The slimming corset, good or bad idea to lose belly?

The trend is for hourglass-shaped bodies: generous breasts, an hourglass figure and a rounded posterior. To conform to this standard of beauty, some do not hesitate to neglect their well-being. After all… do you have to suffer to be beautiful? Actresses, reality TV stars and other influencers promote various slimming products. On your mind ? The slimming corset, to which we now lend slimming virtues. A trend that is more dangerous than beneficial, in the opinion of many experts.

What is a corset?

This undergarment was originally worn by women, from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th century. It consisted of a rigid frame, which was laced in the back, and compressed the waist to artificially sculpt the slimmest silhouette. Over the decades, it lost popularity, in particular because of the discomfort it caused. Today, he returns to the front of the stage for his so-called slimming virtues.

“Nowadays, we think more of medical corsets, made to measure to treat orthopedic causes, in other words, to stabilize and correct deformities of the spine, after an operation, or in the context of pathologies such as scoliosis. This are a bit like the dental appliances of the spinal columns”, explains Antoine Gervais, physiotherapist. However, medical use, corsets are popular for weight loss.

More discreet than orthopedic corsets, they attach to the belly with staples, and are worn for several hours a day (up to 8 hours according to some influencers). Their objective ? Make the extra pounds disappear and give a harmonious shape to our body. Two main hypotheses would explain this phenomenon: by crushing the stomach, which would cut off hunger and reproduce the effect of a bypass (heavy bariatric surgery operation), and by increasing thermal activity, as well as sweating. Problem, none of these statements are correct, and worse, they could be counterproductive and have serious consequences on the health of young women who risk it.

“Corset diet”: a corset to lose belly, does it work?

Some testimonies do mention the success of this object of torture, straight out of the court of Louis XIV. So, should we believe them? Florence Foucault, dietician nutritionist and member of the French Association of Dietitian Nutritionists (AFDN) is categorical: the corset makes it possible to redraw the silhouette in a mechanical way, but does not slim down.

If there is a reduction in waist circumference, it is certainly not thanks to the corset, but rather because of dehydration (water is eliminated) and muscle atrophy (muscle wasting). The corset, on its own, does not eradicate the fatty mass.

And to remember that the corset only has a mechanical action: it reshapes the waist by compressing the abdomen and the bottom of the rib cage: “As soon as you take off the corset and start drinking again normally, we quickly find the ‘lost’ kilos on the scale.”.

A temporary aesthetic solution

The only benefit of the corset is aesthetic: “it can be useful when used from time to time, as part of an evening, to flatten the stomach and erase the rolls under tight clothing”, concedes Antoine Gervais. Its use must remain punctual, to harmonize its silhouette if one feels the need.

Wearing a corset can be counterproductive

Irony when you hold us … The slimming corset could make us gain weight, underlines the dietician-nutritionist. “To lose fat mass in the belly, you have to develop your lean mass (muscles), so work your abs. But the fact of constraining them regularly in a corset does not make them work at all, since it are mechanically supported throughout the day”. Counterproductive, to say the least.

Moreover, wearing a corset can have a perverse psychological impact: the fact of artificially rectifying our silhouette gives us the impression that we can eat as we please, since the “defects” are erased by said corset. Consequences: a risk of excess and cravings. In addition, the vessels are so compressed that the blood flow is reduced, which leads to a slight fat gain.

As for comparing wearing a corset to a bariatric operation… It’s night and day. The bypass actually consists of reducing the volume of the stomach to limit the feeling of hunger, but it is a surgical act, supervised by professionals from various specialties. The corset crushes the stomach, which somewhat reduces the feeling of hunger, but above all can cause serious damage!

Slimming corset: what are the risks?

“The human body is not made to be constrained and compressed, insists Philippe Sterlingot, president of the French Syndicate of Osteopaths (SFDO). blood circulation, we potentially generate undesirable effects”.

At best, the corset is useless, at worst, it is dangerous, believes Antoine Gervais.

An opinion shared by Florence Foucault, dietician: “if it is used occasionally, for aesthetic purposes, there is little risk, but in the case of ‘corset diets’ for example, some recommend wearing it eight hours a day , between one and two weeks in a row, or even more!” And the consequences are not negligible: the use of a corset can damage the skin, and especially injure our internal organs. Indeed, since they are compressed, the stomach and the intestines clear a space and tend to go up, which can damage the liver, the spleen and the kidneys.

In addition, the diaphragm lacks space and ends up interfering with the lungs and the heart.making it difficult to breathe, explains the physiotherapist. Not to mention the problems of gastric reflux and constipation. “We have also observed bone demineralization of the spine in some women who wore very restrictive corsets”, adds Philippe Sterlingot. Finally, it can cause back and muscle problems, because the corset replaces the muscles that work less and less and are no longer able to provide sufficient support.

TCA and dysmorphia, the other side of the coin

In some cases, the corset does more than constrain the body, it can also constrain the mind. “The risk is that young women develop a dysmorphia (self-image disorder) which leads them straight to eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia”, according to the same principle as filters on social networks”, warns Antoine Gervais. As soon as they take off their corset, young women find themselves too fat, not desirable enough… so they do everything possible to achieve their aesthetic goal, even if it means starving themselves.

To lose weight and refine your belly, there is no miracle recipe, say the experts. With the corser, if there are results, they will be very short-lived. “And in the event of overweight, the only solution to regain a healthy weight is to adopt a balanced and diversified diet, associated with regular physical activity, adapted to our desires”, recalls Florence Foucault. Possibly consider a hormonal assessment, and do not hesitate to be accompanied by a professional.

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