Category Archives: General Waist Training Information

Finally!! Some Good News (but a bit of bad) on the American Obesity Scene!!!!

I just have to share this celebratory blog with you, having just opened up my Sunday New York Times to read on the front page that “America Starts to Push Away From the Plate” by Margo Sanger-Katz. It’s worth a read:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/upshot/americans-are-finally-eating-less.html?ref=health&_r=0

Based on three sources of data the article concludes that fewer calories are finally being eaten in this country, with the best reductions in calorie intake occurring in families with children.

Which brings to mind a motivation I have heard from several of my coaching program students, that they wished to be in better health and lose weight for their children in order to be around to take care of them. Great motivation if you ask me. If that one reason alone causes you to try corset waist-training, it’s enough to almost guarantee your success if you choose reasonable goals.

The three data sources from which to conclude there is now less calorie consumption in America are: (1) food dairies traced by the government researchers (don’t ask what that is as I don’t know), (2) food bar code info, and (3) food production.

The most striking shift the article says, is that soda drinking has dropped 25% since the late 1990s. I remember one former student who before joining our coaching program, drank 10 fully-leaded sodas a day. Amazing that. She was surely on a course to self-destruct. Sadly, without reason, she dropped out of the three-month program just two weeks shy of completion, and stopped returning my emails or phone calls. It represented a huge disappointment to me, but there is nothing to be done if a student refuses to communicate, and a few refuse to do so.

The sad problem pointed out in today’s article however, is that we continue to eat a bit of every food group and other than sodas, have not cut back on desserts and refined sugar.

You may have noted that that is my latest “big reveal” to myself: I was eating far too many desserts (refined sugar) and thus had added about an extra 200-400 calories to my daily consumption, resulting in a 10-15 lb weight gain and 1″ waistline gain in 1.5 yrs past. When in May I read “I Love Me More Than Sugar” by Barry Friedman, the message clicked!! I DO love me more than sugar…and I love being and feeling svelte and healthy and energetic. And that realization resulted in four weeks of just giving up sweet breakfasts and desserts but not being obsessive about it. I don’t eschew a bit of sugar added to things like packaged Bisquick, and I enjoy a wee bit of organic honey from time to time, and do eat lactose sugars like my low 80-cal. Greek Yogurt with only 7 gms. of sugar.  On June 14 I weighed 120.6 lbs, but today I weighed 114.2 lbs –  and am determined to keep moving down to my goal of a consistent 112 lbs — but with increased muscle strength, flexibility and balance. I’m achieving those three things from my three-times weekly yoga and aerobic/stretch classes plus walking 1/2 mile there and back for classes. It’s working for me, so my proof is in the non-sugar pudding!

There are two other significant, cautionary points made in today’s article.

First, to me the timing of this announcement today, compared to when the seminal AMA paper that focused on obesity was released in 1999, says that:

People take about 15 years for any public health message to sink in. 

Attitudes don’t change over night!! It takes more than half a generation to effect our behavior–so let’s get started earlier and hit the message harder, especially in the schools and early childhood/family education.

And then there is the problem of making good choices (how we act) to match our attitude (how we think and what we know intellectually):

Thinking and knowing is not equal to acting!

Something more is needed to get us to act on what we know. Perhaps it is peer pressure? Perhaps it is just getting inundated with terrifying public health notices about obesity much like the anti-tobacco movement did? Personally I am horrified by commercials showing  smokers who have seriously harmed themselves and seem and are, next to death’s door when they record their messages. But it sure gets my attention. Luckily I quit smoking in 1971 and quit drinking in 1988. It took me until 2015 to quit refined sugar, so I wonder: which is the worse addiction?

Second, the good news does not extend to the very obese. Weight and waist circumference have all continued rising in recent years. To me this points to three things.Ms. X. before and after

The first is that corset waist-training could fairly be promoted to the very obese. It’s fun. It’s fashionable. It’s pretty (when did an obese person last feel truly pretty?). It’s immediate in terms of trimming 3 to 4″ off a waistline the first time you put a corset on, and it immediately improves posture to boot. Then it works it’s magic on a permanent basis as did on Ms. X who in three months of corset waist-training coaching, dropped 50 lbs. from her 325 lb. frame and lost 5″ waistline inches. Note in her picture “before” left and “after” right, that her waistline crease has disappeared,  her biceps and neck have slimmed down, and the sides of her derriere have slimmed down. The positive changes are evident.

However, we also need to evaluate the emotional component of eating that underlies obesity. If we want to lose weight and get healthier, but we don’t get control of and understand how we got to where we are (a lot of that has to do with internal reasons as well as just more surface food choices, planning, and shopping), then we will likely not succeed. Succeed in what? In reversing the trend up and into worse health. My latest coaching program graduate Dorothy quite brilliantly chose reversing the trend that had brought her unhappiness and poor self image as she had expanded over time despite an active exercise program. You can read about her success in just prior blogs. If we don’t reverse a negative trend, then most likely we will just experience failure in part or in whole, give up again, and yo yo back up and keep going in putting on weight as we age and it gets harder to lose.

There is clearly more work to be done in addressing our national and international epidemic of obesity, but we hope with less reliance on surgery and “quick fixes.” This all starts at home  in what you and I will do individually to improve our health. It has a lot to do with whether we can and do stick it out in the face of questions, even ridicule, possible jealously expressed by others as we trim up, and “friendly” pushes to give in to temptations and go off track.

So, do you love you more than (fill in the blank when it comes to food indulgences)?????

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Results of Three-Months of Waist Training by Dorothy (“before” and “after” photos)

Final before and after Dorothy cropToday Dorothy came over to report her final weight and have me measure her for her concluding report, and also to verbally quarterback briefly her three months of coaching in our waist-training program. We also took concluding “after” photos in her corset and without it. Note above how her ribs have smoothed out and the contours of the corset over her tummy  have flattend out, not to mention the fact she almost has the corset closed in back (and can wear it for 10 hrs. that way).

On a scale of 1 to 10, Dorothy was satisfied with her progress at a level of 7–pretty darned good in my opinion!

Her original goal on April 18 was a 20-lb. weight loss. She lost 12.8 lbs. Her waistline reduction goal was 3″ and she lost 2.25″. We both were a little disappointed that she did not reach her exact goals which we felt were reasonable, but both of us noted that weight did not begin to drop off til her ninth week of training. This proves a point I often make regarding many of my clients and students.

Some take longer than others; don’t give up but go all the way for at least three months of corset waist-training!

THE BEST RESULT OF TRAINING

The most important success or result of the program we both agreed, was that she had reversed the negative up direction in weight and size she was experiencing the past few years (she is now 40 yrs. old), a direction that had disheartened her in the past.

Once she had walked past a shop window, looked in it to see her reflection, and felt that she looked like a dowdy older woman. She was not happy! Yet she had kept thinking that there had to be a magic combination of calories, food, and exercise that would automatically drop pounds off and reshape her figure to that of her 20ties, but she could not find the formula. She continued to eat the same amount, indulge in chocolate, and enjoy nice expensive wines (high sugar content and calories). Just being active in a gym program had not accomplished what she desired.

She realizes now that she has to attend to how much she eats, and pursue what works for her including periodic corseting for maintenance. She has to be disciplined enough to stay moving in the right direction down, not up, in order to avoid falling into the obesity trap that is sadly, encircling the globe and is of particular danger to older folks.

