Category Archives: General Waist Training Information

Not so difficult to understand after all: habit and motivation re-visited

Toni before and after corsetingI’ve long been fascinated with the power of habit and motivation especially when it comes to corset waist training. That includes my fascination with who makes it work to reach their figure-shaping goals, and who does not.

Today’s morning news show on ABC-TV featured a visit by author James Clear and discussion of his new New York Time‘s Best Seller Atomic Habit. Clear boiled down his theories and confirmed a few to which I have always subscribed. It all seems so simple, even if what moves us to implement those theories remains so mysterious. Here they are:

1. Get clear about your goals, don’t worry about “motivation.”

I have students set numerical goals before they start, in inch reductions and weight reduction desired (they are two separate things and you don’t have to do both!), and how tightly they want to wear their corset for how many hours to improve their record by the end of training.

2. Start small, maybe very small.

There are only three elements to effective waist training:  a regular schedule or corset wear six days a week, waist-targeted exercise (not aerobic or weight training or Crunch or any specific general program and not even at a gym), and corset-friendly eating and nutrition habits (note that I do not use the word “diet” since that is not a relevant concept today no matter if you are waist training or not in an attempt to lose inches or weight).

3. Never miss twice; re-start fast, like the next day.

I advise setting only a 95% personal goal of completion of the program elements; it is impossible to hold ourselves accountable for 100% completion. That is doomed to failure from the start. Give yourself a bit of leeway to be human, to encounter daily crises that take all your time and attention, not to mention energy. However, the next day add a few more minutes to the 20 mins of waist-targeted exercises the first month (then 30 min. the second and 40 min. the third), or wear the corset two hours more than on your plan the next two days, and that sort of thing. Push yourself a wee bit to make time up, but don’t punish yourself and just quit because you have fallen off the waist-training wagon!

4. Lock in a “commitment device” such as a buddy who will show up at 6 am for that morning run and you’ll be embarrassed if you let her down (social accountability).

I’m keen on the idea of a Waist Training Buddy, not necessarily someone who trains with you, but that can work, too. Choose someone who can provide a delicious and effective form of competition that can work well to motivate you. I adore Pandora, a well-known ex-pat American living in Britain, who has about the same figure measurements and weight as I do. She was corsetier Michael Garrod’s favorite model (he passed in 2003) and I got to know her at various corset events and appearances at ROMANTASY boutique from 1990 to 1998 when it closed. We loved to tight lace and go hours testing our resolve at various corset events, but I’ll never forget her sense of humor at the end when occasionally she would say, “Ok Ann, now we’re ready. Let’s remove our corsets and go get a pizza!”

Clear also answered a typical question of “how long will it take to lock in a new habit?” His answer? “Forever.”

His point is one I make when students ask me, “Will corset waist training results last?” I tend to answer, “No, if you go out the next day and start pigging out on Krispy Kreme donuts!” You know what I mean.

The only thing with which I disagree, is the author’s advice to forget goals and concentrate on getting into place a system that works. I agree with that, but I think a system should be proceeded with a goal, one that is (1) reasonable, (2) do-able, (3) consistent with your lifestyle so that you are likely to pursue it, and (4) slightly under what is probable to accomplish and one that you probably will pursue to the end of your period of training.

I tell my students that I would rather them set a goal slightly under what they think they want and can accomplish, so that they will more than likely reach it, and be inspired.

Sideview 2009 Waist-training Student, Cat, after 9 weeks of training

Inspired to do what? Keep going for one thing. No one says you have to corset waist train for three months, or three weeks. You can set multiple increments of waist training, one right after the other, or one every year for a re-set and weight/measurement check, or one periodically over many years on occasions when you find yourself slipping back into bad eating habits such as portion overloading or stress and mindless eating.

Inspired to do what? Celebrate! Women tend to resonate to that point more than men. Men seem to go directly for their goal then move on without taking a moment to savor victory, or during the training process to seek out others to appreciate progress and let the trainee show off. More’s the pity.

Having a “rah rah” section as Marie, an awesome tight-lacer once told me, is a necessary component of successful waist training, at least for her. Having someone appreciate and celebrate your effort as well as your successes along the way, can inspire you to continue to take better care of yourself after training ends.

