Weighing in on “The Corset Diet”

The first time I heard about the “Corset Diet” was late last year (2013), and at first I didn’t quite know what to think of it. I laid low, watching carefully what the media was doing with this “new-old fad”. Despite many people asking me what I think about it over the last 8-ish months, I have eschewed the topic up until now, because while I don’t feel that the “corset diet” is totally invalid, I do think that the concept is highly flawed.

(Please note that I will continue to use the “corset diet” in quotation marks for the remainder of this article, for reasons I’ll explain shortly. I had my own independent experiences with weight loss while waist training long before the “official corset diet” came to exist – but I cannot say I’ve tried the “official corset diet” as recommended by their website, because they only guarantee the program if you use one of the corsets they supply (either latex cinchers or Corset-Story stock), and I have had bad experiences with both of these product brands in the past.)

I will admit that at first I was intrigued that this “corset diet” designed by a doctor – I have had a few doctors quietly buy corsets from me in the past, but here is one that is actually willing to publicly condone the use of corsets and monitor his patients’ health! But the products recommended by the program, and the way they choose to market the concept in itself, both left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The greatest issue I take with this program is that they choose to call corseting a “diet”.

“The Corset Diet”: it’s short, punchy, and it attracts people’s attention. They also claim a 100% success rate, and guarantee a loss of at least 2 lbs per week. I understand why they opt to call it a diet, but I don’t agree with it. When I think of a diet, I typically think of limiting certain foods, eliminating others completely, moving the time of day you eat or the frequency you have your meals, and sometimes limiting the volume of food or the amount/type of calories you eat. From a glance, it seems that this “corset diet” is only limiting the volume of food, by stomach constriction from the corset.

Here’s the crux of it: a corset is not a diet. It is no more of a “diet” than a pair of running shoes is a “marathon”.

A corset is a garment, and I have never ever believed, mentioned, or condoned that it is a way to replace proper nutrition and exercise. It’s a piece of clothing! Let’s compare this to a different piece of clothing: the running shoe. Just because you own a pair of running shoes, doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful at running a marathon. You still have to put time, effort and dedication into running on a regular basis. Granted, a good quality pair of running shoes can certainly help you run better than a pair of high heels – the shoes can aid you in your goal, can support your feet properly and keep your body in alignment. They can help you bring your A-game, but the shoes are not an exercise routine in and of themselves. This idea is flawed. 

Moreover, do you only wear running shoes when you’re running marathons? Not necessarily – you can wear running shoes because you like them, and you can wear them every day if you desire. It’s the same with corsets – not all people wear running shoes when they’re training for a marathon, just as not all people wear corsets for the purpose of weight loss. To presume so is incredibly narrow-minded and it is a form of prejudice based on one’s choice of dress.

However, for some people, a corset can aid in weight loss in some ways, so the argument is not totally invalid, but it is flawed. This article will discuss the specific application of a corset as an aid in weight loss, and examine the pros and cons with respect to this corset “diet”.


The Pros of the “corset diet”

(or rather, not the official “corset diet” but rather the general use of corsets as one tool/ aid for weight loss, or for positive changes to your nutrition and fitness levels)

Ann Grogan from Romantasy has shown for years that it’s not unusual to lose weight when waist training – she says that a corset can act like an external, less invasive gastric band, by putting pressure on your stomach so that it’s not able to expand as much during a meal. (Have you ever heard of a ‘food baby’, where you eat so much your abdomen is distended? This is impossible in a corset.)

Many people are accustomed to eating heavy foods and large portions; they may eat way too quickly, and some customarily binge in the evenings from the time they get home from work until whenever they go to bed. For many people, their stomachs have stretched to a very large capacity (they can accommodate a huge volume of food at any one time), and these people may have issues with their leptin/ ghrelin hormone levels (leptin insensitivity can inhibit a person from feeling full or satiated, while high ghrelin levels can cause that person to feel hungry all the time). 


