Good things are happening…You feel so much better as you move ever farther into the raw food lifestyle, learning more every day about how food choices and eating practices affect the body you’re building. You breathe better. Carry yourself differently. The scale says you’ve lost most of that weight you wanted to, and your friends are telling you the same thing. Every visit to the yoga class or the tai chi studio or the weight room tells you good things are happening. Your skin clears. People accuse you of having an almost mysterious “glow.” You can actually smile at yourself in the mirror. And then…a setback.
Amid even the most welcome changes in health and appearance, we can experience a setback, a downturn, even what might seem a reversal. Most of these are temporary. They’ll be resolved over time as our general health improves and our body adjusts in specific ways. This often happens when a woman over forty goes on the raw food diet overnight, discovering that her once-full breasts seem to lack the fullness and support they once had.
There’s a medical term for this sagging: ptosis. Just say it without the ‘p’ and you’ve got it. The term refers to the breakdown of supporting tissues around the breasts due either to gravity or to the skin’s losing its elasticity with age. Ptosis is, in reality, a natural process which happens to all women over time, unless they already have rather small breasts to start with.
Human breasts, many people aren’t aware, contain no muscle. They are comprised mostly of connective tissue and ligaments, along with a good supply of fat cells. One of the worst things you can do is to lose too much weight too quickly! If fat disappears too soon from the breast, your skin and ligaments don’t always retract at the proper pace. This results in a somewhat deflated appearance.
Skin loses elasticity as we age. So it’s especially important, if you are past 40 or 50, to lose weight slowly on the raw food diet. Preventing sagging and drooping is much easier than trying to reverse it once it’s happened. Two crucial pieces of advice:
- Never fast more than 36 hours at a time.
- Do not go 100 percent raw overnight.
Breasts will sag after extreme or rapid weight loss. They’ll likewise sag in the absence of exercises for the supporting muscles. But they will improve! The key…patience. After going raw, your body will most assuredly rearrange and realign itself in compensation. But this process commonly takes two to three years, depending on when and where and how you start.
The older you are when you start to make improvements, the longer it will take to see them. Exercising your chest area and the muscles supporting your breasts is vital: When your weight loss is complete, you’ll have good muscle tone when you get there. My March 2009 Newsletter offers recommendations for exercises to help you develop a beautiful chest curve. If you do decide to participate in especially vigorous exercises such as running or rebounding, which can be harsh on the breast tissue, remember to wear a good supportive top.
Renowned health crusader Patricia Bragg believes strongly that women should never wear bras. Her father, Dr. Paul Bragg, advised her early on never to wear them. Bras interfere with circulation, he taught her. Patricia agrees, claiming bras are too tight and cut off blood flow in the chest area, causing poor circulation and pooling of toxins.
Patricia Bragg recommends reading the book Dressed to Kill, which describes interesting studies connecting the bra and cancer. Though Patricia has never breastfed (or even had) children, she swears by several practices for maintaining her youthful bustline. Among these: good posture, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise. Bragg does pectoral exercises three times daily in two-minute sessions. By combining these simple health measures, she proclaims, “Everything stands up by itself!”
Patricia Bragg says women should never wear bras, only chemises, which is what she is often seen wearing.
Realistic expectations are also of utmost importance. When you see women over forty sporting suspiciously perky and full breasts, you can bet on surgical enhancement—surgery which brings on its own set of hazards and disadvantages.
If breast enhancement is truly important to you—think carefully—I will not try to dissuade you. But if you do choose enhanced breasts, you’ll be handed in the process all the more reason to strive for overall youthful looks in order for your new boobies to look natural.
If you’re like me, surgery is not an option. But there are still things you can do. Try a good firming masque. This one is simple: Mash a ripe banana with just enough raw honey to make a soft pulp, and smear over your entire breast area, even inside of an old cotton bra if you choose, and leave it on for about half an hour. Rinse. Apply a light natural moisturizer. There you are—your very own “Hollywood secret.”
Prevention, please remember, is always preferable to any sort of after-the-fact effort. Slow weight loss combined with proper exercise is crucial. So is keeping your skin elastic from the inside out, using the raw food diet.
Keep your expectations realistic. Be patient. Give your body time to readjust, to respond to your tender loving care. The older you are, the longer this will likely take. But it will happen, given your persistence. My own breasts went slack at first with my early weight loss. Two or three years later, however, they perked up again—for me, truly the most astonishing sign of rejuvenation. For me the transformation seemed a miracle. When it happens to you, you’ll be sold on raw foods for life.
On a well conceived, well managed raw food diet you will, over time, see results that are certain to perk up your attitude—and anything else that needs it!