Kim Kardashian showed up at the Met Gala looking she was dripping wet, bound in a corset so tight some speculated she’d had her ribs removed for the event. Not so, but she did prep for the event by transitioning to an entirely plant-based diet — and then went the extra mile with an undergarment that squeezed her so tight, she looked like an actual hourglass.
Kim said plainly that there was no way she could eat on the big night — there simply wasn't room in there. So could wearing a corset actually help you diet as a strategy? Well, according to some experts, the answer is both yes and no. (And either way — the technique is something you probably shouldn't try at home.)
First, some background: The Kardashian sisters have long been using — and promoting — similar 19th century-style torture-esque devices to “waist train,” or morph their famously curvy bods into severe hourglass shapes by basically pulling and shifting organs until the goal is achieved. And experts told The Feast there is actually a way they could help you lose weight for a quick fix.
Basically, corsets are the garment equivalent of the fat-slimming drinks the Kardashians also espouse in sponsored (and controversial) Instagram posts: They might work in the sense that they could modify your habits in other ways that might produce results. And if you don't feel like eating because you're too uncomfortable, you might naturally be inclined to consume fewer calories.
We spoke to Nicole Avena, PhD., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and author of Why Diets Fail, about the controversial hip squeezer, and although she said corsets won't work for weight loss in the longer term, she noted in the short term there might be some result. "It might make you not feel like eating at first because you are uncomfortable, but that won’t last long,” Dr. Avena explained.
Overall though, don't count on this being a weight-loss revolution. “Our stomach size does not necessarily dictate how hungry we are," she said. "The stomach is not the only thing that contributes to food intake or the desire to eat — the brain is actually the primary organ that dictates whether or not we want to eat.”
Beyond that, “it is unhealthy to wear a corset like this, as it can weaken your abdominal and back muscles, and lead to poor posture,” Avena added.
And that's not the only danger. “The corset is providing the support, not your muscles, and the muscles can atrophy if not used. You can also run the risk of damaging your internal organs from the unnecessary and unnatural pressure, and you could even break a rib," she said. "You also diminish your lung capacity, which can reduce your energy and put you at greater risk for passing out.”
So in the end, a corset will help you not eat — for the evening, as Kim experienced and explained of her Met ball look. So if you're into trying it at home, it's best to treat it (like the Met ball) as an out-of-the-ordinary night-out experience and not a way of life. Consider it perhaps as a nudge, a calorie-reduction kickstart — and do it only on rare occasions.
Any health-related information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, or before embarking on any diet, exercise, or wellness program.
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