How a corset may combat appetite issues is by increasing intra-abdominal pressure – some of the first organs to respond to this are the stomach and intestines (the more hollow and membranous organs, in contrast to the more solid organs). In the stomach and intestines, most of the volume is filled with air, food and waste. When those contents are excreted and not replaced (or not replaced quite as much), the stomach and intestines are easily able to flatten and reduce in volume. (In my corsets and toilet issues article, I described how wearing a corset can sometimes encourage bowel movements just from a “toothpaste effect”.) 

By wearing a corset and decreasing the capacity of your stomach, it may help you feel full faster (and if you eat too much, it becomes uncomfortable faster). So if you consistently wear a corset with your meals, particularly your largest meal of the day (which is dinner for many of us), then you will quickly learn that it’s not quite as easy to overeat in a corset compared to when you’re not wearing one.

And while it’s not the same for everyone, for some people who have those malfunctioning hunger signals, it’s possible to recondition and reset your appetite over time: not only learning to take smaller portions, but also feeling satisfied with less.


Another way that the corset may help (which is a bit more controversial as it deals with personal body image) is that a corset may allow you to see yourself in a way you always wanted to look, but could never visualize before that moment. A lot of people give up on “diets” or fitness regimes because they don’t see their figure transforming fast enough – but a corset is able to give you an instant hourglass silhouette, and sometimes allow you to instantaneously fit into smaller or more fitted clothes that perhaps you couldn’t fit into before. The corset smooths out any bumps under an outfit and makes your clothing hang differently; for some people, that gives them a boost in confidence and makes them feel fabulous.

But at the risk of naysayers telling me that I’m encouraging people to “fool themselves” into having a figure they don’t naturally possess, I am proposing the possibility that if a person is currently not 100% happy with the way they treat their body, and they have problems motivating themselves to change their current lifestyle (due to a lack of results or not being able to visualize themselves any different from their current state), these people may find that the immediate change they see in their figure by the use of corsets can serve as inspiration and motivation. A shocking, sudden shift in your self-image (being able to ‘imagine results’ before they happen) may help to kickstart a new regime: help you to start a fitness program or to choose higher quality foods, because you know you deserve to treat your body well, to give it clean fuel and keep it strong.

But please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, because I’m not suggesting that all people with a sedentary lifestyle who eat junk food have low confidence/poor body image, or even people who carry a little more weight than the “average” have low confidence. Confidence and positive body image can exist at any size. Ultimately, those who wear corsets choose to do so because they enjoy it.


The Cons of the “corset diet”

(or rather, the expectation that corsets can be used as the only tool for weight loss/ changes to your nutrition and fitness levels)

A lot of people apply the first law of thermodynamics to dieting and weight loss: calories in, calories out. Fuel in, energy out. Energy density within certain foods, and which foods tip that scale. (I know a lot of people don’t believe in the concept of equal calories but just bear with me here. For many people, this is the oversimplified relationship between diet and weight loss.)

Now let’s look at the simplified view of corseting as related to diet and weight loss. It’s a matter of physics instead of chemistry now: how large of a volume of food can you fit comfortably in your body at one time (whilst your stomach capacity is reduced by the corset)? Let’s say that while you’re wearing your corset, your stomach can only comfortably hold 2 cup of food, instead of 5-6 cups.

But you can easily see where this concept doesn’t work for everyone, because it completely removes the factor of the quality of food you’re eating – you’re not looking at nutritional density at all!

  • If you eat 2 cups of very calorie dense foods (cheese, deep fried foods, or nutritionally deprived foods like candy), instead of a cup of calorically-low and nutritionally-dense foods (steamed cruciferous vegetables, squash, berries or eggs), then don’t be surprised if the “corset diet” doesn’t work.
  • Conversely, if you already eat healthy to begin with and you maintain your healthy habits after you take on corseting, you may not see any change with the “corset diet”.
  • If you are the type to not eat meals, and you just graze 16 hours throughout the day (keeping your stomach volume small at any given time but your total day’s quantity of food is high while its quality is low overall) then the “corset diet” may not work for you.
  • And if you get tired of wearing the corset and you take it off halfway through your meal to be able to eat more, then the “corset diet” is probably not the right method for you. 

