When Kim Kardashian posted a selfie of her waspish waist in what looked like a tight corset, the internet lost its collective mind and demanded to know: is this some sort of new weight loss technique? Corsets have been used for decades to straighten postures, cinch in the figure and give women that regal, nipped in silhouette in more formal garments. But can it actually help you lose inches off your waist?
The facts about “waist training”
Waist training is a loose term applied to the practice of using a corset to gradually “train” your waist to a smaller and smaller circumference. For example, a natural waist of 28 inches might, after enough time, be able to lace down to as little as 18 inches. With a properly designed and fitted corset, waist training can be done safely so long as the wearer only tightens it gradually and wears the corset for longer and longer each day.
Of course, the question is whether the reduction in waist size is permanent. Unfortunately, the soft tissues of the abdomen invariably “spring back” once the corset is removed, even if they do hold the same shape for an hour or two after the corset is removed. Very experienced corset wearers may start to notice permanent changes after training for months and at stretches of more than 10 hours a day. But even those who have worn them for years will gradually morph to their old shape if they quit wearing corsets forever.
The benefits of wearing a corset
Many people do in fact report a host of benefits from wearing a proper corset – including a more hourglass shape and weight loss. This is likely because when women wear a corset, they’re forced to eat smaller portions of healthier food – and this could naturally lead to losing a few inches off the waistline.
A corset can also provide a mild thermic effect much like spa wrapping treatments intended to encourage sweating. If nothing else, having improved posture and being more conscious of one’s shape and body as it moves can make it easier to make more healthful choices with eating – after all, it’s extremely difficult to binge in a corset!
It’s the quality that counts!
Corsets run the gamut from expensive, professionally tailored garments designed for tight-lacing to off the rack, ready-made items that are cheaper and intended more as temporary slimming pieces. To waist train safely, people need to be measured and fitted by a professional corsetiere. If the goal is a smooth silhouette under a tight dress, there is nothing wrong with a waist cincher bought online. But waist training in a poorly designed and ill-fitting corset can cause serious damage to the body.
A tiny 20-inch waist is enviable for many woman, but unfortunately, claims that corsets can permanently change the body’s shape or size are usually overblown. While a corset can certainly make its wearer more conscientious when it comes to diet, the effect is usually minimal. Corsets are adored by those who love their old fashioned charm, but sadly there is no quick fix when it comes to exaggerated waists and swooping curves.
By: Lyndsay Wilson