Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. Dr. Schwartz has written four best-selling books, testified before Congress, hosted her own PBS special on bioidentical hormones, and is a frequent guest on network TV shows.

Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D

Belly Fat Isn't Inevitable

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 03:59 PM

By Dr. Schwartz

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When I went into menopause at 46, the first thing I did was gain 15 pounds without eating one slice of pizza more than I had for 30 years. Just like you, I read every magazine, bought every supplement, followed every diet, and even increased my already serious exercise program. But probably just like you the results fell short of giving me my youthful, thin-in-the-middle body back.
 
But I never gave up.
 
Most women, unfortunately, do give up. If you have the courage to ask them, many doctors will tell you that it’s just part of getting older. I hate that. It’s not a forgone conclusion, and you don’t have to assume the amount of work it will take to get rid of the belly is too much for you. Everyone can get rid of it. You just have to know what plan of attack will work for you and where to start.
 
Here’s why we gain weight around the middle:

 
We eat the same foods we did at 30. Our bodies can no longer process those foods the same way they did at 30, thanks to a slowdown of hormone production affecting metabolism.
 
Food absorption becomes sluggish. When we are young, our metabolic and digestive processes allow for efficient detoxification and absorption of food. As we age, the process becomes less efficient and the foods we eat must be cleaner and less processed.
 
We don’t get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep affects our hormones and leads to belly fat.
 
We don’t take the right supplements. Just because we can find a discount-priced supplement doesn’t mean it is the right one.
 
• We don’t take advantage of hormones. The better you understand how hormones affect health and weight, the quicker you can regain your younger figure.
 

Fad diets don’t work because the moment you get off them you gain all the weight and more back.
 
Diet pills also don’t work. When I was working in the emergency room, I saw too many women come in with terrible side effects from diet pills: pulmonary hypertension, hypertensive crisis, tremors, joint pain, horrific mood disorders, as well as addiction.
 
Skip the gimmicky exercise machines and gadgets that promise to deliver flat tummies overnight without a change in your life balance. They don’t work, are a waste of money and time, and will only lead to disappointment.

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