It’s all pretty simple. Now what will start you moving forward in your New Year’s Resolutions that about 80% of us break by the end of January every year?




Leave a comment

Filed under General, General Waist Training Information, Hot Topics on Health, Motivation and Habit

Choosing the right corset waist training–or health-improvement–technique and teacher

A principle applicable to any goal of changing a habit, size, or shape (including one’s waist measurement or weight), is that of “finding the right teacher at the right time.” I’ve concluded that no matter how efficacious a particular approach, therapy, “hack,” or training regime is, one won’t get the most out of it unless one trusts and respects one’s teacher or trainer. Also, one has to research and choose the best approach that works on an individual basis.

When moving into the more esoteric mind-body therapies and approaches, including corset waist training, the above principles are particularly applicable, because much success or failure in applying the method can be credited to a compatible teacher and method usually based on simple belief coupled with reliance on anecdotal evidence, not randomized controlled trials–the diamond standard for research methodologies. Yet some of these therapies do have RCTs and they are worth pursuing. (However, I don’t yet know of a research grant of say, $150,000, to study what actually happens to the ribs and organs in waist training before and after, with all the variables sliced and diced to a true standard of comparability of subjects. In my lifetime it just won’t happen when it comes to corsets.)

Which doesn’t mean that one should not pursue the more esoteric of therapies and approaches, those with only anecdotal evidence of effectiveness. With a proper mindset, an attitude of flexibility and hope, common sense, an evident rationality behind the theory, and a moderate method, plus the right teacher found at the right time, corset waist training can work for many, and remain permanent–if and only if one does not end the program and then start pigging out (again?) on Krispy Kremes!

I’ve been a fan of the Alexander Technique for several years now, and understand a lot more about how it works after my many classes and more reading in the field. Recently I asked my teacher, Elyse Sharfarman ( to summarize the differences between that technique to relieve stress and calm the body and mind, with Feldenkrais, another alternative mind-body therapy. A chronic pain program director at Kaiser recently suggested to me that because Feldenkrais was offered in her program to Kaiser members, and because the goals were the same as for the Alexander Technique (light, efficient movement), that was a sufficient option for patients.

The implication at least to me, was that the two therapies or techniques were interchangeable. With Elyse’s crystal-clear explanation of the differences set forth in this blog below, I remain convinced that they are substantially different in method, and that anyone interested in pursuing alternative therapies for better health and stress reduction (including stress eating and portion overload that contribute to a plump figure and certain health risks), should check out both the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais, and then find a compatible, qualified teacher of the technique chosen–or try both!

Personally, I found the right teacher in Elyse, who has 10 yrs. of teaching experience at the San Francisco American Conservatory Theater plus many more years of study with a well respected teacher Frank Ottiwell, and proper certifications in the technique. Plus she has none of the “attitude” demonstrated by some teachers of the more esoteric mind-body therapies; for Elyse it is not form over substance. Plus she focuses her work on her individual patient’s needs and progress, pulling from her ballroom and modern dance experience/classes, and master’s degree studies in Physiological Psychology.

In her classes  I first learned the unique concept of delaying movement (called “inhibition” by F.M. Alexander) so that I noticed what I was doing to habitually over-use and stress muscles (sometimes with improper posture). If I did not first stop and notice what I was doing, then I could not choose to change and saw no reason to do so–a simple but profound lesson! I also learned the concept of self-direction that I easily employ while going about my daily business. Specific mental reminders help me notice and release unnecessary muscle use and strain as I move (walk, stand, sit, read, watch tv, work on the computer, paint picture, etc.), strain that can easily creep back into my body; no specific exercise is required of me.

More importantly, I once and for all learned how it feels in my entire body (brain down to toes) to totally relax every single muscle and finally feel safe and pain free, through “constructive rest” in a supine position. I can only describe this new feeling when supine as being completely flat like a pancake, or being at complete “oneness” during table work with Elyse, and later when I practice at home. By now I can easily duplicate the feeling/thoughts either lying down or standing up and when I want, in order to stop in its tracks any impending muscle tension and stress. The Alexander Technique has become my “biofeedback with a brain” program, and has had the amazing result of improving some of my interpersonal relationship skills as well. I am less likely to jump to conclusions or be critical of others these days, and that is a good thing!

