Belly fat is more than annoying for many women as they age: It is also a serious risk to their health. Not only do women often see a shift in the way their bodies store fat after they hit 40, but also in the way they respond to the same diet and exercise that have kept them in shape during earlier years. Although women may be more health-conscious today with regards to eating nutritious foods and incorporating physical activity into their daily routines to keep them thinner, healthier and happier, once they approach the age of peri-menopause, they may have to intensify their efforts to accomplish the same level of success.
In order for anyone to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. To maintain weight, a balance between calories consumed and activity must be maintained. When it isn’t, younger women will start to gain weight on different areas of their bodies. The big difference between gaining weight when you are younger as opposed to doing so after 40 is that with the latter you may experience an increase in belly fat without gaining weight anywhere else.
This occurs for a number of reasons:
A Decrease in Oestrogen – The hormone that is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle is no longer needed to prepare the body for childbirth. As the amount of oestrogen it produces declines, fat is no longer deposited in areas like the hips and thighs and is more likely to be distributed in the belly.
Diminished Muscle Mass – The more muscle you have, the more efficiently you can burn calories. Muscle mass gradually decreases as you get older so that it is no longer able to burn as many calories as it did when you were younger.
Types of Foods You Eat – Simple carbohydrates and saturated fats are some of the foods associated with an increased risk of developing fat in the abdominal region. Belly fat is linked to Adult Onset Diabetes and Insulin Resistance which is also aggravated by a diet that is high in simple carbohydrates while saturated fats add to stomach fat whereas unsaturated or mono-saturated fats add to muscle. A simple way to eat the right foods is to eliminate those with large quantities of anything white (refined grains made with flour and sweets) and limit oils to olive or canola oil for cooking while avoiding anything that contains trans-fats.
Genetics – It doesn’t take DNA testing to see the implication for a genetic role in the potential to store belly fat. Similar body types run in families and that includes apple shapes that have an unhealthy amount of fat around the waistline.
Excess abdominal fat will not only keep you from having an attractive figure, it is also the most dangerous kind of fat to your health. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes and some kinds of cancer. Instead of accepting an expanding waistline as a consequence of ageing, women should take the needed steps to eliminate fat and maintain a waist measurement that is less than 35 inches.
To compensate for the changes in the 40+ year old body, women need to eat more plant-based foods and whole grains and limit their protein choices to lean meats and low fat dairy. Healthy fats from fish and nuts can also make a healthy and tasty addition to your menu. Also, reduce portion sizes and include physical activity in your daily routine. A comprehensive approach like this is the only way to get results.
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