- As a woman over 40, how can I get rid of my stomach fat?
- From This Episode:
- How To Lose Belly Fat After 40
- 1. Clean Eating
- 2. Portion Control
- 3. Water
- 4. What to Avoid
- 5. Exercise
- 6. HIIT
- Additional Tips
- Wine Belly: Fact or Fiction?
- What is Wine Belly?
- Calories in Alcohol
- So, what causes belly gain?
- How can you drink wine and stay healthy?
- Wine Belly Is a Thing—What Can You Do About It?
- Wine Belly vs Beer Belly
- The Cultural Effect
- Your Secret Weapon: Moderation
- 7 Tips to Drink Wine and Stay Thin
- 7 Ways to Stay Healthy and Drink Wine
- 1. Know the calories in wine
- The Ultimate Wine Gift
- How much wine is too much wine?
- 2. Earn your glass of wine before you drink
- 3. Don’t drink before you eat
- 4. Drink dry red wine
- 5. Don’t drink too late at night
- 6. Spend more on a bottle of wine
- 7. Don’t drink at home
- BONUS: wine as an aphrodisiac
- 21 Ways to Get a Flat Belly After 40
- Eat Less Added Sugar
- Nix the Fake Stuff
- Hit the Weights
- Be Patient
- Dial Back on Cardio
- Nix Processed Carbs
- Start Your Day with Protein Instead of Carbs
- Pop a D3 Supplement
- Eliminate Foods That Bloat
- Stop Doing Crunches
- Stop Pursuing Weightloss
- Stay Away from Salt
- Identify Your Why
- Consume More Omega-3s
- Prioritize Sleep
- Stop Calorie Counting
- Make Small Changes
- Don’t Deprive Yourself
- Move Every Day
- Add Veggies to Every Meal
- Manage Your Stress
- 4 Daily Habits That Give Your Body No Choice But to Lose Weight
- The Body has Two Types of Fat:
- Yes, You Can Lose Weight After 40!
- Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 40?
- Why Bother?
- What Can You Do
- Remember Why!
- Losing Weight Without Giving Up Wine
- Wine’s Bad Reputation for Weight Loss
- How Alcohol Acts in Your Body
- The Best Wines for Weight Loss
- Set Yourself Up for Success
- Respect the Calories
- Watch the Clock
- Does Wine Make You Fat? Some Illuminating Evidence
- Does Alcohol Cause Weight Gain?
- Does Red Wine Help You Lose Weight?
As a woman over 40, how can I get rid of my stomach fat?
To conquer your over-40 belly once and for all, follow my 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.
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.
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 your exercise routine.
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.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
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.
From This Episode:
5 Steps to Conquering Your 40+ Belly
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)
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’s7-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.
How To Lose Belly Fat After 40
There are definitely perks to getting older: we know what we like, our bank account is a bit more robust than during those college years, and we have experience on our side. Unfortunately, there are a few trade-offs in the way our bodies change. Most notably: We might not see results from healthy eating and workouts as quickly as we once did. It can be frustrating to maintain a healthy lifestyle without seeing the change you want in your body, but you don’t have to skip meals or spend hours at the gym to fit into those skinny jeans again. It’s completely possible to lean up and maintain a flat belly after you learn how to lose belly fat after 40.
By following six simple principles, you’ll find yourself healthier and fitter than you have been in years. And they’re not unachievable tips, either. Each one just takes mindful thinking and a little commitment. It’s time to diet smarter, not harder, and this this guide will walk you through exactly what you need to know about how to lose belly fat after 40. You’ll have all the information you need to achieve (and maintain) that flat belly, so let’s get started!
1. Clean Eating
This is one of the first major lessons for how to lose belly fat after 40. We may have been able to eat junk food when we were younger, but there’s no way we’ll see results that way today! Make a lifestyle change to choose healthier options for foods. That means minimally processed foods with limited ingredients. Organic is always best, but it’s not 100 % necessary for clean-eating.
We would also encourage you to choose lean sources of protein, like fish or chicken. They provide all the protein you need while also helping you avoid unnecessary fats. Plant-based proteins – like legumes, tofu, or tempeh – are also great. These are perfect options to help you consume low-calorie foods that are healthy, nutritious, and make you feel more satisfied while avoiding overeating.
Next, let’s talk about the type of foods you’re choosing. Fruits and vegetables should take up the bulk of your diet, along with heart-healthy grains, seeds, and beans. You should seek a diversity in food types, as well as color. Different colored food contains different vitamins, which are beneficial to your body. The more colorful your daily fruits and vegetables are, the better!
Check out our Top 25 Flat Belly Foods that provide a few options to get your belly on the right track.
2. Portion Control
Next up, let’s talk about changing your eating habits to rebuild your body. A fundamental principle of clean eating is to eat more frequently, in smaller portions. You should have 3 meals per day and 1 snack in between each meal to keep your hunger at bay. But, as we get older, our bodies still need the same amount of protein and vitamins. At times, we may actually need more! So, keep that in mind as you portion.
Breakfast options are plentiful, but it’s important to choose the right foods. Foods like donuts, cereal, and bagels might satisfy us in the moment, but they provide no real benefits to our system. Your choice for breakfast food sets the tone for your day. Think light, filling, and energy-rich foods. Our breakfast section has a large variety of options to kick-start your day.
For lunch and dinner, you should choose meals that include a nice balance of fruits or vegetables, grains, and lean protein. As always, it’s a good idea for those vegetables to take up the majority of your plate. Try these lunch and dinner suggestions to help you to get an idea of how to portion those meals.
Finally, snacks should always be nutritious and filling. Feeling full is not only beneficial to our overall well-being, but it also prevents binge eating. Our 25 Best Flat Belly Snacks post provides delicious options to flatten that belly and satisfy your taste-buds.
Our bodies are 60% water. The more hydrated we are, the better our organs will function. Benefits of regular water consumption include sweating to release toxins, hydration to keep workouts going strong, and a feeling of fullness that wards off cravings. On average, you should aim to drink 8-12 oz glasses of water a day.
Did you know there are 21 Ways to Eat Your Water?
4. What to Avoid
Cutting certain items from your diet can be the greatest lesson for how to lose belly fat after 40. It will also contribute to your overall weight loss and wellness. Alcoholic drinks can add extra inches to your belly line, and that kind of fat is hard to get rid of. Soda is another beverage that has no nutritional value. Be wary of juices also. Some may be 100% natural, but their sugar content can be high. Moderation in these types of drinks is always a good option, or try some of our favorite recipes and make your own juices and smoothies.
Food such as white rice, white sugar, white bread, and regular pasta are processed and offer less nutrition. It’s not just that they’re carbs, either. These types of foods provide your body with simple carbohydrates instead of filling you up with beneficial complex carbohydrates. Instead, try some of these carbs for weight loss, like brown rice, brown sugar, and whole wheat bread and pasta.
To wrap things up our list of things to avoid, let’s talk about artificial sweeteners. These products are unnatural and provide little (or no) benefit to your body. Instead, try some natural sugar substitutes. Our 10 Alternatives to Refined Sugar provides great options that can satisfy your sweet tooth and give your foods flavor.
If you’re looking for some options to still enjoy delicious food, try these three article options:
- 30-Day No Sugar Challenge
- No Sugar Added – Skinny Desserts
This might be one of the most important tips of the day. Exercise (and varying your exercises) is the best way to create a flat belly. Let’s talk about a few different types of exercises to help you lose that belly fat:
- Ab exercises are important in order to build muscle and slim down your mid-section. Hitting your abs from all angles (targeting lower abs, upper abs, and obliques) will help you to get amazing results.
- Cardio exercises are also a beneficial way to tone. Although we can target where we want to build muscle, we can’t decide where our body burns fat. Cardio works to involve your entire body in fat-burning action. Jogging, treadmills, spinning, and even swimming are good options for burning body fat and revealing a more toned belly.
- Building muscle is key. Although ab work and cardio will get you results, exercising other parts of your body will bring faster results. The more muscle we have, the faster we burn fat. Work on your butt, which contains the biggest muscle in your body. Also include your arms, legs, back, and chest to increase your fat burning abilities.
