If you could design the ideal way to lose weight, it would probably look a lot like pumping fat and calories directly out of your body. And for some of us, nature has made this entirely possible.
It’s well-documented that breastfeeding requires 400+ calories / day. That’s quite a lot of calories — the equivalent of running a 5k every day. And there’s research showing that breast feeding reduces women’s weight significantly after pregnancy… even 20 years after the fact! So it’s not the case that breastfeeding simply causes women to increase their caloric intake. Lactating women lose weight too.
What’s perhaps less well-known is that you can induce lactation in nearly any woman of reproductive age — even if she hasn’t been pregnant before.
There are two main ways to accomplish this:
- The slower, more natural, way is to stimulate the breasts with simple pumping. After a few weeks, a woman’s body will assume it has a child that needs milk. This process essentially back-triggers the prolactin hormone and causes sustained lactation once it gets started. Some women augment this by taking the herbal supplement Fenugreek which supposedly promotes further milk flow / volume.
The quicker, more reliable, way to induce lactation is to temporarily manipulate hormone levels. The trick is to get your body to think you’ve just had a baby. This is done by elevating estrogen and progesterone for awhile and then dropping those levels as you boost prolactin — typically by taking a dopamine agonist like domperidone. This sounds pretty extreme… until you remember that lots of women already do most of this with birth control.
Standard birth control is exactly estrogen and progesterone — and it works by tricking your body into thinking you’re constantly pregnant. The only thing someone on birth control would need to do in order to induce lactation is to take 10mg of domperidone for a few days at the end of one of their active-pill cycles and then start pumping.
This diet would probably stack really well with off-label Metformin use too. Metformin can effectively provide another -100 calories / day by preventing the liver from performing too much gluconeogenesis on the food you eat. Realistically though, this would be a much better intervention if it worked like Spanx or Brava — an invisible product that you could wear under your clothing that quietly and discretely pumps milk from your breasts 3-5 times per day. But first, some enterprising women will have to validate that this actually works for non-mothers. There’s no obvious reason it shouldn’t, but it’s also just theory at this point.
So if you want to be part of pioneering science, why not start an n=1 exploratory study by picking up some automatic or manual pumps? If it works, you’ll likely end up a few pounds lighter (except for your slightly larger breasts) and you’ll be constantly buzzing with soothing oxytocin. You’ll also have the unique satisfaction of being able to subtract over 100 calories whenever you’re ready to pump it back out.