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Is Waist Training Bad?

The Dangerous Effects of Waist Training

Our friends at YourTango discuss the dangers of the popular waist trainer trend.

I always wanted a slimmer waist . . . but I did NOT want this.

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, in order to have what I thought was the new modern body type — including waist training.

There were lots of reasons why it felt necessary to even try.

I felt that in order to be accepted by others, to be loved by the man I loved, I needed to match up to 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 being 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 past plateaus and gains to get that 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, postbaby 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.

If you haven't heard of waist training, it's when a woman wears a corset around her waist for a period of time during the day.

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.

But as you ease into the process, your body adjusts and it just feels snug.

What's amazing about using a corset to shrink your midsection is how fast it works. In a matter of a week or two, a woman can reduce her waistline one to two inches.

If used for a period of several months, a woman can 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, then they wouldn't use them.

After a few months of using my waist trainer, I lost three 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.

But oddly, just 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 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, and gastroesophageal reflux disease to hindering and impacting a woman's menstrual cycle, there's a lot of reasons why waist training can even be deadly.

Here are three reasons why I'll never use a waist trainer again:

1. Experts say 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 is no magic to pushing around body fat or getting muscles to conform to a forced shape.

If you want to have a small waist, then 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 are 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 are 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 a corset, pressure is placed on your other vital organs, and your lungs feel the pinch, too.

Even if you wear the garment for a short period of time, 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 one, shallow breathing creates other health problems such as increased risk of fluid buildup 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 OK, no matter what society says my body is supposed to be.

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