Unsure of where to start on with transforming your belly? Our 6-Week Flat Belly Program will guide you into a belly you’ve always dreamed of.
Once we hit 25 years of age, our metabolism begins to slow down gradually. Our muscle mass also decreases, making it more difficult to burn fat at the rates we need. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best methods to kick-start your metabolism. HIIT involves doing fast-paced exercises for a short period of time.It allows us to change our bodies on a cellular level. The higher the intensity, the more you change you’ll see in your body.
The famous Japanese routine, Tabata, is a great HIIT workout. It involves working for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest. In total, you’ll repeat this process about 8 times with various exercises. That creates a 4-minute workout that can burn fat for up to 24 hours. Start your morning with these Tabata routines and watch your belly fat disappear.
If you’re looking for more, these are some of our favorite HIIT routines.
- Plan your meals ahead. The more you prep in advance, the easier it will be to stick to a meal plan and get the results you need.
- Everything takes time. Give your body time to adjust to your healthier lifestyle and exercise routine. In 4-6 weeks you should see a significant change.
- Change your exercise routine every 3-4 weeks. Our bodies begin to get used to routines and our muscles hit a plateau and stop reacting to the resistance.
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Wine Belly: Fact or Fiction?
You have heard of (or experienced) the freshman fifteen. This somewhat inevitable weight gain happens to many college students who are in charge of their own meals for the first time, and forgo the recommended food groups in lieu of beer, beer and more beer. But far past the university days, plenty of adults consume alcohol beverages on a daily basis. With many decadent parts of our diets or lives, ‘anything in moderation’ is a common mantra, but what happens when one glass of stress-relieving red wine leads to another? And then a few more? Though a plump belly has often been credited to brews, recently, ‘wine belly’ has many fans raising an eyebrow. Can indulging in your go-to variety really cause uncomfortable weight gain in your midsection? Here, experts dispel myths about these new revelations and provide tips you can trust.
What is Wine Belly?
As the name suggests, wine belly is the concept that drinking Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Rosé — pick your poision — will cause weight gain in your abdominal region. How did this become a trend? Holistic nutritionist and author Carly Pollack, C.C.N., M.S., says it is mainly science. “Alcohol releases hormones that fool your body into thinking that you are in the market for stored fat. Insulin levels spike in response to the sugar in the wine, which puts you into fat storage mode,” she explains. “Since alcohol is considered a toxin to the body, your adrenal glands release cortisol as a natural stress response, which has been linked to that unfavorable spare tire you feel you can’t get rid of despite your best efforts.”
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Someone give me a book and Rosé. I’ll do the rest 🛀
Calories in Alcohol
Not really, if you ask registered dietitian Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD. While it is true that an uptick in sugar can create fat pockets, it is less about what you are eating (or drinking) and more about the calories. In fact, Walsh says ‘beer belly’ is a myth too; when it comes to belly fat specifically, many other factors come into play. “People need to know that all alcohol has 7 calories per gram. So extra calories from all alcohol — especially alcoholic drinks coupled with sugary mixers or other added sugars — can contribute to an increase in fat around the belly area,” she says. Walsh explains this leads to constipation, which can make a normally regular person uncomfortable and rounded.
Dehydration from alcohol might be another reason people attribute bloating to wine.
So, what causes belly gain?
Plenty of aspects — from your lifestyle to your age and your ability to control your portions — are culprits. Pollack shares many people struggle with added padding in their midsection as they grow older, which could be attributed to a slower metabolism, or less activity as your bones age and your body tires.
But how much wine actually makes a glass. Walsh reminds at-home wine fans that a portion is 5 ounces, and how few sips that is will likely surprise you. Even if you are careful about how much you consume and only enjoy a little here and there, other factors can contribute to the appearance of a ‘wine belly’. Walsh says your overall diet, hormones, digestive issues and other conditions should all be discussed with your doctor if you simply cannot shake the weight.
How can you drink wine and stay healthy?
Luckily, the fact that ‘wine belly’ is a myth means you can have your glass and drink it too, as long you maintain a balance in other areas. Here are some expert-backed tips:
Choose wines smartly
As a basic rule of thumb, each 5-ounce glass of wine is between 100 and 125 calories, but not all blends are created equally. The aim is to consume less sugar, so choosing a dry wine like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is a better fit for a vibrant lifestyle. “If sparkling wines are your preference, steer clear of sweet sparkling wines like Asti Spumante and instead go for a Prosecco or Champagne that has ‘dry’ or ‘brut’ on the label,” Walsh says. “The drier the wine, the less sugar and the fewer calories.”
Pair a glass of water with your wine
Sure, a sharp cheddar adds dimension to any red wine — but if you want to beat the bloat, pair your glass with water instead. Walsh explains filling up on water is a smart way to ward away excess drinking or eating, and also ward off dehydration. “So many of us are so chronically dehydrated that when a glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage is placed in front of us, we down them really fast simply because we’re thirsty,” she says. It also might help you drink fewer glasses, which in turn, means fewer calories.
Order wine after dinner
Most of the time when you dine out, the waiter takes your drink order before inquiring about appetizers or the main dish. It makes sense from the kitchen’s standpoint, so you are not twiddling your thumbs waiting for your steak to cook, but Pollack says it is actually counterproductive to ridding off belly fat. “Order your drink only after your meal has arrived so that you don’t instigate the blood sugar roller coaster that leaves you in fat storage mode,” she explains. When you order a meal that is rich in protein and fat, your blood sugar is stable, and it will not release as much insulin.
Wine Belly Is a Thing—What Can You Do About It?
Last Updated On January 30, 2020
Interested in cutting back on alcohol?
Learn more about our at-home program
Do you enjoy having a nice glass—or a few nice glasses—of wine in the evening? Do you often gather with friends to catch up over a bottle—or two? The occasional drink is a common routine for many people, and wine can seem like a classier option. There have even been rumors that it can be good for your health. However, wine is not without its drawbacks. If you thought you could avoid a larger gut by avoiding beer, you may be surprised to see your midsection growing anyway! What is this phenomenon? It turns out that “wine belly” is a thing. Let’s look at why wine belly happens, and what you can do to win your “battle of the bulge.”
Wine Belly vs Beer Belly
Image by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash
Wine belly and beer belly are actually the same thing. All forms of alcohol contain calories, and it is well known that consuming extra calories can help you put on extra weight. Not all drinks are created equal: Light beer, for instance, contains an average of 103 calories per serving. Regular beer contains roughly 153 calories.
Most wines fall somewhere in between, averaging 121 to 129 calories per five ounce glass. This means that wine is slightly better than most beer. But imagine knocking back enough glasses of wine to keep pace with a couple of beer buddies. In the end, would it make a huge difference?
Then, there are disparities in gender, drinking, and weight gain. Wine seems to be more popular among women. Beer bellies are often associated with male drinkers, and it’s true that men tend to develop belly fat more quickly. On the other hand, it appears that women store more fat in their bodies overall. This is especially true after menopause.
It can also take more time for women to lose extra weight from their abdomen. As a result, even if men can develop a gut more easily, consuming excess calories is not a good idea for women either. No matter who you are or what beverage you prefer, excessive drinking is likely to give you some kind of belly.
Learn more about the Ria Health program
The Cultural Effect
One reason why the issue of “wine belly” is often overlooked is that wine has become so socially acceptable. The phenomenon of “mommy wine culture,” for example, has made it seem normal for women to drink large amounts of wine to cope with stress, or just to socialize. At the same time, wine has received a lot of positive press for containing polyphenols—antioxidants which may protect against heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. With this combination of cultural approval and perceived health benefits, it’s easy to feel as if you can drink all the wine you want.
Unfortunately, upon closer scrutiny it turns out many of the benefits of red wine are a myth. As we’ve covered recently, the polyphenols in red wine are likely too low to have any real impact. And even if they weren’t, the potential negative health effects of alcohol (including liver disease, hypertension, and heart damage) would quickly outweigh the benefits. “Mommy wine culture” also seems to be masking an increase in alcoholism among women. If your wine belly is growing, it might be a warning sign that you are drinking more than is healthy.
