How To Lose Hormonal Belly Fat – 8 Effective Ways Suggested By Health Experts In 2024

Mitchelle Morgan - Health & Wellness Writer
Ellie Busby, MS, RDN
Hormonal belly fat can be challenging to remove. Learn how to lose hormonal belly fat in eight effective steps here in 2024. Read on!
how to lose hormonal belly fat
You can remove hormonal belly fat in eight ways. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Many women notice excess belly fat as they grow older, even if the rest of their bodies remain slim. Belly fat gain has several potential causes, but hormone imbalance is the most common — especially in older women.

Hormones regulate metabolism, appetite, stress, and sex drive, among many other bodily functions. If your hormones are imbalanced, your body will likely store more fat — often in the abdominal area. 

Here, we will discuss the hormonal imbalances that cause belly fat and the proven tips to lose belly fat. Read on to learn how to lose hormonal belly fat.

8 Methods To Get Rid Of Hormonal Belly Fat

  1. Limit alcohol.
  2. Manage stress levels.
  3. Eat a balanced diet.
  4. Choose low-calorie dense food.
  5. Do high-intensity workouts.
  6. Try time-restricted eating.
  7. Get enough quality sleep.
  8. Check your thyroid function.

8 Best Tips To Beat Hormonal Belly Fat

Many women struggle with losing their hormonal bellies. Losing hormonal belly fat can be an uphill task; many do it incorrectly or follow unproven advice. Here are eight science-backed ways to burn belly fat. 

Featured Partner Offer



  • Helps to burn fat
  • Crushes food cravings
  • Boosts energy and balances mood
  • High-quality formula

See PhenQ Review

Money Back Guarantee and Free US Shipping


Limit Your Alcohol

Alcohol is calorific. 1 gram of alcohol provides 7 kcal, and it’s more addictive than other calorie sources. Hence, drinking more alcohol can result in an increased calorie intake,[1] eventually resulting in weight gain. 

Drinking alcohol before or with meals is especially risky as it’s associated with eating bigger portions.

If you have tried every other weight-loss tip, but your belly won’t go away, try dropping booze for a month to see what happens.

Manage Stress Levels

how to lose hormonal belly fat
High stress levels may increase cortisol, leading to weight gain. Photo: Mironov Konstantin/Shutterstock

High-stress levels can spike the stress hormone cortisol.[2] Usually, this hormone helps people navigate stressful situations, but too much of it can lead to abdominal weight gain.[3] 

To reduce cortisol levels, find stress-relief techniques[4] that help you relax. Here are some to try:

  • Avoid stressful situations: Make a list of everything that causes you stress, and avoid avoidable ones, especially if they are not priorities.
  • Practice stress-relieving habits: Adopt habits that help you relieve stress, especially if the cause is unavoidable. Some people find yoga, workouts, nature walks, or socializing helpful.
  • Mental healthcare: High stress levels might be caused by a medical condition, like an anxiety disorder. In such cases, seek professional help to reduce the stress. 

The main goal is to reduce stress and relax as much as possible. This relaxation helps your brain stop producing stress hormones that contribute to weight gain.

Eating A Balanced Diet

Healthy eating habits go a long way to promote weight loss and reduce insulin resistance. Poor diet quality is linked to higher stress levels,[5] improper insulin functioning, and poor sleep,[6] which can impact weight gain. 

Focus on a healthy diet[7] that helps reduce cortisol levels. For example, a high intake of fatty foods[8] is linked to poor cortisol regulation. Fructose, a sugar commonly used in processed foods, is also linked to cortisol activation.[9]

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables while avoiding processed fatty foods, sugar, and caffeine[10] can help regulate cortisol levels. 

Choose Low-Calorie Dense Foods

Processed foods don’t just spike cortisol levels — they are also calorie-dense[11] and low in essential nutrients. 

