The multimillion-dollar shapewear industry claims that snoozing in a bunch of lycra spandex can magically shed your weight. Jessica Alba, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke swear that girdles help you lose weight. The temptation to put your efforts into the hands of your corset is big, but here’s what you should consider first.
What does it take to lose weight?
Weight loss is plain math – your daily caloric intake should be lower than the calories you consume. The calories you get will very much depend on the foods you eat. Therefore, the only way girdles help you lose weight is by squeezing your stomach and stopping you from eating as much as you used to.
You constrict your tummy and stomach and your meals will be smaller. But a double cheeseburger is still smaller than a plate full of green beans, right? This can only mean that eating less is not enough. What you eat is, in fact, essential. The problem with wearing a girdle that makes you eat less is that it can trick you into eating less… healthy.
When you’re convinced you can get the desired silhouette with a shapewear, you risk neglecting your lifestyle – the girdle will do it all, right? Wrong!
Why do celebrities swear by it?
So it’s tricky and potentially dangerous – the pressure you put on your organs can cause acid reflux, breathing troubles, joint pain etc. Why do some swear by it? For some a belly band or girdle can be extremely valuable after coming out of a pregnancy. Finding the best postpartum girdle that isn’t too tight is extremely important for safety and comfort. Still most celebrities are so concerned with their immediate appearance, that they become extreme with corsets and girdles.
Take Jessica Alba, for instance, who said she worn a double corset, for 24 hours a day, for 3 months, and it was all very sweaty. But any reputable steel-bone corset seller will tell you to take it gradually and start with only 3 to 6 hours a day.
What Alba did was sure an exaggeration. Chances are she did a lot more than that – a careful diet, perhaps even some cardio and abdominal exercises. The public’s pressure is huge for celebrities, and even though they won’t admit it, they will do a lot more to lose weight fast than just wearing a girdle.
Usually, when despair comes into play, lack of motivation goes away. Constantly wearing a girdle could remind you to refrain from the things that get you fat – If I’m in pain for it, at least make it worth and make it short.
Also, the sweaty period that Alba mentioned is a sign that prolonged wear of belly bands or corsets can increase local perspiration. When you take water out, you create a false effect of weight loss. It’s just water loss and it’s not healthy, so you should never rely your efforts on sweat.
What doctors have to say about shapewear?
According to Keri Peterson, a Lenox Hill Hospital M.D. in New York quoted by Women’s Health, it’s outrageous and it makes no medical sense. Peterson mentions the contraption that would make you uncomfortable to eat and the short-term water weight loss. Then, he continues to emphasize the perils for your health – “If you can’t take a deep breath, you can’t be aerated efficiently”.
On the other hand, according to Alexander Sinclair, a plastic surgeon from Los Angeles, who talked for ABC News about this issue, wearing a girdle is an effective way of training your waste to become smaller. This doctor is compressing the bottom ribs of his patients in and up, with the help of a girdle. This creates the illusion of a smaller space between ribs and hips.
Nevertheless, the senior medical contributor of ABC News, Jennifer Ashton M.D., called it a “gimmicky, trendy phase”.
Like with any other controversial issue, there are voices that sustain this strategy and voices that condemn it. Those who are against seem to be more numerous…
When something generates billions of dollars in revenue, someone will swear by it… But it doesn’t have to be necessarily true. While girdles and corsets have multiple medical utilities (including after birth recovery support, either for normal births or c-sections), helping with weight loss is not one of them.
Even if you manage to lose a few pounds, it will be for short term and with long-term, negative medical implications. Any weight loss method that cannot be turned into a way of living isn’t a method to take into account.
Do you see yourself wearing a girdle for the rest of your life? If not, you’d better look for something else. Sure, you can put on a girdle to make you feel better; to motivate you shed the extra pounds; to see with your own eyes how much better you could look, for real. But don’t wear it day and night because it won’t get you where you’re hoping.