The number one reason it's so hard to lose belly fat during menopause: hormones. With menopause comes a drop in estrogen; this decrease alters where the body stores fat, making women more prone to gaining visceral belly fat. Other hormonal imbalances during this time can leave the body feeling hungry, even after eating. Sleep disturbances, common in perimenopause and menopause, are associated with decreased levels of leptin (an appetite suppressant) and increased levels of ghrelin (an appetite stimulant).
Additionally, the stresses of life -- kids, college tuitions or the mortgage -- can lead to an increase in cortisol, the "stress hormone," which also triggers your body to store fat around the middle.
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com