It’s the muffin top that – like it or not – you’ve probably gained in your 40s. We’re talking about that extra layer of fat that collects around your waist that’s hard to dislodge no matter what. Dr Pamela Peek coined the word “menopot” for this midline belly fat in women, because it’s largely caused by hormonal changes during menopause.
A menopot is the “squishy soft fat under the skin that lays on top of your abdominal muscle—it’s the part that you can grab.”
In an interview with online magazine More Dr Peek gave some great advice about what menopots are – and how to get rid of them.
Why do women develop Menopots?
Up until your early 40s, estrogen receptors in your hips and thighs attract excess weight. But when estrogen begins to decline, excessive weight is deposited preferentially in your abdominal region. You don’t have to be fat – all-sized women will accumulate a Menopot.
Is this extra fat dangerous for your health?
If you only have fat below the skin of your abdomen, you might merely have a cosmetic issue. But if it goes under the muscle and around your organs (called visceral fat) it’s potentially toxic, predisposing you to diabetes and heart problems.
Here’s how to tell the difference: Lie flat on the floor. Take your index fingers, touch your pelvic crest bones on either side of your pelvis (they jut out on your sides), tighten your abdominals and press down, then move your index fingers toward your midline so they meet.
If your abdominal muscle feels flat, then you have just a Menopot. If you feel like you’re tracking over a mountain (your abdominal muscle is being pushed up by too much inner belly fat), that’s excessive visceral fat, or toxic belly fat.
How do your eating habits affect your middle?
Don’t snack late afternoons. Finish eating by 8pm. And get to sleep no later than 11pm. Women who are sleep-deprived are more likely to overeat, pack on the Menopot, and not have the energy to exercise.
What about the nightly cocktail?
Drink wine only 1 to 3 times a week. You can pick up a Menopot from drinking one or two glasses of wine every night. Good science shows that it preferentially puts on fat in the belly.
What’s the ideal exercise prescription for a woman determined to whittle her middle?
Dr. Pamela Peeke is the author of Fit to Live, Body for Life for Women, Fight Fat After 40 and The Discovery Health TV National Body Challenge Program for the Whole Family