Let's Lose that Belly Fat AKA the Muffin Top
Muffin top is a slang term for describing the body fat that visually extends over the top of the top of tightly fitted pants or skirts. A key cause is yep, estrogen loss.
What happens is that lower estrogen levels causes fat storage to shift from hips & thighs to the belly. Even women who don’t put on weight during menopause often see their waistlines grow.
Another important contributing hormone bummer is cortisol. Stress causes cortisol to be released, which in turn increases belly fat.
Think of it like this - our adrenal glands produce cortisol anytime it thinks we’re under ‘threat’. The purpose of this cortisol is to trigger your liver, fat, and muscle tissues to release the energy your body needs to get through the threatening situation. This was great when we were hunting for food or escaping enemies. But obviously times have changed – yet we still produce cortisol whenever we feel stressed.
Not to be debbie downer here but better to know the truth than not! The muffin top can itself act as an endocrine organ – meaning it’s not just something you may want to buy Spanx for, it can actually produce hormones that go directly into the circulatory system. It’s crazy to imagine this sequence of events, but these hormones can increase inflammatory cell-damaging compounds. Upshot, our risk of heart disease and diabetes goes up.
So making an effort to reduce belly fat is really pretty important. You can reduce the muffin top with diet (less sugar!), exercise, shifting carb intake to the morning, more sleep & anti-stress meditation and walks.
Benefits of the Exercise or "Ab" Wheel
Carla Hall's five day a week exercise routine also includes this abs muscle builder using an exercise or "ab" wheel (see her in action below). Having and maintaining a healthy core becomes more important as we age since over time we lose good posture due to us spending most of our day and life in a seated position. One of the best ways to prevent a decline in our overall fitness is to build a strong core. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways with the use of simple exercise tools such as the exercise wheel, or “ab wheel.” Here are the simple instructions for adding this into your routine.
Exercise equipment needed: ab wheel and a soft pad or mat (a yoga mat and even your home carpeting can work effectively) for protecting your knees.
Kneel down and place the abs wheel just in front of your body on the floor.
Tighten your core with your arms fully extended and slowly roll the wheel forward until your body is parallel to the ground (see how Carla does this exercise below).
Squeeze your core tight and remember to do this without arching your back. Then roll yourself back to the starting position and repeat.
Try to complete 5 to 8 reps as a start without stopping. As you become stronger, you can ramp this up to an advanced level of 20 to 30 reps depending on your comfort and strength level. Always keep in mind that an exercise trainer can support you best in guiding you.
Keep in mind that diet is everything for flattening your belly, but of course and extra dose of abs exercise can be very supportive as you age.
Carla Hall says “Maintaining a healthy diet and appropriate calorie intake is key’.
Why Certain Foods are Beneficial for Belly Fat as you Age
Caire recommends getting lots of nutrient-dense foods — like broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower. Combining nutrient-dense foods with a good dose of plant based or other preferred protein supports your overall nutritional balance.
Because peri- and post-menopausal estrogen decline is linked to decreased muscle mass and bone health, doctors recommend women over fifty eat 0.45-0.55 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. This works out to about 20-25 grams of high-quality protein PER meal.
Carla Hall, who is a judge for the Food Network's Holiday & Halloween Baking Championships is an expert in using good food and active ingredients to accelerate body healing and rejuvenation. In her recipe for Pumpkin Soup below, you’ll see her secret belly fat buster weapon –ground cloves. And you have been wondering how to get rid of menopausal belly!
Cloves, cinnamon and cumin are nature’s metabolism accelerators. Cloves in particular are anti-lipid and anti-cholesteremic. This does not mean we can eat a cupcake and then have clove cinnamon tea and expect that belly to vanish; it’s still about combining a much healthier diet, exercise, better sleep and a less stressful lifestyle all together that’s going to work.
Recently, svelte Hollywood starlet (and ex-wife of Johnny Depp) Amber Heard, 35, was caught on video bemoaning the fact that bananas—bananas!—were banned from her diet. (See the video here). In the weight loss game, specifically as you try to lose stubborn belly fat during peri-menopause and menopause, it’s not how much you work out that makes a difference in your muffin top game…it’s all about what you eat. And the main culprit? Sugar. Yes, even fructose (the sugar found in fruit). The more sugar you eat, the more fat builds up in your body, especially around your middle. It’s pretty simple.
We feel for Amber—giving up fruit seems like asking too much. After all, you have to enjoy your diet or you won’t stick to it. So here are five delicious options that won’t break the caloric bank, and although they contain fructose, have other benefits that helps fight the battle of the bulge. Go ahead, snack away!
This favorite fruit is rich in pectin, a fiber that breaks down slowly, promote satiety. Plus, an apple will curb your cravings for sweets, so you don’t fall down a binge hole. They are also low in calories, making apples a great snack.
Tomatoes are known to stimulate production of an amino acid called carnitine, an organic molecule that is known to play a crucial role in regulation of fatty acid and energy metabolism. Also, tomatoes are enriched with compound known as 9-oxo-ODA, which helps decrease lipids in blood and ensure healthy weight loss.
This tasty fruit is loaded with dietary fibers which help make you feel full, preventing bingeing. The glycemic index of guava is very low, which enables a slow release of sugar in bloodstream, helping control cravings.
For such a tasty treat, strawberries are low in calories. 100 grams contains only 33 calories. And they are ultra-versatile: Snack on them raw or make a delicious smoothie. You’ll feel like you’re cheating—enjoy!
This tropical fruit helps boost digestion naturally. It also contains an enzyme known as actinidain, which helps the body digest proteins which, in turn, promotes weight loss.
Stress Got You Stressed Out!
Finding healthy ways to deal with your stress levels can help reduce one of your hormones, cortisol. By maintaining cortisol levels in your body, you can get a better sleep through the night. All of these may help you to keep that muffin top in check.
Don't Forget Self-Care
Last but not least, don’t overlook your self-care by taking moments for yourself no matter how much you have on your plate. Finding 5 or even 10 minutes for quiet reflective time can be easier than you think. Just schedule the time in your phone and you will notice how easy it is to take care of yourself.
Why Carla Hall Suggests Cloves
Carla Hall suggests the use of cloves in a recipe. The reason cloves appear to help with belly fat are becausecloves stimulate metabolism.
Thereby potentially helping in losing weight. The spice also has anticholesteremic and anti-lipid properties. When this powerful spice is combined with either pepper, cinnamon or cumin seeds, it may help in increasing our metabolic rate, which ultimately can help us lose weight.
Try Carla's yummy pumpkin soup recipe which includes her secret belly buster—cloves.