“How do I get rid of my belly fat?”
Gosh, I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked this very simple question over the course of my 15-plus years of specializing in weight loss and weight management.
Without a doubt, the midsection is by far the most widely targeted area of the body among the sexes but definitely the biggest nuisance for women. Between our menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, contraceptive use, and general hormonal ups and downs, we’re definitely getting the short end of the stick when it comes to the overall buildup of belly fat.
I’m even convinced that a mere common goal of eliminating this troubled spot has brought real unity to women of all ages, cultures, ethnicities, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Just look at the growing global craze of “waist training” corsets for women, which have truly taken the weight loss market by storm. This practice isn’t at all new, as waist cinchers have been mass-produced for centuries in order to meet the needs of women wishing to easily and effortless achieve the coveted hourglass figure.
Although the practice of waist training (“tightlacing”) has been around for years, it’s just recently been touted as a belly fat burning spot reducing exercise of sorts that promotes efficient and effective weight loss and improves posture while also eliminating ‘toxins’ through sweat.
So, if you can achieve this much with a corset, why eat right or exercise at all?
Well, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Women who’ve jumped on the waist training bandwagon are clearly oblivious to one simple fact: Belly fat is complicated.
What’s generally referred to as “belly fat” is actually a mixture of two types of fat tissue housed in the abdominal region. The first type, known as subcutaneous fat, is situated just underneath the skin and directly in front of the abdominal muscles. The presence of love handles (“muffin top”) is a tell-tail sign of subcutaneous fat accumulation.
The second type of belly fat is visceral fat, which is located behind the abdominal muscles where it surrounds the body’s internal organs. When visceral fat builds up in excessive amounts the abdominal muscles tend to protrude or bulge, which manifests as a firm “gut” or a “beer belly”.
Moreover, vanity aside, it’s an excess of visceral fat that’s linked to many of the health problems commonly associated with obesity including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Can simply wearing a waist cinching corset single-handedly reduce visceral fat accumulation in a way that helps to wipe away all these health problems?
Contrary to what many women believe subcutaneous fat is the only type that waist training can indirectly influence and the process is pretty cut and dry. During tightlacing, the distribution of this fat is simply shifted upwards and downwards towards the top and bottom edges of a corset.
The waist slimming effects of tightlacing are further augmented through compression of your stomach, intestines, and other organs housed in the abdominal region. So, if your garment is tight enough perhaps you may find it difficult to indulge in your favorite naughty foods without indigestion, which can indirectly lead to food abstinence and consequential weight loss.
But why even go through such drastic measures for a short-term fix?
Wearing a corset cannot and will not burn belly fat so please don’t be misled by the marketing hype. Fat burning requires continuous creation of calorie deficits, which only occurs if you take in fewer calories than you burn, plain and simple.
Unbeknownst to many, waist training with a corset won’t encourage muscle development in the midsection either. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Regular use of a corset promotes core muscle weakness, largely due to an almost complete reliance on the garment for support. This is definitely a case where the phrase “use it or lose it” applies.
Such muscle weakness may be either a cause or an effect of muscle atrophy, which basically means that the muscles have lost their strength due to reduced use. Over time, this can lead to faulty posture, lower back pain, and other muscle and joint-related issues.
Now this doesn’t present a problem if you’re constantly tightlacing. Problems arise when you stop wearing a corset after extended periods of wearing it.
In the end, it’s just not worth it.
Occasional use of a corset for physical perfection or fetish purposes is one thing. Doing so for extended periods of time, day in and day out will inevitably lead to unnecessary problems. Like a fad diet, becoming a chronic “tightlacer” will only yield short-term waist slimming results and may actually do more harm than good.
For maximal fat burning and overall good health, better to incorporate sensible eating habits with regular exercise training. You and your body will be a heck of a lot happier in the end.