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10 Ways to Start Losing Menopausal Belly Fat


Whether you’re in perimenopause or in the throes of menopause itself, you may notice some weight gain—particularly around your middle.

The biggest reasons women gain belly fat during menopause include:



Age (which causes slower metabolism)

Lifestyle (active vs. sedentary)

One key reason is the decrease in estrogen and progesterone that occurs. This creates metabolic changes in the body, including decreased muscle mass, leading to fewer calories burned. (Meaning more belly fat!)

Let’s explore 10 ways to shake up your daily routine and help get rid of that annoying menopausal belly fat.

1. Get a Mix of Cardio and Strength Training

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The CDC recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, plus two to three days of strength training.

Since metabolism slows as we age, burning even more calories than you would in your 20s and 30s is crucial for losing weight, especially in your belly.

Research shows that postmenopausal women can lose body fat with increased aerobic exercise, and there are so many ways to incorporate it into your routine!

If the gym isn’t your thing, other ways to burn calories include:

Walking: Not only can walking help you lose weight, but research has found it can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, boost your immune system, ease pain from osteoarthritis, and lower blood pressure. You can bring your coffee for a solo walk, go with a friend, or walk your dog.

Cleaning: Do a deep clean of your house or car.

Yard work: Including raking, gardening, or mowing the lawn.

Playing with the kids: Get some quality time with the kids or grandkids while burning calories.

Yoga: A relaxing way to burn calories while strengthening your joints and easing back pain.

Dancing: Take a class or dance to your favorite songs at home.

You can also take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible, use a standing desk for work, and pace around while you’re on the phone or during TV commercials. Even a little bit of movement every day is better than nothing! (All of those minutes here and there add up.)

As for strength training? You can use your body weight with push-ups, lunges, and squats, or use dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands to really feel the burn.

If you’re not sure where to start, give one of these a try:

Strength Training for Women Over 50: 11 Best Moves

20-Minute Strength Workout (7 Basic Exercises)

The Beginner Strength Training Guide for Women

2. Cut Back On Sugar

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Research has found that eating more refined, added sugar is associated with more weight gain since the excess is converted to fat and stored—especially in your midsection.

Some of the biggest culprits are sugary beverages, including sodas, specialty coffees, fruit juices, and energy drinks. In fact, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are the largest contributor of sugar intake in the United States!

Sugary drinks and foods can also lead to a temporary spike in blood sugar followed by a crash, which makes you feel hungry or thirsty soon after. (Thus, making you eat and drink more.)

Other foods to avoid include:





Ice cream

Packaged snacks and granola bars

Sweetened yogurt

Certain breakfast cereals

Stick to natural sugar, like the kind found in fruit, because it’s accompanied by fiber—and when you eat fiber with natural sugar, your body can process it more slowly.

3. Drink More Water

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There’s a reason increased water intake is a part of every weight-loss plan! Adding more water to your diet is a great way to combat belly fat.

Drinking water comes with an array of benefits:

Helps suppress your appetite

Stimulates metabolism

Improves your workouts

Helps remove body waste

Saves you calories when you drink it instead of soda, juice, and sweetened tea or coffee

The recommended water intake is around 9 cups daily (8 oz each) for women.

4. Watch Your Portion Sizes

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When you overeat, you’re putting too much stress on your body and spiking your insulin and blood sugar. This is hard on your metabolism and can make losing that excess belly fat even harder.

When you eat giant portions frequently, those calories add up—and so does the belly fat. It is incredibly helpful to reduce your portions (especially while dining at a restaurant).

Here are some tips for cutting down portion sizes:

Use a smaller plate.

Split your meal with someone else.

Fill half of your plate with veggies.

Drink water with your meal. (It can help fill you up!)

Add more protein, which can help you feel fuller longer.

Try eating without distractions (i.e., the phone or TV so you can pay attention to how much you’re eating and when your body is full.

5. Try a Mediterranean Diet

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Menopause is the perfect time to start monitoring what you eat, especially if you’re trying to eliminate stubborn belly fat.

Adopting a Mediterranean diet that limits sugar, highly processed foods, refined carbs, and processed meats isn’t just healthy but a great way to help promote weight loss.

A heart-healthy Mediterranean diet offers many benefits, including preventing or managing depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease. It focuses on vegetables and whole grains and includes foods such as:

Vegetables: Including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, potatoes, avocadoes, and eggplant.

