How Can Post-Menopausal Women Lose Dangerous Belly Fat?

Post Menopause

Women tend to store fat on their hips and thighs. Yet, many women see a shift during or post menopause to fat stored in their midriff and belly. Before I talk about the dangers of belly fat, let me try as simply as I can to explain why fat is being stored. Diet is only one part of a three segmented cause.

The single most important part of this fat storing process is hormone balance. The hormone players in this scenario are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and cortisone. The exercise hormones;the good hormones are adrenaline and noradrenaline.

After menopause, our estrogen and progesterone levels decline. Testosterone levels can increase and it is a good idea to have these levels checked at your yearly gyn exam. Higher levels of testosterone will result in an excess of belly fat. All of the hormones mentioned above can be adjusted through supplements prescribed by your physician. The most damaging one, the one that is so responsible for mid core fat cannot be contolled via supplementation.That hormone is cortisone,the stress hormone.

One of the ways it can increase stress is not getting enough sleep, not getting enough exercise, and not being able to handle stress adequately. It is also referred to as Cortisol.

So why is belly fat so harmful in women? Besides the increased risk to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes, women with belly fat are feeding the estrogen stored in the belly fat directly to their uterus.That is why the risk to uterine cancer-the lining of the uterus is much higher in heavy women with belly fat. An Ultrasound exam can measure uterine thickness and if it is thick, then an endometrial biopsy might be needed. Belly fat stores hormones, so even if a woman is postmenopausal, her belly fat is feeding estrogen right into her uterus and because she no longer menstruates, that lining just thickens and it not shed.
What can you do about it?
  • Watch what you eat. A diet of fatty foods plus sugar and starch is the worst possible diet for belly fat. If you combine that with stress, you have the perfect storm going for storing belly fat. Don't cut your calories too low, instead eat enough protein and fiber through several small meals a day instead of one or two large meals. Keep those metabolic fires stoked!
  • Exercise produces adrenaline and noradrenaline as well as endorphins which I call the "feel good" hormones. Exercise burns cortisol the chief belly fat hormone! Don't go crazy! You don't need to! If you feel compelled to work a sweat every day at the gym, that will cause even more stress. Aim for weight training 2 times a week. Weight training builds muscle and muscle burns more fat. Take a leisurely walk at least 5 days a week or more. Keep your speed at 3.0 miles an hour. If the weather prohibits, join a gym.Gym memberships have come way down.
  • Have your hormone levels checked to make sure there is balance; adrenaline and noradrenoline burns cortisone, that alone is worth it!
So let's recap the information in this article. If you have noticed fat accumulating in your belly, and this is true for slender women as well as overweight women, first get your hormone levels checked, especially if you are postmenopausal. If supplements are prescribed, discuss the pros and cons with your doctor.
  1. Make sure your diet focuses more on lean protein, fiber, and vegetables, and less on fat, starch, and sugar.
  2. Begin an exercise program incorporating 2 days a week of weight training, and 5 or more of walking at a comfortable, medium pace.
  3. Get enough sleep every nite.
  4. Find ways to relieve stress either by yoga, meditation, or some hobby that you can focus on and enjoy.
Losing belly fat is not easy, it requires work, but it is possible. Your health and longevity depend on making the changes necessary to losing that stubborn belly fat.
Dr. William Shuell Surgeon Phoenix Arizona
Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian Santa Monica CA


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