Choosing whole foods, which tend to be lower in calories and are more nutrient-dense, is crucial for managing a hormonal belly. This is especially important during menopause when energy expenditure is reduced[12] — otherwise known as a slower metabolism — and you’re more susceptible to belly fat gain.

The first step you can take in your diet to overcome perimenopausal and menopausal weight gain is to eat a whole-food diet. You should reach your weight loss goals with the right food to balance your hormones. 

What Should I Eat to Lose Hormonal Belly Fat?

Low-calorie whole foods[13] reduce hunger and cravings, aiding healthy weight management. The best whole foods to add to your hormonal belly diet plan include

  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Lean fish.
  • Beans.

Do High-Intensity Workouts

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT workouts, can help you lose weight faster — even in challenging situations like menopause.

HIIT workouts are more time-efficient than endurance exercise and, therefore, the best option for people with menopausal bellies. From a study[14] conducted on obese postmenopausal women, those doing HIIT lost twice as much weight as those on the endurance program. They were also more likely to stick to their HIIT program.

HIIT also helps build muscle mass that will help burn extra calories, improve insulin resistance, and improve general health.

Time-Restricted Eating

This type of intermittent fasting is when you eat for specific hours of your day. For example, you can eat for eight hours and fast for the rest of the day, or 16 hours.

There are two types of Intermittent fasting. They include:

  • Alternate day fasting, also known as ADF. This is where you fast for 24 hours and eat as usual the next day. Ideally, you fast for a complete day to detox your body.
  • Time-restricted eating,[15] also known as TRE. This eating plan is where you fast for a shorter period each day. You can choose to fast for up to 16 hours and eat for eight hours or fast for 12 hours and eat within 12 hours.

Most people reason that the longer you fast, the faster you’ll lose weight. But that’s not true, especially with belly fat. If you want to shed weight with intermittent fasting, most people find it easier to stick to TRE.

It can also work[16] alongside calorie restriction to improve metabolic health.However, beware that skipping breakfast is associated with worse cortisol regulation,[17] which could negatively impact weight management and abdominal weight gain.

Get Enough Quality Sleep

how to lose hormonal belly fat
Getting enough sleep helps regulate insulin. Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock

Getting enough sleep[18] each night keeps cortisol in check and reduces fat storage. Adequate sleep also helps regulate insulin levels, which are crucial for blood sugar balance, metabolism, and avoiding excess weight gain. 

Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night to keep your hormones in check. 

Check Your Thyroid Function

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your gut responsible for producing hormones that control metabolism. When you have an underactive thyroid — known as hypothyroidism[19] — your body produces fewer thyroid hormones. 

Research shows[20] hypothyroidism can often lead to weight gain, especially around the belly. This weight gain may partly be due to increased water retention.[21]

To help curb hypothyroidism,[19] doctors recommend levothyroxine, which mimics your natural thyroid hormones. This medication helps return your thyroid hormones to the recommended level, helping to speed up your metabolism and stop hormonal weight gain. 

What Is Hormonal Belly Fat?

Irregular hormones could cause excess fat in your belly region.[22] Hormones are responsible for regulating appetite, sex drive, and metabolism. You might have excess weight in the belly area if you have dysregulated hormone levels.

What Causes A Hormonal Belly?

Several factors contribute to the increase of visceral belly fat during menopause. Understanding these reasons can help you make informed choices to combat this common issue. They include

Hormonal Changes

The primary cause of hormonal belly fat[23] is the hormonal shift that occurs during menopause. Production of estrogen, a hormone that helps regulate body fat distribution, begins to decline following progressive loss of ovarian function.

With lower estrogen levels, fat tends to shift from the hips and thighs to the abdominal area. These visceral fat deposits are what bring about the rounder midsection.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS, are also at higher risk of obesity due to abnormal amounts of androgens, studies[24] reveal. Androgens are male sex hormones like testosterone.