Your Secret Weapon: Moderation
Image by Gesina Kunkel from Unsplash
The good news is that you don’t have to cut wine out of your life completely to eliminate wine belly. Studies indicate that light, occasional alcohol consumption doesn’t have a big impact on your weight. The main issues are heavy drinking and binge drinking: four or more glasses on one occasion, or more than 7 glasses per week overall.
If you find that your wine consumption has gotten beyond this, there are solutions that can help you cut back. Ria Health can help you achieve moderation again through a combination of counseling, medication to reduce cravings, and handy digital tools. Best of all, the whole thing can be done privately through your smartphone. Learn more about how our program can help you say goodbye to wine belly, and establish an improved relationship with alcohol.
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7 Tips to Drink Wine and Stay Thin
Lifestyle January 3, 2014 – Updated on September 9th, 2019
Ever notice the lack of consideration that diets have for your wine habit? Seriously. How is one supposed to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle if it completely removes a wine? Also, is it possible to drink wine and stay thin?
Fortunately, this is overwhelming evidence pointing to wine as the healthiest form of booze if consumed in moderation.
Here are 7 tips on staying healthy while still drinking wine.
7 Ways to Stay Healthy and Drink Wine
The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine.
- Know wine’s calories
- Earn your glass
- Don’t drink before you eat
- Do drink dry red wine
- Don’t drink too late
- Do spend more on wine
- Drink wine away from home
Talk to a Doc: First things first – everyone’s physiology is different. If you are seriously overweight or have a severe condition, talk to your doctor about your health.
1. Know the calories in wine
“If you are already thin and healthy, alcohol intake does not seem to affect weight gain.”
referenced from Alcohol Alert, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
The Ultimate Wine Gift
The collector’s edition set of the James Beard Award-winning Wine Folly book.
Most wine has anywhere from 92-175 calories per glass. If you’d like to find out the specifics on a particular wine, check out this chart.
The interesting thing about alcohol calories is that our bodies digest ethanol differently. We send excess ethanol into a complex metabolic process involving our liver which eventually releases acetic acid that’s removed from the body (a.k.a. we pee it out). So, not all of those calories are converted to energy.
Of course, it’s important to note that everyone’s physiology is different: women, Asians, Native Americans, and Inuits secrete less alcohol than Caucasian males. Read more about that here.
What’s weird is that if you drink more than you can metabolize, you are more likely to not to absorb the calories. This doesn’t mean you can go out and drink a bottle of wine, it just means that alcohol calories are a little more forgiving than say… ice cream calories.
How much wine is too much wine?
Heavy drinking is about 3+ drinks for a man and 2+ drinks for a women daily. Do your health a favor and acclimate your body to about half of that as a good example of moderate drinking behavior. Some of the longest lived people on earth drink about this much wine every day.
- + (women)
2. Earn your glass of wine before you drink
Walking in the early evening will help keep your metabolism up and will also slow down the ‘need to feed’ impulse that we often have at the end of the day. Walking is natural decompression. This habit may help reduce over drinking as well.
Setting your diet up for success means increasing your metabolism. What’s interesting about wine is that it also increases metabolism for about 70-90 minutes. It’s important to drink water when you consume wine and liquor to maintain the balance of water in your cells since alcohol is a diuretic. You’ll note that beer is different than wine and causes cells to swell.
“Men and women who drink alcohol tend to have a stable body weight over a decade of observation compared with their non-drinking counterparts, whose weight increases”
A prospective study of alcohol intake and change in body weight among US adults Pubmed.gov
3. Don’t drink before you eat
Drinking wine before you eat has shown to increase appetite when consumed 30 minutes before eating so save your wine for your meal. If you love to cook and drink at the same time, try splitting your glass of wine into 2 servings of 3 ounces each.
Also, having wine on a full stomach will make it so you’ll be less likely to feel the effects and more likely to absorb all of the associated calories.
4. Drink dry red wine
Red wine has shown to have much higher antioxidants than other wines. Pay attention to the alcohol level when purchasing a bottle and attempt to keep it below 13.5% ABV. Find out about the amazing health benefits of red wine.
5. Don’t drink too late at night
Alcohol behaves similar to carbohydrates in our bodies, so resist drinking too late. You will also be able to have higher quality rest if you stop all eating and drinking for the day around 8 to 8:30pm –that is if you go to sleep around 12am.
6. Spend more on a bottle of wine
In order to change our habits, we have to put value around the things we eat. If you spend a little more on your bottle of wine, it will encourage you to enjoy it over a period of several days. You can easily preserve your red or white wine in the fridge with a vacuum pump wine sealer. Sparkling wines will last up to 4 days with a Champagne stopper.
7. Don’t drink at home
We humans are lazy, so if temptation isn’t close by we are less likely to indulge. If you’re on a strict diet, remove indulgent foods and drinks from your house. By all means, you can still have a drink at night! Why not walk to a neighborhood wine bar and meet a friend?
BONUS: wine as an aphrodisiac
A little wine could actually help you get into the mood. We are not doctors so don’t take our word for it, instead look at the facts:
- Wine increases blood flow and causes a warm tingling sensation on the skin.
- Ethanol is a glutamate inhibitor and slows down brain activity – this will keep you from getting distracted!
You don’t need that much for the effects; just a splash.
21 Ways to Get a Flat Belly After 40
Venturing further into adulthood has its perks. You likely have stronger relationships, a better vocabulary, a more robust bank account, and maybe even a family of your own. But sometimes it can feel like you had to trade in your fit figure to obtain all of these “grown up” perks.
Sure, it can be harder to maintain a flat belly as you age, but it’s not at all impossible. So long as you continue to prioritize your health, fitting into your skinny jeans is an obtainable goal—and one that doesn’t require you to starve yourself or spend hours in the gym, either. (Seriously!) Read on to discover the top diet and exercise tips that can help you get the lean stomach you’ve always wanted. And if you’re looking to improve all areas of your health and well-being (and you should be!) don’t miss these ways to stay healthy after 40.
Eat Less Added Sugar
“Sugar leads to insulin spikes which can cause fat storage—especially around the middle. Try to eat less of it.” — Dianne Rishikof, MS, RDN, LDN, IFNCP
Eat This! Tip
Unfortunately, our labeling laws haven’t quite caught up to our dietary guidelines, and food products don’t yet have a column dedicated to added sugars. Instead, the naturally occurring sugars and the added stuff are all clumped together under “sugar.” This is particularly confusing when you’re buying things like flavored yogurt, which contain both types of the sweet stuff. So when in doubt, read the ingredients list.
If you see words like sugar, honey, agave, or even organic cane juice, know that there’s added sugar in your food. To find out how much, look at a similar, unflavored version of the product you’re interested in buying and see how they differ. For example, if a serving of plain oatmeal has 1 gram of sugar and a flavored version has 16, it’s safe to assume you’d be consuming 15 grams of added sugar. When it comes to candy and sweets, assume all of it’s the added variety. For more ways to eat less of the sweet stuff, order your copy of the Zero Sugar Diet today!
Nix the Fake Stuff
Dana Leigh Smith/Eat This, Not That!
