Doctor gives the 'Skinny' on waist training

RALEIGH, NC -- For the past several months a new trend in "body shaping" has been gaining momentum, especially online.

The trend is called "waist training." Celebrities such as Kim and Khloe Kardashian are among those singing its praises and posting pictures flaunting their hourglass curves.

A simple search online reveals a plethora of products to choose from that promise to slim your waist and "train" your curves with corsets.

But is this really possible? We posed that question to Raleigh plastic surgeon Cynthia Diehl, MD.

"The idea that a temporary squeeze is going to create a permanent result is not logical," explained Diehl.

Diehl said these waist training products not only don't deliver long-lasting results, they can also be potentially harmful if worn for extended periods of time.

"There can be increased problems with breathing. There can be internal organ compression. A number of people are suffering from acid reflux because the stomach is getting pressed and pushed up," Diehl added.

Instead, Diehl said the best way to tone your tummy is through diet and exercise. Although, you can opt for a quicker fix, especially if you have some abdominal muscle separation from childbirth or loose skin in that area.

"The post-baby body is a very common situation where women have some separation of the muscle, have some loose skin, and the surgical correction for that is to tighten up that internal corset again."

A "tummy tuck" surgical procedure is an option to tighten that loose skin. A slightly less invasive option is liposuction. There are also some non-surgical options such as Coolsculpting, a technology that uses controlled cooling to freeze and eliminate unwanted fat cells.

If these options aren't appealing or not in your budget, Diehl said it's probably okay to wear a waist trainer for a short period of time. But a good rule of thumb is if you can't breathe, it's too tight.
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