Do Waist Trainers Actually Help You Lose Weight?
When it comes to fashion and beauty trends, there's often contrasting messaging out there. There really has never been a time like now with a lot of attention being drawn in the media around concepts like self-love and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. But there are also certain other trends, like achieving an hourglass figure, which seems to have made a comeback, per Byrdie.
Socialite Kim Kardashian is one celebrity who has modeled her desire to embody the traditional female body type of an hourglass figure with what she wears. In fact, her shape-wear company, Skims, sells waist trainers that can supposedly help others achieve the same look, according to The Washington Post.
What are waist trainers? Do waist trainers and corsets have anything in common? A waist trainer is a garment that is worn under one's clothes — made of sturdy fabric — that covers the wearer's midsection (via Healthline) and its purpose is to force that area of your body into an hourglass shape. Most waist trainers also come with a metal boning for added support and the garment is fastened around your torso with lace, hooks, Velcro, or sticky clasps, reports WebMD.
These clinchers, which closely resemble the corsets of the 1800s, are touted for having many benefits, some of which include good posture and weight loss. But how effective are waist trainers? Do they actually help you lose weight?
Forcing your midsection into an hourglass shape with waist trainers give the illusion of having a tiny waist, and fitness coach Nicolle Harwood-Nash thinks that although women who wear waspies say that they feel full while wearing them, this is in no way a good alternative to healthy eating as a form of weight loss. "In a way, you're committing to a fake form of diet," she told Byrdie.
The appearance of having a tinier waist when wearing waist clinchers is both short-term and superficial, according to Insider. Our bodies are largely made up of water and our midsection — abdomen area — is where most of the water retention happens. When we put on a waspie, the garment essentially creates a temporary easing in the bloated look, but this is in no way permanent. Personal trainer and fitness enthusiast Brandon Nicholas added, "Real weight loss happens when superficial water weight is eliminated and you've managed to actually burn fat underneath."
Lagree Instructor Casey Palazzo also thinks that forcing our torsos into waist trainers can trigger dehydration from increased sweating, which again, can make it look like we've lost weight in our midsections, at least on the surface-level.
There are a lot of reasons why you should think twice before trying a waist trainer or deciding to wear shapewear every day. Breathing is one major concern, according to nutritionist Brittany Kohn, per Shape. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery actually reports that wearing waist clinchers can reduce your lung space by about 30-60%. If you're into the practice of wearing waist trainers consistently, you might also sabotage your body's chances of proper breathing motions required for toxin release.
Another serious side effect of wearing waist trainers includes gastrointestinal issues, according to Healthline. Gastroenterologist Jesse P. Houghton told Byrdie that putting on waist clinchers under your garments for any period of time can give rise to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). "This is due to compression of the stomach and thus upward pressure on stomach contents, causing reflux into the esophagus."
There are far more effective (and safe) ways to lose weight like focusing on a healthy diet full of greens, exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction, reports Insider.