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Top Menopause Expert: These Shortcuts End Inflammaging and Make Weight Loss Easier After Age 50

Dr. Mary Claire Haver: "There are lots of small changes that have a big impact"

If you’re over 50 and have pounds collecting around your midsection, there may be a surprise culprit: inflammaging. It’s a trendy term for chronic irritation that develops in our cells, releasing chemicals linked to belly fat, joint pain, brain fog and many other issues blamed on advancing years. Traditional diets and lack of exercise “can actually cause inflammation, making the problem worse,” notes Texas ob-gyn and The New Menopause author Mary Claire Haver, MD, who has made it her mission to help women stay healthy as their hormones change. Here, Dr. Haver shares anti-inflammaging shortcuts. How well do they work? Her patients and millions of TikTok followers report transforming their waists and well-being, with some ending chronic pain, reversing prediabetes and even losing over 100 pounds. “I think you’ll be amazed,” she says.

Are you at risk of inflammaging?

For virtually everyone, the answer is yes. From stress and blood sugar–spiking foods to poor sleep and even pollution, the modern world is full of risk factors that promote inflammaging. And women over the age of 50 have an added concern: Estrogen is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone, so as levels decline near menopause, inflammaging often surges.

Dr. Haver says that inflamed cells release compounds with toxic properties, so inflammaging “can affect every single system.” Prime example: As the body struggles to control blood sugar and stress hormones linked to abdominal fat storage, the belly gets bigger. Arthritis also tends to flare. Immunity and brain function tank. We end up feeling lousy.

Related: Understanding the Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain and Inflammation — And How You Can Break It Once and for All

Inflammaging and weight loss

“I like to give women a whole toolkit of options, but I always start with nutrition, which has the biggest impact,” shares Dr. Haver. “A simple first step is to try to fill up on anti-inflammatory foods, especially veggies, fruit, beans, seeds. The idea is to crowd out highly processed and sugary foods that have been shown to make inflammation worse.”

Dr. Haver also suggests a free food tracking app, like Cronometer, because recording what we eat nudges us to make better choices. Eventually, aim for at least 25 grams of fiber and no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day, “which goes a long way in fighting inflammation.” And if fighting fat is your main goal, Dr. Haver says it also goes a long way towards weight loss. (Click through to learn more about Dr. Haver’s basic weight loss approach.)

Anti-inflammaging shortcuts to boost results

To build more momentum as you lose weight and feel better, “there are lots of small changes that have a big impact,” says Dr. Haver. Her favorites:

Shortcut #1: A flat-belly brunch

“Bumping breakfast later is a form of intermittent fasting that helps shift cells into a state called autophagy,” says Dr. Haver. “Cells end up stronger and more resistant to inflammation.” Bolstered cells do most things better, like controlling blood sugar and burning belly fat. A University of Chicago study even found eating in an eight-hour window (like 11 am to 7 pm) is enough to trigger significant belly loss with no other dietary changes.

Related: “I’m 71, and Intermittent Fasting Saved Me From a Wheelchair — Plus I Lost 121 Pounds!”

Shortcut #2: Slimming weekend hack

Dr. Haver says taking an hour or so each weekend to prep some weekday meals sets you up for success when life gets busy. She gives a special shout-out to soup, like the delicious recipe below. “It packs a lot of anti-inflammatory ingredients and is so easy to make and reheat.” Bonus: Penn State research shows soup’s unique solid-liquid mix intensifies our stop-eating signals, immediately cutting appetite by 400 calories.

Related: News: The Top 10 Soup Ingredients To Speed Weight Loss, According To Nutritionists

Shortcut #3: Tiny-waist tea

Compounds in the spice turmeric are exceptionally anti-inflammatory, working as well as some prescription arthritis meds. In separate research, turmeric also triggered weight loss, reduced waist circumference and lowered blood pressure and anxiety in non-dieters. Dr. Haver recommends adding it to meals or taking a supplement. As for Tennessee grandmother Debby Bivins, 57: “I drink turmeric tea in the evening. It’s good for me and staves off the desire to snack.”

Related: Turmeric Milk for Weight Loss: How to Reap the Benefits of This Delicious Fat-Burner

Shortcut #4: Chocolate + fiber

Debby and many of Dr. Haver’s devotees rave about Lily’s brand chocolate. It’s naturally sugar-free, is made from anti-inflammatory- cocoa “and it’s high in fiber, so it helps with your fiber goals,” says 57-pounds-slimmer Tennessee retiree Lori Thomas. “I have three squares most nights.” How much does fiber help? In a study that including women up to 70 years old, folks coached to eat healthier experienced three times greater weight loss if they took simple steps to get more fiber daily.

