The Corset Diet


Jessica Alba caused a furor when she admitted to wearing a corset to regain her figure after giving birth.

Jesscia Alba caused a furor when she admitted to wearing a corset to regain her figure after giving birth.

Have you heard about The Corset Diet?  It is very controversial – and not a diet in the traditional sense of an eating plan. A website that sells the diet explains it this way: “It (the diet) involves wearing a corset. Not a tight-laced waist-squeezing breath-catching corset. We can supply a special fitted corset aiming to reduce your waist immediately by 2 inches. ” The ladies behind this version of the corset diet go on to explain: “The pleasant hugging sensation rewards the wearer not only with an improved figure but also posture. However, that is not where the corset diet really benefits the wearer. A smaller waist instantly may be enough for many, but reduction of the waist in turn leads to the reduction of the internal volume of the stomach. This is turn can lead to lost (sic) of weight.” 

Recently, actress Jessica Alba told a reporter that she wore a double corset, day and night, for three months to regain her figure after her last pregnancy.  While many female journalists are outraged by the idea, Alba’s only complaint about was that it was “sweaty”. 

While some doctors have rushed forward to say the diet is dangerous or that it makes no sense, others disagree. In numerous interviews, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Alexander Sinclair, M.D. talks about using the corset method with patients to safely reduce their waist sizes without surgery. 

And if you think the method is crazy and only for movie stars, think again.  Women’s magazines that shriek about the politically-incorrect sounding “corset diet” have reported very calmly about the popular postpartum belly-band. The belly-band is a waist-shaping, postpartum double corset. Brooke Burke, Kim Kardashian and other A-list moms all used it.  Dr. Jay Goldberg, a Beverly Hills obstetrician, approved the corset like-bands on Good Morning America, saying, “They’ve been used for hundreds of years, possibly longer.” I personally know very healthy active women who used belly bands after giving birth. They claimed it was more comfortable for the first few months. 

downloadIn Victorian Secrets, Sarah A. Chrisman, an author, professional exhibit director, and Victorian clothes collector chronicles her transformation from a plus-sized student to a wasp-waisted “Victorian lady”. Both Sarah and her husband love the Victorian era and collect antique clothing. Yet, Sarah was surprised when her husband gave her a corset for her birthday one year. Her book describes how the corset changed her life. Slowly she lost weight as her appetite shark, her posture improved, and according to Sarah her migraines disappeared.  

Sarah explains that stories about women breaking ribs or having them removed surgically to wear corsets are not true. Sarah also explains that old books and letters talk about “broken bones” from too tight corsets they are referring to the whale bones in corsets that could snap if a woman repeatedly laced her corset too tight.

 Sarah’s physical transformation is impressive and she certainly looks fitter in her after-photos than in her before-photos. Sarah wears a corset to work, play, and sleep. She even rides her bicycle and clean house laced into one. The book will fascinate lovers of the Victorian era as well as fashion historians, though Sarah’s dedication to “tight-lacing” may be off-putting to some. In the book she describes many encounters with people who object to corsets.  I was shocked that so many strangers would feel so free to comment on a grown woman’s clothing choice and harangue her. 

The secret to this famous dress is a corset


I have worn corsets over the years built into ball gowns, bustiers, and cocktail dresses. The corset acts as foundation to hold the dress up. If it is done right, it is not uncomfortable and the dress looks fabulous.  Many red carpet gowns are made that way. Sometimes a full corset is cleverly concealed in a gown so only the wearer is aware of it.   Dolce and Gabbana’s “corset dresses” and Vicky Tiel’s “Pretty Woman Siren Gown use the sexy shape to advantage.  These clothes are expensive and designed to fit well and without discomfort. 

I can’t endorse the “corset diet”. I am not a doctor. I will point out there is a degree of conflicting opinion on the subject. And I am not overly worried about large numbers of women adopting a diet that requires restrictive clothing in world where many seem to find anything but sweat suits and flip-flops too confining. 

But with any health matter, be sensible and always rely on trained and licensed professionals for medical advice.