Muffin top. Love handles. The slang makes it sound oh so adorable. But if you’re like most women over 40, this overspill of flesh is anything but that. In fact, belly fat ranks as your number-one biggest body complaint. Beyond making you cringe when you look in the mirror, belly fat is even more frightening on the inside, increasing your risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Unfortunately, belly fat simply expands as we age. This is tied to an increased production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Combined with other hormonal factors such as low androgens, fat cells become inflamed and tissues expand to create fat where you want it least – around your middle. Called omentum, this blubbery tissue pumps out chemicals that keep you fat, creating a vicious cycle and potential health issues you can’t hide from, even with an oversized shirt.
To conquer your over-40 belly once and for all, follow Dr. Oz’s easy 5-step plan:
1. Eat in Reverse
How would you like to blast off belly fat by eating spaghetti for breakfast? You can! As a general rule of thumb, eat carb-heavy meals early in the day so they get burned off rather than stored as belly fat. At dinnertime, do the opposite: Focus on eating lighter, mostly protein-based meals.
On Sunday, make up a tray of Dr. Oz’s Fat-Burner Noodle Pudding and eat it for breakfast throughout the week.
Fat-Burner Noodle Pudding
8 cups cooked whole wheat fettuccini or macaroni (high in fiber)
4 cups low-fat Greek yogurt (calcium blocks fat from being absorbed)
3 eggs (vitamin B12 metabolizes fat)
4 teaspoons cinnamon (boosts your metabolism)
1 cup mixed dried fruit (adds fiber and sweetness)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for even more flavor)
Click here for the complete recipe and instructions.
2. Create a Fiber Pack
All women over 40 should consume 25 grams of fiber per day to stay healthy. As an added benefit, fiber helps you stay full. However, you don’t want to consume all your fiber at once or you’ll get bloated. Dr. Oz’s Fiber Pack will provide morning fuel and healthy snacking throughout the day so you don’t reach for any harmful goodies like cookies or salty snacks loaded with unhealthy carbs.
Dr. Oz’s Fiber Pack
1 Banana Walnut Bar = 12g of fiber (eat in the morning)
1 Cup Berry Crumble (carry in a plastic baggie) = 8g of fiber
Orange = 2g of fiber
1 Soluable Fiber Single Drink Packet = 3g of fiber
Total: 25g of fiber
3. Drink One Glass of Red Wine Daily
With age comes more responsibilities and often more stress, which directly affects the belly by inflaming fat cells and causing weight gain. Studies have also shown a link between a moderate amount of alcohol consumption and less belly fat. Reduce stress where you can and also drink one glass (6 oz) of red wine a day. It’ll help you relax and also provides antioxidant-rich resveratol, known to reduce inflammation.
4. Confuse Your Muscles
Here’s something that may surprise you: Muscles get accustomed to doing the same exercises, and when you’re not challenging them, you stop burning as much fat. To address this dilemma, change up your exercise routine. Check out Dr. Oz’s 7-Day Belly Workout Program, which varies a little bit every day so your muscles won’t get lazy.
5. Make a Belly Band
A lot of women turn a blind eye to their waist size, but that’s a dangerous mistake. Women with waists larger than approximately 32 inches are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Make a belly band by placing a ribbon around the center of your waist and cutting it to size with a pair of scissors. Use this band to track your waistline daily, and make sure you’re staying within the range of 32 inches or less.
Dr. Oz’s 3 Breakthrough Belly Blasters
To help you blast away unwanted belly fat, try these top three superfoods. They’re inexpensive and can be eaten any time of day.
A bright yellow fruit from Brazil, the goldenberry is loaded with B vitamins that are essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism. While they’re sold fresh, goldenberries are easier to find in dried form and are available at health food stores or online for about $12. Eat 1/4 cup daily.
Miso, the Japanese staple made from fermented soybeans, rice and/or barley, lowers triglycerides in the blood that contribute to belly fat. You can purchase instant miso soup in supermarkets for about $3 per package. Be sure to purchase the low-sodium variety.
Unprocessed fermented food like sauerkraut contains bacteria that boosts digestion and reduces belly inflammation. Instead of eating it on a hot dog, try sauerkraut with turkey on whole-grain bread. Aim to eat 3 teaspoons daily. Purchase canned sauerkraut for about $1. Be sure to rinse it before eating or buy the low-sodium kind.