At my age of 30 years older than Dorothy, I know that I must shave at least 300-500 daily calories off what I could daily consume at age 40, so both of us will have to continue to slow down our intake for the rest of our life — and we can do that! I’ve been blogging about my recent successful strategy of reducing to almost nil, refined sugar from my diet. Dorothy reduced her calorific wine intake and focused on adding more natural fruits and vegetables (she is a vegetarian to begin with).

As a result of her training she now believes she is  headed in the right direction to improve her overall health and to keep losing slowly and trimming a bit more off her midriff. Both of us agreed we are committed as we age to staying trim and healthy, practicing good posture, and enjoying a good bit of energy for the challenges and pleasures coming in life.

To accomplish that she now has the techniques and steps in nutrition, corset wearing, and exercise  with her Maintenance Program in place (posted on my prior blog). To celebrate her new direction, one of our graduation presents was a tiny “Hello Kitty” train token Dorothy could attach to her key chain, visually reminding her each day of her desire and goal to keep moving in the right direction!
Note particularly her much-improved posture and shrinking tummy that now proceeds vertically to the floor. The small “bum” at the tummy is actually the top of her pants under her cami top.

Side view Dorothy

WHAT WAS MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF THE PROGRAM?

What was most challenging were the long hours, namely 10 to 12 per day at the tightest levels she reached during the last two weeks of her program.

By the third month you have shed the squishy fat and are becoming more toned and with muscles closer to the surface of the skin, thus it becomes tougher to lace down just when you are reaching a daily wearing schedule that is at its tightest level, and also the toughest to achieve. It’s almost the reverse of what you might expect. With more practice you would think you could lace down more and more easily, but you cannot.  Some aches Dorothy experienced in her corset also  seemed to cause the challenge, but the mechanical matter of struggling to close down the corset was certainly an issue for her.

When I laced her into her corset to see and measure her progress and pulled as hard as I could, I noted that her X-boned back protector by now was bunching up and adding bulk to her waistline. The bulk was interfering with her reaching her lacing schedule of 27″ over the corset for 12 hours. Like Dorothy her last week of the program, I could only tighten the corset down to 28″ at the waistline and then could pull no more, although 1.5″ remained open in the back of the corset (only 1″ at the top and bottom). Clearly she has a bit more room to go in this training corset and it will last her a few more months then she will need to build back up to the long long hours before she is ready for a tighter corset, or for us to shrink this one for more months and years of wear.

Regarding the bulk of a bunched-up boned back protector, you can’t really get a good pull on the waistline nor an accurate waistline measurement of where she had reached. I recommended she go home, remove the protector and continue to wear the corset as she does over a tight microfiber cami but under her scrubs (she’s a vet) as normal for her Maintenance Program (but just 2-3 days per week as she plans). I’m curious to see if she can now lace down to 27″ over the corset as I suspect will be the case. I’m certain with a few more weeks of effort and no back protector inhibiting tightness, Dorothy will get this corset closed top to bottom, removing the full 1.5″-waistline gap noted today.

I questioned Dorothy about the major physical and emotional changes or issues she noted.

EMOTIONAL CHANGES:

Interestingly, there were no emotional benefits or detriments she discovered during her training and she felt neutral about that matter. She said she still had the same amount of stress as a busy vet and surgeon. Her monthly bloating remained the same, and her general mood remained the same as normal.

She mentioned only that on some days while she never reached that “get me outta this thing” moment where she went screaming to the bathroom to remove the corset, she did get a bit frustrated. This was because the corset inhibited her active up and down daily work pattern of lifting animals up to and down from the examination table, carrying them, and bending over doing surgery and other procedures. She had to look at the clock a few days and just bear up 30 more minutes or so to make her day’s planned hours of continuous wear and level of wear. And she had to learn to live with a less flexible torso. However she did all that. She never loosened up her corset despite occasional frustration, nor did she ever deviate from the plan.

I congratulate her for that. I can tell now that Dorothy meant what she said at the beginning of the program when we chatted, that she intended to give it her best and a fair try–and she did.

What I did note was that she said that in the past she had had trouble with wanting to give herself excuses to avoid doing something a bit challenging, like exercising. She called it “facing herself”. She did find some days like that during corset waist training, but she was above to face herself down, and stick to the program. For that I trust she will feel justly proud of herself and find a good deal of pleasure upon reflection about her program.

She also mentioned when questioned, that her sister and several friends noted that she looked slimmer after some weeks in the program.

PHYSICAL RESULTS

A. Hunger

Dorothy definitely noted that after a few weeks her hunger dissipated. She mentioned  that one day during training when she would normally have eaten a mid-afternoon snack, she noted she was not that hungry, put on her corset, and went all the way until dinner without snacking. It seemed to surprise her! But this is just the proper strategy if we do have to cut back calories; use the corset as your friend to minimize and then disappear hunger.

B. Back Support

Dorothy noted that she liked the back support she felt during long hours of surgery, something she had not expected at the start of her program!

C. Aches

One item she mentioned in the physical realm, was that at 10 to 12 hrs. of corset wear at the tightest level of 28″, she noted a wee bit of what we both believe to be muscle tenderness at her side back, just above her waistline. It resolved itself upon removing the corset, within about a few minutes to an hour at most. She treated it occasionally with Ibuprofen or topical Arnica cream and both seemed to help. Once it came on, the discomfort lasted as long as she had the corset on, but she did not loosen up the corset nor take it off. She just bore up with no serious ill effects that we can document.

I’ve written an extensive recent blog on the possible causes of this sideback muscle ache either just above or just below the waistline. Dorothy, medically trained as mentioned, concurs with me that it is likely due to muscles being restricted or pressed upon and resisting the external pressure of the corset. Since she has an active gym program in place, she likened the feeling during long hours of tight corseting, to an exerted or exhausted muscle and how it feels after vigorous exercise. Overall my impression was that Dorothy found this to be a minor irritation or challenge and one that she could “muscle” through (could not resist the pun!).

D. Skin

She also noted that in the third month of training, on the side front and side back just above the waistline, her skin chaffed. It became a bit scaly and red. Removing the corset and rubbing the skin with lotion seemed to help and there was no skin breakdown at all. This did not prevent her from corseting her six days per week on the schedule we had worked out for her, and it went away by the end of her program.

E. Gas

She also noted a bit more burping after lunch (but not gas passing in the other direction which some students notice).

WHAT SHE DID NOT EXPERIENCE

A. Elimination the same

What was interesting to note was what Dorothy did NOT experience. She had no trouble with urinating and went no more frequently than in pre-training days. Personally I note that I go more frequently when I am continuously corseting or periodically waist training, because the bladder is compressed and I drink more water than normal Dorothy did not have to be urged to drink more water because she already was hydrating sufficiently. So for her, nothing changed in that regard.

For the first two weeks she did note some constipation but it resolved itself with no particular changes. Most likely this is because of the gentle early restriction of the corset inhibits the movement of the bowels, but Dorothy maintained as said, a very vigorous gym program working out on machines including I learned, hand weights used during squats and other challenging exercises.

B. How fast to lace down

I asked if taking a hot shower to relax the muscles helped her to get the corset on more than on other days. However, Dorothy took a hot shower in the mornings and went right to her corset immediately so she had nothing to compare it to. Interestingly, she was able every single day to rapidly lace down to her day’s wearing measurement without having to do what I do, namely, “ease into it.”

In other words, if I’m lacing down 2 inches I don’t immediately go there. I put my corset on at the same size as my normal waist, go for a few minutes, lace down 1/2″, put on my makeup, lace down another 1/2″ and drink some water, and continue to my day’s goal. I just don’t lace down immediately. But for Dorothy this seemed not to be difficult at all. Perhaps it has to do with the amount of fat or muscle surrounding the midriff that makes it tougher or easier to lace faster or slower to one’s desired level.