“Diet, low-carb, and many sugar-free foods and drinks contain artificial sweeteners that aren’t completely digested by the body. Bacteria that lives in large intestine tend to ferment them, causing gas and bloat. Always check food labels to avoid sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and lactitol.” — Amanda Russell, certified personal trainer and YouTube fitness star
Hit the Weights
“Strength training is a must over 40. It builds lean muscle mass, which, over time, will help boost your resting metabolic rate which slowly declines with age. So long as you have good form and proper coaching, don’t be afraid to lift heavier weights than you have in the past. — Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer, and health expert from ABC’s My Diet Is Better Than Yours
“For many women in their 20s, it’s relatively easy to drop 10 pounds by cutting back on calories for a few weeks. But as you age, your metabolism slows, so what worked in your 20s may no longer be effective. The trick is to stay the course and be patient. Eventually, the scale will drop.” — Martha McKittrick, RD of Martha McKittrick Nutrition and City Girl Bites
Dial Back on Cardio
“Don’t overdo it with the cardio. Spinning up the wazoo isn’t going to give you the results you want. Declining estrogen leads to declining muscle mass which leads to declining metabolism. While that sounds depressing, there’s an easy solution: weight-bearing work. If traditional weight lifting isn’t your thing, try barre classes and pilates.” — Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, of Foodtrainers
Nix Processed Carbs
“Cutting back on processed carbohydrates is essential for weight loss after 40. Maintaining blood sugar and insulin levels is vital to weight loss, so cutting back on foods that spike blood sugar and insulin is a must. Any foods that contain added sugars, as well as foods that quickly break down into blood sugar, should be reduced. These include white bread and pasta, baked goods, cereal, candy, sweetened drinks, chips, and conventional crackers.” — Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and health expert from ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours”
Start Your Day with Protein Instead of Carbs
“Starting your day with protein instead of carbs prevents blood sugar spikes and insulin activity (our fat-storage hormone). It also prevents bloating. Ditch the cereal and toast and start your day with two hard-boiled eggs, a protein shake, a veggie omelet, or a Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries, instead.” — Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN of Real Nutrition NYC
Pop a D3 Supplement
“Hormonal changes in your 40s can affect your appetite hormones, ghrelin, and leptin. Both supplemental vitamin D3 and extra lean protein can help keep your appetite under control.” — Lauren Slayton, MS, RD of Foodtrainers
RELATED: 30 Reasons Why You’re Always Hungry
Eliminate Foods That Bloat
“Consider taking out foods that cause bloat, including dairy products. As we age, our bodies can’t break down lactose as efficiently. When we can’t efficiently digest something, it tends to cause gas and bloat, which is the opposite of a flat stomach. Avoid dairy foods, and you’ll likely see some improvement!” — Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN of Real Nutrition NYC
Stop Doing Crunches
“It’s no exaggeration to say at 47, I look far better in the midsection area than I did at 27. It’s not about the crunches or even the planks. I firmly believe that a flat belly is a result of cardio and a wholesome diet.” — Carla Birnberg, personal trainer and fitness blogger
Stop Pursuing Weightloss
“No diets work long-term. Not to mention, weight loss diets typically promote disease, not health. We are not supposed to look like we did when we were in high school. As women, we need to respect that our body changes throughout life to support our needs. Fighting our body promotes negative body image and disease.” — Julie Duffy Dillon MS, RD, NCC, LDN, CEDRD
RELATED: 33 Tips for Total Confidence
Stay Away from Salt
“Stay away from the salt. Too much sodium in the diet contributes to edema and bloating, and seems to affect us more as we age. So if you have to zip up a pencil dress or wear your ‘fitted’ suit, I recommend consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt per day. Avoid ready-made meals and canned foods, which are loaded with salt. And when you’re at restaurants, simply ask for no or little salt in your food. Small changes can make big changes to your waistline.” — Amanda Russell, certified personal trainer and YouTube fitness star
Identify Your Why
“Pause and identify your why. Anything from a high school reunion to a beach vacation is reason enough to want to get in shape! Just be certain that your motivator is something that motivates you enough to sustain forward momentum on those days when you’d rather slack. — Carla Birnberg, personal trainer and fitness blogger
Consume More Omega-3s
“Many types of healthy fats can help you lose body fat. Omega-3s are one type with these superpowers. Try to have one omega-3 rich food every day. Eggs, fatty fish, chia seeds and walnuts are some good options.” — Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, of Foodtrainers
“In your 20s, you can get away with late nights and minimal sleep. But in your 40s, your body doesn’t rebound as well. Getting too little sleep will hit you hard the next day. You’ll likely have less motivation to exercise and have increased hunger for fat and carbs. — Martha McKittrick, RD, of Martha McKittrick Nutrition and City Girl Bites
How much is enough? The National Sleep Foundation suggests seven to eight hours of sleep for most adults.
Stop Calorie Counting
“Restricting your caloric intake will only backfire. Instead, focus on food quality over quantity. Consume a balance of protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fats like avocado, nuts, nut butter, seeds, and olive oil. This balance of macronutrients will help to keep you full, while also maintaining blood sugar levels. Also, be sure to partake in moderate exercise and get adequate sleep.” — Susan Stalte, RD, LDN, MBA-Candidate
Make Small Changes
“Stop thinking of weight loss as a grand process and, instead, think of it as a series of small daily commitments. To fit more activity into your day, play with your children or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Once you’ve committed to these small changes, the easier it’ll be to advance to the bigger workouts that can lead to a flat belly.” —Rick Richey, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, owner of the Independent Training Spot
Don’t Deprive Yourself
“Swap calorie-loaded indulgences like ice cream for blended frozen fruits or lightened up, decadent-tasting desserts like Halo Top. Halo Top has just 60 to 90 calories a serving, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber which work together to keep blood sugar stable so that you won’t crave more sugar. This simple swap will save you calories and help you lose the belly fat.” —The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT & Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT
Move Every Day
“Before you groan at the thought of hitting the treadmill every day, hear me out! Performing any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and blood flowing will keep your metabolism going and fat burning. This can be as simple as waking up earlier and going for a 30-minute walk or incorporating a 10-minute interval workout in your living room. (Here is one I like to do: HIIT Total Body 12 Min Workout.) Whatever it is, make sure to get your heart rate pumping at least once a day to help burn fat and get lean.” — Amanda Russell, certified personal trainer and YouTube fitness star
Add Veggies to Every Meal
“No matter what you’re eating, mix it or serve it with vegetables. Having Chinese or Italian takeout? Making a stir-fry, burrito, or fajita at home? Split the dish in half, saving the other half for another meal, and mix in at least 1.5 cups of steamed vegetables right into your meal. Not only will you eat less of the heavier fare and slash the calories nearly in half, but you’ll also have a second serving for another day.” —The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT & Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT
Manage Your Stress
“Have a mindfulness practice. Stress can be overwhelming in your 40s. Whether you have small children, a consuming career, or both, you’re most likely busy taking care of other people and have less time for yourself. Try meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, or breathing exercises to bring down stress hormone levels like adrenaline and cortisol, which can trigger fat storage.” — Jennifer Cassetta
RELATED: 32 Foods That Turn Off Stress Hormones
Get the New Book!
Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!
4 Daily Habits That Give Your Body No Choice But to Lose Weight
Are you a woman over 40 with a growing belly? Read on…
You had been a pear shape – carrying extra weight in your hips, thighs, and butt all your life, and suddenly you notice a weight gain around your mid-section.
Many women notice their belly growing fat after 40.
As you age your fat distribution tends to shift.
You get less fat deposited in the arms, legs, hips, and butt, while more grows in the belly area.
This stomach fat trend increases after menopause because hormonal changes take place that changes the way fat is broken down and stored by the body.
Having your belly grow fat has more significance than merely being an undesired change in your appearance; it can also cause a significant increase in health risks such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.
The Body has Two Types of Fat:
1. Subcutaneous fat is found directly under the skin. It is less likely to be a health risk compared to the other type of fat called visceral fat.
2. Visceral fat is belly fat. It lies deeper inside and actually wraps itself around the internal organs of the abdomen.
The latter type of fat is the dangerous kind and most responsible for your belly growing fat.
Belly fat is particularly unhealthy because it is “metabolically active“.
What this means is that it more freely releases fat into the bloodstream.
This increased blood fat can lead to higher cholesterol levels and artery disease.
Visceral (belly) fat does not just take up space; it actually produces hormones and other substances that can adversely affect your health.
These hormones can promote the development of insulin resistance which is a precursor of Type 2 Diabetes or even produce estrogen in post-menopausal women, which can increase their risk of breast cancer.
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat Over 40
The good news is that belly fat responds well to exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.
The key is to be consistent with your weight loss efforts.
Exercises should combine aerobic exercise, such as walking, with strength training. This combination has been shown, through research, to be highly effective in reducing belly fat.
