Monday, 5 February 2018

Waist Trainers: An Honest Mom Review

Oh yes, we're going there...

Recently I've been testing out all the strange beauty products that pop up as advertisements along the sidebar in Facebook when you're just trying to remember when your aunt's birthday party's happening or decline an invitation to an online product sale.

So far I've tried things like magnetic eyelashes, hair extensions and even that crazy shirt to prevent sweating (spoiler alert: it just has fabric pads sewn into the armpits. You're welcome).

Apart from the maxi-pad armpit shirt, I've really enjoyed most of the little beauty hacks I've tried.

Until now. Today we're talking waist trainers.

What the heck is it?

Basically, a waist trainer is an updated corset-type thing. You wrap it around your mid-section to make your waist smaller. Maybe it's because I've had two kids that online marketers are certain I need this corset-like device. Maybe it's just because I'm female. Who knows. I decided to follow the advertising rabbit trail and ended up clicking through to a site that promised me sporty-like style, incredible comfort and a waist like a Kardashian. I'm not going to post the link but I'm sure a little googling could help you out. 

I've used shapewear like Spanx to smooth all the bits under dresses but the waist trainer is a whole new level of commitment to body squishing. Since my ribs expanded after having my girls and I can fit my pre-baby clothes except for across my ribs, I figured I'd try it out because VANITY. That's about the only reason I can think of.

When it arrived, the contraption looks like a latex corset made of vinyl or rubber with 3 levels of cinching available through hook and eye fastenings.

Soft on one side, latex and hook and eye fasteners on the other.

Do I want one of those?

Short answer: Probably not but potentially useful occasionally. 

Long answer: Here we go...

I put it on.
Me, me on the 2nd rung. Me on the tightest rung. Boy that's a flattering angle.

Firstly, yes, this thing hold you IN.  For reference, I don't weigh myself but in the summer I'm a size 2 and in the winter, I'm a size 4. Don't blame me, blame seasonal affective disorder and carbs. Always carbs.  I'm 5'3" and this is my winter self. 

What happens? 

First, your mid-section is suddenly vacuumed into an hourglass shape that Marilyn Monroe herself might envy. 

I could fit into dresses that didn't do up at the rib area no problem. 

If that's your goal, I would recommend using one of these devices for under one hour, standing up. Here's me in a body con dress (no zipper, just tighter dress) to see the difference in real clothes.

So does it work? Yes. However...

It turns out your skin has to go somewhere. It goes up, it goes down. Over, under or into your physical organ space.

I'm not a huge person and I feel like everything is quite squished. If back squish and lower pelvic squish is not enough to endure, I also immediately recognized the physical effects of a panic attack.  

No, I wasn't having a panic attack. I was wearing a waist trainer. 

What a useful learning tool. If you've been trying to empathize with a friend who experiences anxiety, wrap yourself in one of these. I felt short of breath, like I couldn't get quite enough air. The blood rushed to my head. I had to stand up and get away from the waist trainer but it was still there with me. 

In addition to the delightful physical sensation of anxiety, the waist trainer also provided all the symptoms of third-trimester pregnancy (which seems somewhat ironic considering my tiny trapped tummy). As in pregnancy, my organs began squishing up into my throat, creating the vague discomfort of heartburn I remember so well. My lower organs felt like they might actually be attempting to exit through my pelvic floor and I believe I used the bathroom approximately once every 6 to 10 minutes while wearing this device.

So, let me CAUTIOUSLY advise the following: 

If for some reason you choose to accept these delightful experiences for an event that lasts one hour or less and you are determined to fit in your only possible piece of clothing, the waist trainer might allow you to uncomfortably exist for 40-60 minutes before the overwhelming panic of your body being slowly restricted into oblivion takes over and you rush to rip it off.

Truth? I've worn it twice to different events and regretted it both times. 
Oh vanity. 

When I did some reading to make sure that: 

a. I was wearing the right size (I was);
b. This isn't some cruel joke (apparently not);
c. People actually use these things for longer periods (they do);

I learned that some people wear these TO SLEEP AT NIGHT. 

Do you know what happens when your rib cage and organs are restricted and then you LIE DOWN? 

It's like all of your offspring sitting on your chest. As moms, we're already getting SOOOOOOO much extra sleep that it just makes sense to add a restrictive spine contorting layer to sweat and lamaze-pant through in our slumber. Even on the loosest, least uncomfortable level, when I lie down with this on, I can physically feel my eyes bulging out of my head like a cartoon stress ball. There is no way I will ever attempt sleep in this thing.

To sum up:

          Fit in the outfit for a limited time period.   
          Be able to hide in smaller holes.
           Empathize with people experiencing anxiety and/or pregnancy

          Cannot sit down, lie down, think or breathe.
          Muffin top and bottom.
          Constant need to urinate.
          Organs escaping.
          Hot sweaty skin under latex.
          Small children looking to you as a body awareness example. 

In conclusion, if you've always wanted to experience the overwhelming physical effects of anxiety (while fitting in a smaller pant size), this is the product for you. If however, you need to remain a conscious and somewhat lucid human being and you want to set an example of body acceptance and love to your kids then take the money set aside for a waist trainer and buy a new outfit to celebrate every inch of your awesomeness. 

Maybe also buy yourself an ice cream. That body has been carrying your soul around all day and it deserves a celebration. 
For today, I'll remind you of this...
Photo Credit: The Lost Girls' Guide to Finding the World

And maybe tomorrow, you can remind me. 

Cheers, gals! 

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I'd love to hear any comments below! 

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