Eat your belly fat goodbye in the 6 steps that celeb PT swears by

FIRST the hot flashes, then the memory loss and now the increased belly fat!

When it comes to going through menopause, the list of symptoms seems endless.


Fitness expert Cecilia Harris says women can say goodbye to belly fat with some simple lifestyle changesPhoto: Cecilia Harris/RWL

Hot flashes are annoying, but fat storage around your midsection can negatively impact your self-confidence and overall health, so it’s incredibly important to prevent it.

Cecilia Harris, fitness expert and founder of menopause wellness app RWL, says that if you know the golden rules of eating during menopause, you’ll be a no-brainer when it comes to belly fat.

Cecilia, 53, says: “For years I had exercised regularly, eaten home-cooked food, never dieted and never suffered from belly fat – until menopause hit.

“Suddenly I noticed belly fat appearing where it hadn’t been before and I quickly realized I needed to make smarter food choices.

“Those choices changed everything and those choices can mean the same for you too.”

But why does menopause actually cause this weight gain around our middle?

Cecilia, who trains TOWIE’s Lucy Mecklenburgh, Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas, Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid and The Saturdays’ Frankie Bridge, says: “The hormonal changes we go through during menopause change our gut microbiome, meaning our bodies don’t is able to use energy in the same way as before, but instead store it as fat, especially around the middle.

“In addition, our muscle mass begins to rapidly decrease, leading to weight gain and a ‘loosening’ effect.

Most read in Diet & Nutrition

“It’s also difficult to find the energy to eat well and stay active when hormonal changes make you lethargic and your sleep is disrupted. Eating too much and exercising too little can also be a cause of belly fat.

“Diet is crucial if you’re serious about losing that spare tire around your middle, but if you try to move more – with daily walks and a regular workout routine – you can really regulate your hormones, increase your energy levels and maintain your muscle.”

Five Exercises to Get Rid of Belly Fat Fast—And No, It’s Not Just Painful Sit-Ups

From what to cut to what to put in, Cecilia reveals the six key steps to reducing menopausal belly fat for good.

Get rid of these:

1. Highly processed foods

“Highly processed foods are packaged foods that have been processed with chemicals and additives,” says Cecilia.

“Processed foods include things like cold cuts (sausages), takeaways, supermarket bread, chips, frozen pizzas and many breakfast cereals.

“This is a recipe for disaster during menopause.

“The additives disrupt your hormones even more, and they already cause major changes in the bacteria in your intestinal flora, which can lead to bloating and fat storage.

“Highly processed foods are also designed to give you a quick energy boost with flavors that make you want to eat more and more.

“Because all the other hormonal changes increase your appetite, adding these foods can also cause you to eat foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients – leading to weight gain.”

2. Refined sugar

Cecilia says: “The hormone estrogen helps control our blood sugar levels thanks to its influence on insulin.

“When we enter menopause we experience a drop in estrogen, which means the body can suddenly find it harder to control sugar levels.

“Cookies, candy, milk chocolate, sugary drinks, ice cream, and sugary breakfast cereals are all good examples of foods high in sugar.

“Because sugar is high in calories but still makes you hungry after eating it, you are more likely to consume more of it.

“When we consume these high levels of sugar, we experience a ‘sugar peak,’ which is followed by insulin release and a sugar crash, leaving you feeling exhausted.

“During menopause, the last thing you want to feel is tired – and what’s more, tiredness often means we reach for more… you guessed it… sugar.”

The ideal menopause menu


An omelet made with two to three eggs, peppers, onions and tomatoes


Chicken burrito bowl with boiled chicken, kidney beans, avocado, corn, onions, tomato, lettuce, bell pepper, sour cream and quinoa or Bulgur wheat


Carrots or cucumber dipped in hummus


Tuna steak with whole wheat rice, broccoli, asparagus and optionally a glass of red wine

Eat more of this:

3. Lean proteins

Cecilia says: “To really have the best chance of reducing your visceral fat (the belly fat around your waist) during menopause, you should look at eating a healthy, more Mediterranean diet.

“I always tell people to start by looking at their protein because it is the building block of their diet.

“Eating unprocessed meats like fish, steak and chicken is a fantastic way to get good quality protein into your diet without disrupting your hormones.

“Tofu and eggs are also great additions to your diet, and protein helps keep you feeling full for longer.”

4. Vegetables

Cecilia says: “Homemade meals are key to losing belly fat during menopause. After you’ve chosen your protein source, think veggies, veggies, veggies.

“Zucchini, broccoli, spinach, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots – they are all packed with nutrients, release energy slowly and won’t make you overeat.

“Toss them all on a tray, top them with some herbs and bake them in the oven – a piece of cake.”

Diet is the key if you are serious about getting rid of the spare tire around your middle

Cecilia HarrisPersonal trainer

5. Berries

Cecilia says: “If you have a sweet tooth, berries are your best friend during menopause.

“They are super high in antioxidants, which are great for overall health, but are especially helpful during menopause because they can reduce inflammation, reduce stress in the body, and support healthy aging processes.

“They also give you that delicious sweet craving without disrupting your insulin release.”

6. Wine…?

Cecilia says: “Okay, while it is not recommended to drink a lot of alcohol if you want to lose belly fat, the truth is that drinking a glass of wine is not going to be the cause of your weight gain.

“Red wine contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and lipid-improving properties, which can be beneficial during menopause.

Read more on the Irish Sun

“Some women experience hot flashes due to alcohol. If this is your case, it is best to try to reduce this.

“But if you want to reduce belly fat, a glass of red wine is fine!”

The 5 Best Exercises to Get a Flat Stomach for Your Summer Vacation

BAD sit-ups aren’t the only way to burn belly fat.

London-based personal trainer Will Duru shared five exercises to tone your stomach this summer.

1. Genuflections

Lie on your back and place your hands in a V-shape at the base of your spine for support.

Lift your legs off the floor and bend them toward your chest, before extending them out in front of you.

Perform four sets of this, with 20 repetitions each.

2. Plank side twist

Get into a plank position, resting on your forearms and keeping your body in a straight line.

Turn from side to side and lower your hips.

Do four sets of 20 reps.

3. Mountain climbers

Start in a plank position, resting your weight on your palms and making sure your buttocks aren’t sticking up.

Alternately move one knee toward your chest and one knee back out.

You can do these exercises slowly and in a controlled manner, or speed them up to a ‘running pace’.

Do four sets of 40 seconds each.

4. Toe touches

Lie on your back and extend your legs in front of you at a 45-degree angle.

Extend your arms toward your toes and rotate your torso off the floor, engaging your core muscles.

Repeat the movement 20 times. Do four sets in total.

5. Butterfly sit-ups

Lie on the floor, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together so that your legs fly outward like a butterfly.

Extend your arms above your head, resting them on the floor or in front of your chest.

Sit all the way up, brace your core, and bring your hands as close to your feet as possible before curling back into the floor.

Do four sets of 10.

Watch Will do the exercises here.

The personal trainer says: 'Diet is key if you're serious about getting rid of your spare tire'


Personal Trainer Says: ‘Diet Is Key If You’re Serious About Getting Rid of Your Spare Tire’Credit: RWL
Frankie Bridge is said to be a big fan of Cecilia's training


Frankie Bridge is said to be a big fan of Cecilia’s workoutsCredit: Getty
She also collaborates with Lucy Mecklenburgh


She also collaborates with Lucy MecklenburghSource: Getty Images – Getty
Cecilia helps train Susanna Reid


Cecilia helps train Susanna ReidCredit: Getty
Cecilia also trains Ryan Thomas


Cecilia also trains Ryan ThomasSource: Getty Images – Getty

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