An effective way to schedule your exercise is to alternate aerobic and strength training exercises six days of the week with one day of rest.
For more on how to follow a nutrient-dense diet, watch my free video series – 4 Daily Habits for Weight Loss
You might also like…
- Losing Weight Over 50-How To Get Thin Now That Life Has Changed
- Women with Too Much Belly Fat Have This In Common
- Dr. Becky’s Favorite Belly Fat-Fighting Food
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.
Yes, You Can Lose Weight After 40!
January 3rd, 2020
• Free eBook: 35 Gut Recovery Recipes
Have you noticed a little extra cushioning on your bottom, belly, and hips and increased difficulty losing those stubborn extra pounds? You are not alone. This is a common problem that women face as they are entering perimenopause and menopause. As a woman over 40 (and turning 50 this year), I understand your concerns. However, as a physician, I know that it is possible to achieve a healthy weight at this time of our lives.
Luckily, there are several simple strategies for success that can help you lose belly fat and banish extra weight even after age 40. In this article, you’ll learn why it can be difficult to lose weight during midlife, what the risks of excess weight are, and how to lose weight with some simple, natural, dietary and lifestyle strategies.
Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight After 40?
In your forties, your activity levels change, your metabolism slows down, your belly fat increases, and your muscle mass changes. As a result, losing weight may become more difficult than before. And all these factors are interdependent, so paying attention to all of them will yield the best results.
Changes in Activity
Changes in your activity levels are one of the main reasons that losing weight after 40 may be more challenging than before. Like many women, you may be putting others first and simply not finding time to exercise. You may also notice that your joints can no longer handle the same activities as before. However, a lack of exercise can lead to muscle loss and fat gain.
As you enter your forties, you are also entering perimenopause, when levels of your sex hormones progesterone and estrogen decline. Besides regulating your menstrual cycle and reproductive functions, these hormones also impact restful sleep and relaxation. A decrease in progesterone and estrogen levels may lead to sleep disturbances, restlessness, and insomnia.1 Because changes in sleep patterns have been associated with weight gain, sleepless nights may make weight loss increasingly difficult.2
Your metabolic rate naturally continues to decline 5 percent each decade once you hit 40.3 Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) determines how many calories you just to survive. It is determined by a variety of chemical reactions inside your body. These reactions rely on your mitochondrial function and sodium-potassium pumps. Your mitochondria help to create energy, while your sodium-potassium pumps generate muscle contractions and nerve impulses.4,5,6,7,8 Both of these processes become less effective over the years and slow your metabolism.9,10 If you eat more than your RMR yet lead a sedentary life, you set yourself up for weight gain.
In your forties, your body may have an increasingly difficult time digesting carbohydrates, which may lead to weight gain. Living a stressful life can lead to an increase in the stress-hormone called cortisol, which can make you more prone to gaining belly fat. Estrogen loss may also lead to fat redistribution in your body and cause belly fat gain.11
Hormonal changes are one of the main reasons that women tend to lose more muscle as they approach menopause. Diet and exercise also play a role.12 On average, adults lose 3 to 8 percent muscle every decade after age 30.13,14 By the time you reach 80, you may have about 30 percent less muscle than you had at age 20.15,16 Muscle loss over time can lead to slower RMR, increased fat, weight gain, weakness, and fractures.17
You may wonder if you should even try to lose weight in midlife. Shouldn’t you just accept weight gain during menopause as part of life? The answer is “No!” While accepting and loving your body is important, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight as you are reaching menopause is not about how you look. Excess weight in later life holds a variety of dangers to your health and well-being.18 Losing excess weight, and especially belly fat, may significantly decrease your risk of a variety of health issues, including19,20:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Fatty liver
- Breathing disorders
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease and stroke
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic fatigue
- Thyroid problems
- Premature aging and early death
What Can You Do
The good news is that weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is absolutely possible in midlife. All you need to do is to follow a few simple healthy diet, lifestyle, and mindfulness strategies.
Banish Gluten and Dairy
Gluten and dairy are two of the biggest culprits behind the ever-increasing rates of chronic illness, autoimmune diseases, and obesity. Gluten has been linked to increased inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, sleep disturbances, mood fluctuations, and skin issues.21,22 Consuming dairy can lead to inflammation, gut issues, and increased risk factors for a number of health problems. Banishing both gluten and dairy is one of the number one actions I recommend for you to take control of your health and your weight. To learn more read my book, The Autoimmune Solution.
Choose Healthy Fats
Healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and ghee have a number of benefits. These include reducing the risk of heart attack, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.23,24,25,26,27 They can keep you satisfied longer, reducing the risk of overeating and snacking. Healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation! Healthy fats taste good and improve your brain health, and so may help you feel emotionally satisfied, lowering the risk of emotional eating.28
Protein is incredibly important in repairing your tissues, building muscles, combating fat, balancing your hormones, and increasing your overall health and well-being.29 Healthy proteins include grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, organic pasture-raised poultry, wild-caught fish, and wild game. I purchase my meats from ButcherBox and my fish from Vital Choice. I drink a delicious smoothie using The Myers Way® Paleo Protein to meet my protein needs. It’s organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and sourced from non-GMO, hormone and antibiotic free, grass-fed beef with 21 grams of protein per serving. My new, limited-time-only Salted Caramel flavor has just released. It’s a great summertime treat that ups your protein without weighing you down with sugars.
Remember Your Veggies
Non-starchy vegetables, particularly greens, are rich in nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and quite low in calories. They can nourish your body while helping you lose weight. Greens and veggies are low in calories, yet thanks to all the fiber, they can keep you full and satisfied longer. They may also prevent sugar spikes and sugar cravings, lowering your risk of reaching for unhealthy snacks or sugary desserts. If you are looking for an easy way to get 14 veggies in one serving, my Organic Greens powder is a simple solution.
Alcohol adds unnecessary calories and sugar to your diet. Drinking alcohol may also increase your appetite, leading you to consume more calories.30 When you’re under the influence of alcohol, you may also be tempted to choose less nutritious options, such as processed junk foods. I recommend reducing your alcohol consumption to an occasional glass of wine or eliminating it completely.
Soda and other sugary soft drinks are all empty calories that may result in weight gain and health problems. Don’t be fooled—diet soda is not better. It’s full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and often caffeine that can disrupt your health.31,32 It can interfere with your hunger hormones, increase your appetite, and lead to weight gain.33,34 Herbal teas and green juices are a good option.
Exercise can actually increase your energy. Just three hours of exercise weekly can improve the health of menopausal women.35,36,37,38,39 You may be able to add aerobic exercise into your everyday life without even noticing it! Take a walk during lunch with your colleagues. Go for a bike ride with your family after dinner. Put some music on while cleaning the house and add some dance moves. Jump on an elliptical trainer or treadmill instead of sitting while watching your favorite show.
Your muscles are important for bone density, strength, and overall health. However, your body starts to lose muscle as you age. Building muscle can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories at rest. Muscle also takes up less space than fat, so you can feel leaner and toned as you increase your muscle mass. Good options to increase your muscle mass include light weightlifting, body weight exercises, and Pilates.
Get Enough Sleep
Developing good sleeping habits is crucial when it comes to weight loss.40 The exercise and dietary tips with discussed earlier can support your sleep cycle. Avoid sugary and caffeinated foods, especially as the evening approaches, so you can feel tired and calm, instead of jittery. Limit blue-light exposure in the evening by wearing amber glasses that block harmful wavelengths from electronics. Develop a night-time routine that calms you down before bedtime.
Chronic stress can increase cortisol in your body, and lead to high insulin levels. You may even end up craving more sugary and fatty junk food,41 resulting in more stubborn pounds and belly fat. Managing your stress will increase your overall well-being and can help with weight loss. Breathing exercises, meditation, dance, gentle exercise, journaling, and listening to uplifting music are some of my favorite ways to lower stress.
Get Your Thyroid Checked
Unexplained Weight gain may be a sign of thyroid problems, including Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. Visit your healthcare professional to have your thyroid checked. You can find more information in my book, The Thyroid Connection.