C. Changes in sleep patterns – there were none as Dorothy says she has no trouble there.

D. Heartburn or acid reflux – there were none.

D. Bruising or marking of skin – other than the bit of skin and temporary red spot and chafing, there were none.

E. Tiredness or Energy level – no change.

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All in all Dorothy’s journey seems to me to have been rather uneventful. She passed thru her waist-training three months with equanimity, aplomb, and commitment. She had stressors to contend with for sure: at one point she had to travel out of state to a vet’s conference and even deliver a paper, surely a stressful event. One week she had to put in 12-hr. days with lots of surgery hours when a vet colleague took a short leave. During it all she pursued with determination the program we worked out and to which she originally committed. In other words, she never used these stressful events as an excuse to deviate or terminate the program. She more than met my standard of complying with 95% of the program as a goal, assuming she will now complete our final written Evaluation Form and get that back to me with further details!

I’ll be posting her “after” pictures soon, so please come back. And I’ll be checking in with Dorothy at three months, six months and one year to see if her direction and progress down continues, and if she is complying with her Maintenance Program strategy, to see if it is realistic and to ensure that her commitment endures. After all, she has just now completed stage one: stage two is the rest of her life!

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A Sample Maintenance Plan

April training student 2015Our current waist-training coaching program student has added one week to her three-month program, so we’ll be taking her concluding photos end of this week. I can’t wait! Pictured here are her beginning photos taken on April 18. Note the back of her corset is open about five inches (and she was at this time laced down three inches already). Her goal was to close it down completely and wear it for 1o to 12 hrs. rather comfortably.

In the meantime I think her proposed Maintenance Plan could be of help to others so I am posting it below. Her training buddy suggested that she add one week per month for cutting back a bit on calories, to keep her weight going down until she reaches her weight goal. Originally she had wanted to lose 20 lbs, but lost 11.5 so far. We’ll have her final weigh-in this weekend. I think this idea is sound.

She is now within 1″ of completely closing her training corset down to a 27″ (over corset) measurement! In this extra week of training, she is attempting to go beyond 27.5″ for 4 hrs and reach down to 27″ for at least some time. It will be amazing to see this corset closed in back!

Overall her Plan seems simple and thus, do-able to me. I hope it is helpful to those of you who wonder about how to keep tiyr new figure over time and how to make waist training truly “permanent”!

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MAINTENANCE PLAN

Goals

  • To maintain a healthy weight for my body and not allow myself to keep gaining as my metabolism slows down with age
  • To continue to use the corset as a reminder of portion size and using my core muscles constantly
Sleep

  • Weekdays and Weekends: at least 7 hours of sleep, ideally 8.

Corset Training

  • Maintenance: Wear corset 12-18 hours a week – 2-3 days a week of 6 hours a wearing
  • I will continue to try to wear my training corset to sleep in for the required hours: have not done this successfully
  • I have not been able to fully close the corset. I will continue to gradually tighten the corset during my maintenance routine until comfortably fully closed.

Diet

  • Weigh-in: daily ideally but at least weekly. I think I will stick with Saturday mornings.
  • Snacks/small meals every 3-4 hours
  • Stick with oatmeal or high fiber/high protein cereal for breakfast.
  • Fruit and veggies every day
  • Continue to research high protein vegetarian foods
  • Continue to mostly avoid dessert as I haven’t missed it much. Allow myself to indulge in small portion occasionally
  • Alcohol: 1 glass two to three times weekly. No more than that.

Exercise

  • Ab setting exercises multiple times daily
  • Three times weekly classes at gym: Spinning, Body Pump, Zumba. Try some new classes.
  • Continue regular outside exercise: hiking

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Maintenance After Waist Training Starts with Planning, Right Thinking, and maybe our *New* “KEWL KORSET”

I’m working this week to encourage my waist-training coaching program student to submit her draft for a Maintenance Plan applying after she completes her formal three-month program this weekend. I’m so proud of her! I have been training right along with her, because I find that coaching anyone requires me to walk the walk, and re-set my own figure, and address my own demons when it comes to aging, spreading out, nutrition and exercise!

Walking that walk  the past three months for me has involved enrolling in a vigorous exercise program three days a week (one day of yoga and two of aerobic exercise for a total of 1.5 hrs. of exercise each time). It also has involved going off refined sugar three weeks ago on June 14, as I’ve blogged about recently. Today I can confirm that I have dropped 5.4 lbs in three weeks and taken 1/2″ off my hips and off my waistline, simply by eschewing sugar and desserts. I’m not being a martinet, since I eat a teensy bit of organic honey from time to time, and occasionally, at least some added sugar in Bisquick, for example. I’m now convinced that for me at least, avoiding refined sugar is a must.

I have come to believe firmly that right thinking and  maintenance are the two keys to successful waist training, not the actual process of dedicated waist training and wearing a corset, if you want to reshape your figure and re-start your own health program.Kewl Korset scroll

Chapter 10 in my Corset Magic book is devoted to maintenance which is mentioned in some introductory commentary which I set forth below. I’d love to hear from you about how you maintain you waistline after dedicated corset waist training, what works for you, and what you would recommend for others? Most likely it will involve periodic corseting (Jill’s flexible “Kewl Korset” pictured right is perfect for a maintenance corset).  I’ll be back to share Dorothy’s ideas later.

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Life-long habits (and excuses) take longer than three months to change. I used to think three months of corset waist-training was enough, but it’s clearly not. It’s enough to jump-start healthier new habits. It’s enough to show positive results 99.9% of the time, results that motivate and encourage us.

But motivate us to do what? Fall right back into what we were doing before, that got us here to begin with?
Without one doubt, some positive changes we make during training will stick around, but some form of waistline-maintenance and periodic checks and measures must be implemented during training and must continue a lifetime afterward, if we want a lifetime of positive results.

If we don’t get a handle on what it was both practically in the real world, and emotionally or spiritually in our individual psychological world, that got us to where we aren’t happy with our weight or shape and want to change, then the benefits of waist training won’t last.

We have to embark on waist training with corsets along with more self-introspection and self-honesty to identify behaviors that have defeated our goals in the past and threaten our progress today. This is an internal process that sometimes takes professional skills of a therapist or counselor, and there are many good ones out there who are well-educated on the issues surrounding food and overeating today.

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I think a lot about what makes corset waist training work for my students in the three-month coaching program I sponsor, and for others who try the process on their own. Lately I’ve concluded that success in waist training does not depend upon food choices that we eat, or the influence of profit-motivated large food corporations (see, for example, Marian Nestle’s What to Eat, North Point Press, New York 2006 and Michelle Simon’s Appetite for Profit: How the food industry undermines our health and how to fight back, Nation Books, New York 2006; see particularly the “Anti-Glossary” at the back of Simon’s book).

Success in waist training does not depend on how many steps we walk each day or how many hours we spend at the gym. Success does not even depend on how long we wear our corsets or how tightly we lace them!.

The foundation of success is about correcting our thinking process and thoughts which are normally misguided when it comes to corset waist training.

I noted one misguided way of thinking and stopped it early on with a former student, Gigi, who told me she was going to indulge in fatty foods the week before commencing training so that she didn’t feel deprived during the three months she would pursue the process.

