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How to lose weight without dropping a cup size?

Written by: Ms. Sylvia Lam, Accredited Practicing Dietitian APD, Accredited Dietitian HKDA

Many women often want to maintain the size of their breast during weight loss. They often ask dietitians if there are any foods or diets that can help keep them achieve this wishful thinking. But from a scientific point of view, our body will first use extra fat storage from the body parts that store the most fat during weight loss.  And women’s breasts are the body parts which store excess fat. Other body parts which have more fat will be the abdomen and buttocks. So, when the waistline and hip size are dropping during weight loss, it is inevitable the size of the breasts will also be reduced.

From a health perspective, losing fat from the abdominal cavity (i.e. visceral fat) is helps reduce risk of chronic diseases; however, the reduction in breast size does no harm our health. Instead of paying too much attention to the reduced breasts size, one should pay more attention to the reduction of body fat% and waist circumference for health.

When helping overweight or obese people to lose weight, body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and waist circumference should be measured regularly as these parameters are more objective.

According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the BMI of Asian adults is divided as follows:

BMI Kg/m2
Underweight <18.5
Normal 18.5-22.9
Overweight 23-24.9
Obese 25
Morbid obese 30

 

If one wants to improve health, it is recommended that people who are overweight or obese to lose 3% to 10% of their original weight within 4 to 6 months. One should achieve a gradual weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg per week.

Pay more attention to body fat percentage

The accumulation of too much fat in the body increases the chance of chronic illness. It’s very common now for people to use a body fat analyzer (commonly known as “body fat scale”) to monitor one’s body fat.  According to the American Council of Exercise, different people should have varying degrees of body fat percentage (%):

Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential fat 10-13 2-5
Athletes 14-20 6-13
Fitness 21-24 14-17
Average 25-31 18-24
Obese 32 or above 25 or above

 

Avoid central obesity by reducing the waist circumference

Measuring waist circumference is a simple and convenient way to measure abdominal fat. The wider the waistline is, the more chance of central obesity. Central obesity is one of the factors that increases the chances of diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol etc.

The following are normal waist circumference for Asian adults:

Male: should be less than 90 cm (about 35.5 inches*)

Female: should be less than 80 cm (about inches*)

* 1 inch =2.54 cm

 

 

 

 

 

Do not over-restrict your diet

Many times, women would minimize as much as possible the oil intake during weight loss, and at the same time reducing their carbohydrate intake. Reduced intake of fat will naturally reduce body fat percentage in general. But if fat consumption from foods becomes too little, body parts which naturally needs fat i.e. the breasts, will unescapably reduce in size. If one reduces intake of carbohydrates further, body muscles will be converted into the energy, which further make the body shape too “skinny”, which are also not good for maintaining the breast size.

Although one needs to control calorie intake during weight loss, one should take adequate amount of healthy fats such as vegetable oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. For carbohydrates, try to eat unrefined whole grain foods such as brown rice, red rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. These foods help to increase the feeling of fullness when losing weight while providing adequate nutrition for the body. In addition to diet control, proper muscle or resistant training can help the chest muscles stay strong. It is recommended to add resistant training to the upper body into your weight loss plan to improve a curvy chest line and enhance skin and muscle elasticity.