In sum, I believe that this technique provided the final key I was missing to restore me fully to my former sense of well-being, ability, and delight in being alive, after a disabling back/neck spasm triggered in the summer of 2016. Physical therapy exercises given to me by Kaiser’s PT (and followed faithfully each day to a “T” for over a year), plus three-days-a-week-swimming and another three days of walking and back/neck exercises that I continue to this day–useful as they both are and continue to be–were simply not enough to finally cure me of pain.

Of relevance to the Alexander Technique is that there now exist an increasing number of significant, randomized control trials (not just anecdotal evidence) of the effectiveness of the technique on various health matters including chronic back pain; see, e.g., published research on the technique: and the best study to date:

Here is what Elyse said:

*“Feldenkrais studied briefly with F. M. Alexander, then developed his own method which is also influenced by Judo and physics. The method does not address the habitual way that people move in their everyday life, nor does it teach them how to change this. The assumption (of Feldenkrais) is that by doing exercises (which can be profound), you will move differently automatically. I don’t know if this is true, given that all the triggers for poor movement (stress, bad chairs, hurrying) persist even if you are temporarily moving better as a result of a Feldenkrais lesson. The Alexander Technique teaches you how to change your response to all those triggers for poor movement and pain. Through the Alexander Technique you learn how to use your mind (thinking) to change habits of movement while sitting, standing, driving, walking, etc. In this way, Alexander Technique is much more practical because you don’t need to lie down and do an exercise to practice it. You can improve movement in your daily life by simply thinking, no matter how emotionally stressful your day is, or even with initially poorly-designed posture or movements.

“In sum, Feldenkrais uses movement to change movement. Alexander Technique uses conscious awareness and thinking to change movement. Feldenkrais is about changing habits through learning new movement pathways. Alexander Technique is about changing habits by (1) becoming aware of them, (2) stopping inefficient habits, and (3) thinking about how to organize the body more efficiently.”
–Elyse Shafarman, MA, AmSAT Certified Alexander Technique Teacher

As one certified Alexander Technique teacher once told me when I was deciding what to pursue, the technique is “a thinking person’s PT.” Now I know it to be true!

Leave a comment

Filed under General, General Waist Training Information

Taking your power back in waist training

It’s almost beyond debate that there is a link between emotions and ill health, particularly in chronic back pain, IBS, arthritis, and other. If you want proof, check out the Dec. 7, 2004 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Elissa S. Epel, UCSF Medical Center, and some colleagues, published an article affirming that the mind plays a significant role in our physical health. They demonstrated a definitive connection between perceived and chronic stress and changes in telomeres. Telomeres are specific areas of the chromosome that are known to relate to the length of cell life and aging. I attended a mini-med school class at UCSF not long ago and heard her speak on these results with respect to our national epidemic of obesity. Minimizing stress is one specific strategy that could be ameliorative.

But there are challenges in our society to overcome before that concept will be universally accepted. Sadly enough, initially men may have the most difficult time with it.

I heard today that an NFL football player recently and vehemently rejected the notion that he had shed a tear or two on the field after sustaining a serious injury. I feel sorry for him, not only for the injury, one that I would never wish on anyone, even one who accepts the substantial risk to present and future health of playing football. I feel more sorry for him because he is still victim to the  long existing and misguided social message that men must not be weak nor show weakness — and that tears are still considered as a prime sign of male, and perhaps even female, weakness.

Learning earlier this year about Dr. John Sarno and reading his seminal book, The Divided Mind, I often think about the connection between emotions and brain-caused pain. Any ache or pain I experience causes me to first ask: is there a structural cause or not? And even if there may be a structural cause, why am I continuing to experience pain? Could that pain be brain-caused?

Doctors well know that even many structural problems such as arthritis or disc ruptures, do not cause pain in many of their patients. It’s an undeniable fact if you read Dr. Sarno’s remarkable book, and that fact may change your life.

A second step I take when encountering pain or a health problem, is to take charge and get more information. Usually I do that by binging the topic, and/or by making a doctor’s appointment. What happens time and again when I do either or both of those things, is that I immediately improve!