Corset waist training is not deprivation! It is fun. It is effective. It is fashionable and it is unique. Not many folks in the world will accept the challenge and take the chance to try a new adventure in life with certain rewards coming to those who exercise a modicum of dedication and common sense. And not many will persevere with maintenance planning and implementation strategy to ensure that positive changes remain permanent.

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Coaching Student Making Steady Progress Down in Waist Training

Our present coaching student Dorothy, by her tenth week of waist training has dropped two inches off her waistline and 11 lbs. off her weight! She is pleased, and so am I!

Although she did not set aside time after six weeks to take the mid term photos we request of students, we’ll do that in two weeks at the end of her three months of corset waist training.

Originally Dorothy, a busy professional in the medical field, in her early 40s, decided to try the program because she did not like the direction her weight and shape were moving in. She felt discouraged and down. She thought it was time to get hold of the process and reverse the direction. She told me she was determined to complete the program and give it a good try, and believes so far she has completed 90 to 95 % of what I have asked of her in terms of corset wearing, nutrition changes, and exercise additions to target the waistline muscles.

Recently she was able to  complete a mid term questionnaire and it has some answers that can be helpful to others, to encourage you to try this process for yourself. We report her answers below.

What do you like best about waist training?

A: Awareness of how much I need to eat and changes (down) in hunger level.

What surprised you so far?

A: That I’m not really losing weight but seeing changes in my shape.

(N.B. You can waist train to lose weight, to lose inches, or both!)

What do you feel you have gained so far?

A: Definitely more discipline over my eating habits.

What have you lost so far?

A: I’ve lost some of the pessimism I had about my body.

How have your tastes in food or drink changed?

A: I don’t miss cereal or soda and crave sweets less.

What have others said to you about any changes they noted in you?

A: My sister has noted my midsection looks slimmer and my posture is better.

What advice would you give prospective waist-trainees?

A: Be prepared to learn some hard truths about yourself and be ready to change.

I think the operable words here are “be ready to change.” I just blogged about my decision to give up refined sugar in mid June in my quest to knock an inch off my hips and waist and 5 lbs. off my weight. I had to think and think and finally “decide” to do it, or maybe for me it’s “Decide” with a capital “D” because then I really mean to do something when I Decide. Dorothy “really meant” to do this program because she was “ready to change.”

Although she might not reach the original goals we set for her in weight or waistline inch loss, they were reasonable and do-able, but genetics, work, hunger, issues about the corset (body inflexibility, discomfort, bloating etc.) can get in the way and cause us to pause our efforts. Genes have a lot to do with how and where and when we lose weight and we often cannot control those. So we control and manipulate in a good way, what we can.

Dorothy has managed the tight and longer hours of Corset wearing scheduled as amended the third week, and born up under a good bit of discomfort in order to keep on track for ten weeks so far. That is admirable. Despite travelling out of town to a professional event, delivering a paper there, doing a good bit of overtime at her work in surgery, and other, she has stuck to her promise to herself and to me and to her Training Buddy, to carry thru all the way to see the results. It appears from her weekly checkins and reports that she has not fallen off the wagon nor used hard days or small backtracks to excuse her from completing three months of the adventure.

It’s a bit of a mystery as to what precisely will happen to any given individual who tries waist training. To me,  it’s a fun mystery to solve, an adventure to go on and see how it turns out — but you have to do the homework and turn the pages and answer the quizzes we send, and toe the mark with that tape measure keeping that corset tied down at the day’s level six days per week and do your ‘setting’ techniques of the transverse abdominal and etc.

It’s not easy, but it’s not onerous and you won’t die from putting forth a good bit of effort for only three very very short months. And it works — if you work it!

We’ll report back at the end of Dorothy’s program hopefully with some before and after images for you to picture her results and to be inspired to try the process either in our ROMANTASY coaching program, or on your own following the detailed guidelines we have in our Corset Magic book.

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Sugar … and losing that “Lovin’ Feelin'”

 

Michaelangelo's Italian "The David" on loan to the US, after some time spent in this country

Michelangelo’s Italian “The David” on loan to the US, after some time spent in this country

You might know a woman who doesn’t care about her weight or shape….but I don’t.

Yet our bodies keep getting bigger and bigger and unhealthier and unhealthier. Waistlines have expanded and expanded and by now I believe the pundits say, about half of Americans are obese and we’re headed for 100% I guess.

More’s the pity that many of us seem to have lost that “lovin’ feeling” for life, and lost our focus on good health, on maintaining zip and vigor, and on pursuing a positive presentation and outlook. We forget how to be gracious human beings and lovingly supportive of others who care to do so, even if we do not.

Some  get bogged down in dissing others who take time to look and feel fine and keep in shape, like those recounted in a recent social media post I read. One of my clients had taken the time to doll herself up, put on a selection from her growing wardrobe of gorgeous custom corsets, and show off her fabulous curves for a girl’s night out. However, she was confounded when she was roundly dissed by her unappreciative girlfriends.

That my client was surprised and disappointed by those negative comments was the surprise to me. They should have been expected:

MirrorgraphicThe reflection of someone taking care of herself and looking fine holds up a mirror to our own failures. Someone else looking fine  points out our own misdirections in life and health, even if a negative response also has to do with petty jealously. We don’t much like that mirror, and often don’t respond in a self-enlightened and helpful way.

A LUMP OF SLUDGE, EGO, AND THE RIGHT TEACHER AT THE RIGHT TIME

So, what helps us to become self-enlightened, to get concerned about going in the wrong direction, and to begin to reverse the trend for ourselves? What helps us to let others live peaceably with their own decisions and to support positive change when it occurs in our friends? What helps us to change our destructive habits?

I’m pretty sure of two things by this point after 20 years of studying corset waist-training, nutrition,  dieting, and motivation. I’m sure that positive change has a lot to do with ego and that it starts at home.

Maybe positive change has to do with three things: (1) Ego, (2)  starting with oneself…and (3) running across the right teacher at the right time.

A month ago I ran into a listing for  the new book “I Love Me More Than Sugar” by Barry Friedman when reading the Book section of my Sunday New York Times. Out of a passing curiosity I decided to purchase a copy just before leaving on an early-June two-week camping vacation, and take it along as one of several choices to pass the time on any given warm sunny day I might choose to sit under a tree at our campsite in Yellowstone, and read. I could possibly pick up some interesting new learning about sugar, right? Might be able to help me help one of my waist-training coaching program students in the future, right?

Only I found out that it actually helped me. At least so far, at least after one week.

I returned last Sunday feeling like a lump of sludge from a s’mores-filled vacation with occasional relief found at the campsite general store in individual-portioned boxes of New York style cheesecake, and the ubiquitous home-made fudge that somehow jumped into my shopping bag at the de riguer candy shop that appears in every single Old West town in America that I know, fudge that shortly thereafter jumped right into my mouth. Delicious fudge. Gooey fudge. For Pete’s sake: what could be more wonderful or justified as indulgence than “home-made” I ask you?

And of course, being on vacation gives one every possible excuse to indulge, right?

But how I felt in my body upon returning from an over-indulgent vacation was only a bit less distressing than how I felt after I looked in the mirror. Stood and looked for a long time, front, side and backside.

I was horrified.

It didn’t happen overnight, but over the past 1.5 years I had seen my figure begin to change substantially from what it had always been. Always. It was just that “wrong direction” in which I was headed as noted by my present waist-training coaching program student, who’d come to me for help in changing it. But it seemed to me that my direction had also been lost and needed changing.

