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How Do I Fight Belly Fat After 50?

As we move past the age of 50, our metabolism tends to slow down, making it easier to gain weight. Maintaining a flat tummy after the age of 50 can be tricky due to various challenges. Additionally, lifestyle changes, such as a decrease in physical activity and changes in diet, can contribute to weight gain. Hormonal shifts, especially in women during menopause, can also play a role. Social factors, such as retirement and changes in routine, can also influence eating habits. To overcome these challenges, it's important for individuals over 50 to adopt a balanced and nutritious diet, stay physically active, and make lifestyle adjustments that support a healthy weight.


a woman looking in the mirror and pinching her waist.
How do I fight belly fat?
Table of Contents:

Fight Belly Fat

Taking a holistic approach to tackle belly fat is crucial because it considers the whole picture of your health. Belly fat isn't just about looks; it can be a sign of deeper issues like poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and even sleep problems. By addressing these factors together, you're not only working to lose the extra weight around your middle but also promoting overall well-being. A holistic approach means looking at your lifestyle, including what you eat, how you move, managing stress levels, and ensuring you get enough good-quality sleep. It's like putting all the pieces of a puzzle together to create a healthier and happier you. This way, you're not just targeting the belly fat directly but making sustainable changes and developing healthy habits that benefit your entire body and mind.


a woman grabbing her belly fat around her midsection
Take a holistic approach.

Battling The Bulge

Today, we're diving into a conversation centered around practical tips and valuable insights that will serve as your compass on the journey towards achieving a trimmer waistline. Today's topic is more than just shedding inches around your midsection; it's about embracing a holistic transformation that touches every aspect of your lifestyle. Throughout this article we'll navigate the realms of balanced nutrition, incorporating effective exercise routines, and understanding the role of stress management in your pursuit of a healthier and more sculpted physique. Get ready to dive into wellness! We're serving up practical tips and insightful views to steer you toward not just a trimmer waistline, but a refreshed and lasting approach to your overall well-being.


Aging Metabolism

As we age, our metabolism tends to play a bit of a slowdown game, and this can have a notable impact on the accumulation of belly fat. Look at it this way; metabolism is like the engine that burns calories to keep our bodies going, and as the years roll by, this engine becomes a bit less revved up. The reduction in muscle mass that often comes with aging is a key player here, muscles are like the calorie-burning powerhouses, and when they dwindle, so does our ability to torch those calories. Couple that with potential changes in hormones, especially during menopause, and you've got a recipe for belly fat gain. But fear not! While age may throw some curveballs, adopting a balanced lifestyle with a mix of healthy eating and staying active can definitely help you keep that belly fat at bay and maintain a spring in your step as the years go by.


Keeping your metabolism in good shape after hitting the big 5-0 is like giving your body a boost. Let's talk about muscles for a quick minute. They are like little furnaces burning up calories, so the more you have, the more efficiently you burn. After 50, maintaining or building muscle becomes crucial for a healthy metabolism. Engaging in strength training exercises, like lifting weights or doing bodyweight exercises, can be your secret weapon. It not only helps prevent muscle loss but can actually lead to muscle gain. Protein-rich foods become your allies too, as they provide the building blocks for muscle repair and growth. Don't forget to spread your protein intake throughout the day. Also, mix in some aerobic exercises to keep your heart happy. So, whether it's hitting the gym or doing home workouts, the key is to keep those muscles engaged and happy—they’ll repay you by keeping that metabolism humming along nicely.


We all know that one person, you know the one who seems to devour doughnuts and milkshakes without a single worry about getting out of shape? The truth is this: once you breach 50, your metabolism works against you. Metabolism is what determines how fast our bodies burn calories. Therefore, people born with a higher metabolic rate can consume more calories without putting on much weight. Their body is burning calories as fast as they’re consuming them.


It's not all bad news, though. You can boost your metabolism by making wise food choices.

Below are a few tips to fight belly fat.

Add high-fiber foods, such as vegetables and fruits, to your diet.

Drink two glasses of cold water before meals. It will make you fuller, and your body will work harder to warm you up.

Stay hydrated as it aids digestion, allowing food to be metabolized faster.

​Avoid high sodium foods.

Move around. If you're active, you will have a higher metabolic rate.

Build muscle to burn calories and raise your metabolism.