Recently the same thing happened. I am dealing with two pesky problems the past two months, one of them being that often I wake up at 3 am in the morning. My mind starts working overtime, and I have to get up and stay up until about 10 or 12 in the morning when I collapse into bed to catch up on disrupted sleep. After struggling for about two months with this problem, I recently made an appointment to chat with my doctor about it. The next five nights, I slept all the night through! (Incidentally you can try what seems to help for me: one hour before turn-out-the-lights-time, take one melatonin and one or two droppers of passion flower extract)

It didn’t take me long to realize that I improved because I took one or more action steps to take back my power over my problem. I decided not to sit there suffer. Even though I was waiting a few days for a telephone call with my doctor, I had acted to do something, and the very act of acting, translated into improvement.

In my book on waist training I relate a personal story about a time in my mid 20s when I used to bite or chew the inside of my lip when I was under stress, which was a lot of the time. I knew it to be a dangerous practice and one I had to stop. I called a local hypnotherapist psychiatrist, chatted with him about my problem, and made an appointment in one week to see him. He gave me a homework assignment in the meantime. I was to write down every time I caught myself chewing on my lip, the date, time, circumstances, and my stress level on a scale from 1 to 10. I started the record and three days later I stopped the habit. I called the doctor and cancelled my appointment, explaining what had happened. He and I both laughed! And, never again was I plagued with this destructive habit.

The point of this blog is to suggest that if you are dissatisfied with your size, shape, or health when it comes to nutrition and well being, and if you but commit to corset waist train in some way and take one action step, you might find that automatically you start feeling better and doing the right things!

That one action step could be:

–reading my Corset Waist Training book,

–calling me to register for my coaching program (but don’t start until January since I don’t recommend you make a serious waist-training effort that encompasses food-tempting holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas),

— enrolling in a social media group that supports waist training with reliable, fact-based information and encouragement.

— reading Lucy William’s great book, Solaced, with stories about the successes of many other folks who love and wear or tried corsets for many beneficial health-related purposes, or

— binging “corset waist training” and reading online resources.

Sure, we have to evaluate possible action steps carefully, being sure before we choose one or more of them, to consult reliable, fact-based resources; we can’t abandon all sense and look for a guru or “social media influencer” to follow mindlessly when it comes to our health. We have to stay in our “adult” and take care of ourselves to the end.

But when we encounter health challenges, act we must–and accept we must that many of our health issues are emotion-based and brain-caused, not structurally-caused or other-caused. We cause many of them, especially ones that bother us and cause us pain, as well as health problems that last a long time or recur periodically without structural causation.

We need to be responsible for the many choices available to us throughout life in order to live the happiest, most satisfying life we can, while we are on this earth.

I’m down for that; are you?





Leave a comment

Filed under General, General Waist Training Information, Hot Topics on Health, Proper Nutrition Tips for Waist Training

Our styles of eating tip us off to our success or struggles in waist training

My photographer friend Jeanette just sent me this article, a good summary of the main “styles” of eating, or relationships to food:

Regarding my waist-training program coaching students, I’ve found the styles mentioned, ring true.

One early student, my third, told me that she had little food when she grew up in a poor family and afterwards had a struggle with her weight because it was “feast or famine.” When she grew up, had a nice job, and could afford to shop and eat well, she did–but overeat she did, too. We had to work hard on portion control and rearranging her thinking to an adult nurturing level as she practiced a new diet and corseting to drop some pounds. The simple (but not only) step of changing her plate size to a smaller one, helped her reach her goals.

Another potential student told me she grew up being permitted to eat a lot of junk food–and in the past, she did and accordingly, ballooned up in weight and size. She found it quite easy to fall back on old habits and put on a lot of weight very quickly, even after she had been ‘eating clean’ for a good long time (see great picture of a very healthy dinner). Sadly enough just before commencing her program, she elected not to continue, so I don’t know how she fared after that.

And then there is the “caring parent” or nurturing culture, that uses food to express love, and like my Southern mom, pushed sweets and caloric snacks on guests…and either pushed or permitted way too many sweets on us children, too!