Pay attention to what you are eating. Read labels and ensure your foods are organic, nutrient-dense, and anti-inflammatory. Avoid eating in front of the TV, while standing up, and when busy with other tasks. Keep a regular eating schedule. If you are craving something, check in with yourself to see if you are truly hungry or just thirsty, stressed, or bored.
This is for your health, not your looks. Excess weight can increase the risk of inflammation, pain, and disease. As you get healthier, you will have more energy for your family, friends, and activities you love. You may be approaching midlife, however, the best is yet to come! If you follow these simple dietary, lifestyle, and mindfulness strategies, you can lose weight in midlife and face your future in your best shape yet.
Here is the lie your glass of red wine is telling you: I shall make thee thinner (assuming your glass of red wine, like most, is a Shakespearean actor).
As much as we want to believe the French Paradox, we also kind of have to accept the basic facts of metabolic chemistry, i.e. when you consume alcohol, your body will metabolize it before anything else. It’s like, if a weird but awesome jerk came into a bar, the bouncers would get him out before they’d escort out some drunk karaoke-ers over-singing En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” (and god bless us, every one).
“Drinking presses ‘pause’ on your metabolism, shoves away the other calories, and says ‘Break me down first!” Or so Pamela Peeke told CNN. Basically meaning your body will deal with alcohol before anything else, so even if you have a delightful salad, your body is going to muck around with the vodka tonic before it does anything to the avocado or organic arugula. Yes, you paid $4.67 for the organic arugula, but your body is paying more attention to the $.95 of vodka in your drink.
And yes, it kinda gets worse. “Alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly,” says Peeke. Also, and no surprise, it sucks more for women, who “experience a widening waistline as they age,” (no sh*t). “This usually coincides with overall weight gain and a reduction in lean muscle mass,” per Livestrong.com. Not that everyone on earth doesn’t gently, and then slightly less gently, expand at the waist just before hitting the cusp of middle age (don’t freak out, you earned it, life is short, eat Cheetos, etc.).
Truth be told, from what we can tell, wine doesn’t have any more impact on the waistline than any other alcoholic drink. In fact, red wine might actually be recommended for beating back the belly fat. Per this dude from Dr. Oz, a daily glass of red wine may well counteract the production of belly fat. “The resveratrol may interfere with fat synthesis, and other red wine polyphenols may inhibit aromatase, an enzyme made by belly fat that converts androgens to estrogens.”
Then again, Suzanne Somers (who we can all trust because, well, the Thigh Master) says something a bit different at least when it comes to white wine: “I call this ‘Chardonnay Syndrome,’ and sadly, getting sucked in can make you fat! White wine is sugar, and unless you need it as instant energy, your body will store sugar as fat — along with whatever else you are eating with it. The pounds inevitably creep on, usually through the belly and butt area. “
Somers—wait, can we just call her Suzanne?—makes a key point there. Women tend to gain weight in the waist area, the place where potential partners look a lot because the world is cruel and stupid. Intake of calories may just be the culprit—and wine calories add up pretty quickly, especially when they’re white and delicious.
But with red wine, you may be ok, who knows. But what’s most important is to drink with the knowledge that wine has calories, just like any other enjoyable (interesting) comestible. And then, god help us, do crunches.
One of the worst side effects of a regular Chablis habit has to be the dreaded ‘wine belly’.
Now, I’m not horribly fat. I’m a UK size 12 (14 on a bad day). For my American friends, that’s a size 8. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? BUT I have a horrible, muffin topped wine belly.
As I sit here in my size 12 skinny jeans, a little roll of flab – like a child’s rubber ring in the swimming pool – is hanging over my belt. Lovely.
If I lie down in the bath (spoiler alert, do not read this if you are eating lunch), and grab my belly fat with both hands it is – ironically – about the size of a bottle of vino.
The problem with being relatively slim except for the wine belly is that it makes you look 5 months pregnant. And there is nothing worse than some poor woman asking you when it’s due, or a curious child asking talking about ‘the baby in your tummy’. Plus, if you’re at a party quaffing back the vino while looking up the duff you get a lot of hostile looks from the Pregnancy Police.
Not only is a wine belly not the best look aesthetically, it’s also very bad for your health.
A wine belly gives you what’s called ‘the apple shape’ where fat is stored around the abdomen and vital organs, rather than the bum and thighs. This is, according to the National Health Service website, the very worst place to store fat as it makes you far more prone to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
According to the NHS, a woman’s waist should ideally measure less than 32″. 32″-35″ is high, and over 35″ is very high. They also suggest measuring your waist to hip ratio i.e. inches around waist divided by inches around hips. For women it should be less than 0.85.
Now my BMI is (just) in the normal range, but my waist (when I started this journey) was 36″ and my waist to hip ratio was 0.87 – both of these measurements put me well into the danger zone. No surprise there!
So what causes the wine belly?
Well, wine, obviously! Booze has 7 calories per gram, making it the second most calorie rich micronutrient after fat. A bottle of vino usually contains at least 500 calories – that means that if you drink a bottle of wine a day you are drinking 2 extra day’s worth of calories a week! A small glass of white wine (125ml – that’s really small, right ladies?) contains the same number of calories as 6 teaspoons of sugar.
And that’s not all – Dr Pamela M Peake (author of ‘The Hunger Fix’) claims that the body can’t store calories from alcohol for later like it does calories from food, so it has to ‘press pause’ on your metabolism in order to deal with the alcohol and, while it does so, any calories you’ve eaten get stored as fat. Peeke adds that ‘research has uncovered that alcohol especially decreases fat burn in the belly…that’s why you never hear about beer hips – you hear about a beer belly.’
There are 2 other reasons why drinking alcohol leads to piling on pounds which I’m sure you’ll be familiar with.
One is that drinking makes you lose your inhibitions, which means that you’re far more likely to pile into the ‘death by chocolate’ at the end of a meal. The second is the dreaded hangover. Because your body needs energy to recover from your previous night’s marathon, it makes you crave fat and carbohydrate rich foods (like the classic British fry up), and dehydration makes you even hungrier.
Confusingly, red wine contains something called ‘resveratrol’ which can help you burn fat, BUT (and it’s a big but, or is that a big butt?) only if you drink no more than one glass a day. Excuse me for a minute while I grab my belly fat and roll on floor laughing.
So, after 3 whole weeks (yes! Count ’em! 1..2…3…yay!) of not drinking any alcohol at all, what has happened to my wine belly?
Bear in mind that I have tried many diets to shift it in the past. I’ve given up fat, I’ve given up carbs, I’ve ditched gluten and dairy. I’ve tried everything except giving up alcohol. This time I’ve given up nothing except alcohol. In fact, I’ve even added in a fair bit of chocolate and cake which I’ve never eaten much of before.
For the first week I didn’t lose any weight (I think my body was busy re-hydrating), but now I’m steadily losing about 1.5 pounds per week. I’ve lost 3 pounds over all. I’ve also lost 1.5 inches off the belly.
It doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but I swear that the ‘jeans that don’t lie’ now fit really easily. I’ve also lost an inch off the bum.
Again, sounds insignificant, but child #1 said this morning “Mummy, I think your butt has got less saggy.” Talk about damning with faint praise. She then continued “Your boobs are still saggy, though.”
I bit back the urge to reply, for the hundredth time, that the saggy boobs are almost entirely the fault of #1, #2 and #3. Particularly #3 who refused a bottle for nearly a year (she doesn’t take after her mother, does she?!).
I’m going to stop now and caress the old wine belly in a fond way because its days are numbered. Bye, bye belly, bye bye……
UPDATE: One year after writing this post I’d lost two stone, that’s twenty-eight pounds, or 13 kilos, if you prefer. And the wine belly? What wine belly! Now when I look down I have a totally uninterupted view of my feet, and I can spend the money I used to spend on expensive vino on SHOES.
If you’d like to read the whole story of my first year after quitting booze, you can find my book – The Sober Diaries on Amazon by clicking here.
For more inspiration and information, visit the SoberMummy Facebook page here, and ‘like’ to stay updated.
