Whether you’re in perimenopause (the 2-10 years leading up to menopause) or you’re in the throes of menopause itself, you may notice an increased weight gain—, particularly around your middle.

The menopause belly even has some cute names for the not-so-cute tummy situation you might find yourself in: menopause apron, menopause apron belly, the menopause hanging pouch, and the pendulous abdomen.

If you can relate, don’t be concerned. Many women gain a “menopause belly” in their 40s and 50s. We know it can be extremely frustrating to try and work it off but here’s nine natural things you can do to diminish that pesky menopausal belly fat.

1. Start Your Day With ACV or Lemon Water

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Kick-start your body’s natural detoxification process first thing in the morning by drinking a glass of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar in it.

The acetic acid in the vinegar helps your body burn fat and rids your body of toxins. It also gives you a little energy boost to start your day.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar or lemon in your water are endless! Just add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, or slice a lemon and squeeze it into your water.

2. Add Strength Training To Your Workouts

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If you don’t add strength training into your life, your metabolism won’t work as effectively as it could. The more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism works, making weight loss easier (nice!)

And after the age of 30, you start to lose muscle mass if you’re not actively replacing it. Do your part to keep your body strong and your metabolism revved by strength training at least three times per week!

You can use your own body weight with moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats or use dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands. Try the below exercises for menopause belly and overall strength!

3. Cut Back On Sweets

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Excess sugar is not your friend – especially if you want to get rid of menopause belly fat. Eating too much refined, added sugar is not only unhealthy but can cause you to cling to stubborn belly fat.

Start by eliminating any sugary beverages or sodas—then focus on reserving your intake of sugary foods like cakes, cookies, or ice cream for special occasions.

Natural sugar, like the kind found in fruit, is not an issue because it’s accompanied by fiber—and when you eat fiber with natural sugar, your body can process it more slowly.

It’s those spikes and crashes from artificial sugar that is harder on your body—they cause an insulin rise, and too much insulin can cause excess blood sugar to be stored as belly fat.

 So in short, keep eating fruit and skip all the processed, added sugars.

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Another way to manage your blood sugar and belly fat? Eat smaller meals more frequently.

When you overeat, you’re putting too much stress on your body, and you’re spiking your insulin and blood sugar. Conversely, when you wait too long between meals, your blood sugar crashes. This is hard on your metabolism and can make losing that excess belly fat even harder.

Help your metabolism out by eating smaller meals more frequently instead of two or three large meals per day.

5. Strengthen Your Core

Chris Freytag doing a forearm plank on a black matPhoto Credit: Get Healthy U

It’s impossible to spot-reduce body fat—you need to lose it all over first through cardio, strength, and clean eating. But once you start to shed body fat, you can target your belly by using ab-strengthening moves.

6. Minimize Stress

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Since you already know that too much cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause you to cling to belly fat, work on minimizing stress as much as possible. Practice deep breathing and for at least 15 minutes each day. Journal. Take long walks in nature. Do yoga.

Whatever brings you a sense of calm, spend more time doing it. It’s not just good for your mind, but your body (and belly fat!) too.

7. Keep Emotional Eating In Check

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It’s tempting to want to deal with changing hormones through emotional eating. Fluctuating emotions make that late-night nosedive into the ice cream even more appealing than normal.

Trying to shed extra weight in menopause doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of everything, but you should monitor when you get the urge to binge on junk food and try to regulate your emotions in healthier ways.

Distract yourself, practice self-care, and become aware of whether or not your body is actually hungry.

8. Get 7-8 Hours Of Sleep Per Night

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Similar to the “minimize stress” advice, this one is something you probably already know: you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Getting too little sleep can throw two of your body’s hunger hormones out of whack—leptin and ghrelin—which can cause you to hold onto more fat and crave sugary, salty foods more frequently.

Prioritize sleep, like stress management, for your mental well-being, as well as your weight!

And if you are having trouble falling asleep, try taking magnesium or melatonin and reducing or eliminating screen time before bed.

9. Do HIIT Exercises

Chris Freytag doing a renegade row with dumbbells in an at home workout.Photo Credit: Get Healthy U

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to burn more calories in less time—as are circuit and interval workouts!

Interval workouts require you to do short bursts of all-out effort followed by brief periods of rest, while circuits are one exercise after the next without rest until the whole circuit is over.

Both of these methods are different than steady-state cardio workouts like walking, jogging, or the because they get your heart rate up and help your body burn fat better.

Strength Training for Women Over 50: 11 Best Moves

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While aging is inevitable, aging well is not. There are many factors involved in maintaining good physical and mental health as you age, but one of the most important things to consider as you grow older is weight training. The below strength training exercises are proven to get results for women over 50.

Strength Training for Women Over 50: 11 Best Moves

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

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Your hormones impact so many things—from your mood and energy levels to your weight.

When you are deficient or dominant in any one hormone, it’s easier to gain weight. This is particularly true for women who are experiencing hormonal imbalances caused by the natural aging process.

If you’re someone struggling with weight loss, you might benefit from understanding your hormone levels and trying these natural ways to balance your hormones.

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

This content was originally published here.