History repeats itself as the modern woman turns to waist training — wearing waist trainers, corsets and other body shapers in an effort to reduce waist size and achieve the desired body shape.
Celebrities like the Kardashians, Jessica Alba and Snookie, to name a few, are said to practice this craze ritually, and more women seem to be influenced to do the same to get a smaller waistline.
According to Jason Bridges, co-owner of Thin Ability, a company specializing in waist trainers, waist training is the process of burning fat and reducing your waist size by wearing body-shaping products. Bridges is adamant that by wearing their products, benefits can include instantly reducing your waist size, weight loss, improved posture and helping you get back into shape after a child birth or certain surgeries.
“Yes, they really work,” Bridges said. “[It] depends on how committed you are. You will have instant results when you first put it on, but with proper diet and exercise the average customer can expect to see more permanent results in as little as 30 days.”
Each waist trainer on their website can range from $70 to $90, which can be pricey.
Although the hourglass figure is what many women aim for, there are some precautions about wearing these products. Jazmin Alvarado, 22, a senior, is pursuing a bachelor’s in photography, and says she has worn waist trainers in the past because her mom wanted her to.
“The first time you put them on, it hurts and it’s hard to breath,” Alvarado said. “I used to wear them when I was 15 because my body was developing, and it supposedly helps to get the ‘proper’ body.”
Although she was told to wear a waist trainer when she was younger, Alvarado hardly does so anymore. When she does wear a waist trainer, it is just to help with her back problems.
Corsets used to be worn primarily by upperclass women in the 19th century in an effort to achieve a tiny waist and good posture. According to “Too Close for Comfort, 500 Years of Corsets,” published on the University of Virginia website, the shape of the corset was architectural, designed to make a woman’s torso a straight, inverted cone.
Today, it seems like women just want a small waist to accentuate their figure.
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of OB-GYN at Yale School of Medicine, told Women’s Health Magazine that wearing a corset is uncomfortable; it restricts movement, can cause difficulty breathing it if worn really tight and theoretically can cause rib damage.
Bridges said that he believes women want the hourglass shape because it is beautiful, sexy and the ideal shape of a woman. He also believes that most women already have that shape but junk food and lack of exercise gets in the way, distorting this figure.
“Pain is subjective,” Bridges said. “If it felt like a massage therapy session then every woman would have an hourglass shape.”
It can cost a lot of money just to buy one waist trainer, let alone several as it becomes necessary after a person starts to lose weight to purchase smaller sizes.
Jeanette Hernandez, 19-year-old psychology major, said she has tried waist training before but decided to stop.
“I didn’t like waist training because I couldn’t eat as much, and I like eating,” Hernandez said. “I did it for a couple of weeks but it wasn’t for me.”
An alternative method to lose those unwanted pounds is to work out often and maintain a clean diet. It might be difficult to keep up with a steady routine of exercising and diet, but living a healthy lifestyle is better for your body and your bank account.