Girdles, waist trainers, shaping garments – are they safe?

It might be an exaggeration to say that today’s waist trainers are the corsets of yesteryear, but they are kissing cousins at the very least. And if you’re a slave to the latest fashion craze supported by celebrities, you’re probably strapped into a waist trainer right now.

If this is you, take a look at this photo. It’s from an 1888 book that showed what long-

term corset use did to ladies’ internal organs.

long-term corset use

Note the fact that this is a long-term use scenario. If you want to occasionally use a modern corset (or even your grandmother’s girdle, which was the 1950s take on body shaping undergarments) to push your wiggly parts away from your waist, have at it.

Here are some reasons why a waist trainer shouldn’t be part of your daily beauty routine (no matter what the Kardashians say.)

You can damage your vital organs. (Go back and look at that drawing.):

Your core isn’t just the place for six-pack abs to decorate. Think of it as a duffle bag for your lungs, stomach, liver, and kidneys. You can cinch a belt around the middle of that thing and make it skinny there, but where does the stuff inside go? Right: to either end. That’s not a happy place for your internal organs, which need to be right where they are to function well. Cinch too hard, and you can fracture your ribs.

You can literally suffocate:

Cinching your body like a duffle bag can deprive your body of oxygen. If it’s uncomfortable to the point of pain, or you find yourself listless and not wanting to do much, you’re probably cinched too tight. Do this too long, and you’ll pass out, build up fluid in your lungs or inflame them. Weeks of this will affect the way you breathe, which is important for your lymphatic system to work properly.

You can wreck your digestive system:

Your esophagus, stomach, and intestines are your digestive system. They work to process and eliminate the food you eat. Assuming you eat (which you totally should). Long-term waist training can block parts of your digestive system from each other. You could develop acid reflux, a hiatal hernia or other issues.

They just don’t work:

Waist training is a temporary solution. There is zero scientific evidence that corsets back in their day and waist trainers today eliminate fat from your waist. At best, they pushed it around and at worse, see that drawing again. Check the information your waist trainer came with, and we’ll bet you it says somewhere in the print that the trainer will work best if used in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. Guess which of those three really helps eliminate belly fat? Right: the harder-to-stick-to diet & exercise.

The fact is, few women naturally (or healthily) can achieve that Victorian image of a wasp-waist, nor can they permanently maintain the waist-trained shape promise with those cute waist trainers of today and be healthy.

The best way to get to your body type’s healthiest shape predates even the Victorians:

  • Adopt a healthy diet that’s rich in natural food and low in processed snacks, sugars and soda.
  • Add strength training to your regular exercise plan to tone your muscles.
  • Work with a dietician, personal trainer or physician to find a system that works for you.
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