I’d always prided myself in a 24″ waistline that over the past few years had crept up to 25″. And 36″ hips in high school had crept up to over 38″. Ye gads! I’d broken the 38 barrier! The horror of it all–mainly in the crushing blow to my ego. And sense of aesthetics. And how I felt about it all both in my body and spiritually.

Then the sugar book came along. So last week I decided once more to rely on ego. Ego is at once potentially a negative and destructive factor in my life, but also a positive motivator for past beneficial change when I had made it.

I’m not going to recommend the book to you, because it’s a one-pony book and I hate those. Perhaps you do, too. One-pony anything, especially one-pony books that recommend you do anything dead-bang as Friedmann recommends, like cut sugar entirely out of your diet for 30 days starting from Day One, simply don’t work. I’ve tried it before and to me that’s nothing but a recipe for my body to rebel and deliver physical pain, suffering, plumbing backups, other  longer-term negative fallouts, and predictable failure.

I do however, recommend you read the book because like for me, the information used with a mirror you honestly face along with a healthy ego, might help you find some kick-starters to boost forward your own figure and feeling- re-sculpting program.

And I just know you will eventually feel better!

STEP ONE:

On Monday just past, I decided to gradually cut back refined, added sugars in my diet, and keep eating but less frequently, complex carbs like the brown rice/farro/wheat berries combo I love, with an occasional slice of wheat bread or fresh bakery-made sour dough bread (I asked, and gratefully learned there’s no sugar in the sour dough bread). I avoided white potatoes  this week, but that’s not part of my resolve. After all, we brought home a bag of real Idaho potatoes from Idaho as one of our “disappearing souvenirs.” I don’t intend to let them go bad.

You’ll note above that I say “gradually.”

I didn’t cut out fruit. I didn’t decide to obsessively read food labels (but I am) to cut  out any product with any added sugar, but I did however decide to let my partner finish up the camping cheesecake and fudge if he chose to do so. I decided to not indulge in any sugar dessert for a month. I decided during the week twice to indulge in a bit of organic huckleberry honey we purchased in Yellowstone, but I used only 1/4 teaspoon each day, spread carefully and lovingly on one slice of totally delicious local Wyoming-baked wheat bread (yes, with a bit of sugar added) we’d brought back from our camp store.

Yesterday we visited for lunch our favorite Bay Area fish restaurant. (Ed. note: There’s no better fish served in the world than at Cook’s Seafood in Menlo Park, if you are every lucky enough to go there and drop by for lunch or dinner. I’ve cemented what seems like a life-long friendship I hope, with the business owner who cares incredibly much about health and his client’s health.)

I opted against the fried fish and chips platter(suggested by my partner, tho I was tempted. Boy, is Cook’s tasty, incredibly fresh fish well-fried in the right hot temperature of  brand new oil each day so there’s almost no grease left but only fabulous taste!) I decided to let my adult better part of me choose  the grilled salmon, veggie, and broth-cooked tasty jasmine rice platter — not for me alone, but to share with my partner who also ordered a small cup of fabulous clam chowder. I had three spoonsful of chowder,  ate half a tiny slick of crispy sour dough bread that comes with, and 1/3 the platter. I was more than satisfied.

I’m convinced that satisfaction with food on this and most occasions has something to do with going for the tops in taste satisfaction and for the pure pleasure in eating well, not just in eating or worse, in stuffing our faces in the fastest possible way.

You may note another key point above, and it’s my use of the word “decided.”

I’ve always been the type that when I “decide”–and that’s a tricky concept– then I “do” and follow-thru. Sometimes however, it takes me years to “decide.” Like the past 1.5 years of watching my body change and change not in pleasant ways as I age gracefully, I hope.

STEP TWO: I also decided to keep a food diary and calorie-count.

I’ve been able to quit a terrible habit of chewing my lip, just by using this technique for three days prior to seeing a hypnotherapist I’d made an appointment with the next week after “deciding” I’d better quit this weird and possibly eventually seriously harmful practice.  On the phone he had suggested I keep and bring in for discussion a diary of when I did the habit,  my stress level at the time, plus a note of what I was doing and where I was.

Three days later I cancelled the appointment with him, and I never chewed my lip again.

So I got out my trusty pocketbook on calories, wrote down the general food items I planned to eat and quantity and calories, and off I went recording them every day…for three days.

And I weighed. And looked in the mirror. And weighed again….

Ugh.

The scale read…. (now, what it actually read is almost irrelevant because it’s not weight, but how you feel about yourself, your energy level, your zest for life, and your positive spirit when you feel you are at your “fighting weight” and are physically and mentally properly functioning and healthy, right? Right!)….

……120.4 lbs. I know at my doctor’s office as is true for most, four more pounds should be added. So let’s say 124.4 lbs., working on 125. I’ve prided myself forever in being no more than 118 at home, more like 116 at home to be safe considering my slim bone structure, height, and for feeling good about myself. Yikes: 10 pounds overweight and two-inches up in my hips? Impossible, and the ego finally kicked in!

THE RESULTS SIX DAYS LATER.

Two days after starting my calorie count and food diary, I got it that I was eating about 50% more calories than I thought I was, and 50% more than I needed for my body size, shape, bone structure, and history–not to mention how that made me feel (sludgy). I didn’t need to keep the diary further: I groked the message. And somehow just groking it has helped me to feel full with less food this week, choose to eat less (yup, smaller plates and smaller slower bites help!) and I haven’t been wearing my corset! I haven’t a clue as to how that works, but I do know it does. (With a corset assist, it could work even better!)Small plates, small bites

Today is Sunday. 6.25 days after starting my lower-sugar program, I noted amazing results on the scales and with my tape measure. This morning I weighed  116.4 lbs.

I measured. My hips have receded 1/4″, my waist has receded 1/2″, I’m feeling the down trend, and feeling pretty fine I might add. All systems are “go”, plumbing is working just fine on hepped-up veggies and fruit, and there’s a ray of sunshine breaking through. That’s what just a teensy amount of progress can do.

I know that my weight and yours can bounce dramatically up and down by one to five pounds on any given day. I’ve not noted the same in measurements.  I still have not figured out the reasons for those amazing differences in weight, so I’m not about to trust my scale just yet.

But I am about to trust measurements, but moreso I trust how I feel.

I feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Even if it did for five days result in a low-grade nagging headache and continuous and most-unpleasant feeling of nausea as if I were going to toss my cookies (or lack of cookies thereof). It was far more painful than quitting smoking, or quitting drinking alcohol (and amazingly so!) But it was only for five days.

The going for you, too, is not going to be easy if you choose to experiment as I am experimenting with reduced sugar. So just accept that, but know that there’s an end in sight, because by one day ago the two distressing issues pretty much and most-gratefully have left me!

Whether or not sugar (at least added refined sugar) creates an addiction as the Sugar book author and others claim, I cannot say. I think it does. And as I’ve learned, perception is not something, it’s everything. I think I’ll hang onto my perception of enhanced well-being  for three more weeks to see where it leads me, and how the scale and tape measure respond. After all being accountable to someone, to everyone!, can act as a motivator in and of itself 9and that’s why I recommend a coach or a Training Buddy as a rah-rah section for your figure-sculpting efforts). I’ll report back then, for those who might be interested.

In the meantime, run don’t walk to read the sugar book, but be very careful about implementing every single thing the author says.

As in everything in life, every choice and decision you make: use common sense and what you already know about your own body.

