, which will affect how fat is deposited in your body. Drinking relaxing herbal teas instead f coffee can help you to keep calm throughout the day.
I try to do deep breathing each day 5 to 10 minutes of closing my eyes breathing deeply into my stomach can help me to keep calm when I feel stressed. Studies show that getting 8 hours of sleep lowers stress and helps keep your hunger levels and weight in check. Spending more time in nature has also proven calming, and anti-stress benefits.
4. Optimize hormone balance. Ease the burden of estrogen changes and hormone fluctuations by supplementing with natural herbal extracts. Black cohosh, red clover and kudzu can help with estrogen imbalance while passionflower, chasteberry and wild yam are helpful for progesterone imbalance. These natural herbs are beneficial because your body uses the ingredients only as needed. They are readily available at any good natural health shop.
5. Maintain healthy gut flora every day. The bacteria in our gut plays a large role in our weight. The goal is to keep the right balance between the good and the bad bugs in our digestive system. Eating fermented foods and vegetables with lots of fibre helps to feed the good bacteria in our gut. Make sure to take a high-quality probiotic or eat natural yogurt with berries to keep your gut healthy your gut with the right flora to help you digest and metabolize food more easily.
Here’s my simple weight loss smoothie recipe which I make 2 to 3 times a week, it serves as my breakfast and also acts as my daily detox.
- Half a cup of organic kelp
- Half a cup or organise spinach
- ¼ organic cucumber diced
- ¼ cup of blue berries
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- Cup of apple or orange juice
Put in a blender or juicer, blend and serve. This will make sufficient for 2 to 3 servings. This simple recipe has helped me to maintain a healthy waistline and detox my body daily. It also acts as a natural colon cleanse.
Belly fat is with us whether we like it or not. There isn’t a miracle cure or natural treatment. Managing your weight is the best way of keeping it at bay as well as helping you be healthier and look healthier.
Happy reading x