Everyone is talking about the new celebrity fitness craze of wearing a waist trainer to achieve that oh so perfect hour glass figure. Basically we’re talking corsets with a fancy new name to make it sound as though it may actually be doing our bodies some good, which of course, it is not!
The biggest advocate of the waist trainer is Queen of the curves herself, Kim Kardashian. Not content with having a derriere the size of a small planet, she is also after a waist that could mirror that of an undernourished child.
You can guarantee, if a Kardashian’s wearing one, then a million other celebs are going to be jumping on that bandwagon too. Amber Rose, Alex Gerrard, Snooki, Holly Hagan and Jessica Alba are just a handful of celebrities keen to mirror the look, with Alba revealing that she wore one after both of her pregnancies.
One of Kim’s new BFF’s is a lady called Premadonna, who is the owner of the ‘Waist Gang Society‘, a company singing the praises of the waist trainer. Premadonna claims, “Kim uses the trainer to lose weight but also to maintain her shape. It slims the waist which emphasises the bottom too. She’s obsessed with it. The waist trainers are made from a combination of Lycra, spandex and latex and they work by pulling you in around the middle. The material makes you sweat more around your waist – meaning you lose inches in that specific area. It gives you that hourglass shape.” To us mere mortals it is a corset; shapewear gone to the absolute extreme. It can’t be healthy and if it makes you sweat, my gosh are you going to stink! So why wear it? According to Premadonna, if Kim wears the trainer for six hours a day she can expect to lose up to 2 inches a week. “She wears one in the gym, which means she gets quicker results, or when she’s running around ahead of photo shoots. You can wear it under dresses on the red carpet too. Some customers even sleep in it.”
Lily James’ tiny waist in the new Cinderella film also sparked controversy, with fears that it sets an unhealthy role model for young girls. The film’s director, Kenneth Branagh denies claims that her waist was digitally altered, with James insisting she had been on a ‘liquid diet’ in order to wear the corseted costume. James went on to say,“Why do women always get pointed at for their bodies? And why is this whole thing happening and I’m constantly having to justify myself? International Women’s Day has just gone by and it just feels a bit sad that this is still happening. Princesses are great role models; they teach you about grief and loss and have big hearts.” Unfortunately, the image is still thrust out there for young girls to see and ultimately try to live up to. As Dr Rebecca Haines, author of The Princess Problem and Professor of Advertising and Media studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts points out, “From the release of the photos there was concern here. This is an unrealistic beauty image, an exaggerated body type, and the fact that the actress then says, ‘oh yes, I was corseted so tightly I couldn’t eat’, I think is problematic.”
Doctors say that there is absolutely no proof that a waist training corset will permanently alter your body’s shape. In fact, you are far more likely to do yourself some permanent damage, including rib, organ and metabolic injury to rib breakages and small lung collapses. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., who is the clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine explains, “Medically, it doesn’t make sense that cinching your waist tightly will make it permanently smaller. Once you take the garment off, your body will return to its usual shape. It’s also uncomfortable, restricts your movements, and if you wear it really tight, it can even make it difficult to breathe and theoretically could cause rib damage.”
Will someone please tell Kim Kardashian the dangers she is putting her body through and the negative image she is presenting to young girls. Celebrities have a huge responsibility to ensure they are promoting a positive body image and prior to the waist trainer Kim Kardashian was a great role model for larger, curvy women. It seems she too has fallen prey to the pressures of what society expects women to look like. Personal trainer to the stars, Kali O’Mard, sums it up nicely, “In a nutshell, all you’re doing is compressing your stomach and putting the fat elsewhere, not getting rid of it. I suggest you exercise, eat well and eliminate refined and processed foods from your diet. Then you’ll have the abs and waist of your dreams.