For women (and historically, some men did this too) one of the techniques people used to lose weight / prevent over-eating was 'training corsets' designed to cinch the waist together so that they could achieve an hourglass shape of their chest to waist to hips ratio.
|1950s Pinup Model Betty Brosmer|
You can see the results in the photo on the right from the 1950s.
Or at the photo of Kim Kardashian further below. In the case of Kim Kardashian there has been a lot of social buzz about whether various photos of her were photoshopped to make her waist looking small and her hips look bigger. But if you are familiar with the history of corsets you will know that Kim's waist and hips don't need photoshop. There were plenty of women (and men too) from history who had highly cinched waists who had curvier / more hourglass shaped figures.
Doing this is basically just another form of body modification similar to piercings, tattoos, breast implants / pectoral implants, botox, liposuction, synthol injections, steroid addiction, cosmetic surgery, rhinoplasty, circumcision, eyeball tattooing (I bet you didn't even know that one existed), microdermal / transdermal / subdermal implants, silicone injections, tongue splitting, cranial binding, foot binding, branding, ear shaping, scarification, tooth filing, etc. Many of these activities are the result of body dysmorphic disorders / mental illnesses in which the person feels inadequate unless they can change their body in a specific way.
|Kim Kardashian taking a Selfie|
In the case of waist training, it is true that many practitioners do lose weight because it is a bit like Gastric Bypass Surgery in that it restricts how much a person can eat. (Gastric bypass surgery is a surgical procedure in which the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower "remnant" pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both. The small stomach can then consume less food, resulting in the person having smaller meals and they lose weight over the long term.)
However the health effects of tightlacing / corset training causes havoc with the individual's internal organs. Below is a list of health defects that can result from an addiction to tightlacing.
Short term effects of tightlacing
- Extreme discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Chafing of the skin
- Weak abdominal muscles
- Spinal problems / back pain
- Problems urinating / leaky bladder (a practitioner might end up having to wear diapers)
- Broken ribs / osteoporosis in the ribs
- Compression of internal organs (similar to when organs are compressed during pregnancy)
- Decreased lung volume / shallow breathing (intercostal breathing)
- Mucosal build up in the lungs causes frequent bouts of pneumonia / coughing, which caused a Victorian myth that corset wearing caused tuberculosis
- Liver is pushed upwards towards the ribs, forming ridges in between the ribs and accessory lobes - the connection of which can be quite thin, which resulted in the Victorian myth that corset wearing can 'cut a liver in half'.
- Stomach volume compressed resulting in long term problems with indigestion, heartburn, gastric reflux. Practitioners avoid carbonated drinks, beans or any gassy foods.
- Intestine compression causes constipation / anal leakage / rectal discharge (again, necessitating the use of diapers)
- The reduced stomach volume means many practitioners need to eat 6 smaller meals because eating 3 larger meals is no longer possible due to insufficient volume. Failing to eat sufficient nutrients can result in severe weight loss and accompanying health problems.
If people really want to try waist training that is really their personal choice. But they should at least get into it knowing the health dangers/embarrassement they face (back pain, diapers, heartburn, etc). The prospect of diapers alone is enough of a reason in my opinion.
We should also note that sometimes training corsets are sometimes used to deliberately correct the curvature of the spine, in the case of people who have suffered traumatic injuries to the spine.