Home #ScaleFreeBaby Q&A Wednesday: Fat Loss Plan vs. Breast Reduction – How to Choose?

Q&A Wednesday: Fat Loss Plan vs. Breast Reduction – How to Choose?

by Erika Nicole Kendall
Q&A Wednesday: Breast Reduction Surgery vs Exercise and Fat Loss

Q: Hi! I hope you are doing well. I have been following your blog for a few years now. It’s so awesome! I always read over and over the post regarding boobs. Lol You mentioned that you dropped several cup sizes because of walking and exercise. I’m currently a 38H. I want to lose severalllll cup sizes, but I don’t know which method I want to take – breast reduction or exercising. I guess my concern is, that I won’t lose enough breast fat. I don’t want to be slim and still have big boobs! I feel like that would defeat the purpose. Can you please provide me with any recommendations or insight? Do you think exercising will help drop them to a much, much more tolerable size? I guess at some point in life, I would like to wear a strapless bra or even a tank top. Now, that’s not even possible. Thank you for your time!

Years ago, I wrote about the fact that I went from a 42DD to a 34B – sag free, at that – through my workout regimen. And a few people over the years have pushed back on that, saying they lost X amount of pounds but the breasts wouldn’t budge – in fact, for many people, they just remained proportionately large compared to the rest of their frame.

I consider this particular Q&A question to be my shot at a second crack at the booby debate.

So, here’s a little bit of what I said last go’round about me losing much of my breasticles:

Boobs are a sore spot for me, because I’m still mourning the complete loss of mine. I mean, my girls are just… ugh. At this point, I’m afraid if I lose anymore, I’m going to have two holes in my chest. Like I’ve said before, I went from a 42DD to a (currently) 34B, and almost certain that I’m going to keep losing. I’m just gonna start wrapping an ace bandage around my bust and tying it in the back. Jeez.

Before I began losing weight, my Mother actually had a breast reduction. Mind you, her insurance covered the entire procedure for her, but it was still a gross inconvenience(to her… and to me – I’m just being honest.) When she first saw me, after it finally sank in, she said “How did you lose your boobs? You could’ve saved me the trouble of surgery!”

Excerpted from Q&A Wednesday: All About Boobs | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

This is one of the peculiar things about breast reduction surgery – it’s essentially liposuction (well, more or less) for your breasts. Because breasts are overwhelmingly made up of body fat, when you undergo reduction surgery, you’re having that fatty tissue removed and having the breast and areolae reshaped in a form that’s most aesthetically pleasing and physically functional to you.

Let me go back to that initial point, though. Breasts are made up of body fat. When you have your body fat measured on an electronic scale – DEXA, hydrostatic, or InBody – it’s going to account for your breasts, because that’s body fat. They’re just as susceptible to gain and loss as your thighs, arms, or booty. You can grow them with fat gain, or you can lose them with fat loss.

In the comments of my original booby blog post, you’ll find comments like this:

Not all women loose their breasts when they loose weight. At the age of 18, I was a 36DD, 130 lbs, and 5’4. As I gained weight thru college and after, my breasts gained weight also. I have gained and lost weight many times and the only thing that doesn’t change is my breasts.

And my response now, with a little more knowledge under my belt, is that I’d expect that for many women… but not most. Why? Simple: there are lots of people who “lose weight” but don’t necessarily “lose fat.” Some people, because of the way their diets are set up, could finally become regular with their number twos, lose water weight that they were retaining, and take their weave out* and that’d be 20lbs gone in an instant. They lose pounds on the scale, but because they’re not quantifying those pounds, we can’t determine if it’s actual body fat that’s being lost or whether or not they’re finally eating their dark-and-leafies.

So, it’s not enough to just say “I lost weight but not boobs.” I need to know that you kept tabs on your body fat and your bust/chest measurements in order to properly ascertain that this – losing weight without losing the body fat in the breasts – is what’s happening.

