I don’t remember the last time I got on Facebook without seeing an ad for waist trainers, and I’m willing to bet everyone I know has at least one person on their friends list that sells weight loss wraps. These two things seem to be the hottest new fitness/beauty trends, so of course I have something to say about them.

When I first started seeing waist trainers popping up all over the place my first thought was, “Who in their right mind would subject themselves to this?” Unfortunately the answer was, “A lot of women.” Waist trainers might seem like some great new innovation, but we’ve seen this before just with a different name and made from a different material, don’t be fooled by creative marketing, this is a corset and there’s nothing original or innovative about it. Waist trainers might not be made with bone and close using hooks instead of laces, but there’s really no difference. I remember learning about how women during the victorian era used to squeeze themselves into corsets that would restrict their breathing and damage their organs, and I remember likening it to Chinese foot binding practices; it just seemed unnatural, painful, and wrong. I remember seeing the scene in Titanic where Rose’s mother is tightening her corset and it was so violent. I thought we moved past this as a society, I thought we were better, but we’re not. We’re still obsessed with tiny waists and are still putting too much pressure on women to get them, and fast, and at all costs, even if it hurts.

Just the fact that they call them “waist trainers” is ridiculous. What are you training your waist to do? Nothing, it doesn’t work that way. In fact you may be doing the opposite of what you want, if you are wearing the waist trainer for long periods of time you could be weakening your ab and core muscles; while wearing a waist trainer you’re not engaging any of your core muscles and instead are letting the waist trainer do all the work for you. The idea is that you’re supposed to graduate to smaller and smaller waist trainers, but you’re waist isn’t actually getting smaller (if it is it’s because you’re using your waist trainer in conjunction with diet and exercise), you’re just getting used to being squeezed tighter and tighter. Any results are temporary, very temporary, meaning they only last the duration you are wearing the trainer. Any weight lost as a direct result of wearing the waist trainer is either because it’s causing you to sweat more so you’re just losing water weight (which again is very temporary), or if you’re wearing it while you’re eating you’re probably restricting the amount of food you’re able to eat which is not a sustainable method of weight loss. Furthermore, these things are dangerous and can have lasting consequences on your health, just like corsets they restrict breathing (which is especially dangerous if you’re wearing it while working out), and they can damage the organs in your abdomen leading to severe pain and sickness that could land you in the hospital. Additionally if you’re wearing a waist trainer against your skin and are sweating a lot you are leaving yourself susceptible to skin irritation and infection. I encourage everyone to google waist trainer horror stories. If you must wear a waist trainer you should think of it more as something like spanks, don’t wear one that is so tight it’s uncomfortable, and don’t wear it for any prolonged period of time.

Now onto wraps, the new “miracle” weight loss product everyone seems to be getting on board with. Just like with waist trainers any results you see are only temporary. What many people don’t understand is that YOU DON’T SWEAT OUT FAT, you breathe out fat as carbon dioxide. The idea with wraps is that you sweat around your midsection and lose weight, but you sweat out water, not fat, so the only weight you’re losing is water weight which is great if you have a dress you’re trying to squeeze into for a wedding the next day, but it will only be a temporary fix. While sweat is a great indicator that you are working hard and getting a good workout, it’s not necessary for a good workout or for weight loss, what is necessary is getting your heart and lungs pumping blood and air faster. If a wrap is trying to say that it can do anything other than help you lose water weight, it’s a lie, that’s just not possible. Don’t fall for these marketing schemes. And with wraps just like waist trainers you’re running a risk of skin irritation and infection (although I have seen wraps that advertise using different methods of avoiding skin irritation and keeping sanitary, some use essential oils etc.). It’s unlikely that wraps cause any lasting damage, but they certainly don’t produce any lasting effects on slimming down your waist. If you want to use wraps fine, but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re going to help you burn fat or help you reach any long term fitness goals.

What works? What works is what has always worked: a good clean diet and regular exercise. There is no substitute, there is no shortcut, no pill, no amazing new technology, there is no miracle product, just the same old thing that has stood the test of time.

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