Midriff bulge is every menopausal women's dread - here's how to tackle a bulging midlife midriff.
There comes a moment in midlife when you look down, and you realise, that somehow your body looks...squarer.
The typical midriff bulge frequently sprouts when you're nearing the end of menopause, often in the early fifties. From having a defined waist, with a noticeable difference between waist and hip measurement, your body loses shape and starts to poke out at the front, from rib cage to hipline. This, is the midriff bulge.
Weight Around the Midriff
In the spirit of facing up to the facts, it's best to understand that shifting that spare tire isn't going to be easy. In fact, because genes play a role, for some women the task is virtually impossible.
Nevertheless, even if you can't banish the bulge completely, you can definitely slenderise it and tone your body at the same time. Follow these tips, and you can look forward to a more svelte shape down the line.
Exercises for Midriff Bulge
- Forcing yourself to do hundreds of crunches a day, is not the solution. Spot reduction isn't an option, and you must work on your whole body, treating the midriff as just another area that's worthy of exercise.
- First and foremost, get your heart pumping on a daily basis by using different types of aerobic exercise. Why? Because cardio exercise is great for your overall health and helps your body to burn calories.
- Second, work on building muscle using strength training exercises. This is crucial in your battle against the midriff bulge. Strengthen and firm the underlying muscles, and when you lose fat as well, your shape will streamline. If you concentrate on losing blubber without toning muscles, your efforts won't make any difference to your shape.
- Resolve to do half an hour's brisk walking or jogging on a minimum of three days a week.
- Pilates is a brilliant form of exercise to strengthen and tone your mid-section. Sign up for a class, or get yourself a DVD, and start doing Pilates exercises twice a week.
- Use ab crunch exercises to tone your belly, but be controlled about it. It's better to do three sets of 12 crunches daily and perform them properly, than perform dozens or even hundreds of crunches in a session, without fully engaging the muscles. Remember, ab exercises alone won't shift that midriff bulge. You have to lose fat as well, to get a better shape.
- Good posture is vital. Stand sideways on to the mirror and take a critical look. Drop your shoulders and pull them back. Lift your chin. Pull in your abs and tummy and stand tall. You'll see an immediate difference. Try to notice when you're slumping, and get into the habit of straightening up, and sucking your gut in. Soon, it'll become second nature.
Diet for Midriff bulge
- Pack your diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, especially green leafy types.
- Cut out junk carbohydrates like white bread, pizza, cake, cookies. Switch to wholegrain, high fiber foods, such as wholewheat bread and pasta and brown rice.
- Go easy on dairy foods, which can make your tummy feel bloated. Go for low fat milks and cheeses.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated with frequent drinks of water during the day. This helps to keep your digestive system working smoothly and prevents constipation, a common cause of bloated gut.
- Try eating six small meals through the day, instead of three larger ones. Have your main meal in the middle of the day if you can, or in the early evening. Try not to snack for at least three hours before you go to bed.
- Cut down on sugar, which is so easily stored as fat around your middle. Virtually all processed foods contain sugar, often disguised on the label with names like dextrose, maltodextrin, agave, brown rice syrup, glucose, galatose and xylitol.
Be aware that foods marketed as 'low fat', often contain a lot of sugar.
- How many sodas do you drink every day? You could be consuming the bulk of your sugar intake in drinks. Try to switch to water instead, for as many daily drinks as you can. Think of sodas as an occasional treat, rather than the drink you reach for whenever you're thirsty.
Midriff Bulge in Menopause
- One of the prime suspects behind a menopausal midriff crisis is the hormone cortisol. It's cortisol that makes encourages a midlife woman's body to lay down fat in that characteristic apple shape. Cortisol is produced in response to stress, so anything you can do to relieve stress will be helpful.
- Keep a check on your Body Mass Index. It's a good idea to check it monthly, and if you notice it creeping upwards, take steps to bring it down again right away. Nipping weight gains in the bud is much easier than waiting until you've gone up a dress size to take action.
- An important aspect of the journey through menopause, is accepting some of the changes that go along with this stage of life. Many of us will never again be the size and shape we were at 20 - and it doesn't matter.
As long as you don't let your weight balloon out of control and you keep your body toned and exercised, you can still be happy and healthy at a weight that's a little higher, and a shape that's a touch rounder. Hankering after an unachievable weight goal will make you unhappy and discontented, so set your targets realistically, get into the habit of eating better and exercising well, and you'll keep any midriff bulge under control.
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