Bigger is officially no longer better when it comes to bosoms. The Triumph Female Confidence Report found that nearly half of women want smaller breasts, and with breast reduction operations rising by 13 per cent worldwide last year – it’s clear we really are bored of the bountiful bust. And no more so than after [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Getting your chest to toe the line like the rest of your body


Bigger is officially no longer better when it comes to bosoms. The Triumph Female Confidence Report found that nearly half of women want smaller breasts, and with breast reduction operations rising by 13 per cent worldwide last year – it’s clear we really are bored of the bountiful bust. And no more so than after the age of 50.

One study of postmenopausal women found that a fifth experienced an increase in breast size after menopause. The most common linking factor is weight gain: fat makes up the majority of breast tissue.

Of course this means you can enjoy the cleavage of your dreams but many women lament the encumberance – everything bounces, clothes no longer fit, and there’s something rather matronly about a big bosom.

As any dieter knows, slimming your bust without surgery isn’t as simple as eating less and exercising more. The fat in your breasts is controlled by hormones, and this can be particularly resistant to dieting.

But by making a few lifestyle adjustments, it IS possible to ensure your chest toes the line like the rest of your body. Here, we show you how…


Breast size is largely determined by genetics and body fat (the more you have, the larger they are likely to be) but hormones play an important part too, particularly in middle age.

From the age of 40 onwards, a woman’s oestrogen levels will start to fluctuate wildly – sometimes dropping dramatically, other times spiking high as the body struggles to keep things on an even keel.

In theory, less oestrogen should mean a smaller bust as milk-producing glands shrink and the body accepts its child-rearing days are over. Certainly, some women notice their breasts shrink once they reach menopause.

But oestrogen levels are (or should be) counter-balanced by the hormone progesterone, and progesterone levels can drop off 120 times faster than oestrogen. This means you can find yourself in what medics call ‘oestrogen dominance’, which can keep the breasts large and full, even as overall oestrogen levels drop.

Oestrogen and fat work very closely at this stage in a woman’s life, says dietitian Debra Waterhouse. She says dominant oestrogen acts as a ‘fat magnet’ locking it in prime areas such as the breasts and abdomen.

In turn, these fat cells can expand and produce oestrogen of their own, as your body attempts to bolster its generally diminishing supply.


If you want to reduce the size of your bust, cutting out carbs, fasting or surviving on cabbage soup is unlikely to do it. Your diet and lifestyle need to focus on balancing those errant hormones and helping your body metabolise excess oestrogen to break, or at least weaken, that fat/oestrogen/fat cycle.

Max Tomlinson, a naturopath and author of Target Your Fat Spots: How To Banish Your Bulges, has spent 30 years running a successful Fat Spot Reduction programme at his London clinic, targeting what he calls the ‘weird, disproportionate fat deposits’ that frustrate so many of his clients.

He is convinced that by correcting your personal hormonal imbalance through targeted diet, exercise, supplements and lifestyle changes, you can shift those stubborn fat spots and reduce the size of your bust. ‘It’s all about shipping excess oestrogen out of the diet,’ he says.

Quit milk

Dairy products, particularly milk, can be highly oestrogenic, says Tomlinson. He says milk, often taken from cows milked throughout pregnancy when their hormone levels are very high, is packed with oestrogen. He recommends switching to almond milk or coconut milk instead. He suggests avoiding soya milk because it may contain plant oestrogen, which can unbalance erratic hormones.

Eat veg raw

Ensure green vegetables (ideally raw or lightly steamed) fill half your plate at lunch and dinner. ‘Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage are rich in a chemical compound called dindolylmethane, which helps the body metabolise excess oestrogen,’ he says.

So eat as much asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, celery, beetroot, kale, radishes and turnips as possible.

Up calcium

Enjoy legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans) and stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries), which are rich in a compound called calcium D glucarate that helps to inhibit the action of enzymes that reduce the impact of oestrogen on breast tissue.

Choose citrus

Citrus fruits contain a compound called d-limonene, another substance shown to help the body break down and remove excess oestrogen. So add oranges, lemons and limes to your grocery list.

Brown bread

Fill up on wholegrains such as wholemeal bread, barley, couscous, and brown rice to boost your intake of insoluble fibre, which binds itself to extra oestrogen in the digestive tract and carries it out. It’s also found in seeds, carrots, cucumbers, courgettes, celery and tomatoes.


Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground linseeds or sesame seeds onto salads and vegetables or blend into smoothies. The friendly bacteria in our intestines convert these foods into substances with weak oestrogen-like activity.

No wine

Cut back on sugars (including alcohol). Sugar in the diet raises blood sugar levels, which stimulates the release of the hormone insulin.

Too much insulin encourages your body to store fat and makes it more difficult to break down fat stores when you try to lose weight. Insulin also interferes with the delicate balance of oestrogen and progesterone.

Ditch the junk food

Highly processed foods may contain pesticides, herbicides and/or growth hormones, which can act as ‘hormone disrupters’ according to weight loss expert Janey Holiday.

‘These substances, which aren’t naturally found in the body, can interfere with the production, release, transportation, metabolism, binding, action or elimination of the body’s natural hormones,’ she says.


The Naturopath Max Tomlinson recommends an exercise regime to help keep a lid on body fat. He says the best plan is to pick an activity you can do every day that raises your heart rate for an extended period – walk, swim, cycle.

Dietitian Debra Waterhouse, agrees. ‘It takes the right combination of exercise to make your menopausal fat cells fit and encourage them to give up stored fat,’ she says.

‘Aerobic exercise will manufacture the fat-releasing enzymes that trigger the emptying of fat into your blood stream, and strength training will speed up your metabolism and condition your muscles to burn up that released fat.’

(C) Daily Mail, London

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