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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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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