10 Steps to a Flat Tummy after 40

menopause weight gain
Stress causes tummy fat Ever feel like the day you hit 40 you looked down and your flat tummy had suddenly found a new friend?  That's what happened to me.  My son looked at me while driving one day and pointed at my stomach and said "Mom, who's your new friend?"  Now, I know teenage boys can be evil, but he was actually being generous.  In fact, when I look back I remember thinking that my new "friend" had brought a friend or two with them.  Now, being someone whose job it is to be fit, this was not acceptable.  I knew I was doing everything right with regard to my diet, and exercise habits.  It was what I DIDN'T know that was hurting me. Many women between the ages of 40-50 begin experiencing what they perceive to be a "pre-menopasal" symptom of a slowed metabolism.  There are a myriad of discussions on this and you can find any opinion slanting in any direction when it comes to weight gain, menopause and metabolism.  However as a fitness expert for over 20 years and a women who has just reached the white light at the end of the menopausal tunnel, I have my own theory on this.  Having experienced some major life changing events between the ages of 45-53, it is my theory (and that of some other pretty cool smart people) that stress is more to blame than menopause for our weight gain and here's why...  Here's a list of things that quite often occur after the age of 40:
  1. Death of a parent
  2. Divorce
  3. Death of a spouse
  4. Bankruptcy
  5. Debt
  6. Loss of employment / Changing Careers
  7. Mortgage / College payments
  8. Empty nest syndrome
  9. Foreclosure
  10. Tax Audit
You get the picture.... STRESS!

What exactly happens when you feel Stress?

Your body goes into survival mode aka "fight or flight" at which time the adrenal gland produces and releases cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine.  These 3 hormones have active roles in producing, moving and storing fat directly to your tummy!!  Why?  Because your body is designed to survive and that's what it's doing.  The problem is, we weren't meant to be stressed ALL the time!  Sure, chasing a sabertooth Tiger is stressful, but the feast wasnt.  But we don't live like that anymore...we live like we're the ones being chased by the tiger...all....the...time.  YIKES! And what happens when cortisol is continuously pumping and storing fat?  It will even go so far as to start taking fat from other parts of the body and transferring it to the tummy (um, some of us want that booty fat to stay right where it is!)  And, as if that wasn't bad enough, your own belly fat then leads to more cortisol because it has higher concentrations of 11-beta HSD1, an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone to active cortisol.  Who knew so much was going on down there?! What's a girl to do? (or guy for that matter) Here are 10 Tips to begin incorporating into your lifestyle to begin reducing your stress and to lose your muffin top before summer (or worse)...
  1. Drink no more than 200 mg. of caffeine a day (1 8-oz. cup)
  2. Meditate before looking at your phone in the morning.  Even taking time to take 10-20 deep breathes and think of 3 people/things you are grateful for every morning before you tune out of your spiritual self and into your reactive self.
  3. Turn off the T.V. - Nothing says stress like FOX news.
  4. Send 2 Gratitude Texts every morning (after your breathing exercises) to two people and let them know how grateful you are for their presence in your life.  This is HUGE.  Watch what happens! 🙂
  5. Commit to moving your body (exercise in any form) for at least 30 minutes every single day.  Not negotiable.
  6. Drink more water.  Ideally 1/2-1 gallon a day.
  7. Treat yourself to high quality protein and organic vegetables and fruits every day.
  8. Eliminate negative people who cause you stress.  Yes, this is a biggie.  And it's not always so easy - especially when they are relatives.  Need to learn how to set boundaries? Contact me for a free 15-minute consult.
  9. Commit to doing 100 Sit ups a day before the day is over.  Whether it's 20 situps 5 times throughout the day or 100 in a row, just get them done.
  10. Keep a journal - write down the steps above and check off each day that you did them.  It's a way to stay accountable and you may find it enjoyable too (another great de-stresser).
Need more help or accountability?  I am dedicated to your success and available for coaching.  My time is limited, so for new clients I am offering a free 15-minute consultation to get you started on a new healthy lifestyle.  Contact me here and let's chat!  

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by Leslie

Leslie Maltz has been helping clients in the greater Los Angeles area get into shape with sports conditioning, lifestyle coaching, nutrition, weight loss and post-injury training since 1996. She is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Expert and Performance Enhancement Specialist.