The Truth About Waist Training
From Marilyn Monroe to Kim Kardashian, ultra-thin waists have been key to achieving an hourglass figure. What’s their secret? Here’s everything you need to know about the waist training trend before deciding to join in.
What is Waist Training?
Waist training is a kind of body modification in which a corset-like device is strapped around the midsection and worn for extended periods of time. The idea is that the restrictive nature of the corset will reshape the body towards a more tapered waist. Although the idea seems archaic (weren’t corsets a fad of the 1500’s?) they’re alive and well today. Some of waist training’s biggest proponents: Dita von Teese, Jessica Alba, and of course, the Kardashians.
How Does it Work?
Most modern waist trainers have steel boning in them. Some popular brands include Waist Gang Society and Hourglass Angel. After that, it’s as simple as squeezing oneself in and going about life as usual. Some people wear the corset for anywhere from four to eight hours each day, other fanatics wear their corsets 23/7 and only take them off to shower. It’s recommended that waist training wearers engage in abdominal strengthening activity to supplement the body change (just don’t wear it while you’re working out!).
What did ordinary people make of this new trend? Some users reported changes in as little as a few weeks. Although they found the waist trainer uncomfortable initially, they seemed to adjust to the idea of wearing it over time. Says one user: “despite weeks of moderate pain and discomfort, my clothes fit better, my waist looks slimmer, and my posture is top notch.” With so many celebrities touting the benefits of waist trainers, its easy to see why this fad has taken hold.
What are the Health Risks?
Wearing a waist trainer might create a great shape, but it also compresses your lungs and ribs, which can be dangerous. Christopher Ochner, Ph.D, reports that women have actually passed out from wearing it too long, and that digestive and respiratory function could be impacted in the long term.
In the long run, waist training only offers a temporary body modification. Unless you are prepared to wear a waist trainer every day for as long as you want a tiny waist, your body will return to its natural shape sooner or later. Building muscle through working out will create longer-lasting results.
Is it Worth It?
While waist training may offer temporary shape, there’s no substitute for a healthy diet and workout regimen. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and while tiny waists may seem ideal, it’s much better to feel comfortable in your own body and its natural shape. If you still want to try waist training, consult a doctor and make sure it’s a supplement to, and not a replacement for, making healthy lifestyle choices.