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All You Should Know About the Health Risk of Wearing Waist Trainers

A few days ago, we put up an article on Pier Morgan body shaming plus size model Tess Holiday and listing out reasons why being obese is a bad thing.

He was right about obesity been unhealthy but was he also right when he body shamed a skinny but healthy model a few years ago?

However we choose to see it, the current beauty standards have made women more concerned about their body image than they have ever been in history.

Every human was created differently hence our varying body types, but with the believe that we can reshape ourselves to fit the picture people expect to see when we stand in front of them by either spending a lot of money on surgery, exercising, taking medications, or patronizing body shaping products like the waist trainer.

As a child, my idea of beauty was a skinny, tall girl with long hair. Just like the Barbie dolls I had and the girls I saw in music videos.

But as I grew older, the story changed. I noticed skinny girls began to take pills to look thicker and ladies with small breasts began to put on bras with extra padding just to give more volume to their chest area.

This new change was a confusing one for a mind as young as mine at the time, but gradually I realised that thicker girls with big backside and breasts were believed to be more attractive to the opposite gender in my country.

All of that was about 12 to 13 years ago, and less attention was paid to a woman’s midsection because after all, it’s the breasts as the ass that get all the attention during sex. Once it was 2010, the story took a different turn.

And this time, the movie industry, TV commercials, magazines, and the entire entertainment industry preached the message of wider hips, slim waist, thick thighs, and a slightly broad chest with some much energy you would think that women who don’t fit this description would voluntarily run into the Sahara and die of thirst because they were “ugly”.

The hourglass body type that looks like the figure 8, or a Nigerian pop star wizkid would call it “coke bottle body” is indeed a very sexy one to behold, and every woman would want to be that appealing to the opposite sex or even just for the feeling of being in perfect shape.

To achieve this look, the beauty industry decided to invent what is known as a waist trainer for women who can’t afford to get a surgery done like Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj.

The big question is, are waist trainers healthy? Do they indeed help you lose weight around your mid-section? Is it OK to wear a waist trainer under your clothes? In no particular order, we will answer these questions.

But first, it is vital that you know, that no matter your body type, you are beautiful and if you decide to keep flowing with the changes in beauty standards, you would realize eventually that you have been chasing shadows as no perfect picture of beauty in this industry lasts longer than a decade or two.

What is a waist trainer?

Waist Trainers

Waist training is unarguably an art as it entails sculpting your body. Waist training is the process of reducing the natural size of your of your waist and accentuating curves using a corset or a thick material that comes with straps, hooks, or laces, known as a waist trainer.

The use of waist trainers is aimed at giving you curves over your hips and a tiny waist just like an hourglass.

Can you lose weight using a waist trainer?

What do you think? Waist trainers are not like running or dieting that helps you burn fat fast.

The notion that waist trainer helps you lose weight or tone your abs is false, and if at all you want to try it to confirm my claim, I must warn that 30 days in a waist trainer is no walk in the park so get ready for torture that yields no positive result.

Can you wear a waist trainer under your clothes?

Yes, you can. A lot of women who use waist trainer do but it depends on how many hours you can comfortably wear it without feeling like you are losing breath or feeling any other kind of discomfort.

However, it is not advisable to work out in a waist trainer or even go to bed in one. It is very dangerous and uncomfortable even though you might have seen a few ladies do it on TV.

Finally, are waist trainers healthy for you?

With the recent celebrity rise in awareness of waist trainers’ use and even the A4 waist challenge in China, it is difficult to convince a lot of women that it isn’t scientifically proven that this body moulding cheat indeed works.

It is also hard to pass the message of the potential health risks involved.

  1. Skin irritation: Having such a tight material fastened to your skin for long hours shields your skin from the air and causes skin irritation and chafing because of the heat and tightness. You may want to see it as a little price to pay for a sexy looking perfect shape, but you won’t feel normal if the rash eventually causes an infection and after all the money spent on treatment and the frequent use of your waist trainer, you end up looking no different than you have always looked.
  2. Acid Reflux: Have you met anyone who has experienced acid reflux before? If you have, you would have an idea of how much pain it causes a sufferer. Wearing a waist trainer compresses your mid-section, thereby pushing on your stomach up higher and increases the chances of you experiencing having heartburns and indigestion. Acid reflux is not only painful. When it happens repeatedly, it can lead to long-term damage by eroding your oesophagus walls.
  3. Psychological effect: Wearing a waist trainer makes you look perfect and give people the false impression that you wish were true. But once you take it off in the privacy of your bedroom and stand in front of your mirror, you realise that you are the same person with a wide midsection and your unhappiness returns. You become too shy to leave your house without putting on a cheat that makes you look, like what you are not and that is you body shaming yourself unknowingly.
  4. Breathing: By putting on a tight clenching waist trainer, you are pushing hard on all your internal organs, and that is very dangerous. Your diaphragm gets restricted, your oxygen intake gets reduced, and you end up feeling light-headed, short of breath, and even fainting.
  5. Bruising and numbness: The traditional corset cannot be compared to waist trainers. While corsets can leave you with minor bruises, waist trainers cause bone bruises, and that is one painful experience you do not wish to have as they are long-lasting. Also, waist trainers reduce blood flow around your mid-section and your nerves will get affected. This causes you to feel like you are having pins and needles in your legs or feeling numb.

Now that you have an idea of what you stand to gain and lose from using a waist trainer, the choice is you to either go for better bodybuilding options like exercising and working on your diet or to stick to the cheat.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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