There are lots of things that change as women reach midlife and beyond. Some are great. Like increased confidence and not really caring what other people think.
Some, like the cruel overnight switch from a normal tummy that fits into our jeans into a new abdomen that is begging for an elastic waistband or sweat pants, are not great. in fact, this particular body change drives a lot of women to seek help at midlife.
When’s the baby due?
Really? Did you just ask me that?
And, by the way, I’m not amused!
The truth is that most women, even our skinny, size 4 sisters do notice that things are changing. We all develop a little extra padding around the middle. I call it, the Meno-Pot Belly and it’s real, not your imagination and happens when the hormonal roller coaster at midlife screws up our metabolism, weight distribution and how we burn calories.
Seriously! It’s been documented that you can eat the same amount of food and exercise at the same rate that you did 5 years ago and now, you will put on weight.
Research has shown
- Your metabolic rate actually decreases!
- Slight insulin resistance begins which means that it’s harder to burn off carbohydrates
- Fat gets deposited around your mid-section
- Your gut biome (the universe of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract) controls a lot of how you feel
Is this fair? No, it’s not.
Is it real? Yes, it’s real.
That’s why you can eat the same amount of food and calories, skip dessert and still gain weight. Maintaining a flat tummy without industrial-strength Spanx is much, much harder now.
Gosh, I wish I had invented Spanx, but that’s another story for another time.
What You Can Do About This?
Build up muscle mass
As we age, our muscle mass decreases, so shedding weight is harder unless you also build up muscle mass. You’ll lose weight more efficiently if you build back up some muscle mass.
- Exercise 10-20 minutes/day more than you do now
- Start weight and resistance training.
- Consider doing Tabata Squats
- Try Planks
- Incorporate Yoga which uses your own body as resistance
- If you like to walk or hike, add a couple of 2-liter bottles of water to a backpack to burn more calories while you walk
- Dietary Changes
Increase your intake of vegetables by an added 1-2 servings each day. You’ll feel fuller from the fiber, have better bowel movements, and over time your calorie intake will decrease and help you shed those added pounds.
Reduce, don’t eliminate, your intake of simple carbohydrates (Carbs) like sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice. I know you don’t want to hear this and I wish it wasn’t true, but our bodies don’t metabolize carbs the same way they did 20 years ago. Sorry.
If you’re not sure what a carbohydrate is, this post explains it. (link to What is a carbohydrate)
Consider intermittent fasting
Research has shown that for women over 40, having fasted for various amounts of time really works. There are several different ways to do this. See my article on Intermittent Fasting (link here:
Read more about all things related to midlife and menopause in my award-winning book The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause
BTW, I donate all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to FAME Hospital and Clinic in Tanzania, where I volunteer (link: )