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Do Waist Trainers Work or Are They a Waste of Time?

Do Waist Trainers Work or Are They a Waste of Time?
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

If you use Instagram, then you've probably seen multiple celebrities showing off their small waists, which they contribute to using waist trainers. They love to promote these trainers as weight loss solutions.

The hourglass figure, where you have larger breasts and hips with a small waist, has often been quite popular. With the use of waist trainers, this figure is becoming even more popular, driving people to try out these devices to see if they can get the look.

If waist trainers tempt you because you see them as an easy way to look good, you may still wonder if it really can work. Will you lose weight? Will it give you the perfectly small waist of a Kardashian? You may be surprised at the answers to these questions.

The Idea Behind a Waist Trainer

Business Insider explains that waist trainers are a cousin to the old-fashioned corsets of yesteryear. They squeeze your stomach area, displacing the fat to the top and bottom. They are a typical compression garment usually made of stretchy material that does not breathe, thus, these garments also induce sweating.

They provide a quick fix. You put it on and immediately get the look you want. Once you take them off, though, the results fade, which is a concern once you start looking deeper into how these things affect your body and the true results they produce.

Waist Trainer Claims

Experts say waist trainers are not weight loss solutions despite claims by manufacturers. Common claims include:

  • Special materials attack fat cells
  • Strengthen core muscles
  • Improve posture
  • Help with appetite suppression
  • Lead to healthier eating habits

Some of these claims are partially true. It may help with your posture since you cannot slouch when wearing one without extreme discomfort. It also does suppress your appetite because it compresses your stomach and prevents you from eating too much without getting sick. However, these things only occur when you wear the garment.

As for the other claims about attacking fat cells, strengthening core muscles, and leading to healthy eating habits, Byrdie explains experts say they are false and misleading. There have even been lawsuits against manufacturers for the lack of honesty in advertising waist trainers.  

Waist trainers cannot attack fat cells as the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories you consume. They also will not help you develop healthy eating habits. In fact, they can lead to eating disorders and body issues.

As for strengthening core muscles, waist trainers actually weaken these muscles. They stop them from working properly, which over time, will make them lose strength and definition.

Other Problems With Waist Trainers

Waist trainers lead to many health issues that corsets also caused. When they compress, they move the floating ribs and limit the space internally. This can lead to breathing issues and nausea. They can make you feel dizzy and lead to fainting as well.

You may also be at risk for injuries to your internal organs or lungs due to the displacement of your floating ribs. It may lead to muscle issues as you restrict your spine's movement and require other muscles to compensate.

Should You Wear a Waist Trainer?

If you want to wear a waist trainer because you think of it as one of your options in weight loss solutions, then you should know that fitness and health experts say they do not help you lose weight. The only weight you will possibly lose is water weight since the trainer will make you sweat.

If you want to wear one for the temporary reshaping effects, then you should only do it on occasion, such as with a costume or a special outfit. Make sure when you wear it that it is loosely cinched. Make sure it is the least restrictive it can be.

Also, monitor things to ensure you do not experience symptoms of it being too tight. If you notice issues, loosen it or remove it.

Waist Trainers Are Mainly Hype

The celebrity element pushing waist trainers as weight loss solutions can mislead many people. It sends a mixed message, too, since so many people are promoting body positivity.

On one hand, you have people telling you that you are only beautiful if you have the hourglass figure, and on the other, you have people telling you to love yourself the way you are. It is easy to get confused and not know what the truth is.

Since wearing a waist trainer is such an easy solution, it is quite attractive, but it is not the solution you are led to believe.

The reality is waist training is body modification. It does not promote a healthy way to lose weight or look thinner. You are better off following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to get the trim waist you crave.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.