We’ve been focusing a lot on what foods to add to your diet, but what are the foods you should be working hard to eliminate from your diet? Consider some foods to avoid. Here’s some ideas for you to look at.


Studies have shown that caffeine intake worsens menopause symptoms, including increased hot flushes and night sweats. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, and other beverages that contain caffeine. Eating too much sugar also worsens menopausal discomforts, as it raises blood sugar. Avoid sugary snacks, and choose healthier options like cheese, peanut butter, avocado, tuna and smoked salmon. If you’re used to sweet tea and a spoon of sugar on your cereal, think about switching to natural sweeteners such as honey and stevia instead of sugar. It’s no surprise that spicy food can exacerbate hot flushes and night swears. If you suffer from high blood pressure or are experiencing hot flushes, steer clear of hot peppers, cayenne, and jalapeños.


a woman with a measuring tape pinching her belly fat
Metabolism is like the engine that burns calories.

Now is a good time to reduce fatty foods, how often you eat fast food, fried food and processed food. A slower metabolism and 3% unwanted weight gain per year make fatty foods enemy number one! An occasional glass of wine won’t harm you, but it’s certainly advised to reduce alcohol intake during. Alcohol not only intensifies hot flushes, but also interferes with sleep, contributes to weight gain, and has a hand in causing depression and anxiety.


Hormonal Harmony

While growing up, we’re never really taught that food can and does play an integral role in how the body responds and copes with hormonal fluctuations. After all, we’ve never really had to think about it. But it stands to reason that everything you put inside your body can affect you. If you’re one of those who believe you can eat anything and it won’t make a difference to your health and how you’re feeling, we have news for you. Just like when you pop a pill, and it has a reaction and impact on your body, so does food. And it can go either way. It can promote a healthy lifestyle or make it a little more challenging to achieve your goals and enjoy the health you’ve been after (this is why we are passionate about teaching women in menopause how to eat with purpose).


Do you know the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, it’s true. If you want good health, comfort, and fewer symptoms, you have to eat for it. You need to know about what foods to eat, and what to avoid, and how to pair that with an active lifestyle. Before we get elbows deep into food, nutrition, and eating, let’s first consider the clincher: hormone imbalance, which is at the heart of the menopausal years.


Hormone Imbalance

We hear it all the time “balance is essential in life.” You’re supposed to have a balance between work and personal life, a balance between you and your partner, a balance between playing hard and self-care. Balance seems to be the secret elixir to a healthy and happy life. And yet, as we near our fifties, that very balance is at threat. Nature seeks to snatch balance from our very core: hormonal balance. One reality remains; we have to put in a little extra work to reach 50+ equilibrium. You can start counteracting hormonal imbalance by being informed and having a strategy. And if you do this, it will be a breeze - well, as much of a breeze as the change can be.


By now, you already know that when menopause came to visit, estrogen and progesterone hormones got themselves in an absolute pickle. The body reduced the production of these hormones in the ovaries, and the rest of your body was left wondering what just happened. Your body can do all manner of things when hormones become unbalanced. Hormones are essentially chemical messengers in your body, and they instruct cells and organs how to function.


When there’s an imbalance, those instructions become garbled, and thus the bodily chaos begins. Several signs of hormonal imbalance rearing its head include:

• Appetite changes

• Bloating

• Weight gain

• Sudden weight loss

• Unreliable menstruation

• Sleep problems

• Dry skin and breakouts

• Fatigue

• Memory fog

• Night sweats

• Depression

• Mood swings

• Hair loss

• Headaches

• Vaginal dryness

• Low libido

• Breast tenderness

• Unusual thirst


Get Enough Protein

Most people are under the misconception that buff bodybuilders or sleek sports pros are the only ones who require protein to keep their bodies fueled. Well, that’s not true. Protein is involved at all levels of regulating bodily processes. In short, this means that you need protein, and you need it daily. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start increasing your meat intake. There are several plant-based food sources you can add to your meals that will give you a protein boost. Some of these food items include:

• Quinoa

• Black beans

• Nuts

• Lentils

• Chickpeas

• Cheese

• Yogurt

• Chia seeds

• Baked potato

• Broccoli


Protein provides the body with essential amino acids that it cannot make itself. Protein also does something else that’s essential when the body is going through hormonal imbalance. It influences the release of hormones that control your appetite and eating habits by decreasing the over-production of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry even when you’re not.


