October 10th 2013
Are waist shapers bad for your health?
March 8th 2015 / 1 comment
With everyone from Kim Kardashian to Jessica Alba tightening up, we separate fact from fiction with the help of GTG expert Susannah Makram
Khloe Kardashian's dramatic before and after picture illustrating her impressive weight loss was not the only thing we noticed on her Instagram account last week. Posing in her Nike workout wear in her shoe wardrobe mirror (as you do) we couldn’t help but notice her microscopic looking waist, held in by what could only be described as a corset.
Having investigated Waist Gang Society a little further it appears that this ‘Waist Shaper’ is not merely an extreme version of Spanx functioning to ensure you fit into that dress but a weight loss method itself. Known as PreMadonna87 to its 400k+ Instagram following, Waist Gang Society have gained a name for themselves as the go-to brand for people wanting to get a Kardashian-like waist. Featured on a hat trick of Kardashian Instagram accounts - Kim, Khloe and Kourtney have all posted selfies wearing the brand - its founder is not shy of sharing the millions she has made via her social media account as a result.
According to the Waist Gang Society website, wearers our encouraged to wear the corset for two to four hours a day, gradually tightening the clasps as you work your way through ‘waist training’. The corset claims are pretty impressive, vouching to permanently get rid of unwanted inches around your waist, strengthen your core and improve posture, and the most bizarre: attack unwanted fat and impurities within the body. Whereas the claims to improve core strength and attack unwanted fat seem a little far fetched, the science behind the weight loss element is pretty simple:
“The tight compression will help to reduce food volume intake which will help achieve the healthier practice of smaller meals, more often, rather than three large meals a day,” Waist Gang Society explains.
The Kardashian klan are not the only celebrities to dabble in the world of waist shapers; Jessica Alba told Net A Porter’s The Edit magazine that post pregnancy a corset helped her get her body back in shape.
"I wore a double corset day and night for three months,” she told the magazine. “It was brutal; it’s not for everyone,” she said, adding, it was "sweaty but worth it." Her publicist was quick to add that the corset was in addition to exercise and a healthy diet and not started ‘till two months after the birth.
It is clear a number of celebs are definitely on board with the waist shaper, but is it possible that this corset-like garment can shrink your waist or is it just one big great selfie opp? We spoke with Susannah Makram to find out more, and the osteopath and expert in naturopathic nutrition is not convinced.
Makram explains how the waist shaper covers the beginning of digestive tract not the stomach and therefore does not work in the same way as a gastric band would internally.
“This Waist Shaper seems to be decreasing the space and structures within the digestive tract in order to make them appear smaller or to produce a feeling of discomfort after eating and therefore the way it changes the shape is temporary. Unless there are psychological elements to do with visualisation and memory, I see no reason why this would directly affect a person's weight or permanently change waist size.”
So the science suggests there is no way the waist shaper can permanently change your waist size but it could mean that you feel so restricted you choose to eat less. Whether or not the the waist shaper will help you in losing weight, from speaking to Susannah the health implications of wearing one are enough to put us off.
Susannah highlights that the constriction from the garment will in fact prohibit digestion and nutrition absorption - never ideal for a healthy digestion system. Secondly, the added pressure put on the diaphragm and fascia by the garment will cause a dysfunctional breathing pattern which could in turn lead to overuse of neck muscles and subsequent neck and shoulder complaints.
Thirdly, Susannah also puts the waist shapers' claim to increase core strength to bed, explaining how the garment actually causes the opposite affect. Susannah explains that, “When abdominal breathing is significantly limited, core stability muscles affecting the hips and pelvis to minimise strain on lower back muscles are not given a chance to work properly."
So our verdict is in: corsets should be left to the Victorians.