What is a waist trainer?
A waist trainer is an undergarment, worn under your clothes and around your midsection. It cinches your waist, smoothes your middle, and supports you with velcro or hooks to keep it in place.
What are waist trainer benefits?
Waist trainers claim to make your waist tinier. And they can… temporarily. A waist trainer will suck everything in while you’re wearing it, and things might stay that way for a short while afterward — until your muscles relax back to their normal shape.
OK, but will they help you lose weight? Well, having a supertight band compressing your stomach makes eating pretty unenjoyable. So if you’re trying to curb your portions, wearing a cincher might help you take in fewer calories.
But a 2010 study that looked into this actually found that most people who tried to lose weight while wearing a corset just ended up taking off the corset because it was so uncomfortable.
There is one actual potential plus: If you have a higher body weight, a waist trainer might give you temporary core support you may need to boost your mobility and flexibility.
But since there are some definite risks (more on those in a sec), you should run the idea by a doctor or physical therapist before giving it a try.
The bottom line
Our waists come with a glorious preset shape — and wearing a wrap or corset won’t change it without also causing significant damage. Additionally, waist trainers don’t actually work for weight loss or permanently change your shape to give you more curves.
While it’s fine to wear one for a few hours as part of a costume, wearing one on the reg could be unsafe. We say embrace your waist and shape just as they are, and if you want to lose weight, stick with good ol’ diet and exercise.