Love to you all,
SoberMummy (Clare Pooley)
Losing Weight Without Giving Up Wine
By Rai Cornell
Whether it’s a low-fat diet, a low-/no-carb diet, or just good olde fashioned balanced diet and more exercise, many of us will be kicking off the New Year with healthy resolutions. When it comes to weight loss, many experts suggest abstaining from alcohol altogether. But the idea of giving up wine has us wanting to throw out the scale and say, “No way, Jose!”
You ready for this…? You don’t have to give up wine to lose weight. Feel free to find your favorite “mind blown” gif right now.
We’ll say it again…You don’t have to give up wine to lose weight!
Here’s what you need to know about the food pyramid’s shunned step-child, alcohol, and how you can fit your favorite wines into your New Year’s weight loss resolution.
Wine’s Bad Reputation for Weight Loss
Let’s start by understanding why the weight loss experts say you should avoid drinking alcohol when you’re trying to lose weight. The truth is: it’s not the drink itself that’s going to sabotage your weight loss goals. Drinking a glass or two of wine isn’t necessarily going to prevent you from dropping those excess pounds.
Rather, it’s what you do while you’re under the influence of alcohol that has the biggest impact on weight loss. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Whether you let some NSFW phrases fly while drinking or you’re more likely to chat up strangers at your favorite wine bar, alcohol makes us naturally less reserved, controlled, and rational.
When you mix the inhibition-lowering effects of alcohol with a tempting plate of nachos or macaroons, that’s when the problem is born. Research has shown that as inhibition is lowered while drinking alcohol, you’re more likely to consume more calories from food. There are many reasons for this. Some people prefer to eat while drinking so they can attempt (although we’re not sure how successful this actually is) to put off getting drunk. The thought is that food in the stomach absorbs a bit of the alcoholic liquid and allows the body to process the alcohol slower, which means the drinker can enjoy more of his or her favorite cocktail.
For other people, cravings and bad judgment run rampant while their inhibitions are lowered. While you know the pizza and ice cream aren’t good for your waistline while sober, all cares are thrown to the wind after you’ve knocked back a few drinks. It’s these bad food+drink habits that have a significant impact on your weight. However, there is hope…
That same study that showed that alcohol lowers inhibitions and can lead to consuming excess calories from food also found that individuals who were conscious of their calorie intake on a regular basis weren’t negatively impacted by alcohol’s effects. In other words, people who are mindful of what they eat all the time can maintain their control over their eating while drinking.
This means that if you practice mindful eating, you develop a better sense of the caloric and nutritional values of food, and you develop a mindset of enjoying food as a nutritional tool rather than a means to feel good, you can enjoy more control over both your food and alcohol intake even after a glass or two of vino.
How Alcohol Acts in Your Body
Think of alcohol as a barrel of monkeys. In your everyday life, you enjoy drinking your morning coffee, eating a healthy salad, and finishing the day with a well-balanced dinner. Your body knows exactly what to do with these things. The carbs, protein, and fat are filed away like animals into a corral.
“Ok, we have some muscle damage, well let’s send this steak protein over there for processing. Oh, we need some quick energy to run to catch the train, better process this sugar on the double!”
Your body works like a well-oiled machine. Until the monkeys arrive. As you drink your alcohol, it’s like someone shook, rolled, and then broke open the barrel of monkeys. Now you have mischievous little critters running all around wreaking havoc and your body says, “Woah! Who let this craziness in here? We better get this cleaned up before we do anything else!”
Because alcohol is technically a toxin, your body stops everything it’s doing to collect and process the alcohol. Unlike carbs, protein, and fat, your body refuses to store alcohol, which means it has to burn it right away.
While your body is dealing with the crazed (although entertaining) monkeys, the other nutrients in your body are pushed to the side and stored for later.
In this way, alcohol is like a big HALT sign on your metabolism. Because of this, it’s best to either avoid eating heavy meals while drinking or avoid drinking more than a serving or two of alcohol while eating a meal. If you are snacking, while drinking, go for low-calorie options so your body doesn’t have a lot of energy to store while it’s rounding up those monkeys.
The Best Wines for Weight Loss
Not all wine is created equal. We’re huge proponents of that idea here at Vinebox. But it doesn’t just come down to quality, taste, and experience. There’s actually a big difference in calorie and carbohydrate counts among wine varieties.
If your goal is to lose weight, the best wine to enjoy will be a lower calorie, lower carb wine that will have a minimal impact on your daily nutrition. The best wine for weight loss is dry wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot or a dry sparkling white wine. Sweet wines have significantly higher calorie and carb counts, which can leave you struggling to reach your healthy goals.
Here’s a quick reference guide for wine calorie and carbohydrate counts.
Type of Wine
Sparkling White Wine
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Late Harvest White
Each bottle is different, so these are approximate values that should be used as a guide. Estimates are made based on a standard 5 ounce serving.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Now that you know what the concern over alcohol is all about, how wine interacts with your body, and the best wine options for weight loss, it’s time to create a healthy habit that will set you up for reaching your weightloss goals in 2018.
Respect the Calories
You’ll see this sentence all over health blogs and scientific research: “Excess drinking and weight gain are linked.”
And it’s true! But the keyword here is “excess.”
There are two types of excess you need to avoid if you’re going to have a successful weight loss journey without giving up alcohol: calories from food and calories from alcohol.
Calories from alcohol do count and they do have an impact on your body. But if you enjoy having a glass or two of merlot every night, then just know that you’ll need to take those 122 – 244 calories into consideration when you’re trying to meet your weightloss goals.
Also remember that anything you eat while drinking alcohol may have a bigger impact on your weight than when you’re not drinking. Instead of having a glass of wine with dinner, aim to have an earlier dinner and enjoy your wine an hour or two after you eat. This will give your body time to start digesting that meal before the monkeys run in to push the pause button.
You’ve heard this before: it’s all about indulging in moderation. Right? But that doesn’t really help, does it? It’s easy to talk about moderation. It’s hard to actually implement it in the moment – especially if you’re feeling a bit tipsy in that moment.
To help yourself enjoy an actual serving of wine (5 ounces) rather than the typical free-pour glass of wine (around 7.5 ounces), buy smaller wine glasses, measure out your serving, or use pre-portioned small bottles of wine.
VINEBOX’s single-serving glasses are already perfectly portioned for you so you never have to worry about overindulging. Plus you get to taste some tantalizing new varieties from all over Europe.
Watch the Clock
Another great way to enjoy your wine while losing weight is to spread your drinks out over time. Make a promise to yourself (or a trusted friend or loved one who’s supporting your goals) that you’ll only have one glass of wine every hour.
This gives your body plenty of time to process the alcohol and prevents you from entering that phase of lowered inhibitions. You maintain your control, you still enjoy your wine, and you can go on rocking your resolutions!
Are you making New Year’s Resolutions this year? Share them with us in the comments below!
Does Wine Make You Fat? Some Illuminating Evidence
Lifestyle July 7, 2014 – Updated on September 9th, 2019
Answers to the question many of us would like to know:
does wine make you fat?
No, but alcohol tricks your brain into making unhealthy decisions. Time to arm yourself with knowledge to drink smarter. By the way, a long term study with over 19,000 women showed drinkers tend to be less obese than non-drinkers as they age.
We digest wine differently than food
Despite the fact that wine has little to no carbs and zero fat, it still has calories!
The interesting thing about calories in wine is that we digest them differently than food. Basically, our body stops what it’s doing and prioritizes alcohol calories first before addressing other calories (fat, carbs, sugar etc). Much of this work is done in the liver with enzymes.
So, if you drink too much or drink before eating, your body initiates a 3-step process to metabolize the alcohol before it can switch back to food.
Wine doesn’t make you fat, but eating pizza when you’re drunk does.
Why does drinking make you hungry?
Why do we end up eating a whole cheese pizza after a night of drinking? The effects of alcohol on the brain causes a skew in how we regulate calorie intake for 2 reasons:
Wine Tasting Journal
Want to drink better wine? Take better notes!
