I Tried Waist Training And Got Really, Really Sick

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 I Tried A Waist Trainer & Learned The Hard Way That Corset Training Is Extremely Dangerous

When it comes to trying to achieve a certain body type, I can honestly say I've tried tons of weight loss products. I can't even count all the different diets, fitness fads, and products I've tried to have what I thought was the new modern body type — including corset training to shape my waist.

There were lots of reasons why it felt necessary to try a waist trainer. I felt that to be accepted by others, to be loved by the man I love, I needed to match up with stereotypical images of health, beauty, and weight.

It didn't take too long to find other women to support me in my pursuit of external happiness. We all felt shame about our too-thick thighs when thinner thighs were in vogue, or too small in the butt department, when being flat in the back was no longer in style.

We shared dieting tricks and secrets, and when we ate too much, we supported each other, determined to push hard past plateaus and gains to get that hourglass shape and perfect body.

Body type is a big deal, and it can be a deal-breaker for what a woman wants in life — especially if she's single — or so I was told by television, magazine covers, and advertisements posting images of celebrity endorsers claiming I could be sexier if I lost a few more pounds.

And it's not a total myth. The same men who would walk past me and my 20-pound heavier post-baby body would hold the door when I was leaner, trimmer, and (apparently) more attractive. It was that same mentality that led me to corset-train to decrease my waistline and achieve the hourglass figure.

What is a waist trainer?

A waist trainer is essentially a corset made up of thick fabric with a hard metal boning. It's worn around your midsection, and it either has a waist cincher with a lacing system, or it has small little hooks to button up or just simple velcro.

When a woman is waist training, she's wearing a corset around her waist for a period of time during the day and, in time, with a special diet and exercise as part of the entire process, the corset or waist trainer helps teach the midsection to reshape itself.

Of course, there are some uncomfortable side effects to waist training. But as you ease into the process, your body adjusts and it just feels snug.

You're supposed to wear the trainer for the same amount of time every day over a period of months. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Alba, JWoww, Snooki, Blac Chyna, and more have all promoted that waist trainers work to help slim the look of their waists.

Do waist trainers actually work?

What's amazing about using a corset to shrink your midsection is how fast they work. In a matter of a week or two, a woman can reduce her waistline by 1-2 inches. It can also help improve posture.

However, waist trainers do not move your fat. So, if you're looking to slim your waist and lose body fat, a waist trainer is not the way to go. It only temporarily reduces the size of your waist while wearing it, but when you take it off your waist won't look any different.

In addition, you can train your waist to temporarily flatten your stomach, but it will not magically get rid of fat and make your stomach flat.

The waist trainer can also suppress your appetite by pressing down on your stomach, which creates a fake feeling of fullness. Therefore, it's promoting fasting and unhealthy eating habits which isn't beneficial to your body, especially when wearing it for long periods of time.

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People can lose weight this way, but it's very unhealthy. By starving yourself you're depriving your body of a healthy diet and the right nutrients and minerals.

If used for a period of several months, I thought it could make a woman have the waist she's always wanted. I had viewed pictures of other women celebrities who waist train. I reasoned that if they were dangerous, they wouldn't use them.

After a few months of using my waist trainer, I lost 3 inches off my midsection. I couldn't have been any happier. It would have taken me a year to do that at the gym, and even then I might not have had the same results.

Is waist training dangerous?

Around the same time that I was reshaping my body, another strange phenomenon happened — I started having indescribable pain that debilitated me. I ended up in the emergency room. They did tests and could find nothing.

The incidents were sparse, but I started to notice a pattern as they became more frequent. I got the attacks almost always after I had worn my corset. So, I stopped using it.

A week later, I doubled over in pain so massive that death would have felt like a blessing. Worse than childbirth, I ended up in the emergency room again, only this time, I needed to have emergency surgery.

The doctor on staff asked me to recite the events leading up to my pain. I asked him if there was any chance that the waist training garment I had been using could have caused my problems? His answer was "Yes."

