Will you do anything to lose weight other than actually work out and eat well? Wear body shapers? Try that fit tea? Do a water detox? Use photo editors and filters? Or have you ever tried a ridiculous fad or purchased something absurd simply to try it, even though you know it may very well be garbage? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Don’t worry, this is not a call-out post. I’ve definitely fallen victim to trying out a ridiculous new trend or item, even though I know for a fact it’s fake, simply because I want to see for myself. It’s hard not to. This quality doesn’t make us stupid, it just makes us human. We are curious creatures. However, it does NOT mean that you shouldn’t do research and read reviews before indulging in whatever the thing or trend is. Virtually everything you can think of is somewhere on the internet, and with new technology, coding, and editing skills, people can make anything look legitimate. We are in the age of information technology – everything you could ever want to know is accessible online, but that doesn’t mean that everything you see is real. With that being said, let’s talk about the phenomenon that is waist trainers.
First, let’s define our terms – what is waist training? The idea behind waist training is that, by wearing a corset tightly wound around your waist, fat pockets along the waist and floating ribs (the two lowest ribs that aren’t connected to the breastbone) will be molded into a trimmer hourglass figure. There are multiple ways to train. One method is that you can wear it when you are working out, such that you “train” your body to mold into the shape that the waist trainer is enforcing. Another method is by just wearing the trainer all day, doing your everyday normal tasks, and you’re meant to do this over a period of months.
The whole idea behind waist training is straight up absurd to me. You can’t simply mold the shape of your body to become more hourglass because you wear a tight piece of material around your body. What do you think happens to your ribcage and your organs? At first glance, it may seem like a plausible and cool idea, but it’s not real. Any weight loss during waist training is most likely due to loss of water weight/fluid, and you may not eat as much when you are waist training because your stomach has been physically compressed to a smaller size. On top of the fact that it will literally do nothing to change your body proportions, it can result in several health problems.
As aforementioned, your torso is not just fat and muscle; it’s home to your ribcage and lots of your vital organs, like your lungs, stomach, and kidneys. According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, when you squeeze your body into a corset, your organs are forced to adapt and end up being pushed into unnatural positions to the point where they may not function as well. You may not see these effects in short term, but in long term, the practice of waist training can seriously harm your organs, disfigure your body, or even fracture ribs. You may be slowly suffocating yourself – by waist training, you deprive your body of oxygen, which can reduce the lung capacity by an estimated 30-60%. Minor side effects can include low energy and discomfort, while more severe side effects include passing out, fluid buildup in the lungs, and inflammation. On top of depriving yourself of oxygen, you could also be crippling your digestive system. Your digestive system is made up of your esophagus, stomach, and intestines to form an intricate network in your abdomen. Extreme compression from a tight corset can hinder proper digestion, which can potentially cause blockages in your digestive tract, as well as give you acid reflux and other problems.
Moral of the story: waist trainers do not work. You simply cannot drastically change your body shape just by wearing a piece of fabric for a certain period. You may see a slight change directly after taking it off, but rest assured, this change is temporary and will fade. Ultimately, there’s no quick fix to losing weight safely. Sacrificing your health for a quick fix is simply a bad idea and will quickly backfire. In contrast, making healthy lifestyle changes like drinking more water, adjusting your diet, and regular exercise will lead to more positive results.