Corsets Are the New Weight-Loss Trend—Wait, What?



This morning, as I scrolled through Facebook, I thought I’d been transported to the year 1836 (except for the fact that I was on Facebook, of course). There, right in my newsfeed, where two stories about corsets. In a row. Curious, I clicked and found out that, not only are corsets back in a big way, people are wearing these horribly uncomfortable contraptions to lose weight. If you’re thinking, What the whaaat?, I’m totally with you.

Apparently, some people are donning corsets anywhere from four to to 24 hours a day in the hopes that they’ll see their waistlines shrink.

In the first piece I came across, Rebecca Harrington recounts her experience wearing a supposedly waist-shrinking corset, purchased from corset company What’s a Waist???, in a week-long diary published on The Cut. Her experience sounds painful and somewhat futile. For example, on day four she tried wearing her corset to a spin class and was so uncomfortable that she was unable to actually work out, saying “The spinning class is a disaster, but I actually persevere for once. I just go very slow and put no resistance on my bike at all. When the instructor says, ‘And now you must sprint,’ I simply don’t do that.” Seems counterproductive, no?

In the second piece, written for Elle, writer Danielle Prescod wears a similar corset for weeks on end without working out. In week two she says, “I haven’t changed my diet at all, save for the few meals here and there that have been eliminated due to the fact that I can’t fit a full meal into the corset.” Um, is it just me or does that sound a tad bit unhealthy?

In week four, during a visit to David Barton Gym (which will soon be coming to Philly!), Prescod says, “15 seconds into my first exercise with Griffin, it was painfully clear that I had no ab muscles. Like, zero. When he ordered me to do gyrokinetic planks, I could barely crank out three without needing a break.” As her personal trainer Griffin explained to her, when you wear a corset, your entire torso is supported, meaning your abs don’t have to do any work at all, so you lose them. Again, when it comes to efficient weight loss, this whole corset thing sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

And the icing on this bizarre trend’s cake: Both of these stories were inspired by a selfie Kim Kardashian took at the gym, sporting a purple corset and a super-tiny waist. Has your brain exploded yet?

When I learned that Kim Kardashian was the catalyst for both of these pieces, I thought, okay, okay, this isn’t actually a real thing, it’s just a thing Kim Kardashion-obsessed weirdos are doing. But then I dug a little deeper, and I found evidence to the contrary: “I wore a double corset day and night for three months. It was sweaty, but worth it.” That’s a quote from Jessica Alba, raving about what I have now learned is called the Corset Diet. The Corset Diet, you guys!

The Corset Diet’s website explains how the diet works like this, “The wearer no longer craves the feeling of a full stomach as the pressure of the corset literally leaves you with a contented feeling on the eating of a smaller adequate meal. The volume of food eaten during the day is reduced and thus the absorption of food into the body. The corset can be put on when the cravings arrive or worn as an everyday item of underwear throughout the day or evening.” In other words, you are too uncomfortable to eat, so you just don’t eat.


I then came across another “I Tried It” story courtesy of Daily Makeover, in which the writer explained her curiosity about the corset, saying it was “a little more expensive than shapewear like Spanx, but also a lot cheaper than, say, personal training sessions.” And to that, I say: SWEAT Fitness is holding free classes all week long, people.

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with Be Well Philly—here’s how: