I Tried Waist Training And This is What Happened

I Tried Waist Training And This is What Happened

Waist training is the new trend that seems to be getting a lot of negative views.
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A new (and rather controversial) trend is sweeping the internet that promises its participants a perfect hourglass shape. It’s called “Waist Training”. Waist Training is the practice of using a steel boned corset to achieve slimmer curves around the waist. The corset is able to do this by pulling and clinching the floating ribs in tighter, and in some very extreme cases rearranging the internal organs, to reduce the circumference of the waist. The effects of this are semi-permanent, but require continual use and use after the desired look is achieved. These corsets can also be used to assist in losing weight, and improving posture although some users only wish to modify their waist.

I was first introduced this weird concept by one of by best friends in college. She had ordered one off Amazon and had been raving about it. Apparently she wore it every day for three hours max, and within a few weeks, her “muffin top” had completely slimmed down and was now a smooth curve. Out of curiosity, I asked to try it on. It took a solid three minutes between the two of us to get it on, as one can imagine, they are very tight, even at it’s loosest. To my surprise, it was not painful at all. It feels very much like a tight hug right around the waist, forcing you into perfect posture. I went out on a limb and ordered one myself. What can I say? The “freshmen 15” is real and my busy schedule made it difficult to get to the gym every week. Still a little skeptical about the whole thing, I wore it only a few times a week for an hour or two, at it’s loosest. Slowly increasing my time in it. I would wear it and go some cardio or go for walks. After the first month or so of wearing it, I found I could now easily tighten the corset to the next tightest setting having lost a little over an inch around my waist.

As I got more and more comfortable wearing with the waist trainer, I began to get more curious and decided to do a little more research on my own. Simply googling “waist training” you’ll find participants raving and ranting about how in good moderation, waist training is perfectly safe and shapes your natural curves. Gurus happily explaining their waist training routines. But you’ll also find many sources speaking about “the dangers of waist training”. Many consider how celebrities such as Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Amber Rose, and Kylie Jenner are swearing by and obsessing over waist trainers. However, they also site claims saying they do not work at all, or how some experts claim there is a risk to the lower intestines, compressing of the diaphragm (which could lead to pulmonary problems), other internal organ compression, skin infection or potential for kidney or lung issues.

Opposing viewpoints to this argue this can only be the case if the user uses a corset too excessively and skin infection is only possible for those who do not properly clean their waist trainer. Looking deeper into the opposition of waist trainers, I can only find the same several arguments over and over. Even on the Odyssey I found a plethora of articles saying “don’t try it, it’s dangerous”, “why you shouldn’t try it” or showing overly exaggerated images of women with the waist trainers sporting impossible waistlines. I found most of the articles to have misleading titles and to generalize all users into people attempting to dramatically shrink their waists in a very unhealthy way. Contrary to popular belief, in order for waist trainers to work, one must engage in some physical activity. You don’t just wear it for 10 hours and sit while it does some waist magic, making it impossible to breathe or eat. They work by forcing you to work harder at your workout and discourages overeating. If you wear it properly, so you can breathe, are comfortable, not cutting off circulation and for no more than about 4 hours a day, you can achieve a natural hourglass figure. By saying “waist training needs to stop”, “it is scary” etc, is stereotyping. It’s like saying “you diet, you could become anorexic”, well yes. That’s possible. But you can diet and be healthy about it. You can also waist train and be safe about it.

Now, I’m not one to follow the crowd and try all the latest fads or even listen to a word a Kardashian says. BUT. In my experience, I only put the waist trainer on to encourage myself to sit up straight and work a little harder during my at-home exercise regime. It works for me in helping me feel better about myself. You’re all flashing these images of celebrities with face-tuned images and models with unhealthy bodies. Yes, there are people out there wearing this damn thing for 10+ hours day, every day who are doing very destructive things to their bodies. But to say it’s completely useless, terrible for you and to shame anyone who does it without doing the proper research or knowing to what extent they use it, is wrong.

Cover Image Credit: Corbis

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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5 Ways To De-Stress That Don't Involve Bath Bombs

De-stressing guides often say "take a bath," but that isn't always what you need.

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There are tons of ways to deal with the stress of everyday life. If you look up "how to de-stress," you will often find lists that include things like "take a long, warm bath." While this may work for some people, it definitely does not work for everyone.

Personally, sitting in a bath and trying to forget about the things I need to do makes me more anxious than actually doing the things I need to do. I have five different things I do when I am stressed that help me to relax before trying to be productive.

1. Make a list, but prioritize three things.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

One way to de-stress is to make a list of tasks that are stressing you out. By making a list, you are emptying your brain. This "emptying" can help you to focus on other tasks or aspects of your life.

For me, making a list of all the things due for the week on Sunday definitely reduces my stress about getting them done or forgetting about something. After making the list, prioritize three things for each day. By prioritizing tasks, you are breaking down the big thing(s) that may be stressing you into smaller, manageable sections.

2. Propagate a plant.

Help improve the health of a plant by propagating it.

Image by Eelffica from Pixabay

One thing that helped me de-stress in college last year was taking care of my plants. My roommate and I had about thirty plants on our windowsill. I always joke that keeping something alive other than myself made me feel better, but it really did.

When I got overwhelmed during finals, I propagated one of my succulents. This definitely helped me focus on something other than organic chemistry for a few minutes. Focusing on something other than my finals for a few moments was healthy for me and my plants.

3. Try a new craft.

Crafts such as knitting or embroidery can be extremely relaxing.

Image by Mabel Amber, still incognito... from Pixabay

Once I finished finals and was waiting on final grades, I found myself stressed about grades and being unable to do anything about it. I tried, but ultimately couldn't not think about it, so I decided to learn how to knit. YouTube is a beautiful thing, and it taught me how to knit in five short minutes. After I learned a few basic stitches, I already started planning projects for myself and my friends. Learning how to knit didn't let me stress about my final grades and it taught me a new, useful skill.

4. Make a new dish.

Trying a new dish in the kitchen can be a relaxing way to try local flavors.

Photo by Megan Hodges on Unsplash

After I came home from college, I found myself at home for most of my meals. I had to cook anyway, so I started trying new dishes using produce from a local farmer's market. I also started trying new kinds of spices and styles of cooking. I didn't realize how relaxing it was until I started cooking for some friends. It was really easy to talk to my friends and comfortably cook a meal for them.

5. Have a Netflix binge.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Every college student knows the struggle of sitting down to study and finding yourself four hours into a marathon of your favorite show. The Netflix binge is completely effective at taking your mind to another place for as long as you allow. Personally, I only let myself watch Netflix before bed or while folding laundry while I was at school, but it was one of the most relaxing activities I found at school. If you are stressing about an event this weekend or the grade for the paper you just submitted, find your favorite show and some snacks to de-stress.

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