Linda Melone
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5 Scientifically proven ways to get rid of belly fat

Pop quiz: Which of the following two-word phrases strikes the most fear among women over 50?

A. bathing suit

5 scientifically proven ways to get rid of belly fat

The only thing we have to fear is…

B. college reunion

C. belly fat

D. All of the above

The answer, of course, is “C” with the others following close behind.

If I had a dime for every email I got that asked me how to get rid of belly fat I’d be on my own private island, under a palm tree, being fed peeled grapes by a half-naked man named Sven.

Such is not the case. (And yes, from now on every person who asks me about belly fat must send me a dime.)

Why is belly fat such a big issue after 50 you ask? Great question.

I wish we could blame Justin Beiber, the Kardashians or twerking, but sadly there’s more to it.

For one, the drop of estrogen after menopause shifts the way your body stores fat.

In essence, we develop more of a male-pattern fat distribution.

Where we tended to gain weight around our thighs in our earlier years, now those rebellious fat cells like to collect around our belly.

And they stay there even if you scream at them, I’ve found.  

5 scientifically proven ways to get rid of belly fat

Yelling at fat cells does not get rid of them

Secondly, metabolism drops as we age. And – surprise! – it’s not because we’re sitting around more, although that also contributes.

Nope, it’s due largely to loss of muscle. Muscle burns calories at rest, so the more you have, the more calories you burn while you sit around watching Bates Hotel (anyone else watching this besides me? OMG it’s so good…).

Lastly, we generally move less as we age. It takes more energy to get up and at ‘em as time goes on.

So we sit more, eat more, and move less… creating a virtual trifecta of fertile ground for belly fat to grow and flourish.

Whether you call it a muffin top, love handles or other unflattering name, it’s got to go!

Because it’s not only harshing your mellow but increases your risk of heart disease.

And no one’s got time for that.

Hence, this post: I am always on the search for the latest research on this topic so I can share it with you. Here’s the thing: It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Some solutions may work for you and not your friend and vise versa. The important thing is to try a bunch of things and never give up.

All of the following are backed by recent studies (email me if you want the links)…

1. Wrap your head around the moment

Focusing on just one thing seems so 1980s. Who does that? We have texts to read and send, emails to check, selfies to take and a whole host of other things that take us away from the moment at hand. This one. Now this one.

But stay in the moment and you’re likely to have less belly fat, according to a study from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Focus on the moment at hand, breathe, and take in your surroundings instead of constantly rushing off to do things and you may find yourself slipping into a smaller pair of pants.

2. Unsaturate your fats

Not all fat is bad. In fact, we need fat to survive. But you have a number of choices. Saturated fat (solid at room temperature – think Crisco or bacon fat) is more likely to cause weight gain around the abdomen when compared with polyunsaturated fat (sunflower oil), making it a serious no-no for flat belly seekers.

Bonus: a higher level of polyunsaturated fats links to a lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

3. Lift a few dumbbells

Yes, resistance training again! You know I’m all about weight training. It’s the only way to reverse the loss of muscle due to age, a process that starts in our 30s.

Now a study out of Harvard School of Public Health shows that men (yes, the study was with men but it often works for women, too – and I can vouch for it anecdotally) who did 20 minutes of weight training had less age-related belly fat accumulation than men who spent the same amount of time doing cardio.

No, that’s not a typo: Weight training beat out cardio for belly fat reduction.

Combining weight training with cardio produced the best results. So you need both. Strive for two to three days of resistance training and five days of some type of cardio a week, even if for 10 minutes.

4. Feast on fiber

Toss raspberries in your yogurt, add veggies to your salads and swap out that white bread for whole wheat and you may be able to cut back on your Spanx purchases.

A study found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, belly fat went down my nearly 4% over five years. So no, it’s not exactly at the speed of light, but most people could use more fiber in their diets.

It helps keep you full longer and may help you go easy on those second helpings.

Aim for 25 grams of fiber a day (gradually work you way up to this number or you may experience unwanted side effects).

High fiber foods include:

Acorn squash: 9 grams per cup, baked

Artichokes: 10 grams per medium

Asian pears: 9.9 grams per medium fruit, with skin

Avocados: 10.5 grams of fiber per cup, sliced

Black beans: 12 grams per cup

Blackberries: 7.6 grams per cup

Brussels sprouts: 7.5 gram per cup

Chia seeds: 5.5 grams per tablespoon

Fig: 14.6 grams in 1 cup dried

Flax seeds: 3 grams per tablespoon

Peas: 8.6 grams per cooked cup

Quinoa: 5 grams per 1 cup cooked

Raspberries: 8 grams per cup

Split peas: 16 grams per cup cooked


5. Get your OMMM on

Stress wreaks havoc with our bodies in so many ways, and belly fat is one of those results. Even thin women develop belly fat when they’re under stress. I’ve seen it and studies show it.

Researchers believe exposure to stressful conditions, like missing Macy’s One-Day Sale, over and over can lead a woman to overreact to stressors in their daily lives.

This stress releases cortisol, which in turn, makes it easier to store fat around the midsection.

Finding ways to de-stress goes a long way towards learning to relax and chill – and is shown to boost creativity, easy pain and generally makes you feel better.

I admit, I resisted against this for the longest time (not enough hours in a day!), but a few months ago I caved. I signed up for and have meditated nearly every morning using the guided meditations (you can use it for free or subscribe).

I not only feel calmer overall, but I find myself better able to handle stressful situations easier. Check it out.


Which of these five tips will you try this week? Post your response below… I’d love to hear from you! And, as always, please spread the word through your social networks. It creates good karma — something we all need :). 

Got questions? Email me at and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Related posts you may like:

The scientifically proven way to lose weight after menopause

What REALLY makes you fat (hint: it’s not carbs or gluten)

Your Ageless Body Coach,

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About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Patricia Scott says

I just brought home a weight lifting station! I’m really excited being able to do more at home than at the gym.

    Linda Melone says

    That’s great, Patricia! It’s so convenient when you don’t have to drive anywhere :).

Evelyn gourley says

Hi Linda

I just love your Articles, I do have belly fat. I’m going to start lifting Dumbbells I’m 53 yrs old how many pounds should I start off with and im also eating high fiber. Thank you so much!!!

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks so much, Evelyn! You want to start out easy but work up to doing 12 to 15 reps where the last three reps are a challenge. That way you’re working hard enough to create a change within the muscle. Check out my other fitness articles by clicking on the tiles on the right hand side of the blog page for more info, or use the search box :).

Penny schmidt says

I do 20 minutes of cardio and 25 minutes of weight lifting 5 to 6 days a week. Slowly but surely I hope to lose my belly fat. ????

    Linda Melone says

    Great job, Penny! Try including some intervals once or twice a week, too, for your cardio: alternate between higher intensity, 30-60 second bouts, with equal or slightly longer bouts of baseline intensity. You’ll burn more calories in the same time. 🙂

Susan S says

Does your commentary on belly fat apply to inner thighs as well or do you have other ways to combat?

    Linda Melone says

    Hi Susan, Losing weight overall will help the inner thigh issue. But the tips I presented in this blog are all based on research that specifically mentioned belly fat, since certain factors tend to affect this specific area. Unfortunately, in general, you can’t pick and choose where you lose fat, although you can tighten and tone specific areas of the body with targeted exercises :).

laurel says

Hi I’ll pick up the flaxseed used them a long time ago and stopped , and I’ll change up on the greens , I like the weights crunches , I’ll eat more fiber and fiber great tip and information THANK YOU YOU ARE THE BEST ☺????????✋????????

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks so much, Laurel! 🙂

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