How to Get Rid of the Menopause Paunch

By on March 1, 2012

By Elizabeth Martyn –

If you’re a typical 50+ woman, you’ve probably noticed a shift in your body’s shape, away from the hourglass towards the straight-up-and-down.

Around menopause, the body starts to lay down stores of fat right around the middle, and it’s then that the much-loathed midlife fat belly or paunch makes its debut.

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So, how do you go about shifting this unwanted pot belly?

Think of it as a holistic project. Changing your diet and doing more exercise will help, but you need to think about your whole lifestyle, and how to make it healthier. Midlife fat doesn’t arrive by accident – hormones are at work and by creating a less stressed, calmer and healthier life for yourself, you can beat the hormones at their own game.

Here are some steps you can take to regain a more youthful shape.

Improve your diet

Don’t go on slimming diets. You may shed a few pounds in the short term, but at better approach is to switch to healthier eating and a better diet that you can sustain for life.

Rely less on processed foods. Use fresh foods, cooked from scratch wherever you can. Wise up on portion sizes and make sure you’re not habitually serving yourself with more food than your body needs. This is a very common mistake which over a few months or a year can lead to a big intake of excess calories which end up, you guessed it, as rolls of fat around your waist.

Make sure you get plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Drink plenty of water. Use healthy cooking methods – steaming, boiling, grilling. Eat more poultry, fish, low fat dairy, eggs, legumes and pulses, and less red meat and full fat cheese.

I am guessing that you’ve heard some of this advice before, but if you don’t actually make up your mind to implement these changes, nothing will happen. Make adjustments to your diet gradually and it won’t be difficult, in fact you’ll come to love your new healthy regime, and find fast foods and processed meals a lot less palatable than before.

Get more exercise

Get moving every day. This is crucial in midlife, not just for weight control but to keep bones and muscles in good shape, to see you through into an active older age.

Over a week, make sure you get three types of exercise.

– Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and your blood flowing. Try brisk walking, jogging, running, trampoline jumping, skipping, dancing, or aerobics. Go with a friend or join a class and turn your exercise into a sociable occasion. It really helps.

– Strength building exercise is vital at this stage of life, when muscle, left to its own devices, will disappear from your body, leaving you frailer than before. To build muscle you can lift weights but there are lots of other ways. Try Pilates, racket sports like tennis or squash, golf, bowling or gym exercises such as press-ups, squats and lunges. Housework and garden, done with some vigour, also provide a great work out.

– Weight bearing exercise. This builds bone mass and is critical if you’re to avoid osteoporosis and weakened bones. Most types of aerobic exercise also build bone strength (but not those done in water, which supports your weight). Skip, dance, walk fast, jog – all of these exercises are enjoyable, lift your mood and build your bone strength at the same time.

Exercise has multiple benefits, and will certainly help to keep menopausal weight gain under control.

De-stress your life

Stress releases hormones into your blood stream, which prompt your body to hang on to its stores of fat – and keep them on your belly, where they’re close to your liver.

If you know you’re under stress, take steps to lead a calmer life. Re-think your schedule. Delegate to colleagues or family whenever you can. You don’t need to do it all.

Factor in time for you, and spend it relaxing and unwinding.

Investigate soothing activities like meditation, tai chi, or just stretching. Anything that has a calming effect is great for your mind and therefore your body.

The best way to tackle menopausal fat belly is to take charge of your life and resolve to go forward happily and healthily. Take a mind/body approach and not only will you feel more relaxed and happier, your body will show the effects as well.


Elizabeth Martyn is the owner/creator of several health-related websites including and She is a journalist, author and website-builder with a keen interest in health and fitness for women aged 50+.

About Elizabeth Martyn

Elizabeth Martyn is the owner/creator of several health-related websites including and She is a journalist, author and website-builder with a keen interest in health and fitness for women aged 50+.

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How to Get Rid of the Menopause Paunch