Target your belly fat by following doctors ‘helpful’ rules

The Natural Beauty Show discuss menopause

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Belly fat can be the most stubborn part of the body to shrink, especial when going through menopause. It may seem like the world is against you but a doctor has shared her “key” tips to help beat the meno-belly.

Dr Naveen Puri, Associate Clinical Director at Bupa explained: “Menopause is a natural stage of a woman’s life.

“In the UK, it happens around the average age of 51, but can vary widely from person to person.”

During menopause, women’s ovaries stop producing eggs and they reduce the production of oestrogen; a hormone that helps regulate metabolism.

The reduction in oestrogen levels in the blood leads to a natural slowing of the metabolism and then causes weight gain around a woman’s midsection.

Although it may feel like it’s impossible to manage any weight that’s been gained during the change Dr Puri, shares ways you can beat it.

Keep active

She said: “If you’re currently not active, introducing some movement into your routine is a great place to start addressing meno-belly.

“A mix of moderate and vigorous exercises such as walking, swimming and running and cycling will help you to get on track to shedding any extra weight.”

Dr Puri suggested starting high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which she labelled “a great way to get fit”, as the shorter, intense bursts of exercise can budge excess pounds.

Take diet into consideration

Dr Puri warned that due to the change in women’s hormones, they may find that they feel hungrier than usual.

“It’s common to crave sugary or salty foods with menopause, so try to find healthier, lower calorie alternatives that help to satisfy your cravings without piling on the pounds,” she said.

“Making simple switches such as opting for nuts instead of crisps, or swapping chocolate for fruit can help reduce your calorie intake.”

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Try mindful eating

Many weight loss experts encourage mindful eating because it helps people to feel fuller and quicker.

Dr Puri explained: “You take the time to focus on eating to appreciate it and eat it more slowly and it’s a great way to help manage your relationship with food and what you’re eating.

“It teaches you to eat more slowly and helps you to listen to your body and understand when you’re getting full instead of overeating.”

Count calories

A “useful” method that’s been around for many years, the Bupa expert recommended using this technique to ensure women don’t exceed the recommended amount.

She said: “An estimated calorie intake for women is around 2,000 per day, though this can vary depending on your current weight, age lifestyle and activity level.

“Your focus should also be on a healthy and balanced diet so your calories should come from a variety of healthy, fresh, and natural sources as far as possible.”

Drink lots of water

It’s no secret that water can do the body the world of good by helping flush out toxins, protect organs and tissues and aid digestion, among a host of other elements.

Dr Puri added: “There’s no end to the list of benefits there are from drinking water, but it can also aid with weight loss.

“Not only is it an appetite suppressant, but it increases calorie burning too and is needed to burn fat, so it’s helpful to stay hydrated.”

Watch your alcohol intake

Alcoholic drinks are full of hidden calories, with most drinks harbouring a high number, especially if more than one drink is consumed.

Dr Puri explained booze can also leave people feeling “sluggish” and craving healthy, fatty foods afterwards.

“Make sure you consume alcohol in moderation,” she advised. “And use a calorie calculator to investigate lower calorie alternatives.”

Keep stress under control

Stress is one of the most common factors when it comes to gaining weight because it causes the hormone cortisol to rise, triggering higher insulin levels and making blood sugar drop.

When this happens, it leads to greater cravings and therefore having a negative impact on a person’s weight.

For those feeling the pressure, Dr Puri suggested looking into coping strategies to try and manage stress levels.

“You might find some activities help reduce stress levels whilst improving your health, like swimming, meditation or running,” she said.

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