Source: Marie Claire
When we’ve hit a low in our body confidence and try to find a source of motivation, we often resort to social media to see what others are doing to get our mojo back, particularly as summer is setting in and the pressure to be swimsuit ready looms closer and closer. Many people have resorted to what I like to call 2016’s most useless contraption for women’s self-esteem, the waist trainer.
These age old torture devices, worn over or under clothing; at the gym or not at the gym, are designed to compress core muscles with the aim to decrease overall waist circumference when worn for long periods of time. The age old definition of insanity is repeating a process and expecting a different outcome, and it seems that even after hundreds of years of trialing corseting, we seem to believe that this time around is going to be different.
Maybe it’s because the likes of reality stars and celebrities are being endorsed to model waist trainers for social media, often with the age old weight loss or post baby body story. With millions of followers on their twitter and Instagram accounts, it’s not surprising that many girls are easily encouraged and jumping on board with this “health and fitness” trend.
But at what cost is this medieval contraption doing harm on our bodies?
Side effects of corseting have included bruising, skin chaffing, breathing difficulties, fractured ribs, reflux, heart burn and bowel problems. Internally, shifting of vital organs such as your colon, liver, stomach, intestines and ovaries can affect both blood flow and function. Continuous wear of waist trainers can also have an effect on your core and back muscles, weakening them the more you wear the device – the opposite effect of what you’d expect from a device that is so uncomfortable around your midsection.
The side effects of waist training (Instyle UK)
From an aesthetic perspective, the appearance gives an hour glass silhouette which, sorry to burst the bubble, is short lived. New York nutritionist Brittany Kohn has commented on the fad having short term effects. “Cinching your waist redistributes your middle, so you look slimmer. But once the corset comes off, your body will quickly return to its usual weight and shape” (Shape Magazine).
So, when you’re browsing through your social media looking for a moment of “health and fitness” inspiration, remember these wise words from spinal surgeon Dr Paul Jeffords before drinking the Kool Aid:
“Just because a celebrity promotes it doesn’t mean that it’s safe or that it works or that it’s proven”