I used to serve dessert after every meal, a pattern I had adopted from my family style of eating. Once I decided 3.5 years ago to give up almost all added white sugar, I cleaned my fridge and quit buying ice cream and other sweets. Just the other day I made the most delicious banana bread using no white sugar, two bananas, almond and wheat flour, and dates. Really delicious now that I have cleaned out my palate from expecting sugary sweets.

Our corseting house guest just left, and the last night I cut in two pieces (2/3 and 1/3) a famous San Francisco treat called “It’s It.”  If you ever are here, try one! It’s basically a yummie chocolate iced ice cream sandwich in choice of three flavors. My partner commented after eating his 2/3 piece, wow, this tastes almost sickeningly sweet — I need to get a glass of water as the sugar is almost burning my mouth.

To change any unhelpful style or habit of eating and food choice, we have to give ourselves sufficient time for tastes to change, and keep an experimental attitude to try and keep trying a variety of veggies and fruits as we decrease fats and protein–a corset friendly diet as I call it, for serious waist training. Mind you I’m not for this or that diet fad! But restricting the stomach while corseting with a waistline inch or weight loss goal, mandates a more sensible approach that includes reducing sweets, acids, and fats.

Be sure you analyze your own “style” of eating and ask what attitudes you have developed regarding food, that persist from your childhood. Knowledge of how we got to where we feel we need to change, will help us make the right choices for a healthy future!

Leave a comment

Filed under General Waist Training Information

Rushing never pays!

My Alexander Technique teacher Elyse Shafarman, just published a useful blog on rushing around, and how it doesn’t serve many good purposes and quite a few deleterious ones! I commend her blog if you, too, encounter this problem from time to time in your life.

Somehow it seems that when we want instantaneous results, or “get behind” what we feel should be our schedule, or have a real, earnest deadline to meet, that the more we rush, the worse we fall behind.

When I was a practicing civil attorney, there was no way I could not be in court for the 9 am motion court call! And in 16 years I think I missed two such times, but was there by the second call/second chance at 9:30 am. So there are good reasons to rush–but it seems we create those reasons ourselves for the most part. Even anticipating extraordinary traffic or a BART breakdown should be anticipated, right?

Yesterday I was intending to paint another coat of white, but this time semi-gloss paint, to cover up the matte finish I had mistakenly used the first time on one closet door. I was in a bit of haste to get it done with a full plate of house cleaning to get ready for a guest, and a bit peeved at myself for initially and unwittingly choosing a matte finish to begin with. In haste I poured semi gloss paint into my pan and started on the project, noting half way thru that the color was a strange blue white, and not a cream white. I sort of like it I thought, but this means I have to put two coats on to cover the cream white. More work, more time. When I finished painting the door and a bit of trim I mentioned this strange color of white to my partner who said, “did you read the top of the paint can?”

Well, no, I had not. When I did, I noticed I had poured out light grey, another color paint from a second can I had placed on the table near the white paint can. After painting white on my closet door, I later intended to use the grey to correct some marks on our grey bathroom wall! I got so mad at myself and the time I had wasted that I sat down for a full two hours, drank coffee, and watched one of the football games! Now today I have to re-do the paint yet a third time.

Some students “rush” to lose weight or rush to see waistline inches falling off during their three-month waist-training coaching program. It’s an attitude or expectation that bodes ill for their chances of reaching the reasonable goals we establish  at the outset. I make sure those goals are realistic and not overreaching, and if anything, that they are quite conservative.

No matter: those students with the habit or personality of not well tolerating anxiety, expecting instantaneous results, and not doing their homework first, sometimes can’t wait to see even modest improvements.

They want to measure their waist and weigh every day, not once a week as I advise (concentrating not on weight, but on measurements). They begin to obsess on numbers, and not on the process.

No matter I tell them before we begin, that many students in my experience don’t see results until the last two weeks of our three-month coaching program. No matter I tell them, that most students sometime in the program will “hit a wall” and want to quit, but that they should persevere all the way through in order to have the best chance of seeing the waist-training process work well to reach their goals.