Fruits: Including apples, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and citrus fruits.

Whole grains: Including quinoa, whole oats, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-grain bread.

Beans and legumes: Including lentils, chickpeas, and pinto, fava, kidney, and black beans.

Healthy oils: Especially olive oil.

Nuts and seeds: Including almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, and cashews.

Herbs and spices: Including pepper, oregano, sage, thyme, basil, cinnamon, and cumin.

Moreover, research has shown that a Mediterranean diet can also lessen the severity of menopause symptoms.

6. Minimize Stress

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Stress causes your body to release cortisol (i.e., the stress hormone), and too much of it can cause belly fat.

Work on minimizing stress as much as possible by practicing deep breathing and meditation (for at least 15 minutes each day), journaling, taking long walks in nature, or doing yoga.

Choose whatever relaxes you! It’s not just good for your mind, but your body (and belly fat!) too.

7. Monitor Your Emotional Eating

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It’s tempting to deal with changing hormones through emotional eating. (We’ve all been there!) Fluctuating emotions make that late-night ice cream snack even more appealing than normal.

Trying to shed extra weight during menopause doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but you should monitor when you get the urge to binge on junk food and try to regulate your emotions in healthier ways.

Distract yourself, practice self-care, speak with a therapist if needed, and become aware of whether or not your body is actually hungry.

8. Get More Sleep

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You probably already know this: Adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Getting too little sleep can throw two of your body’s hunger hormones out of whack—leptin and ghrelin—which can cause you to hold onto more fat and crave sugary, salty foods more frequently.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived people were more likely to choose high-carb snacks, especially late at night.

Moreover, a separate study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, they lost 55% less weight from fat. (Yikes!)

It’s important to prioritize sleep not only for your mental well-being but your weight, too!

If you are having trouble falling asleep, you can try meditation, taking magnesium or melatonin, and reducing or eliminating screen time before bed.

Check out some of our other tips for a better night’s sleep.

9. Incorporate HIIT Exercises

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A slower metabolism means you need to burn even more calories to lose weight, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to make it happen.

HIIT burns more calories in less time! Typically, you do short bursts of all-out effort followed by brief rest periods. This is different from steady-state cardio workouts like walking, jogging, or the elliptical because HIIT increases your heart rate and helps your body burn fat more effectively.

To get started, try our beginner guide to HIIT.

The Takeaway

If losing your menopause belly proves difficult, and you’re also overweight, you may want to talk to your doctor. You can check your hormone levels—some women have thyroid issues that can make weight loss harder than needed.

However, small tweaks to your daily habits can produce amazing results in reducing belly fat. It won’t always be easy, but it is doable. The key is to be consistent! 

10. Drink Less Alcohol

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Moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption. Drinking too much of it, especially those fruity cocktails, can lead to weight gain because of the excess sugar and calories.

Alcohol can also slow your metabolism (which is already struggling) and lead to some pretty poor food choices when you’ve had too much.

Of course, cutting back on alcohol is linked to feeling better overall and can promote better sleep and energy levels, which are essential for staying healthy and reducing belly fat.

53 Best Weight Loss Snacks

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To keep you from going crazy with calories even when the saltiest of cravings hit, my team and I rounded up our best weight loss snack recipes that are super easy to throw together. And when you don’t have time or you’re on the go, we also made a list of our favorite healthy purchased snacks too.

53 Best Weight Loss Snacks

14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

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From healthy skin to improved memory, check out the top 14 health benefits of cucumbers!

And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden or farmers market on hand, you’ll definitely want to check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes, too.

14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

9 Tips For Joint Health | Keep Your Joints Healthy As You Age

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Keeping your joints healthy is key to staying mobile and experiencing less pain as you age.  Although you may not be able to prevent all joint injuries or arthritis, there are many things you can start doing today to improve your joint health!

9 Tips For Joint Health | Keep Your Joints Healthy As You Age

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

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Your hormones impact so many things—from your mood and energy levels to your weight.

When you are deficient or dominant in any one hormone, it’s easier to gain weight. This is particularly true for women who are experiencing hormonal imbalances caused by the natural aging process.

If you’re someone struggling with weight loss, you might benefit from understanding your hormone levels and trying these natural ways to balance your hormones.

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

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