As you get older, you have probably noticed an increase in belly fat. This may happen even if you haven’t gained weight. You may notice that your body is storing fat more in the belly than the hips and thighs. This is likely caused by one female hormone - estrogen.
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is one of the female sex hormones. In females it is produced mostly in the ovaries during reproductive years. It is also produced in fat cells.
Estrogen has several functions for both males and females. It is most well known for it’s role in the female reproductive system. It also helps to maintain cardiovascular and bone health. One of the functions of estrogen is to distribute body fat - more in hips during child bearing years.
What causes belly fat?
Belly fat can be caused by several things. You may have a genetic disposition to storing fat around the belly instead of the hips and thighs. It may be related to things in your diet like excess sugar and starch. Stress may be a contributing factor. Or it could be a drop in estrogen levels which leads to a change in how your body stores fat.
Why is belly fat a problem?
Fat stored in the hips and thighs is subcutaneous fat, stored just below the skin. It poses fewer health risks. But the problem with belly fat is that it’s also visceral fat. Visceral fat surrounds your internal organs and is responsible for a number of health risks.
What causes the drop in estrogen levels?
The most common cause of the drop in estrogen levels is perimenopause and menopause, but estrogen levels also drop after hysterectomies. Other things that can contribute to low estrogen levels are:
Radiation and chemotherapy
Low body fat
Low protein diet
Polycystic ovary syndrome
How can you keep estrogen levels balanced?
While a decline in estrogen levels is normal in females, there are a few things you can do to maintain levels for your stage of life:
Eat a diet high in fibre
Get enough protein in your diet. Protein is necessary for hormone creation.
Maintain a healthy level of body fat.
But moderate exercise helps
And you’ll want to limit other factors which can lead to belly fat:
Stress causes higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol which contributes to fat storage around the belly.
Too much sugar in your diet even if you’re not overeating can lead to storage of fat in the belly.
Too much starch also contributes to belly fat
Lack of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep it can result in more fat storage
Alcohol can raise cortisol levels, contribute to poor sleep and also often contains sugar.
Limit trans fats which can cause inflammation leading to belly fat
Not getting enough protein has also been associated with more belly fat.
I can help
If you are suffering from a hormone imbalance that is causing excess belly fat, I can provide you with a personalized plan and support to help you balance your hormones and lose the belly fat. Book a free nutrition assessment to find out how I can help.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.