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Can You Maintain Breast Size While Losing Weight?

by
author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Can You Maintain Breast Size While Losing Weight?
Weight loss decreases fat all over, including in your breasts. Photo Credit Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

While it would be nice to be able to lose the fat from only your problem areas, weight loss doesn't work like that. The fat loss comes from all areas of your body, and that means your breasts too, since they contain fat tissue. If you lose a significant amount of weight, your breast size will likely decrease. If you're concerned about how your weight loss might affect the size of your breasts, talk to your doctor for guidance.

The Anatomy of Your Breasts

Your breasts are made up of fatty tissue, lobules, milk ducts, muscle and skin, with fat making up the bulk of the breast tissue. In fact, the amount of fatty tissue in a woman's breast is at least partly to blame for the difference in an "A" cup vs. a "D" cup. Breast fat is subcutaneous fat, which is fat just under the skin that you can pinch, as opposed to visceral fat, which is found behind your abdominal wall surrounding your internal organs. The difference is important because when it comes to weight loss, visceral fat tends to go before subcutaneous fat, which means that if you have a lot of belly fat, your breast size may not decrease as fast as your waist size.

Fat Distribution and Weight Loss

To lose fat, you need to create a negative calorie balance by eating less, exercising more or both. How and where you lose fat is largely dependent on genetics, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Your genetic makeup determines your fat distribution. Some people carry most of their fat in their upper body or abdominal region, known as android or apple shape, and others carry most of their fat in the lower body, known as gynoid or pear shape. Women tend to carry their fat in the lower part of their body. And for women, this lower body fat is difficult to lose, according to 2012 study published in Obesity. Fat loss comes from all over but mostly from the areas where you have more of it, including your breasts. So, if you're pear-shaped with large breasts, you'll become a thinner pear with smaller breasts.

Weight Loss and Breast Size

As you lose fat all over, your breast size decreases. However, there is a connection between large breasts and abdominal visceral fat, according to a 2012 article published on PLOS Blog. So, while you may not be thrilled about the decrease in breast size, losing excess fat, especially the belly fat, offers health benefits that go beyond the benefits of cleavage. It reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. Celebrate your weight loss, and your health, with new, smaller pants and bras.

Chest Exercises and Breast Size

No exercise is going to help bring back your old breast size after weight loss. Working out your chest area, specifically your pectoralis major or pecs, may help improve support, however. Push-ups require no special equipment and can be done anywhere. If you have access to weights, you can do barbell bench presses or dumbbell flies.

While you can't improve breast size through exercise, good posture may make them appear bigger, according to the author of the book "Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training for Women." Pull-ups and back extensions on a stability ball can help strengthen shoulders and back for better posture. Also, standing straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back gives the appearance of fuller breasts.

For health and balance, a good muscle-building program should include exercises that work out all your major muscle groups, not just those that perk up your bosom. Don't forget to work out your legs, abs, arms and butt too.

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