Get Enough Healthy Fats

Most people have the misguided idea that everything they eat should be fat-free. Fats, the healthy kind, are absolutely essential. It’s sugar that converts to fat in the body. When you eat fat, it doesn’t make you fat. The fat-free salad dressings you’ve been reaching for over the years haven’t been aiding in weight loss!


Fats interact with your hormones in complex ways. When you eat carbs and sugars, you can expect an insulin spike. That doesn’t happen with fat. Fat is really important to bodily functioning. For instance, monounsaturated fat, which is found in olive oil and avocados, reduces inflammation and lowers LDL, which is the bad kind of cholesterol in the bloodstream.


Polyunsaturated fats, which are found in fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, have exceptional health benefits, too, including increased HDL (the good cholesterol), decreased blood pressure, and protection against heart disease. The right fats can help balance your hormones so that there’s less risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease (all of which are risk factors during menopause). Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you. Here are a few fats you can afford to include in your diet:

• Avocado

• Olive oil

• Fatty fish

• Chia seed

• Flaxseed oil


a middle age woman doing lunges and holding handweights.
Combine strength and cardio training.

Get Active

Just like a healthy diet, exercise is one of the pillars of good hormonal balance. The following hormones are all affected by exercise:

Dopamine

Exercise boosts the production of dopamine in the brain, which reduces stress levels and even plays a role in minimizing depression.

Serotonin

Exercise boosts serotonin levels which positively impacts sexual function, social behavior, appetite, digestion, mood, and memory. With healthy daily doses of serotonin, your sleep problems should reduce immensely.

Estrogen

Exercise enhances estrogen production by promoting the release of endorphins, which can stimulate the ovaries to produce more estrogen. Additionally, physical activity helps regulate body weight and fat distribution.

What exercises should you do? It’s important to combine strength training and cardio to get the most out of hormone boosting in the body. Choose high-intensity exercises such as crunches, push-ups, squats, and lunges. Of course, being consistent is a key element to using exercise as part of your menopause survival strategy. You have to exercise daily to reap the rewards.


Here's a simple table to illustrate the strategy of incorporating regular physical activity, including both aerobic exercises and strength training, in the fight against belly fat.

STRATEGY

TYPE OF EXERCISE

FREQUENCY

DURATION

INTENSITY

Regular physical activity with cardio

​Aerobic Exercises (e.g., brisk walking, jogging, cycling)

3-5 times per week

30-60 minutes per session

Moderate to High

Regular physical activity with strength training

Strength Training (e.g., weight lifting, bodyweight exercises)

2-3 times per week

20-30 minutes per session

Moderate to High

This table outlines the components of the strategy, including the types of exercises (aerobic and strength training), recommended frequency, duration per session, and the recommended intensity level. It's a handy visual guide to help individuals structure their physical activity routine for effective belly fat management.


Reduce Stress

Managing stress isn't just good for the mind; it's a fantastic way to prevent that unwanted weight gain around your midsection. When stress hits, our bodies often respond by releasing cortisol, a hormone that can lead to increased fat storage, especially around the belly. But fear not, because stress management techniques are like a shield against this belly fat villain. Practices like deep breathing, meditation, or even a good laugh can help lower cortisol levels. Physical activities, like yoga or a calming stroll, double as both stress-busters and waistline defenders. Prioritizing self-care, ensuring quality sleep, and fostering positive connections with others also play crucial roles. So, when life gets a bit too chaotic, taking a moment to breathe and embracing the things that bring you joy aren't just acts of self-love, they're strategic moves in the battle against stress-related belly fat.


In Summary…

We want to encourage our readers to warmly embrace a gradual and sustainable approach to their fight in losing belly fat. Instead of opting for abrupt changes, consider this as a friendly suggestion to embark on a path that respects the rhythm of your own life. It's like planting seeds of positive change that bloom steadily over time. You want to foster habits that are not just fleeting but become an intrinsic part of your lifestyle.


This approach advocates for small, manageable adjustments, perhaps tweaking your diet or incorporating short bursts of exercise, that accumulate into significant, lasting transformations. Opt for the plan of patience and dedication rather than a hurried attempt at a quick fix.

Let the journey unfold at a pace that feels right for you, allowing sustainable habits to take root and flourish for a healthier, happier you.





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