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5 Belly Fat Mistakes Women Over 55 Need to Avoid

By Aubrey Reinmiller September 04, 2023 Health and Fitness

One of the most common questions I receive as a Personal Trainer for women over 55 is, “How do I get rid of stubborn belly fat?” This question is typically followed by a request for a focus on core exercises. But there is so much more to getting rid of belly fat than core exercises.

Let’s uncover the 5 mistakes women over 55 need to avoid when it comes to getting rid of belly fat. 

Too Much Sugar Is Sneaking Up on You!

Losing belly fat can feel impossible for women over 55. We often blame our hormones and metabolism. But are you really taking an honest look at how many grams of sugar you consume each day? Too much refined sugar parks itself right in our abdomen, which is one of the most dangerous areas to hold fat.

Fat in the abdomen can be visceral fat that is around your organs and is linked to heart disease, a higher risk of cancer, and inflammation. Track your grams of sugar per day and strive for 25 grams or less per day.

Natural sugars from fruits and vegetables are less harmful, especially balanced by the fiber level, but you should still keep an eye on your total grams of sugar. Use a Free App like MyFitnessPal to track your nutrients, not just calories, for a few days to see where you fall and what changes you can make. 

Wine Belly: Alcohol Is Keeping the Pounds in Your Midsection

It’s relaxing to have a glass of wine in the evening. Sometimes that glass is never-ending and bottomless. Add in a few events out with friends and before you know it, you’ve had alcohol more days than you realized.

Research studies abound showing that moderate alcohol consumption is linked to belly fat, and also visceral fat around the organs that we talked about above. Consciously choose the days you are going to have a glass and enjoy! 

Swap in a fresh sparkling water spritzer or an herbal tea to fill the desire to relax and unwind. Drink plenty of water and avoid salty snacks during happy hour, as they make you feel thirstier. Share your goals with your partner and friends so they can support you instead of nudging you towards less than desirable decisions. 

You Are Stress and Emotional Eating

You are feeling stressed out, angry, frustrated, sad, or emotional but instead of leaning into your emotions, you lean into the pantry, fridge, and freezer to munch away your frustrations. Emotional and stress eating feels helpful in the moment, but never feels good later on. And it’s one of the most common reasons we veer from our nutritious foods.

We don’t reach for an apple or a banana when we are stress eating. We reach for cupcakes, ice cream, and crunchy snacks to drown out our sorrows. 

Take the time right now to come up with a short list of healthier alternatives for the next time you are stressed: take a walk, journal, call a friend, try some affirming self-talk, furiously air drum, breathe, make a cup of tea, or be with your true emotions.

Remind yourself when you are in the thick of it, that you aren’t hungry, remind yourself of the actual emotion you are feeling and then try to be with it and pick an activity from the list to help you through it. Imagine the number of calories, sugar, and fat you could save from your midline. 

You Are ONLY Counting Calories

When you think about going on a diet or trying to lose weight, often the first thought is to reduce carbs and cut your calories. This builds a mindset of restriction and lack and will be hard to keep up with. 

Cutting your calories too low will actually cause your metabolic rate to slow down, reducing the number of calories you burn each day. Instead of restricting your calories too low, focus on fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to feel healthy and strong. 

Strive for lots of vegetables and fruits to give your body plenty of fiber, at least 25-35 grams per day, add beans, quinoa, lentils, and lean meats for protein, at least 75-100 grams of protein per day, and lots of greens for calcium, vit D, and nuts and seeds for healthy fats, 50 grams per day and magnesium, and whole grains for complex carbs, 100-180 per day. Try tracking your food for a few days to see which nutrients are lacking in your diet and what foods you could add to improve your nutrition. 

Walking Only for Exercise

One of the biggest mistakes women over 55 make with regards to belly fat is only walking for exercise. While walking should be a part of your exercise plan, you need to add strength training to your routine at least 2-3 times a week to build your strength, endurance, and metabolism.

With consistent strength training, your body’s metabolism can improve, increasing the number of calories you burn each day, not just during your workouts but all day. Strength training also helps to build muscles to protect your joints and keep you strong for the activities of life you enjoy and the things you need to do! 

Join my webinar: Design Your Belly-Fat Busting Workout Plan to learn the best exercise routine and schedule to help you burn belly fat for good.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Is belly fat one of your woes? Have you been able to successfully work at it? Which of these tips are you going to incorporate into your lifestyle to help you lose belly fat? 

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The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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