Other Causes

  • Metabolic syndrome: A 2016 study[25] on 1470 women found evidence of an increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome during the menopausal transition.
  • Slower metabolism: During menopause, metabolic rate slows[26] down, meaning older women burn fewer calories at rest. This means postmenopausal women must change their eating habits to avoid weight gain. 
  • Reduced physical inactivity: Women become less active[27] as they go through their 40s, 50s, and 60s. 
  • Chronic stress: A 2023 clinical study[28] on 20 normal-weight women with PCOS found that reduced cortisol levels — linked to lower stress levels — protected against abdominal fat buildup.
  • Genetics: Genetics influence body fat distribution, with Asians being more predisposed to visceral fat[29] than Europeans and Africans.
  • Poor sleep quality: Hot flashes[30] are the most prevalent menopause-related discomfort, followed closely by night sweats. This discomfort can impact sleep quality and quantity, having a knock-on effect on weight management.
  • Inadequate hormone replacement therapy or HRT: A small number of women may experience weight gain[31] due to HRT.

Featured Partner Offer



Enjoy 10% Off & Free Shipping Code: “FIRST10

Applied at checkout

Check Price

Signs Your Hormones Are Causing Belly Fat

Here are a few signs your hormones might be the issue:


Hormonal belly fat is a problem for many, especially older men and women who have issues with hormonal imbalances. A hormonal belly puts you at greater risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases[34] due to excess body fat. 

Menopause is usually the cause of belly fat in older women. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism are other common conditions that trigger hormone imbalances and increase fat deposits. 

To lose hormonal belly weight, eat a balanced, whole-food diet, exercise regularly, and reduce your stress levels. If you notice symptoms of low thyroid function, check your thyroid hormone levels with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hormonal belly go away?

With the right procedures, hormonal belly fat will go away. Your doctor will give solutions depending on the problem and the hormone affected. If an underactive thyroid contributes to your weight gain, your doctor may prescribe medication to help.

What does a hormone belly look like?

Although the appearance differs from one person to another, a hormonal belly presents as accumulated fat around the lower waist region.

How can cortisol belly fat be reduced?

The first step is reducing chronic stress. Also, physical exercise, like swimming, cycling, walking, or running, can help reduce stress and burn excess calories, resulting in weight loss.

How do you lose cortisol belly fat?

The best way to reduce belly fat is by eating a healthy diet and reducing cortisol levels. You can keep your cortisol levels in check by getting enough sleep and reducing stress.

How do you know if your belly fat is hormonal?

Most abdominal fat is caused by poor diet and lifestyle. However, aging increases the risk of hormone imbalances, contributing to belly fat. Check your hormone levels if your belly fat stays despite a balanced diet.

How long does it take to reduce hormonal belly?

Each person reacts differently to diet and lifestyle changes. The larger you are, the likelier you are to burn more fat during exercise. Men also tend to lose weight[35] faster than women because of their increased muscle mass percentage.

Where is hormonal belly fat?

It is located in the abdominal area, close to the body parts in the abdominal cavity.

What causes a hormonal belly?

Hormonal imbalance is the main cause of hormonal belly. Thyroid complications, Cushing syndrome, a condition that occurs from prolonged exposure to cortisol, and imbalances in testosterone or estrogen levels are the main causes of hormonal belly.