If the student:

(1)  has a firm commitment to their goals,

(2) has done research before entering our coaching program sufficient to know that their coach/adviser is trustworthy and has their best interests at heart,

(3)  maintains that trust in the advice they receive, and

(4)  is willing to tolerate a bit of anxiety for only three short months (the time just rushes by!),

then that student will likely take the advice to continue on, and accordingly, they will and do each their goals.

Rushing rarely, if ever, pays!

Leave a comment

Filed under General Waist Training Information

“Free Will” when it comes to improving our health/size/shape–does it exist?

We can improve our self-control, and this is a morally significant fact about the competence of normal adults—the only people whom we hold fully (but not “absolutely” or “deeply”) responsible… in many cases our freedom is an achievement, for which we are partly responsible. (Yes, luck plays a role but so does skill; we are not just lucky.) (Daniel C. Dennett, 1984).

Dr. Denett is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He wrote the above passage borrowed from his review of Sam Harris’ book, Free Will. See, Wikipedia says that Sam Harris is (among many things) a neuroscientist and critic of religion. See,

I sometimes ponder the concept of “free will” vs. determinism (and the related concept of motivation) when it comes to choices we make and habit change vis-a-vis figure re-shaping or corset waist training. Making certain choices and habit changes regarding foods and how we eat, will help corseting be more comfortable and will encourage better overall health and a shrinking waistline and/or weight–if those are our goals.

While I’m not competent to fully understand the niceties of the intellectual debate about free will and determinism between Harris and Dennett (and likely, not that interested in doing so) , I come down on the side of Dr. Dennett.

I agree with him that “perfect” freedom is, of course, an incoherent idea. No one has perfect freedom. We are authors of our own destiny–and we are not.

For example, I don’t believe it possible today to deny the foundational work of Freud and other psychoanalysts demonstrating the existence, power, and influence on human behavior of the unconscious (see, a few immediately prior blogs). Usually we are not aware of what lurks there, nor are we then in control of its influence on our behavior. Even bringing some suppressed trauma to consciousness does not automatically mean that we instantaneously start making better choices or change our normal behavior; that takes more.

I also have a below-rudimentary understanding of the influence of genes, but I know they, too, have certain impact on the projectile of our lives and health, size and shape, and choices. I take after my slim mom (skinny, wiry, with minimal appetite) while my younger sister takes after the body shape and size of my dad (robust, stocky, with large appetite). Sadly and for better or worse, I missed out in studying Richard Dawkins’s idea of the “meme” to explain how behaviors and ideas replicate themselves like genes or viruses–but despite the effect of genes, I still believe in the value of making the ultimate effort to live in the conscious, and try hard to change deleterious behavior and adopt new habits when it comes to taking care of our health–if that is our goal.

The question is, are we as a society (world?) really choosing? Or are we subject to mass hysteria according to our innate? desire for thrills, titilation, and some measure of power and control in our lives? Do we unwittingly and mindlessly (forget free will!) join in certain thrilling “epidemics” like opiods, fake news that stoke our biases, out-of-body drug-induced experiences (i.e,. see Michael Pollen’s new book), hyper and constant texting, and other trends that become anti-social if not dangerous when carried to the extreme, yet behavior apparently of our choosing?

For example, I ponder the ubiquitous need or compulsion of almost everyone who owns an iPhone/android (and almost everyone does these days, except a few souls such as myself), to walk down busy sidewalks as if one owns them, and cross busy intersections as if no danger exists, head down, texting. Why do so?

I have no clue, save for the lack of exercise of free will. I’m sure there is no gene that compels us to engage in what I deem to be anti-social behavior that probably merits governmental regulation (see, e.g., Hawaii and a SoCal cities regulation against texting while crossing intersections). There may exist some unconscious mass compunction for self annihilation, or generalized desire to wipe out humanity, starting with the elderly or youth who can’t so easily jump out of the way. But it surely isn’t rational behavior in my view.

As Dr. Dennett says, “…unauthored thoughts are the causes, shapers and controllers (not the determinants per se)…In fact we know very well that I can influence your choices, and you can influence my choices, and even your own choices, and that this “bringing into being” of different choices is what makes them morally important. That’s why we exhort and chastise and instruct and praise and encourage and inform others and ourselves.”