Due to their restrictive nature around the midsection of the body, corsets put pressure on vital organs and can even strangle them, leading to permanent body damage when worn for extended periods of time. From physical disorders such as meralgia paresthetica, blood clots, gastroesophageal reflux disease, to even hindering and impacting a woman's menstrual cycle, there's a lot of reasons why waist training can be deadly.

The basic risks of waist training include challenged breathing, permanent damage to your internal organs by being crammed together over time, and affecting blood flow, possible fractured ribs, and possible acid reflux, as well as other digestive issues.

Waist trainers cause breathing problems because they reduce your lung capacity by 30 to 60 percent, which can make you pass out if worn too tight for too long. It can also lead to inflammation of the lungs and a build-up of fluid in the lungs, as well as problems with your lymphatic system, which rids your body of toxins.

You could additionally get a bad case of heartburn from acid that can travel from your stomach into your esophagus from all the pressure. It also won't help you If you have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) because it could make your symptoms even worse.

The most disgusting thing a waist trainer can do is cause prolapse, which is when your pelvic organs (your uterus, your bladder, and your rectum) come into your vaginal canal and then out of it because it applies pressure to the pelvic floor.

RELATED: 4 *Essential* Waist-Training Facts You Need Before Buying A Corset

How long do you have to wear a waist trainer to see results?

When you wear a waist trainer every day, you're only temporarily making your body look slimmer in the waist. However, no matter how long you wear your waist trainer, you won't see significant results in losing weight or inches off your waist unless you keep an active lifestyle.

All a waist trainer is going to give you is health problems if you wear it too long. You can certainly wear a waist trainer if you want to look slimmer for certain events or as a costume, just make sure to not make it too tight.

You can wear them every now and then, but don't add wearing them to your daily routine as this may only cause problems for you. Always make sure that if you do wear a waist trainer, it's not too restrictive. And in case you feel short of breath, light-headed, or faint, remove it as soon as possible.

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There are more natural remedies to shrink your waist like eating a balanced diet, adding aerobic and strength training into your workout routine, or talking to a specialist about how to target your waist or core muscles while exercising. There's also the option of plastic surgery if you decide you want a more permanent and fast solution.

What are the side effects of wearing a waist trainer?

Here are 3 corset training side effects — and why I'll never use a waist trainer again:

1. Spot training does not produce lasting weight-loss results.

It takes time for our bodies to adjust to change. True improvement takes time, so it's best to do things the right way with diet and exercise.

There's no magic to pushing around body fat or getting muscles to conform to a forced shape.

If you want to have a small waist, you have to put in the work. Especially if you want to lose weight. If your body refuses to be pushed past a certain plateau, chances are, you're where you need to be.

2. Waist training corsets might be pretty, but they aren't worth the potential kidney damage.

Factoring in the cost and time associated with the long-term damage waist trainers can cause, there's really no denying that it's not worth the health risk.

Sure, you get a smaller waist in less time than you would with diet and exercise. But as the corset helps you slim down your waist, it is also putting pressure on your stomach and kidneys.

Pressure on the kidneys reduces blood supply to your organs. This could lead to bladder infections or stomach problems — neither of which is cost-effective.

3. You get less oxygen when you wear a corset.

The whole point of looking and feeling better about your body is to have a sense of confidence and freedom in your skin. But waist training does the exact opposite.

When you wear them, pressure is placed on your other vital organs, and your lungs feel the pinch, too. Even if you wear the garment short-term, the only way to have any lasting effects is to put it back on. That's no way to treat your lungs.

Although it is rare to pass out while wearing them, shallow breathing creates other health problems such as an increased risk of fluid build-up in the lungs.

From now on, I'm sticking to a healthy diet and exercise along with a healthy dose of self-acceptance. I'm okay, no matter what society says my body is supposed to be.

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Aria Gmitter, M.F.A., is YourTango's Senior Editor for Horoscopes and Spirituality. Aria is an astrologer, numerologist, tarotist, and theologian who earned her undergraduate degree in comparative religious studies from the University of Miami.