  1. Traversy, G. and Chaput, J. (2015). Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update. Current obesity reports, [online] 4(1), pp.122–130. doi:
  2. Iob, E. and Steptoe, A. (2019). Cardiovascular Disease and Hair Cortisol: a Novel Biomarker of Chronic Stress. Current Cardiology Reports, [online] 21(10). doi:
  3. Hewagalamulage, S.D., Lee, K., Clarke, I.J. and Henry, B.A. (2016). Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, [online] 56, pp.S112–S120. doi:
  4. Yekta Said Can, Iles-Smith, H., Niaz Chalabianloo, Deniz Ekiz, Fernández-Álvarez, J., Repetto, C., Riva, G. and Ersoy, C. (2020). How to Relax in Stressful Situations: A Smart Stress Reduction System. Healthcare, [online] 8(2), pp.100–100. doi:
  5. Lizanne J S Schweren, Larsson, H., Vinke, P.C., Li, L., Liv Grimstvedt Kvalvik, Arias-Vásquez, A., Haavik, J. and Hartman, C.A. (2021). Diet quality, stress and common mental health problems: A cohort study of 121,008 adults. Clinical Nutrition, [online] 40(3), pp.901–906. doi:
  6. Herrmann, K., Cano, S., Iñaki Elío, Manuel Masias Vergara, Giampieri, F. and Battino, M. (2016). Associations between Sleep, Cortisol Regulation, and Diet: Possible Implications for the Risk of Alzheimer Disease. Advances in Nutrition, [online] 7(4), pp.679–689. doi:
  7. CDC (2023). Losing Weight . [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at:
  8. Pearlmutter, P., Derose, G., Samson, C., Linehan, N., Cen, Y., Begdache, L., Won, D. and Koh, A. (2020). Sweat and saliva cortisol response to stress and nutrition factors. Scientific Reports, [online] 10(1). doi:
  9. DiNicolantonio, J.J., Team, E., Neema Onkaramurthy and O’Keefe, J.H. (2018). Fructose-induced inflammation and increased cortisol: A new mechanism for how sugar induces visceral adiposity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, [online] 61(1), pp.3–9. doi:
  10. Stachowicz, M. and Lebiedzińska, A. (2016). The effect of diet components on the level of cortisol. European Food Research and Technology, [online] 242(12), pp.2001–2009. doi:
  11. Rolls, B.J. (2017). Dietary energy density: Applying behavioural science to weight management. Nutrition Bulletin, [online] 42(3), pp.246–253. doi:
  12. Marlatt, K.L., D Pitynski-Miller, Gavin, K.M., Moreau, K.L., Melanson, E.L., Santoro, N. and Kohrt, W.M. (2021). Body composition and cardiometabolic health across the menopause transition. Obesity, [online] 30(1), pp.14–27. doi:
  13. Greger, M. (2020). A Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Is Effective for Weight Loss: The Evidence. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, [online] 14(5), pp.500–510. doi:
  14. Cebrick, J.A., Arigo, D. and Bachman, J. (2018). Meaningful weight loss in obese postmenopausal women: a pilot study of high-intensity interval training and wearable technology. Menopause, [online] 25(4), pp.465–470. doi:
  15. Chow, L.S., Emily, Alvear, A., Fleischer, J.G., Thor, H., Dietsche, K., Wang, Q., Hodges, J.S., Esch, N., Samar Malaeb, Tasma Harindhanavudhi, K. Sreekumaran Nair, Panda, S. and Mashek, D.G. (2020). Time‐Restricted Eating Effects on Body Composition and Metabolic Measures in Humans who are Overweight: A Feasibility Study. Obesity, [online] 28(5), pp.860–869. doi:
  16. Soliman, G.A. (2022). Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating role in dietary interventions and precision nutrition. Frontiers in Public Health, [online] 10. doi:
  17. Chawla, S., S. Beretoulis, Deere, A. and Radenkovic, D. (2021). The Window Matters: A Systematic Review of Time Restricted Eating Strategies in Relation to Cortisol and Melatonin Secretion. Nutrients, [online] 13(8), pp.2525–2525. doi:
  18. Hirotsu, C., Sérgio Tufik and Mônica Levy Andersen (2015). Interactions between sleep, stress, and metabolism: From physiological to pathological conditions. Sleep Science, [online] 8(3), pp.143–152. doi:
