Craving curves: waist training pros, cons

Craving curves: waist training pros, cons
Kim Kardashian showing off her waist trainer look on Instagram. (Source: Instagram)
Kim Kardashian showing off her waist trainer look on Instagram. (Source: Instagram)
Kendall Kirkham sporting one of the waist trainers. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Kendall Kirkham sporting one of the waist trainers. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Whether they want to admit it or not, a lot of women are obsessed with shrinking their waistlines. Some women are going to extreme lengths to do it.

An age-old trend to give the illusion of curves is back and bigger than ever. Now, the corset has an updated twist.

"It's nuts! It's absolutely nuts," Glenna Rohrbacher, with Coco and Lola's Midtown Lingerie Boutique, said. "It cinches you up and gives you two to four inches (off)."

All over social media, celebrities are showing off their "waist training" bodies after squeezing themselves into corset-like contraptions.

Women everywhere are following suit.

"I had never heard of the polyurethane waist trainer until Kim Kardashian rocked it," Rohrbacher said. "Girls were just flocking through the door to get that hourglass figure."

Rohrbacher said demand for "waist trainers" jumped through the roof.

"If anybody comes through the door and has belly issues like I did after five kids, I put them in the Rago waist cincher and they walk out of the door wearing it," Rohrbacher said. "I've seen girls cry."

Khadijah Maxwell has three different waist trainers: one for working out, one for sleeping and one for wearing under her regular clothes.

Maxwell credits waist trainers for helping her shed 50 pounds of baby weight.

"This one really works," Maxwell said. "I had results from this one after my first child; I lost plenty of weight."

The purpose is to wear them for hours a day, which supposedly helps "train your waist" back into shape.

The most popular waist trainer, made of a plastic material, is supposed to be worn during exercise.

"It's training you to stand up straight, to hold your belly in, tighten those muscles, look good when you're working out, and to get that extra water weight out," Rohrbacher said.

As tight as they look though, you may ask yourself: Are they even safe? How much training is really going on here?

"It inhibits your mobility, it is definitely uncomfortable," Dr. Mary Kim of LSU Health said. "It will likely effect compression on your stomach. It will likely give you some reflux or GI issues along with the fact that it will probably restrict your breathing."

Doctors said there's no proof waist trainers actually work long term.

"There is no medical or scientific basis for it," Dr. Kim said. "It's going to be temporary. It's not a permanent fix to your waist line."

Nothing replaces good old diet and exercise, but if a waist trainer helps train your brain, it might be worth it to some people.

"It's not only lingerie, but these few foundation pieces have changed a lot of women's lives," Rohrbacher said.

It's important to add that if you want to try a waist trainer, you should get fitted for one personally.

If you buy a waist trainer too small, the negative effects could be exacerbated, or it could be too uncomfortable to even wear.

Prices start at around $50.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.