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Post script on June 29 (an historical day to be sure: hooray for our courageous Supremes who today finally legalized marriage for anyone who wants to be married in this country!)  I have been sugar- addicted much more than I believed possible – and received personal encouragement from Mr. Friedman via an email reply today! The low-grade nagging headache and nausea returned a few days after this post, after one day’s respite. The headache normally starts at 9 or 10 am even after a protein-filled breakfast of half slice of bacon plus one scrambled egg with a bit of cheddar cheese.  The slight nausea starts in the early afternoon. Some days by mid to late afternoon both have become almost unbearable — but there is hope! What helps me personally is EXERCISE! In my online research I read about exercise to help, so I have been faithfully every other day aerobic exercising in a group, with home-stretching on days in between. This has been my salvation while I ply the two issues with Chinese Po Chi Pills (get them in your Chinatown) for nausea and Excedrine migraine tabs for the headache. I’m still on track today, however.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under General Waist Training Information

Addressing Corseting Back Aches, Possible Causes, and Relation if any, to the Kidneys

The Ache and The Concern About Kidneys Graphic for research project on aches (c) ROMANTASY 2015

Those who wear corsets and who may waist train continuously or from time to time, have occasionally reported specific aches located near or at the waistline in back, more to the sides of their torso. The area I am discussing is pictured  left in four white squares.

Incidentally, if you might like to be involved in a research project regarding aches in these locations, please let me know via email to: inquiry@romantasy.com, and I’ll send you a followup questionnaire for more details about your experience.

Only a handful of our corset clients over 25-plus years have infrequently called those kinds of aches to my attention. However, I have personally noted them from rare time to rare time (details below), one of my team members has noted them once or twice after long hours (about 10) of wearing a corset she made, and my present waist-training coaching program client just noted them. That client has recently reached a 3.5″ reduction from her natural waistline of 34″, and is corseting from 10 to 12 hours daily  with a wasp-silhouetted Edwardian corset. She is pictured here at the beginning of her program  with 3″ reduction in her pretty corset. Before these many hours of continuous corseting, she had not encountered the issue.April training student 2015

Early in the 2000s I had investigated the matter of the kidneys and what happens to them in corseting and training.  I looked at graphics of the anatomy of the body and kidneys and asked questions of a few doctor consultants (some corseted and some did not) when I was first writing this book from 1999 to 2003. I decided not to comment in detail in my book at the time because my consultants were of the opinion that the kidneys are located so far inside the trunk of the torso, and are protected at the back by the spine, that it was highly unlikely they would be affected by moderate corseting practices.

I decided to investigate this matter again in some length because concern about this ache and its possible relation to the kidneys seems to recently appear and re-appear in social media comments. In sum, my recent research  supported my original view. As an educated layperson but without medical training to be sure, I still don’t believe there is any relation between the kidneys and sideback waistline, or other, aches while corseting.

I have, however, now become concerned  that vague or ambiguous comments repeated in social media relating kidneys to corseting may contribute unnecessarily and unfairly to prejudices and stereotypes  against well-made custom corsets and against reasonable waist training pursuits.

For those interested, the facts and reasoning to my conclusion are set forth below in detail and I welcome your comments and input to further my research and learning.

###

What motivated my recent research was a brief online comment in April, 2015 by an experienced corset maker, that almost certainly the kidneys are asking for relief if you develop an ache at the lower back on the sides when you are corseting. Many followers of her commentary thanked her for this notice.

I asked about the source of her information to learn more. If I understood correctly from what she replied, the basis for her concern was a doctor’s unspecified advisory about corseting and the kidneys some years ago given to her former partner, and her former partner’s present concerns from her recent practice as a chiropractor. She was  concerned because she said the kidneys were somewhat out of the protection of the rest of the abdomen being retroperitoneal, and mentioned the kidney punch (more below on that matter).  The corset maker was also concerned about possible extreme corseting in the BDSM community.  She remembered some long-ago concern about the kidneys expressed to her from a corset “trainer.”  No further details were provided.

I then found another website mentioning “the kidney feeling” related to sweats and a slightly nauseated feeling when corseting, but when I contacted that writer in my research efforts, she said her information came from the first commentator corset maker and I should contact her, which I had already done. It reminded me of the importance of asking for the factual basis of anyone’s brief opinion which may not be well founded but nonetheless can be rather quickly expressed, easily repeated,  and widely spread on the internet today.

My Personal Experience

I’ve personally noted just that particular location and ache when wearing a corset, but only in two circumstances: first, when wearing an ice-cream cone silhouetted corset, and second, when wearing it for over an hour or more. Sometimes when this ache comes on, it can become quite noticeable and unpleasant. However, I do not get that ache every time I wear this silhouetted corset, and the ache always subsides within a few minutes, perhaps half an hour at the very most, after removing the corset. It has not caused me to stop wearing this corset and I’ve never had any kidney problems diagnosed or noted.

Basic Anatomy

Cross section of torso Gray's           I re-confirmed the location of the kidneys in my trusty Gray’s Anatomy (15th English Ed.) Page numbers below refer to this book. The graphic here is a transverse section  across the body of peritoneum showing the kidneys, found on page 901 of Gray’s, and the vertical orientation of the kidneys below is found on page 924.

Of course the descriptions in this medical tome are far more detailed than any general discussion here can entail, thus I recommend this seminal and famous text to any layperson with a dedicated curiosity about anatomy.

I also recommend highly an even better anatomy text with astoundingly detailed colored illustrations by Dr. Frank H. Netter called “Atlas of Human Anatomy.” I have the 6th edition.

In general I learned that the kidneys are situated in the back part of the abdomen, one on either side of the vertebral column behind the peritoneum and surrounded and “mainly held in position” by a “large quantity of loose fatty tissue, hence rupture of this organ is not nearly so serious an accident as rupture of the liver or spleen… occasionally the kidney may be bruised by blows in the loin or by being compressed between the lower ribs and the ilium when the body is violently  bent forward. This is followed by a little transient hematuria which, however, speedily passes off.” (page 994).Graphic kidneys and spine Grays p 924 In these graphics you can see how the spine is closer to the outside of the skin in back with kidneys tucked farther inside the body. It makes sense that the spine serves to protect in part against direct blows to the kidney.

“Kidneys cannot be felt (Ed. note: I assume Gray means by the doctor examining a patient) unless enlarged or misplaced.” (Page 993) The right kidney is slightly lower than the left. Each kidney is four inches in length and two to two and a half in breadth with one inch of thickness. The left is somewhat longer though narrower than the right. The kidneys are considered “fixed” but can be floating as a congenital condition.

This confirms information I was first given back in 2003 by my medical consultants at the time.

The front surface is partially covered by the peritoneum and partly uncovered. The posterior surface is not covered by the peritoneum but is embedded in aerolar and fatty tissue and rests on the eleventh (right kidney) or eleventh and twelfth ribs (left kidney). The main structures passing in and out of the kidney include the vein, the artery in the middle and the duct or ureter behind and toward the lower part.“The kidney is dense in texture, but is easily lacerable by mechanical force.” (See page 986)

To complete here our brief review of what’s involved, Gray says the abdomen is the largest cavity of the body bounded in large part by muscles and fasciae. It contains the kidneys among other organs and those organs are covered by an extensive membrane, the peritoneum. (Page 895). Dr. Netter’s book at Plates 309 and 315 shows that behind the kidneys toward the skin’s surface  in a person who is standing and toward the back are the Psoas and the Quadratus Laborum muscles. In addition part of the obliques and the transverse abdominus muscles end close to the same vertical height as and behind the kidneys also toward the back of the torso. The peritoneum is the largest serous membrane in the body. In the male it is a closed sac and in the female the fallopian tubes open directly into the peritoneal cavity. The viscera inside (the peritoneum) can glide freely against he wall of the abdominal cavity or upon one another with the least possible amount of friction because of serious fluid. (Page 898).

