Losing Belly Fat After 50: The Good, the Bad, the Truth

Radiance, wisdom, sophistication and authenticity are some of the gifts Mother Nature hands us after menopause. Here’s another: a not-so-svelte belly.

Everyone wants their belly fat to disappear. Here are some thoughts from my readers:

Tina, 72: “I lost 50 pounds before my new marriage, but my tummy stayed. I hate it.”

Eloise, 59:  “My waist thickened after menopause, but I work out six hours a week and my middle has a shape again.”

Martha, 61: “I don’t want that dimply stomach! But, honestly, I’m tired of obsessing. Get me some cool clothes to cover it and a glass of wine. Can we all move on?”

After menopause, our female bodies are encoded to lay down a layer of fat around our abdomen. Adding insult to injury, our metabolism slows down. Also, after menopause, it takes only about 1,300 calories daily for the average woman to maintain average weight, as opposed to 1,800 calories a day before menopause.

Good news: we can reduce it.

Bad news: it’s a lot of work.  Better news: We have choices on how to handle it.

First, a myth buster:

If you lose weight, you lose weight everywhere — not just in one place, like your belly. Doing 100 sit-ups/day? You’ll have incredibly hard muscles … under your belly fat. The fat will be reduced as you do more cardio, but you can’t “spot” eliminate.

Count those calories:

Since it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound of fat, it would take 12 days to lose one pound by ingesting only 1,000 calories/day. (Under 1,000 cal/day is dangerous without a doctor’s guidance). Some plastic surgeons claim they can “melt” it away. Again, it’s a matter of time, money, and in the last case, pain (plastic surgery can be very painful).

More cardio:

Yes, gentle stretching, cardio, and weights are necessary to sustain healthy bodies at age 50 and beyond. But here’s the hard truth: To lose weight, we have to add more cardio to our daily work-out, even if we’ve exercised all our life! After menopause, it takes five hours of cardio per week, religiously.

So before you “fix” your middle-aged muffin top, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much does your post-menopausal stomach keep you from loving your life now? If the answer is “a lot,” develop a healthy diet and exercise program to shrink it. Download the tip sheet at the end of this blog on how to do that. But before you do, have a healthy answer for the next question.

  • Where are you getting the message that your tummy needs trimming? Voices from the past? Your own negative thoughts? Perhaps it’s time to get help and let it go.

  • What would life be like if you simply accepted your belly? Millions of women have recognized that a not-so-perfect body is one factor of life after age 50. So they dress in magnificent new adornments, feeling luscious and alive, and focus on other parts of life. You can learn to accept, even love your tummy, and move on. Click here to get a free tips sheet on how to dress to look and feel your best.

Whatever you decide, know this: One part of your anatomy doesn’t define you. You’re a radiant woman with the buoyancy and insight that we need in this world. Let your light shine!

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