One of the less-than-lovely things about being over 50 and going through menopause is the shift in where we store fat. If you’ve noticed your waistline getting bigger, that’s why! That nasty “meno-pot” is not only unattractive, it can be dangerous. Unlike fat in other parts of our bodies, abdominal fat (especially fat deposited deep in our abdomen) can increase our risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Now, we can’t wave our hands and make this phenomenon disappear (it’s a hormonal thing, girls), but there are ways to decrease amount of fat in your post-menopausal waistline–or peri-menopausal waistline, for that matter.
- Change your cardio workout
Interval training has been shown to decrease body fat more effectively than moderate intensity workouts done at a constant, steady pace. After a good warm up, work HARD (about an “8” on a scale of 1-10) for a short time (30-60 seconds) followed by a recovery period (1-3 minutes) at a lower exertion level. Continue for 6-10 intervals. Choose whatever cardio activity you like and do this type of a workout in place of a couple of your “moderate” workouts each week.
- Lift weights
Research has shown regular, full body strength training (utilizing a weight that fatigues your muscles) can decrease abdominal obesity in women. Another bonus of a good strength training program is increased muscles mass (good for burning a few additional calories every day!).
- Add mono-unsaturated fats to your diet
A recent study conducted by scientists at Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba, Spain, found that test subjects who ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fats did not experience an accumulation of belly fat as did test subjects on diets w/out the monounsaturated fats. Mono-unsaturated fats are found in olive, peanut, and canola oils as well as avocados.
- Get enough calcium
A 2004 study of calcium supplementation and dairy consumption showed that increasing dietary calcium significantly improves weight and fat loss and increases the percentage of fat lost from the trunk region (increasing dairy consumption got even better weight loss results than supplementation alone).
There you have it: four little-known ways to decrease unsightly (and dangerous!) belly fat–and I never even mentioned the words “sit-ups”!