Wednesday, September 27, 2023
HomeFashionWhy “Meno Belly” Is a Menopause Change We Should Embrace

Why “Meno Belly” Is a Menopause Change We Should Embrace

One thing to focus on improving? Your sleep. Sleep deprivation, Garrison says, can show up in your midsection because of its impact on appetite-regulating hormones. “Sleep deprivation is associated with increased levels of ghrelin, which increase our appetite, and decreased levels of leptin, which help us feel full,” says Javaid. Decreased insulin sensitivity is another side effect of lack of sleep. “When we do not have good insulin sensitivity we release more insulin to drop our blood sugar levels, and when we clear the sugar from the bloodstream we store it as fat,” Javaid adds. 

Certain diet adjustments, such as decreasing carbohydrates, increasing protein, avoiding trans fats, and minimizing alcohol, can all help. Javaid also has patients consider intermittent fasting, which reduces insulin levels—and, in turn, fat storage—or to try swapping their coffee for green tea, which is rich in the metabolism-boosting antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). While hormone therapy (HRT) may not be the right path for everyone, it is protective for your heart, brain, bones, and muscles—and, says Garrison, the overall data of its impact on curbing weight gain is also positive.

Regular exercise is essential not just to address your midsection but for healthy aging overall. Taylor J Langston, an ACE-certified personal trainer and sports nutrition specialist in New York, says that while any movement you can be consistent with is great, some kind of resistance or strength training (this includes weight-bearing activity) is a non-negotiable. “This type of exercise promotes improvement in bone density, balance, and hormone balance,” she adds. Langston says that planking is a great core-specific exercise, but that even big compound movements like back squats, deadlifts, and bench presses engage the core in a functional and dynamic way. “When it comes to strength training and body shape, the most important pieces are consistency and progressive overload (like lifting heavier over time),” she says. 

Our posture also has an important link to our midsection. “Posture and spinal alignment definitely can affect the shape and strength of our stomachs,” says Langston. While for some, the position of their uterus might create a natural protrusion, the amount of time we collectively spend sitting does too. “Over time this positioning can create tight or shortened hip flexors, a forward head and neck position, and a weak core, elements which result in a ‘sway back’ posture with our stomachs pushing forward due to overextension in the lumbar,” says Langston. Some exercises to counteract this posture problem are stretching the quads, hip flexors, lumbar, and chest while strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and core.



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