Comments from Physicians

One of my clients and gracious periodic advisers on medical and anatomical matters is a physician who has worn corsets since 1963, Dr. Milt Simmons. Dr. Simmons practiced medicine for 43 years and is Board Certified in Family Practice. He also was on the faculty at Wayne State University School of Medicine in the Department of Family Practice for 27 years. He served as Preceptor and Clinical Assistant Professor until retiring in 2005.

Dr. Simmons also wears back braces, including medical corsets as well as modern-day custom corsets. In mid-April of 2015 he told me that he once wore an orthopedic corset 24 hours a day for six days straight before he started to get relief from back pain. He also wore another one called a “Bob’s special” which was all plastic and 1/8- inch thick. “There is no movement with this one as four heavy straps keeps one well encased from below the breasts to the groin.” For the past ten years or so Dr. Simmons has worn custom corsets formerly by Amy of Wasp Creations, and more recently by ROMANTASY’s Sharon. He wears them approximately four days a week for up to 14 hours each day.

He reports that his corsets  “are a welcome relief compared to those prior types, but one gets used to them to get pain relief.” Sharon’s custom corset designed and produced to specifications from Dr. Simmons is called the “Golf Corset.” It enables him to play golf without injuring his back or causing pain. We tell more of his story on our website’s FAQ page under the question about health and corseting, if you are interested.

In telephone conversations in late April, Dr. Simmons confirmed my understanding that the kidney is not a floating organ in the abdomen. “It is in it’s own retroperitoneal space separated from the larger peritoneum which contains the major organs of the body such as liver, spleen, pancreas, stomach, intestines and in the female, the reproductive organs. “Both kidneys have non-connecting spaces with adrenal glands attached to the upper pole of the kidney. There is a thick membrane called Gerod’s fashia protecting both kidneys. The ureters coming off the kidneys and renal arteries coming off the aorta and the veins going to the inferior Vena Cava, are all well protected in the retroperitoneal area. “Basically there are three peritoneums, with the lesser peritoneum coming off the main peritoneum then ducking behind the stomach toward the pancreas. It would take a lot of constant pressure to get to the kidney.”

          Dr. Simmons was then courteous enough on April 23 to consult a nephrologist colleague with a specialty in kidneys. He presented the question about corsetry and the kidney. The answer was “that the kidney is generally so well protected by bone, location, geriod fachia, fat, and its retroperitoneum coverage that the corset does not become a problem here.” (Emphasis added)

I then located a detailed but undated paper by a resident physician at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, entitled “Boxing and Kidney Damage.” For anyone concerned about this matter it is worth a read at: http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/drafts/Boxing_kidney_damage.doc The latest source for the paper was from 1993 so this might be an older document to be sure. This physician confirmed the above-stated information that: “The kidneys are well protected by virtue of their retroperitoneal location.” The physician also confirmed that: “The kidneys are located in a paravertebral gutter on either side of the vertebral column through the lower thoracic and upper lumbar levels. Each kidney is suspended in a shock absorbing fat and fibrous connective tissue capsure. Anteriorly, the kidneys are protected by the abdominal viscera and the internal and external obliquus muscles and the transversus abdominis muscles. Posteriorly, the kidneys are protected by the lower ribs and the vertebral column and by the quadratus lumborum, the sacrospinalis and the latissimus dorsi muscles. Laterally, the rib cage surrounds the upper third of the right kidney and the upper half of the left kidney. The kidneys are not rigidly fixed. They are held in position by the renal fascia and the large renal arteries and veins. Their attachment affords the kidneys an ability to move.”

A corseting physician with a specialty in the heart and coronary health, one who has ordered and worn about six corsets from ROMANTASY over the past 15 years, also confirmed that “the kidneys are so deep within the abdominal cavity that they are protected from the squeezing.”

Other Information

As with most any question on the impact of corseting on the body, there is little to no research and not many comments about actual or possible kidney damage caused by or contributed to by corseting.

And once more I make my point: just because something moves inside us does not necessarily and automatically equate with damage (think pregnancy)–so let’s stop thinking in that nonsensical way.

Likely the best modern pronouncement on the topic of organ movement was called to my attention by Lucy Williams, our Canadian corset educator colleague. It is the video presentation from an October 2014 Quiz How of the MRI of a corset wearer, the burlesque dancer Eden Berlin. German medical doctor and TV sensation Dr. Eckhart von Hirschhausen studied how a well-shaped and apparently custom  corset moves organs in a tightlacer on his October 2nd episode of his gameshow, Hirschhausens Quiz Des Menschen (“Hirschhausen’s Quiz of the Human [body]”). Of course the corset was not boned with metal as that would have been quite dangerous (the magnet might have torn the metal thru the soft body tissue!). You should certainly visit Lucy’s article on the program (she had it translated from German) here: http://lucycorsetry.com/2014/10/08/corset-organs-mri/

As the principle result of his MRI Dr. Ekhart concluded that the intestine is “trapped and digestion slowed”. Lucy also notes from her review of the video that “While it might not have been explicitly mentioned, from the image we also now have confirmation that the liver and stomach move upwards (and the liver remains pretty much in the same shape) and they are not forced down below the waist like some horrendous illustrations once claimed.”

          Dr. X is a retired coroner with over 30 years of medical practice in a major urban area and a present day forensic expert in crush injuries. He has been a ROMANTASY resource on the anatomy and various medical issues since publication of this book. He reminded me that MRI’s likely do not produce a 100 percent correct orientation of the organ position when corseted, because they are taken lying down and we tend to wear corsets while standing. Organs may therefore show on an MRI as in a slightly higher position in the body.

From my own experience wearing corsets I’ve noted some rib as well as organ movement, some differences in my body’s functions, and variations in comfort level when I wear different styles or different silhouettes of corsets. I was initially curious as to why the underbust Victorian style and often the hourglass- silhouetted corset always seemed best for training purposes. I discuss these differences in some detail in my book, but let’s return to the kidney.

The German MRI showed that the kidneys weren’t much affected either in position or in function, but how the doctor could determine anything about function relying on only one MRI without a longitudinal study is not clear to me!

On February 12, 2015 Dr. Oz hosted a television show on “Waist Training – Is it Safe?” He had an MRI done of a “corseted” guest, however the guest was not wearing a custom steel-boned corset, but merely a latex, stretchy and wrinkled cincher of an undetermined kind and brand. What he found was that his guest’s waistline was reduced by two inches, and the kidneys, liver, diaphragm and intestines were all “squeezed up.” He also noted a rippling effect in the sides of the liver which he attributed to the ribs pressing in on that maleable organ.

When Dr. Simmons reviewed the tv segment he noted that the “corset” was not a boned corset and that it appears that the guest’s waistline was indented or brought in about one or two inches more on one side than on the other, from a front view. The “corset” did not appear to have a graded or even pressure around the torso.

Dr. Simmons also noted that the ripple effect Dr. Oz noted on the MRI in the liver, was not that unusual or concerning, since the liver normally fits into the 9th and 10th ribs and evidences at least two indentations therefore, more or less the same thing that Dr. Oz noted.

As noted in Grays at page 933 the liver’s “consistence is that of a soft solid; it is, however friable and easily lacerated.” However, I did not see any measurement of how high the organs moved in Grays, and Dr. Oz did not describe any kind of damage just from the fact of kidney or organ movement, although he indicated some concern. He said he “has an issue” with what he found from the MRI, but what issue is that? Perhaps he will explain in a further show on corsets.

