05/08/2013 01:54 pm ET

Menopause And Weight: What You Can Do About The Weight Shift (VIDEO)

During menopause, even the most physically active women experience unbalanced shifts of weight from their buttocks to the abdomen. Luckily there are a number of things one can do to tackle this unwelcome change before it goes too far.

Internist, nutrition specialist and author of The Calendar Diet Dr. Melina Jampolis explains why a woman's weight tends to shift from the backside to the belly during menopause.

According to Jampolis, as women start approaching menopause, their bodies start producing less astrogen and progesterone, causing them to develop insulin resistance. This forces the body to produce more insulin to push the necessary amount of sugar to the cells. A combination of insulin resistance with body's need to produce more of it, leads to an accumulation of dangerous belly fat called visceral fat. To add to the negative affects of insulin resistance, the presence of higher levels of insulin makes it harder for the body to burn that fat. Furthermore since the body is gradually losing astrogen levels, the weight decreases in the hip and buttocks areas, creating the shift that most women experience during menopause.

The best strategy for tackling this issue is keeping up an active lifestyle. Jampolis points out a common sentiment among modern day women facing menopause: they wonder why they have to work so much harder at staying fit in contrast to their predecessors. The answer is simple. The daily lifestyle is not as physically challenging as it used to be. Household chores are much less grueling, transportation is a lot more accessible and most Americans easily opt for TV instead of outdoor activities.

Reducing calories is not the best solution to tackling visceral fat. It is crucial to take in protein 30 minutes pre- or post-workout. Jampolis also recommends using spices like caraway, nutmeg and cloves in the kitchen to improve blood sugar metabolism. She also suggests boosting Beta-Glucan intake by eating more oats, barley and shiitake mushrooms to help improve insulin resistance. Incorporating these tips can increase the benefits of daily physical activity for a more noticeable outcome.

To learn more, watch the video above.



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