Belly fat is a nightmare, not just does it make zipping up your favorite jeans a lot tougher, it also increases one’s risk of developing health issues like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. For women, after a certain age, it becomes a bit more tough to lose belly fat because drop in hormones encourage storage of fat around the mid section more readily. With considerable drop in estrogen hormone and a dip in metabolism, as one ages, fighting belly fat becomes a battle, especially for women in their 30s and 40s. However, do not feel discouraged and look at women like Shilpa Shetty, Malaika Arora, Kareena Kapoor who are in their 40s and have flat bellies, and realize there’s nothing that a good diet and exercise cannot fix. In this post, we list out reasons why women gain belly fat in mid life and how to flaunt a flat belly by doing the right things.
What Makes Losing Belly Fat Difficult For Women As They Age?
1. Hormonal changes (drop in estrogen hormon as we age). During a woman’s reproductive years, estrogen encourages fat distribution in the pelvis, glutes, thigh, and breast area; however, with the advancement of age, the drop in estrogen guides accumulation of fat around the waistline. Research has revealed that the hormone estrogen incorporates some elements into the DNA responsible for weight control. With the dip in estrogen and with the lack of certain elements in DNA, belly fat and weight gain is a given.
2. Dietary habits.
3. Sedentary lifestyle.
4. Dip in metabolism.
5. Loss of muscle mass (as we all know, more muscles means more calories get burnt).
6. Lack of physical activity.
7. Compromising on sleep.
8. Chronic stress.
9. Nutrient deficiencies.
10. Pre-menopause or menopause.
What To Do To Burn Belly Fat?
1. Give up Sugar: Having a sweet tooth is not something to brag about anymore. White sugar and added sugar that is abundantly found in processed food does a lot of harm to your body in the long run and weight gain is just one of the side effects. Sugar has loads of empty calories and most of them get converted to fat which then gets conveniently stored around the mid region in women. When you cut down sugar from your diet, you will automatically feel energetic and it would become much easier to cut extra flab from everywhere, including belly fat.
2. Follow a Nutrient-Dense Weight Loss Diet: It’s extremely important to follow a nutrient-dense diet which is rich in vitamins, protein, minerals, healthy fats, and also the right kind of carbs (complex carbs), and crash dieting does not work for women who are in their 30s or 40s because the body starts to conserve fat more aggressively. Find such nutrient-dense weight loss meals on the Rati Beauty diet, download the Rati Beauty app for more details.
3. Exercise For at Least 40 Minutes 5 Days a Week: Make exercise your top priority and workout at least 5 days in a week for 40 minutes. Also, do not repeat the same routine every single day, bring variation in workouts, the body gets used to certain workouts, and burns fewer calories the next time around.
4. Increase Protein Intake: To fight belly fat, give protein its due importance since it boosts metabolism, keeps one fuller for longer, builds and repairs muscles, and also has thermogenic properties. All of these factors add up and burn belly fat.
5. Amp up Calcium and Vitamin D: Studies have found out that vitamin D and calcium deficiencies can increase can increase the padding around belly area. Make sure you are not deficient in these nutrients.
6. Cut Down on Refined Carbs: Cut down completely on refined carbs because they have high amount of empty calories, raise inflammation, and make it difficult to lose belly fat.
7. NEAT activities: Being on your feet throughout the day helps in burning calories and keeps metabolism robust. One hour of gymming is never enough to lose weight, keep moving throughout the day and practice NEAT activities. NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and is the energy we use for everything we do in our day-to-day life except for when we are sleeping or exercising. Using the stairs instead of the lift, squatting on the floor to lift something up, walking while talking on the phone, every activity we do while being on our feet, comes under NEAT. All these activities help to burn some amount of calories and these bits of calories spent here and there, add up to a considerable amount when you are trying to lose weight. Read more about how you can include NEAT activities in your daily life here.
8. Make Way For Nutrient-Dense Food: Nutrient-dense foods have high nutrient content relative to their calories. By including nutrient-dense foods in weight loss diet or even otherwise, we can increase the amount of nutrition, without increasing number of calories. Nutrient-dense foods would include complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc. Most of them would come from fruits, vegetables, saturated fat, dairy products, whole grains, that would keep you in the pink of health. Many nutrient-dense foods one of the most weight-loss friendly factor – fiber! You can learn to include nutrient-dense foods in your diet and lose weight at the same time by following the diet programs on the Rati Beauty app, download it on your phone for more details.
9. Choose Healthy Fats Over Low-Fat Food: Most “low fat” stuff out there is stuffed with something that stalls weight loss – and that’s added sugar! Healthy fats from avocado, olive oil, fish, eggs, chia seeds, etc. helping in melting away belly fat, so say “yes” to healthy fats and “no” to low-fat stuff.
10. Cut Down on Frequent Snacking: This is one of the major reasons why people struggle to lose weight. Every time you eat, insulin rises to regulate blood sugar, and every time insulin rises, there are higher chances of calories getting converted to fat since insulin encourages the body to store fat. Stick to meal and snack routines and avoid reaching out for snacks just because you are bored or want to calm down the nerves. Many people tend to work till late night and snacking becomes a common thing. Avoid frequent snacking and it would become a lot easier to reach your goal weight.
11. Don’t Compromise on Sleep: Inadequate sleep (sleeping for less than 7 hours) can impact important hormones that regulate weight a great deal (ghrelin, leptin, insulin for example). In fact, ghrelin and leptin start to dysfunction without getting quality sleep and losing belly fat would be a distant dream then.
12. Manage Stress: Just like sleep deprivation, chronic stress is absolutely bad for weight loss, no matter what age you are in. In fact, by sleeping for less hours, stress hormone cortisol rises, which increases buildup of fat around the abdominal area. So, do find ways to manage stress, find a hobby, go for a run, listen to music, or spend time with family and friends to de-stress.