The main problem with a fighting hormonal imbalance that causes belly fat is that all the issues are cyclical—one issue leads to another and back. That’s why many women have a hard time whittling away a hormonal belly. Aside from medical intervention, there are lifestyle changes you can make to break the cycle and reset your hormones.
“Making conscious day-to-day decisions about what you eat, the amount of exercise you get, how many hours you sleep, and how you handle stressful situations, is key to combatting hormonal imbalances,” Dr. Montoya says. Dr. Gottfried suggests overhauling what you eat. “I recommend 40 days of cutting out sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine,” she says. “Aim to eat one pound of vegetables daily, such as cruciferous vegetables, along with anti-inflammatory protein. The goal is to reduce nutritional stress by cutting out highly reactive foods.”
In addition to changing your diet, Dr. Gottfried suggests considering intermittent fasting. She also advises doing HIIT workouts and getting at least seven to eight hours each night. (If HIIT workouts aren’t right for you, Keatley recommends doing cardio workouts like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling, along with strength training “which helps maintain or increase muscle mass and metabolism.”)
“Adequate sleep and stress management are crucial because poor sleep and high stress can disrupt your hormones, leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight,” Keatley says.
But Keatley says that “a multi-pronged approach works best” when it comes to losing belly fat. “This includes a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and stress management,” he says. “Cutting back on refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and alcohol can be particularly helpful.