Menopausal (and truly it is peri-menopausal when it all starts to hit) belly fat is not your imagination.
Peri-menopause is defined as the time of transition when a woman has irregular periods, but hasn’t yet had a full 12 months without a period.
Here are some changes that occur in peri-menopause and menopause in bullet point fashion:
- Distribution of body fat changes from the hips and thighs to the belly during peri–menopause
- Unhealthy increase in abdominal fat (visceral) equates to increased disease risk factor (cardiovascular, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, stroke)
- Peri-menopause has higher percentage of body fat (10% more) compared to pre-menopause
- Fat burning is lower in peri and post menopausal women during moderate intensity exercise.
- Fat-free mass (muscle and anything that is not fat) is less in peri and post menopausal women
In short, this means that if you want to change the shape of your body, lose the belly fat or get leaner than walking won’t cut it.
Walking is a great activity for many reasons, but it, and other long cardio sessions, won’t get you the changes I just listed above.
I do encourage daily walking for mental health, getting sunshine and vitamin D, enjoying life, moving your body and so forth!
If walking won’t cut it to rid your peri or post menopausal belly and body fat, then what will?
You probably already know my answer;)
You must lift weights and heavy weights that you progress over the course of 4-6 weeks and do some short bursts of high intensity exercise (be careful not to fall into the “I only do HIIT exercise” because that will burn you out, wear you down and break your body down.)
Lifting weights will maintain/build your muscle that naturally begins to decrease as you age.
Building muscle means your body requires more energy when you exercise, hence increasing your metabolism that naturally slows with age.
You’ll also have to start eating more protein to maintain your muscle. If you don’t eat enough protein, you won’t be able to maintain or build muscle…and it’s all about the muscle:)
According to Dr. Stacy Simms, “active women should aim for at least 1.8 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram a day, which is about 30 grams at each meal, and 15 to 20 grams with snacks.” (divide your goal weight by 2.2 to get the kilograms)
I know lifting weights can be a scary adventure, but it really makes a difference in how your body looks and functions.
If you’re not sure you can lift weights because it’s all so brand new, please let me know by replying back. I’d love to help you out and talk about your specific concerns.