From Kim Kardashian to Jessica Alba, celebrities and influencers are currently raving about the benefits and incredible works of their best waist trainers. As a quick reminder, these modern-day corsets come in all materials and sizes, but collectively claim to have a wide range of advantages, from being the key to weight loss to guaranteeing that infamous hourglass figure that a lot of us have always dreamed of.
You may already have read our piece on the merits of sleeping with a waist trainer. In this follow-up article, we are now addressing what is probably your most pressing question: do waist trainers actually work?
The short answer to this is: yes and no. As you’ll see below, by all accounts, it appears that waist trainers actually do work, but only for a short period of time, and for very specific results.
How waist trainers actually work
Waist trainers do work – in the short term. Just like corsets in the 18th century, they can visibly shape your body into a more attractive figure. They reduce the size of your waist and enhance your general figure, making you look thinner.
The hourglass shape
Many women actually notice this change in just a few days and the positive impacts of waist trainers even seem to continue for a short while after it is taken off. As Katie Mythen-Lynch puts it: ‘I’ve noticed that when I take the waist trainer off at the end of the day, the ‘hour glass’ effect remains.’ This, of course, is a very good point for waist trainers all around!
In terms of weight loss, waist trainers do both help you lose fluids and feel less hungry. This is because your stomach and chest are tightly compressed. As a result, your sense of hunger will be modified and you will instinctively adapt your eating habits to fit more comfortably within the waist trainer.
You may not even suspect this, but a waist trainer can also help correct your posture. Because of how rigid it is, the waist trainer naturally forces you to stand and sit up right. This helps with your posture but also contributes to that hourglass shape that we already mentioned.
As you know with these things, everything is linked!
Why waist trainers only do work in the short term
Having said that, as you may suspect, everything isn’t always rainbows and butterflies in the land of waist trainers. While some short-term benefits are clearly of note, the side-effects are plenty.
The French may often say that: ‘One has to suffer to be pretty,’ but these things are very uncomfortable. Not only because they are tight and cumbersome to put on – they actually make you unable to breathe. Per the findings of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery’s investigation: ‘Waist training can deprive your body of oxygen, reducing lung capacity by an estimated 30-60% while you’re wearing the corset.’
Numerous claims have also been made that using a waist trainer can crush your insides, compress your organs and have a lasting, negative impact on your digestion. If you’re wearing a waist trainer to lose weight or get that Kim Kardashian-like figure, this does not necessarily make the waist trainer less effective. This being said, it is always better to know about the possible negative impacts of a practice before going into it.
No proof of a lasting impact
As personal trainer Siobhan Byrne puts it: ‘I don’t think there is any quick fix for weight loss. If it comes off quickly, it will usually go back on as fast.’
For short periods of time, the waist trainer may drive you to lose fluids and eat less, but if not accompanied by the lifestyle and exercise routine changes that are necessary to long-lasting weight loss, there is no proof of a positive impact for waist trainers.
Additionally, while waist trainers may improve your posture in the short term, by wearing them for too long, they can actually weaken your core muscles. You will rely too much on the pressure of the waist trainer itself and let it do all the work for you. After twelve days of consistent waist training, Katie Mythen-Lynch reports: ‘Taking it off is like taking off your bra in the evening; it’s a huge relief but you feel a bit wobbly without it.’
As a consequence, the only way to achieve long-lasting results with a waist trainer is to create a dependency. Wear it all the time for the rest of your life and you will see the effects, both positive and negative. However, given how inconsistent life is, nowadays, you will most likely stop wearing the waist trainer within a few weeks. The moment that you do, chances are that you will gradually go back to your initial shape and size.
As Dr Roxann Engle of UCI Health puts it: ‘It’s a temporary reduction.’ If you are trying to get in shape for a wedding or a special event and have very little time to dedicate to it, by all means, a waist trainer may work for you. However, in the long term, nothing seems to replace hard work and healthy eating.
Jo Dejean is an online writer, routinely covering a wide variety of topics including weight loss and wellness. She is passionate about body positivity, consistently striving to try and explore new ways of reaching her goals.