You can read an excellent point-by-point response to Dr. Oz by Lucy Williams on her blog at: http://lucycorsetry.com/2015/02/26/dr-oz-investigates-waist-training-response/ The Kidney Shot–A Related Advisory for Corset Wearers? Graphic - Petit's Triangle

The corset maker who motivated my present research to be sure I had up-to-date medical information and thinking, mentioned the kidney shot issue. That is certainly worth a look.

Dr. Simmons had already advised me that “there is a possibility that small triangle which is formed by two muscles (the lattisimum dorsi and the internal oblique), and the bone structure of the superior iliac rim at its base, could be weakened and allow pressure placed in the area to be felt.”

The area is described by Gray as an interval is called Petit’s Triangle. You will see the area labeled on the graphic from page 338 of Gray’s. In boxing one refers to it as the “kidney punch area.” I’ve also seen it called “the kidney shot” area; see https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100626162316AAI3q72, http://www.ask.com/sports-active-lifestyle/kidney-punch-5ef3f532b50b289b I’ve both read that it is and is not illegal, and that it is illegal if it is “purposeful.”

Livestrong.com says that it is illegal, at: :http://www.livestrong.com/article/432817-are-kidney-punches-allowed-in-boxing/ “Kidney punches are illegal in boxing. A hard blow to a kidney can bruise or cut the organ, or even tear it loose from the blood vessels that supply it. Damage can range from mild pain to blood in the urine to anemia, kidney failure, shock and even death. That’s why the rules of boxing, which generally prohibit any punch to the back, pay special attention to the kidney area.” Ask.com says: “A punch to a kidney can severely bruise and cut the kidney. An especially strong kidney punch can cause a kidney to tear loose from blood vessels. Damage from a kidney punch ranges in severity from very mild pain to bloody urine, anemia, shock, kidney failure and, in the worst cases, death. A person punched in the kidney who experiences lasting pain or bloody urine should seek immediate medical attention.”

Remember that Dr. Gray noted that the kidney “is easily lacerable by mechanical force” and: “occasionally the kidney may be bruised by blows in the loin or by being compressed between the lower ribs and the ilium when the body is violently bent forward.” (emphasis added).”

As for other effects on the kidney in the case of boxers, the doctor mentioned above in his paper noted that “there is little information to support proposals that changes in the urine of boxers is related to direct trauma to the kidneys.” Other possibilities mentioned are the crouched position of the boxer, the “grunt reflex,” and trauma to the bladder. He said that many possibilities exist for changes in urine and kidney damage. For example, it can be related to sudden acceleration or deceleration injury and other. The doctor also concluded that there is little research on sports injuries and that more research is needed.

          Sound familiar?

The fact is, in boxing the punch would be sharp, quick, and hard. The punch could be fairly characterized as a “blow” and it’s not hard to imagine a boxer violently bending forward from such, or grunting. But let’s get a grip here. Did you hear me talking anywhere in this blog or my Corset Magic book about a punch or a focused violent blow to your kidney area, or anything other than very gradual, not-very-restrictive initial lacing on of a well-fitting, double steel-boned custom corset? I didn’t think so.

Yes, a corset is a type of “mechanical force” but it is most typically worn in safer circumstances in general than in a violent boxing match, not to mention that tightening is done gradually over months after your first build up your hours of comfy wear– three months in the case of our recommended waist training program.

As a final point, I also always recommend to my clients and to you when you wear a corset that you not bend precipitously or continuously forward, or backward for that matter, at the waistline. The backward bend could possibly press on Petit’s Triangle. The possible result of the back bend when corseted is described next. Waistline bend in corset

Let’s also remember that back and vertebral bracing have been used for hundreds of years by the medical profession. I surmise that if untoward risk of injury to the kidneys from same existed, the braces would have lots of warnings out there or be of limited use. I can’t find one such warning on a few websites I visited, but did see some terribly uncomfy looking medical braces such as pictured for Ultralign at: http://www.deroyal.com/medicalproducts/orthopedics/product.aspx?id=pc-bracing-ultralumbsacorth

Probable Sources of Sideback Waistline Body Aches

Dr. Simmons posits that the ache we are discussing might be due to the corset as it is laced down, encroaching on the spine. It might be due to the corset pinching a nerve. It also might be due to a flimsily-boned corset that allows fabric or bones to collapse inward and focus pressure on a small area of the torso.

In the picture above of the backwards-bending bride being kissed, you can clearly see the boning bending inward at the waistline, even in a double steel-boned custom corset that she was wearing. This kind of focused pressure can develop aches and pains that I like to call “hot spots” because at their worse to me, they render a burning or pricking sensation. Whether or not the corset or bent boning actually touches the small triangle area and presses on the kidneys is not clear, but based on my investigation so far,  that seems unlikely.

Assuming a proper corset properly worn, Dr. Simmons told me that it “provides gradient pressure that supports the area covered and the organs. It does not impinge on a focused or targeted area.” In other words, a corset will typically distribute and minimize pressure from restriction about the entire torso. To illustrate what he meant Dr. Simmons added that when the custom corset is properly laced and worn, one can imagine the pressure as millions of arrows from all points on the skin where the corset is touching, pointing inward, with millions of counter arrows on the inside pointing out. In other words, when corseting there is at one and the same time pressure inward and also an opposite pressure outward by the body’s internal contents. This counter pressure helps keep the spine straight and erect. It also tends to keep organs secure even if they can or do move around in the abdomen

Thus I believe that the corset is one of the better ways to protect the organs including the kidneys. The corset applies its pressure in a gradient manner of even pressure over a large area, and I think this impedes the destruction of a given specific area (of the torso).” (Emphasis added)

This is one reason that for the beginner with all things being equal, it is possible that the best corset silhouette with which to train will be the hourglass. That is because that silhouette in my experience and in that of many of my clients and informants, seems to puts even pressure around the entire torso, rather than focus pressure on one spot such as the wasp silhouette does. The wasp might be a better silhouette choice for the advanced trainee when the ribs and pelvic bone become less covered with fat thus less, protected from pressure calling for more focused pressure right at the waistline in order to make further progress in lacing down.

Dr. Simmons is not too concerned about this ache emanating from muscles, since the muscles can adapt pretty well to pressure.

Other physicians posit that indeed, the muscles might be involved. My corseting physician Dr. RB felt that I must have been experiencing “some muscle strain perhaps along the pelvic rim or perhaps the inguinal ligament (if pain is in the front groin). At the waistline, you might feel strain along the lower ribs. Again this (type and location of ache) sounds musculo-skeletal.”corset worn too high on waistline

Dr. X pointed out that body aches at the back side of the waistline might simply result from wearing a corset a bit too high on the body, with the narrowest waistline part of the corset pressing just above the waistline. You can see pictures of that unfortunate situation to the right and left. Note that often you can tell if a well-measured custom corset is worn too high on the torso (normally measured to come just to below the bra underwire), if the top binding tends to fold or bend over, as is possibly the case in the beige corset pictured below.

Waist worn too high        Dr. X mentioned another possible cause of the sideback waistline ache, that is, a slight mismatch between the vertical proportions of the body and those of the corset, such as longer corset worn on shorter trunk. ###

          To reiterate, in sum I don’t think there is any concern about kidneys being involved in back aches or that kidneys are in danger when pursuing gentle corseting with a well-fitting custom or readymade corset.

Let me know if you find out anything different. ###

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