The corset— that symbol of 19th-century patriarchal oppression and torture has been experiencing a bit of a comeback and Hollywood along with its zaftig partners-in-crime: the Kardasian clan have been taking full credit for it. Lily James starring as Cinderella recently ignited a serious debate on all social media platforms, which circled particularly around her 17inch cinched-waistline — naturally slim or corset magic? Our latest obsession with waif waistlines is not a new fad, in fact it is a boomerang effect— as if a subliminal message has been passed back to us through centuries: Be it a Disney princess, Victorian era heroine, a modern day working gal or a reality TV princess a minuscule waistline elevates female-form imparting it with a magical edge— ascending gal-next-door to the status of an ethereal beauty— at some level we all crave it unconsciously— don't you?
Since corset training to curb mum-tums has become all the rage, celebs like Jesica Alba, JWoww, Ciara and Brooke Burke-Charvet all have professed to practice and believe in the power of a corset cinched waist. Inspired eves in Jeddah have been popping into my practice in throws inquiring about the legitimacy of this dernier cri, hence I have decided to write about it, so you can all know my view on this fad once and for all.
What is Waist Training?
Corset training draws on the age-old Elizabethan trend used by women to cinch their waists and make their busts appear larger. Modern corsets used for “waist training,” (the fitness buzzword) combine the traditional structure of corsets to give the illusion of a tinier waist with the modern technology of compression fabric. Theoretically speaking the compression fabric encourages thermal activity and perspiration to help stimulate weight and inch loss in the core.
The Hardcore Truth— You don’t have to be an M.D. to realize that “training” your waist to shrink in size permanently sounds suspiciously iffy. While you are wearing the corset fat is simply pushed to another area of the body for a temporary amount of time. Once you take the garment off, your body will return to its usual size. The fix is temporary.
Believers say that the tightness of the garment makes you sweat a lot, but scientifically speaking it’s really not possible to perspire so much that inches can get shaved off from your midsection in any permanent way. There is also the theory that the stomach will be squeezed into a smaller size, causing less hunger and less overall intake of calories with weight loss as a result.
So far there is no clinical proof, that thermal effect, or squeezing the tummy can be effective or beneficial in reducing fat permanently. In fact, it may be harmful to a woman’s body over time. If a waist trainer is too tight; which many of them appear to be (if recent celeb photos are any indication) it could cause discomfort, interfere with breathing, or contribute towards heartburn. Your stomach might get pushed up beyond the diaphragm, which could cause acid reflux or hernia.
Weighing The Risks— Let’s explore the possible risks involved in this new slimming craze. As a corset squeezes a woman’s outsides, it is also squeezing the insides. This pressure on the internal organs can be a serious health concern. If the lungs are prevented from properly expanding, it can increase risk of pneumonia. As the stomach and colon are prevented from moving its contents, heartburn and chronic constipation can occur. Forcing the ribs and muscles into a tight and restrictive garment can cause chronic pain and bruising. The corset can also prevent return of blood flow to the heart, which can affect blood pressure and may result in dizziness and even fainting. Homes in the 18th century had "fainting couches" for this very reason.
Word to the wise, if you’re wearing a waist trainer and you experience any of above mentioned symptoms, that’s a definite sign that you need to loosen it up or take it off.
Practicing The Trend While Working Out— Waist training trend encourages women to wear the corset while working out! According to fitness experts, this is a huge no-no as our bodies need as much oxygen as possible during cardio and the use of restrictive garments prevents your lungs from expanding fully. In fact, some experts believe that regularly wearing a waist trainer can actually decrease core strength— exactly the opposite of what you want if you’re aiming for sexy stomach musculature.
Lilly James Verdict On The Corset — in Cinders own words, "If you ate food it didn't really digest properly, and I'd be burping all afternoon and it was just really sort of unpleasant". She actually went on a liquid diet to survive shooting through the movie to be able to fit into the ultra-constricting corset.
Final Verdict— Waist trainers can’t have any lasting effect on waist size, shape, or appearance. They’ll make you look slimmer while you wear them, but you may have to put up with some discomfort and maybe even some health risks in return. You're better off eating a balanced diet and investing in a personal trainer. After all, there's a reason we stopped wearing gowns with corsets in the 19th century!
Sure Shot Way To Shed Pounds Around Your Belly You guessed it — eating healthy and being active on a regular basis. It’s not trendy, but it’s the one thing that works, whether you want to drop baby weight or just a few stubborn lbs.