  19. Layal Chaker, Bianco, A.C., Jonklaas, J. and Peeters, R.P. (2017). Hypothyroidism. The Lancet, [online] 390(10101), pp.1550–1562. doi:
  20. Mehran, L., Atieh Amouzegar, Parnian Kheirkhah Rahimabad, Tohidi, M., Zhale Tahmasebinejad and Azizi, F. (2017). Thyroid Function and Metabolic Syndrome: A Population-Based Thyroid Study. Hormone and Metabolic Research, [online] 49(03), pp.192–200. doi:
  21. Mónica Rios-Prego, Anibarro, L. and Sánchez-Sobrino, P. (2019). Relationship between thyroid dysfunction and body weight: a not so evident paradigm. International Journal of General Medicine, [online] Volume 12, pp.299–304. doi:
  22. Varna Kodoth, Scaccia, S. and Aggarwal, B. (2022). Adverse Changes in Body Composition During the Menopausal Transition and Relation to Cardiovascular Risk: A Contemporary Review. Women’s health reports, [online] 3(1), pp.573–581. doi:
  23. Frank, A., Roberta, Palmer, B.F. and Clegg, D.J. (2019). Determinants of body fat distribution in humans may provide insight about obesity-related health risks. Journal of Lipid Research, [online] 60(10), pp.1710–1719. doi:
  24. Barber, T.M. (2022). Why are women with polycystic ovary syndrome obese? British Medical Bulletin, [online] 143(1), pp.4–15. doi:
  25. Gurka, M.J., Abhishek Vishnu, Santen, R.J. and DeBoer, M.D. (2016). Progression of Metabolic Syndrome Severity During the Menopausal Transition. Journal of the American Heart Association, [online] 5(8). doi:
  26. Ko, S.-H. and Kim, H. (2020). Menopause-Associated Lipid Metabolic Disorders and Foods Beneficial for Postmenopausal Women. Nutrients, [online] 12(1), pp.202–202. doi:
  27. Dumesic, D.A., Turcu, A.F., Li, H., Grogan, T., Abbott, D.H., Lu, G., D. Dharanipragada and Chazenbalk, G.D. (2023). Interplay of Cortisol, Testosterone, and Abdominal Fat Mass in Normal-weight Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Journal of the Endocrine Society, [online] 7(8). doi:
  28. Anna Vittoria Mattioli, Selleri, V., Zanini, G., Nasi, M., Pinti, M., Stefanelli, C., Fedele, F. and Gallina, S. (2022). Physical Activity and Diet in Older Women: A Narrative Review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, [online] 12(1), pp.81–81. doi:
  29. Sun, C., Kovacs, P. and Guiu‐Jurado, E. (2021). Genetics of Body Fat Distribution: Comparative Analyses in Populations with European, Asian and African Ancestries. Genes, [online] 12(6), pp.841–841. doi:
  30. Bansal, R. and Aggarwal, N. (2019). Menopausal hot flashes: A concise review. Journal of Mid-life Health, [online] 10(1), pp.6–6. doi:
  31. Black, D., Mary Jane Minkin, Graham, S., Bernick, B. and Mirkin, S. (2020). Effects of combined 17β-estradiol and progesterone on weight and blood pressure in postmenopausal women of the REPLENISH trial. Menopause, [online] 28(1), pp.32–39. doi:
  32. Santoro, N., C. Neill Epperson and Mathews, S.B. (2015). Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, [online] 44(3), pp.497–515. doi:
  33. Endocrine Society (2022). Menopause. [online] Available at:
  34. and, D. (2023). Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Stroke. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at:
  35. Christensen, P., Thomas Meinert Larsen, Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., Macdonald, I.A., J. Alfredo Martínéz, Svetoslav Handjiev, Poppitt, S.D., Hansen, S., Ritz, C., Astrup, A., L. Pastor-Sanz, Finn Sandø‐Pedersen, Pietiläinen, K.H., Sundvall, J., Mathijs Drummen, Taylor, M.A., Navas‐Carretero, S., Handjieva‐Darlenska, T., Brodie, S. and Silvestre, M.P. (2018). Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi-centre intervention study after a low-energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre-diabetes (PREVIEW). Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, [online] 20(12), pp.2840–2851. doi:

More from Weight Management