Related: Dr. Haver: These Are the Four Key Nutrients That Help Women Over 50 Beat Weight Gain

Inflammaging and weight loss success story: Debby Bivins, 57

Debby Bivins found Dr. Haver on TikTok as menopause hit — and she’s very glad she did. “No matter what I did, the weight kept creeping on and I felt horrible as a whole. I was having fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, night sweats,” she recalls. “Dr. Haver gave words to all the things I was experiencing and didn’t make me feel crazy.”

Inspired, Debby gradually incorporated anti-inflammatory strategies. One favorite: “Greek yogurt with berries, chia and hemp seed gets me halfway to my fiber goal with one meal.” She also switched to less-intense exercise to lower stress. “I began losing weight and was less puffy in my midsection. But what kept me going is how much better I felt. I had more energy, slept better and my menopausal symptoms were less severe.”

Down two sizes, Debby plans to continue her new habits forever. “On other diets, you’re waiting for them to be over. This makes me feel so good, I never want to stop!”

Inflammaging and weight loss before and after: Lori Thomas, 55

Before and after of Lori Thomas who lost 57 lbs using a plan from Dr. Haver for inflammaging and weight loss
Carla Lynn Photography

As Lori Thomas’ body began to change at the onset of menopause, “I went to a medical weight-loss center and was put on a 900-calorie diet,” recalls the Tennessee retiree, 55. It was miserable and didn’t work. Lingering pain from an old accident got worse, plus she developed heart palpitations, hot flashes, IBS and brain fog. Luckily, her friend Debby suggested Dr. Haver’s approach.

Lori began using the Cronometer app to get fiber up and sugar down. She became a fan of easy options like cottage cheese, fruit and seeds for brunch and pre-prepped salads. Dinner was usually protein and veggies with chocolate for dessert. Her body loved it. “I honestly eat all the healthy food I want from 10 am to 6 pm. Most of my issues were gone in three months. I’d wake up shocked that I wasn’t hurting anywhere.” She shed 57 pounds too. “I want women to know you can feel great after menopause. Your symptoms are real, but you’re not stuck with them. Anti-inflammatory nutrition works!”

Dr. Haver-approved meals to fight menopause-related fat

To flatten your belly and improve your health Dr. Haver’s way, start by making anti-inflammatory foods your staples. She suggests emphasizing produce, beans and seeds while aiming to get at least 25 grams of fiber and no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day. A free app like Cronometer helps make tracking nutrients a cinch. We’ve got no-fuss meal ideas to inspire you. Find more free resources at

Breakfast idea: Protein + fiber shake

Dr. Haver weight loss: Breakfast idea: Protein + fiber shake

Blitz 1 cup nut milk, ½ cup frozen berries, 2 Tbs. protein powder, ½ cup frozen cauliflower, ½ cup white beans and stevia to taste.

Lunch idea: Healthy DIY ‘Lunchables’

Dr. Haver weight loss: Lunch idea: Healthy DIY ‘Lunchables’

Pack things like salad, rotisserie chicken and quinoa; add a small container of olive-oil vinaigrette and stash fruit on the side.

Dinner idea: Fish in a packet

Dr. Haver weight loss: Dinner idea: Fish in a packet

Place a 6-oz. serving cod and 1-2 cup veggies on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice; add seasoning to taste. Crimp edges of foil together to form a packet. Bake at 400ºF until fish is cooked through, 15–20 minutes.

Bonus recipe: The slow-cooker soup that slims as it soothes

Dr. Haver weight loss: Bonus recipe: The slow-cooker soup that slims as it soothes
iAldoshina Ekaterina/Getty

Prep Dr. Haver’s anti-inflammatory easy recipe over the weekend, and you’ll have 10 heat-and-eat meals for the week ahead.


  • 16 oz. dry navy beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 ib. ground turkey, browned
  • 3½ cups onion, celery and bell pepper (can buy pre-chopped)
  • 1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. Better than Bouillon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover with about an inch of water.
  2. Cook on low 8 hours. Store in fridge or freezer.

Click through for more doctor-approved ways to make weight loss easier after age 50:

Could Magnesium Be the Key That Unlocks Weight Loss For Women Over 50? Dr. Carolyn Dean Says “Yes!

This Surprise Egg Twist Is Helping Women Over 50 Drop 100+ lbs — Top MD Calls It “Critical” for Losing Weight

Top MD: Easy Big-Breakfast Hack Helps Fight Diabetes and Boost Weight Loss After Age 50

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