The Kardashians have been flogging waist trainers on their socials for so long now, I had to see what all the fuss was about — maybe the Kardashians are onto something? Do waist trainers actually help you lose waist weight? Considering how tiny they all continue to become, it was time to put my body on the line, so I got my hands (and waist) on a waist trainer and began my investigating.
When the Kardashian's, among other celebs, began their foray into the tiny waist trade I had read things. Baad things. Things about organs being squished and forced out of place. Maybe I also read about ribs breaking, but that could have been an over-dramatic sister trying to convince me otherwise. Either way, the only good I had uncovered was from the #ads posted by the Kardashian Klan — I mean, if Kim K is obsessed, then maybe I should be too, y'know?
Or maybe I shouldn't.
When the trainer landed on my desk, naturally, I tried it — shout out to Ashling who helped squeeze my rolls in, she's a real team player with super hero strength. Instantly — after fastening each hook-and-eye and forcing the zip up — it was harder to breathe, bending at the waist was impossible, but my posture has never been better, I was a human ruler! I had it on for approximately 27 seconds before I had to release my rolls.
Step two of my investigation led me to doctor Brad McKay (also a hero for putting up with me). I told him I desperately wanted to try out a waist trainer to lose a bit of weight but I wanted his approval first (because TBH, I wasn't really getting it from anyone else) and he said "No." Politely, albeit. "Waist trainers are known to cause skin abrasions, stress fractures in ribs, fainting episodes, and prolonged compression can even cause nerve damage. I've never recommended a waist trainer to a patient wanting to lose weight, and likely never will," Dr. McKay said.
So I tried it.
The instructions that came with the waist trainer suggested to wear it while eating. This is supposed to help you eat less because your stomach can't expand. It basically does all the portion controlling for you, which is always the hardest at meal time. But for me, I actually couldn't eat much more than a couple of mouthfuls, I was too distracted by the boning in the corset that was digging into my underboob area. There was physically no room for the food to enter my body and then make it down my digestive tract, so I guess it does what it says, if "eat less" means "not at all".
Dr. McKay weighed in. Again. "Waist trainers are used to squash your abdomen and decrease the total amount of food you can physically fit into your stomach at one time. This may decrease your food intake, but increased stomach pressure also increases your chance of experiencing indigestion. Stomach acid is forced up into the oesophagus, causing gastro-oesophageal reflux (heartburn). If juices from your stomach get up high enough, you'll taste the acid as it burns the back of your throat."
As each day passed, I managed to squeeze my body into the trainer for a little longer than the day before. I'll be honest, while I was feeling thinner, I was also concerned about potential internal dangers. Could it damage my organs? What about my ribs?! All questions I asked Dr. McKay, to which he retorted: "External pressure on your internal organs doesn't sound like a fantastic healthy solution."
I know, I know, but THE KARDASHIANS!
"Waist trainers prevent your lungs from fully inflating, which limits your ability to exercise and puts you at risk of developing pneumonia."
OK, I see your point.
"Prolonged use of waist trainers can make your postural muscles lazy. Weakness of these vital muscles can lead to back injuries and long term pain."
"Pressure on your abdomen may impede the flow of your intestinal contents (that's poo!) and can cause constipation, which can lead to haemorrhoids."
Holy hell. And now for the kicker (and literary highlight of my career) . . .
"You might temporarily alter your silhouette, but gain some anus berries."
Yep, Dr. McKay said "anus berries".
And with that I stopped wearing it. I'd like to live my life without suffering from "anus berries" please and thank you — oh, and pneumonia, back pain, nerve damage and fractured ribs. Even though the Kardashian's "swear" by their waist trainers, the benefits will never be long term. Sure I looked thinner in the waist and lost a couple of centimetres, but once I stopped using it my waist returned to it's normal shape, just like Dr. McKay predicted.
And as someone who is all about healthy living and not at all about fads, it's safe to say the waist trainer isn't going to make it into my daily routine. Case closed!