As he also says (to which I say “A-WOMAN!), “…our free will is not just a given; it is something we are obliged to protect and nurture, with help from our families and friends and the societies in which we live…Freedom involves the ability to have one’s choices influenced by changes in the world that matter under the circumstances. Not a perfect ability, but a reliable ability.”


Leave a comment

Filed under General Waist Training Information

Waxing philosophical: The heart is slow to learn

“Pity me that the heart is slow to learn, What the swift mind beholds at every turn.” Emily Dickenson seems to state profound truths in a few short words. I wish I could do the same!

On days when I get out of my own way (what a lovely concept!), the world seems to permit serendipitous insights and I see truths that exist around me all the time. Today is just such a day.

Paying attention to the role of the unconscious in personal motivations, is a current interest, particularly how it applies to the corset waist-training students whom I coach from time to time. As much as I try to flesh out a solid picture of the personality, personal motivations and disposition, history, and genetic background of someone who wants to enter my waist-training program, I cannot predict with certainly how the student will fare. Sometimes I can’t predict accurately if they will complete the program. More surprising to me, some pay their registration fee then choose not to even begin the program! Often I suspect those actions have to do with unresolved childhood experiences including fear and anger, but not much with anything that can be rationally identified or understood on my part or theirs. Because of that understanding and before any student begins a program, I advise that sometime during training they may want to quit, and suggest they be ready to overcome that natural tendency, even if it is irrational. I advise that both corset construction and waist training are not matters of perfect predictability, much less “perfection.” See also this page.

I’ve learned a lot about the unconscious in Dr. John Sarno’s excellent book, The Divided Mind. Last weekend I learned even more in an SF Chronicle’s Sunday book review of Prof. Martha Nussbaum’s new book, The Monarchy of Fear.

Dr. Sarno says that patients can develop new health-related symptoms and experience chronic pain due to the unconscious, and suppressed anger (to which I would add, fear). Prof. Nussbaum says that infantile helplessness and vulnerability can predispose us to various ways of coping. She says that childhood is an inherently terrifying time with a steep ascent toward maturity and its glimmer of social hope. Frightened citizens can become “indifferent to truth” she says.

I note that students who fail to pursue waist training, seem indifferent to truth. Some even stop communicating entirely, preventing their further learning, and heading off their potential success. In that case, failure in waist training becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thus, I have had to recognize that when I respond to perceived student hesitancy with facts, I may be only partially successful. Even when I present many facts and figures, actual student, corsetiere, and my experiences and statistics, the student must first conquer his or her fears both conscious and unconscious, in order to proceed. They need to accept advice, and understand that corseting and waist training are not sciences. They must accept that generally (but not always) waist training has the best results with three prongs of effort: long hours of snug corset wear (not short periods of extreme tightness), plus corset-friendly specific nutrition practices, and waist-targeted exercising.

Sometimes corset wear is not even the key element. Some students have an excellent nutrition program in place but need to focus on specific exercises.  Some need nutrition help.

In the end, those students who have been able to embrace flexibility, anxiety, and ambiguity, plus not demand certainty and perfection in corset fit, construction, or tightness, have demonstrated the most waist training success.

But in today’s anxious world of striving and suffering (see prior blogs), certitude is often demanded to reduce internal conflict. Nussbaum says many today prefer “the comfort of a leader who gives them a womb-like feeling of safety,” and they may “become aggressive against others, blaming them for the pain of fear.” I wonder if she has put her finger on a key reason for the widespread snarkiness on social media today? Anger seems pervasive.

We live in a world of so-called experts who thrive on giving us pat answers so that we don’t have to do the hard work of tolerating anxiety and not knowing. Some don’t want to learn along the way from experience and they don’t respect fact-based experience.

For anyone considering waist training, it behooves them to consider the possibility that their unconscious might try to defeat the pursuit. It might throw up hidden resistance to proceeding, even if they have thoroughly researched the topic and chosen a highly experienced guide or partner, one who generally can be trusted.

Moving forward despite one’s imagined disappointments, fears, and doubts, can help not only achieve successful waist training, but also be successful in future pursuits in many arenas where ambiguity inheres, and where individual endeavor dictates uncertainty in the process and the results.


Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, General Waist Training Information