Recently, Kim and Khloe Kardashian took the Instagram world by storm with photos of them wearing waist trainers – essentially the corsets of the 21st century that promise to trim your waist with consistent use. These contraptions cinch your abs, back, and hips. In return for feeling like you’re as tightly wrapped as a Chipotle burrito, you’ll lose inches off of your midsection.
Let’s be real – losing weight is hard. You don’t want to eat salad every day, and the gym can feel intimidating if you’re just starting your fitness journey. So a quick, effortless fix such as a waist trainer seems like a no-brainer, right?
However, this fad is no better (or more productive) than a corset from the 1500’s- and still comes with the same dangers. Not only are you constraining your breathing, but you’re squeezing your organs together, too. If used improperly, waist trainers have led to broken ribs and lacerated organs. It can cause harsh acid reflux from stomach compression, and even decreases the muscle strength in your core. If you’re just wearing it to look thin for a night, you may be better off getting a sturdy piece of shape wear instead of this Medieval accessory.
Dr. Nicole Florence, the Co-Director of Memorial Weight Loss and Wellness Center at Memorial Medical Center, explains that in not allowing yourself to breath in the waist trainer, you’re setting yourself up for a plethora of health problems, including a susceptibility to pneumonia and high blood pressure. The company that the Kardashians use, Waist Gang Society, states in their mission that, “Waist training as a means of permanent waist-reduction and re-shaping is a practice requiring discipline and is best achieved when the following 3 components work in harmony: #1 Order your reshaping garment, #2 Wear the Shaper For a minimum of 4 hours, #3 Do steps 1 & 2.”
Their stock also includes a slew of other unhealthy products, including meal replacement pills and what they call a “miracle body wrapping kit“. This wrapping kit claims that its an, “option for those of you who are tired of waiting to see results from your shape-up plan.” It comes with a gel that contains “herbs and minerals” but neglects to state any real ingredients. From the looks of the product and lack of any real scientific evidence pointing towards weight loss, you might as well rub lotion all over your body, cover yourself in Saran wrap, and watch Netflix for a few hours to “lose weight”. It would probably be less expensive, too.
Here’s the thing, waist trainers don’t work in the same way that you can’t do 20,000 crunches and expect to wake up with abs the next morning. You just cannot spot train. There has to be a comprehensive overall weight loss if one expects to lose extra pounds. Waist Gang Society even states at the very end of their page that, “Remember, for longer term permanent waist-reduction your waist trainer should be used in conjunction with healthy diet and moderate, regular exercise.” Instead of wasting an upwards of $150 on a waist trainer, it’s a better idea to stick to their latter idea; a healthy diet and exercise. If you feel lost on how to begin your fitness journey, take that money and put it towards a personal trainer, who will be there with you for every question and concern you have.
In conclusion, by projecting this image of an impossibly tiny waist, we’re telling women and young girls that looks are so important, you should do anything for them; even harm your body. Nothing in life is for free, and that includes abs. Hard work will get you everywhere in life, including to your dream body. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. And remember, all bodies are beautiful. You only have one, so work on your fitness goals not because you hate the body you have, but because you love it’s capabilities. Don’t compare your results with anyone else’s; no two journeys are the same. Vanity fades, but well learned dedication and a good work ethic last a lifetime.
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What do you think of the waist training fad?