Ask Dani – Help, I Like My Boobs!

Dear Dani,

My friend, who recently got engaged, and I were discussing wedding gowns and how they usually only show off your upper body and arms. She said she wants to “tone up” for her wedding, but is only concerned with losing weight in her arms — not anywhere else. She likes her current bust size and thinks that if she loses any weight, she’s likely to also lose some boob-a-licious-ness. I told her I didn’t think it was possible to lose weight only in one part of your body. Can you clear this up? Is it possible to lose weight in one area, like your arms, without affecting any of your more, um, valued assets?

Loves Her Assets

Dear Loves Her Assets,

Unfortunately for your friend you are right. You can’t lose weight hoping to lose in just one area of your body. In industry terms that’s called “spot reduction”. The way you lose weight usually depends on your body type. Pear shaped girls for instance lose from the top down. The first thing you’ll notice thinning out is her face, then her collar-bone, then her chest, waist, and then finally the hips and legs. But take a more ruler shaped girl and notice that she will lose weight pretty much evenly all the way from her head down. And that’s because of her body’s proportions. You can change the measurements of your body by losing or gaining weight, but you can’t change the overall shape of it. As I always say, “once a pear always a pear.” Actually, I don’t always say that, but it fits.

Your friend can work out and lose weight in hopes of toning her arms, but she can’t spot reduce in hopes of not losing her bust. Here’s my advice though, strength training and cardio are important whether you want to lose weight or not. If your friend is at a good weight now and begins working out, but doesn’t change her diet then most likely she’ll lose only about 3-5 pounds, but she will tone up. Now, I’m not guaranteeing that her bust size won’t change, but as long as she’s not going to any major extremes she shouldn’t see any drastic changes. If she keeps up with a 2-3 day per week weight routine and a 5 day per week 30 minute cardio routine she will start to see her arms take shape. Begin with light weights and high reps (about 12-20) for the first four weeks and then heavier weights and lower reps (8-10) for the next 4 weeks. Keep toggling back and forth between the two rep ranges to keep the body challenged.

I have to say one more thing before I go, otherwise I wouldn’t feel good about this answer. I have pretty strong opinions about bridal bootcamps, which is that I think they are CRAZY! I know they’re popular, but being engaged and planning a wedding is hard enough, so don’t make yourself even more stressed out by becoming obsessed with the way you look in your wedding dress. Your fiance’ wants to marry you just the way you are now and all your friends already know what you look like, so walking down the aisle looking like a skeleton in a dress is just pure insanity. Plus, you’ll end up gaining it all back and then some after your honeymoon. I know that your wedding day is something that you’ve imagined forever and you want it to be just perfect, and I promise that it will be whether you’re a size 0 or a size 14. It doesn’t matter! Really! And I know this, because I gained 15 pounds right before mine!


Help! I Have Bat Wings!

Dear Dani,

I’m in my 30′s, but my arms look about 70. I hate them! I work out about 2-3 times a week, but the bat wings, or mud flaps as I call them, won’t go away (you know, the extra flabby skin under the arms…). I’m really frustrated and wish I could just have nice toned arms without worrying that eventually it’s going to extend down to my knees. What can I do to get rid of it?

Thanks, Batwing Girl

Dear Batwing Girl,

I’m not sure how long you’ve been exercising for or what you’re eating is like, but 2-3 times a week isn’t really going to cut it if you want super sleek arms. You have to work at it 4-5 days per week and you have to include a balance of cardio, to burn calories and ultimately fat, and resistance training to tone the muscles underneath the skin. A sample schedule would look like this: Monday – 30-40 minutes cardio, Tuesday – resistance training, Wednesday cardio, etc… Keep alternating like this for a total of 4-5 days per week. Perform 8-10 repetitions of exercises such as dips, tricep extensions, push-ups. You want to choose a weight that is heavy enough so that by the time you get to 10 you feel like you can’t do another one even if someone paid you. Another thing to take into consideration is your food: Make sure your carbs are coming from whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables, and that you’re also getting adequate amount of calories, so that you’re body doesn’t go into starvation mode and try to hold onto every little morsel you feed it. Never dip below 1200 calories per day.

Also, take a look at your mother and grandmothers. Your arms may be the product of genetics, which doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it, it just means that you have to be realistic about your expectations. You can get arms that you’ll feel good about, but it just may take longer to accomplish and you might not end up looking like a fitness model. There’s a reason I never use videos or photos of women who look like that, and it’s because it takes either super lucky genetics to easily build muscle like that or such intense amounts of training and nutrition that it’s not really doable for the average person.

In the meantime, don’t hate on yourself. Most likely no one else is staring at your arms the way you are, so channel your inner black woman (as I always say) and flaunt what your momma gave you!

Have a question that needs answering? Send ‘em in! Every Thursday I’ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!