Your blood sugar drops
Drinking dry wine actually causes your blood sugar to drop. This is because your body focuses on metabolizing the alcohol calories first before food calories. Your brain responds by saying,
“Uh oh, we need more blood sugar. Go eat something!”
No one has ever drunkenly craved a salad—and there’s a reason. A study conducted by Purdue University found that moderate consumption of alcohol enhances the taste of salt and fat, which is why bacon and scrambled eggs the next morning are so satisfying.Dr. Edward Miller, Wine & Health
Alcohol tricks your “primitive” brain”
Alcohol effects the part of your brain that causes you to feel hungry, aroused, and flushed at the same time. These activities are controlled in your hypothalamus (high-po-thall-lam-us) which is an early evolutionary part of the human brain located right above the brain stem.
A 2004 study published in the Alcohol Journal led by Princeton University scientists suggest that a brain chemical called galanin could be behind both fatty food cravings and a thirst for alcohol. “There seems to be a cycle of positive feedback,” Princeton researcher Bartley Hoebel said in a 2004 statement. “Consumption of alcohol produces galanin, and galanin promotes the consumption of alcohol.” Dr. Edward Miller, Wine & Health
How to stay healthy and drink wine
Eat protein before you drink
Have some quality protein before you drink. Long sustaining energy calories will help curb your craving while you drink.
Stick to moderate drinking
Unfortunately, a bottle of wine is not a single serving. It’s important to understand your own limits. If you’re 140 pounds or under, you should stick to just one drink and only 2 if you’re over that weight.
Avoid the drunk diet
If you do get drunk, it seems reasonable to assume that food (e.g. cheesy bread, pizza and apple pie) could help absorb the alcohol in your system. The truth is, there’s nothing to stop or slow the long painstaking process your liver will need to go through to carefully convert every milligram of poisonous acetaldehyde into not-so-bad-for-you acetic acid. Be a friend to your liver and stay up on your fluids by drinking lots of water. Our favorite hangover food is a Pho (pronounced ‘Fuh’) noodle soup, the Vietnamese know what’s up.
Wine vs Health
Access all our articles, infographics and more on drinking and health. Drinking smart starts with knowledge.
Does Alcohol Cause Weight Gain?
There are many reasons people might drink alcohol. They might do it casually in social situations, to relax, or just because they enjoy the taste. Drinking in moderation is usually considered okay from a health perspective, but it’s important to really have a full grasp of just what “in moderation” means because drinking excessively can contribute to a range of health problems, many of which are serious.
A lot of people aren’t even aware that drinking in moderation refers to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and no more than two a day for men. If you’re drinking more than this, it could be considered problematic, and if you’re drinking more than five drinks a day as a man or four as a woman, you are considered a binge drinker.
The immediate effects of alcohol can include impaired coordination and judgment, memory problems, and slow reflexes. Even if you just have a single drink these things can occur, and the more you drink, the more profound and apparent these symptoms can become.
When you drink, a significant portion of the alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream, and then it is distributed through basically every tissue of your body.
A few things alcohol does to your body include:
- When you drink, it affects your brain significantly, including altering levels of GABA and dopamine which are neurotransmitters that are part of the brain’s reward system. If you have too much of either of these neurotransmitters, it can lead to everything from increased heart rate, to aggression and depression.
- Your liver is one of the parts of your body that is most significantly impacted by drinking. Your liver is where alcohol is processed and metabolized, and when you drink excessively, it causes your liver to accumulate fat, which can lead to a serious condition called fatty liver disease. This can ultimately then lead to cirrhosis.
- Drinking raises estrogen levels, and this has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- When you drink, it causes your stomach to make an excessive amount of acid, which can contribute to a variety of conditions like irritation and inflammation of the stomach lining.
These aren’t even all the ways alcohol can affect your body—there are many more.
So, what about alcohol and weight gain? Does alcohol cause weight gain?
Does Red Wine Help You Lose Weight?
Photo: Getty Images / Alexey Dulin EyeEm
A good bottle of wine can sub in for a lot of things in life-a therapist, plans on a Friday night, cravings for a decadent dessert. And some studies suggest you might be able to add cardio to that list: Healthy women who drank one glass of wine regularly were 70 percent less likely to gain weight over 13 years than gals who abstain, according to an often-cited 2011 study out of Harvard on nearly 20,000 women.
Now, you’ve probably heard of red wine’s celebrity compound, resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skin of grapes. We know that the antioxidant powerhouse can help mobilize fat and reduce the accumulation of triglycerides in both mice and humans. Studies on animals have even found resveratrol can help transform white fat into “beige fat,” which is easier for our bodies to burn off, and that the polyphenol may help suppress appetite. (FYI, resveratrol can also help protect your skin from free radical damage.)
There’s just one problem with all these fabulous findings: Not only are most of these studies on animals, but it’s also not possible to absorb the recommended therapeutic doses of the antioxidant just by drinking wine, according to research out of Germany. (You’d need to take a supplement to hit the same mg’s used for the promising results.)
But don’t give up on the grape just yet-red wine does help boost the body’s fat-burning abilities in a few ways, says Chris Lockwood, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., president of performance nutrition consulting and R&D firm Lockwood, LLC. Here, we break down the science. (Related: The Definitive *Truth* About Wine and Its Health Benefits)
How Red Wine Might Help You Lose Weight
For starters, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol improves blood flow, which means not only are more nutrients being transported into cells but so is more oxygen-a necessary component of fat burning, Lockwood says.
A glass of red also increases your levels of two hormones-adiponectin and free testosterone, which help you burn fat and build muscle, respectively-while decreasing estrogen, which makes you retain fat, and serum hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a hormone that prevents free T from acting on receptors. Together, this formula creates a more anabolic environment, releasing stored fat and increasing your metabolism, explains Lockwood.
Sounds great, right? The catch is there’s a threshold of when alcohol goes from harmless (even helpful), into troublesome territory. All the positives already mentioned are limited to light to moderate drinking-that’s just one glass of wine, occasionally. So what happens when you pour yourself a second or third glass? (Related: How Bad Are the Effects of Alcohol and Binge Drinking When You’re Young?)
The Effects of Red Wine On Your Body
“Generally speaking, acute inflammatory stress actually produces hormones critical to burning fat,” says Lockwood. Things that fall in this category: Exercise and the occasional glass or two of wine. “But left unchecked and chronically elevated-as is the case with, among other things, high alcohol use-the body eventually responds by trying to store extra calories because your cells are having to work overtime to accommodate the added stress it’s gotten used to expecting,” he adds.
What’s more, drinking above moderate amounts of alcohol regularly not only negates all those positive hormone changes but actually disrupts communication between your systems, putting your hormones out of balance and straining all your systems, according to research out of Rutgers University.
Even more bad news: If you already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, even a single, healthy glass of wine probably won’t boost your fat burn-you’re already getting those healthy antioxidants, so your hormones are already optimized, Lockwood points out. Meaning, that benefit only applies to people with potentially unhealthy diets.
And alcohol can tank one of the most helpful tools for weight loss: sleep. Even though alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, it causes you to wake up more often throughout the night, he says. (Learn more about why you always wake up early after a night of drinking.)
The Final Word
Okay, we know. We really wanted to believe the red wine equals weight loss rumor too, but the reality is a little more complicated. Bottom line: Drinking a glass of wine before bed probably won’t help you lose weight-but unless you’re training for a bikini competition where every calorie and ounce of fat counts, it certainly won’t undo all the hard work you put in at the gym and in the kitchen.
“For most people who try to balance an abundant, healthy lifestyle with a life…forgo the guilt and enjoy a small glass of wine from time to time,” says Lockwood. Whew.
Plus, consider the most important aspects of allowing yourself a nice glass of pinot: It’ll feel as indulgent as dessert, and it typically comes with a dinner table full of friends or relaxing with your S.O. “The psychological benefit of having a reasonable social indulgence can do wonders to make all of the hard work and sacrifice more meaningful and easier on your psyche,” he adds.
Try to stick to one glass of wine a night. If you go overboard, try again tomorrow.
- By Rachael Schultz @_RSchultz