But, make no mistake about it – it does happen. Your hormones have a say in the matter. The same goes for your genetics. If you’ve got a lot of Chesty McBoobertons in your family, women who require the assistance of two small adolescents to help them carry all the chest they’ve got from one location to the other, then you can expect that your breasts will always be proportionately large in comparison to the rest of your figure. You might be destined to have and hold onto that upper body weight as long as you shall live.

Honestly, you may not be able to bank on fat loss to help you out here at all… and that’s where reduction surgery comes in.

A lot of women slim down, find that they still have large boobs and find it even more difficult to work with them because the boobs are still big but they, themselves, are much smaller. It can make for a greatly diminished quality of life, functioning like that. And, while reduction surgery might be on the table, I also tell these women that a lot of the pain they experience either comes from wearing the wrong bra, or from having weaker upper body strength. A good strength training program that targets the upper body in a progressive way – specifically the upper and lower back, the shoulders, and the neck – will slowly build enough strength that it lessens the pain (something you’ll want regardless of whether or not the boobies stay) and makes the weight of the breasts more bearable.

It’s often the case that women consider reduction before embarking on a weight loss journey, because they think the weight of the breasts would impede their ability to move. In my mind, a good training program is going to account for the limitations of the individual trainee (that’s if you’re working with a trainer, by the way) while also ensuring that you have the proper gear to train. Being outfitted with a quality sports bra (and, if buying only one is an option right now, taking damned good care of it) is a life-changing experience. You’ll be training like a new woman and, you’ll soon find, that this means experiencing training gains like a new woman, too.

It’s also worth noting that women consider a reduction and reshaping of their breasts post-weight loss specifically because they want to reshape the booby they have left. It’s often a less expensive procedure, because it simply involves cutting and readjusting the placement of the skin and how it lays against the body, so the training plan actually helps you save a bit of money. Breast-related surgeries have decreased in price over the years, and many are available on payment plans as well. Options are plentiful when it comes to this kind of stuff.

There’s also this other other point that’s worth noting, and that’s the reason why I don’t recommend women get reduction surgery prior to losing weight, and that’s…. breast reductions don’t keep the fat away permanently. If you gain weight again, you can absolutely regain the fat back in your breasts, as well.

Yes, sis. It’s real.

Not just because of a condition called macromastia (another link), but also because of pregnancy, or general purpose weight gain. It’s important for you to learn how to live healthily in a way that will not only help you lose the body fat, but maintain the loss at your chosen weight prior to the surgery, because the alternative – having the surgery, experiencing yoyo weight gain, and then finding yourself in need of another surgery because they’ve grown to an unbearable size again.

When it comes to losing fat safely and reliably, I’m Team HIIT. Combine that with a solid nutrition program, and watching your caloric intake, and you can make considerable progress. Keep your nutrition on point, and your skin may very well reflect the benefits of all those nutrients flowing through your body. Stay consistent with your exercise, and make it a habit in a way that turns it into a part of you, so that you don’t have to worry about weight gain sending you back to the surgeon. (And, if you’re having issues coming across a good plan, might I offer my own training plan?)

And, once everything’s said and done, if you decide to go under the knife, I’ll hold your hand (and cover my eyes) as you get it done. And I’ll help you get the right sports bra to protect the new twins as you advance in your healthy living endeavors!

*No, I’m not shading you, weave wearers – some day, we’ll talk about the last weave I wore, and how many grams of Remy that was. That’s the day I learned my head was too large to hang with y’all, so I’m #TeamNoWeave. Hanging with y’all almost had me broke.

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1 comment

Devin July 22, 2015 - 8:02 PM

I experienced this myself! When I finally started getting really fit, I went from a DDD to a C cup! Here’s the interesting thing: I was still a DD at the same *weight* that I am now. The key was that when I started getting really fit, I was losing *fat* and gaining muscle. We lose our boobs when we lose fat. I think it’s like any other body part. Some people lose from their tummies first and hips last, or hips first and tummies last. Some of us lose from our boobs earlier than others – but it’ll come off everywhere eventually. 🙂

I appreciate such an exhaustive post about this! It helps give me a better understanding of what I experienced.

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