Can this celebrity-endorsed practice really shrink your stomach and reshape your waist? Here’s what you need to know…
When Kim Kardashian was seen wearing a corset showing off her tiny waist on Instagram, it duly became a “fitness” craze that many people were talking about.
Waist-shaping corsets aren’t new – in fact, tightlacing (also known as corset training) was quite common in the late Victorian era and came into existence in around 16th century.
But when TV royalty Kim K was seen wearing a modern-day latex version to shape her post-baby waist, we wanted to know more.
Soon other celebs like sisters Kourtney and Kim, Jersey Shore’s J-Woww and Snooki, Luisa Zissman and Danielle Lloyd were posting pictures of their tightly-cinched waists to kickstart this latest body-shaping movement and we took notice.
But what exactly is waist training and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know.
1. It makes you look slim at the waist
Yes, it does have that instant effect – put a corset around your waist and bingo! It looks smaller, taut and tiny.
But there’s also an undeniable psychological effect that comes with waist cinching.
“Waist training can serve as a constant reminder of your present shape, aiding a sense of restriction which can motivate individuals to diet,” says Dr Galyna Selezneva, an aesthetic medical doctor at Dr Rita Rakus, a cosmetic clinic in London. “It’s non-invasive, and can be worn at intervals throughout the day.”
2. It might lead to temporary weight loss
“Some people find that during workouts waist training can increase body temperature, causing you to sweat more and this might temporarily show up as weight loss,” says Dr Galyna.
“But you must also be aware that this is just a temporary solution – it will work when you’re wearing it together with a supporting lifestyle to help you to achieve the figure you desire – with some level of discomfort.”
3. But doesn’t get rid of body fat in the long run
“The problem is that waist training only makes you look slimmer while you are wearing the corset,” says Peter Lemon, an expert personal trainer and founder of The Academy of Fitness Professionals.
“Once you take it off, your body will soon revert back to its normal shape.
“This is because wearing a corset will have no effect on the amount of body fat that you have. In order to get long-term results from waist training, you would need to wear the corset all the time.”
4. It can cause your organs to shift with potentially dangerous consequences
“With waist training, the upper organs move upwards, and the lower organs shift downwards,” says Dr Galyna. “This can then put a similar pressure on the abdomen – which has been known to cause constipation.
“A shift in the pressure on your internal organs means you will be less tolerant of certain foods, including gas-producing and fatty foods, and some individuals might find that normal portion sizes are too much.
“All of this can also increase the chances of heartburn as your stomach shifts up beyond your diaphragm causing acid reflux.”
5. It can cause dehydration
“You might see an increase in body temperature and excessive sweating whilst ‘waist training’ during exercise, which can cause dehydration,” says Dr Galyna.
“To minimise any symptoms, we would advise people to stay fully hydrated.”