Not all people’s bodies are the same, either. There will always be those types who are able to constantly shovel in poor quality food (with or without a corset), and still not experience any undesirable effects in their health, their appearance or how they feel. And while there are some people whose appetites are curbed by wearing a corset, I’ve actually talked to some individuals who feel more hungry when wearing a corset! So as with any other “diet” in this world, results will of course vary with the effectiveness of this “corset diet” as well. 


My Personal Experience

(with the general use of corsets as one tool/ aid for weight loss, or for positive changes to nutrition and fitness habits)

In the past, I’ve talked about “stomach hunger” (appetite, physical hunger, need for fuel) versus “head hunger” (food cravings, food addiction, stress/ emotional eating). I have personally found that the corset helps with my “stomach hunger”, but I must still practice some willpower when it comes to overcoming my addiction to refined sugar and junk food – even when wearing a corset, you have to choose foods that are of higher nutritional quality, and you have to choose to not remove the corset when the corset makes your body feel full before the meal feels ‘over’.

However, while I can’t speak for everyone else, I know that in my experience, wearing corsets has helped train me to avoid certain foods over time. Carbonated drinks, ice cream, cheesecake, fried dishes, certain types of heavy meats, a lot of artificial sweeteners (especially the sugar-alcohols that can cause bloating), and empty calorie foods high in corn syrup and refined sugar all tend to give me a slight stomach ache when I’m corseted. So, what do I do when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me? I avoid it!

When I’m corseted, I notice that I have a tendency to choose lighter foods and higher quality foods – smoothies and protein shakes, salads, grilled vegetables, overripe fruit, and leaner meats – obviously depending on your lifestyle, your beliefs, your health and what feels good in your stomach, you may opt for different foods, but 99% of the time, the foods that are gentle on my stomach have also been foods that are more healthful (less processed and more nutritionally dense).

In my experience, when I am actively waist training (as I was through mid 2012 through to mid 2013), I tend to drop weight. When I realized that I didn’t like my silhouette with a 20-inch waist and I stopped waist training, then consequently my weight and my natural waist size both went back up.

However, it’s important to note that corsets have not been about weight for me to begin with. People have told me that I’m just lazy for strapping on a corset, and that I’m trying to “trick” people into thinking I’m thinner than I really am. But for me, having a temporary vintage hourglass figure when I’m wearing a corset was always more about creating curves and having vintage clothing fit a certain way, not about “looking skinny”. For me, corsets are about the waist, NOT the weight.



When I was contacted by a producer of The Dr Oz show a few months ago, they asked me how much weight I lost by corseting, and how long have I kept off the weight – I knew that they were trying to put a certain spin on what corseting is supposed to offer, but I wasn’t ready to lie. Before I started corseting, I was a university student, living off $5 a week for food. I ate lentils, carrots and apples for months at a time. When I didn’t buy a bus pass, I often walked 45 minutes to class (which was situated up on a steep hill), wearing a 20 lb backpack. (I wish I were hyperbolizing, but those who have gone to school with me know that I’m not.)

These days, I work a cushy job, I live in a suburb where it’s customary to drive most places, and I can pay for more than just lentils. I’m not eating the same, I’m not getting the same exercise, and I doubt I have the same metabolism I did in my late teens or early 20s. If you want to look at the whole 5-ish year span between the time before I started corseting on a regular basis and today, it’s clear that I have gained weight!

If I wanted to lose that weight, I know what I need to do. Yes I would personally include corsets in my regimen, but that will not by any means be the only tool. Once again, I have never ever ever said that corsets were designed to be a substitute for proper diet and exercise. In fact, I have regularly said that when you start corseting, that’s a good reason to increase your core strength exercises, and to reflect on what you eat and drink in order to make your waist training as comfortable and smooth as possible.

(For what it’s worth: with what I know about weight and health these days, I’d probably be happier with a shift in composition as opposed to a flat-out loss in weight. Remember that weight and BMI alone cannot accurately tell a person the state of their health. Instead of wanting to lose a flat 30 lbs, it would perhaps be healthier to try for 20 lbs of fat loss, but 10 lbs gained in muscle – so the scale may only register 10 lbs lost overall, but my body would probably look and feel incredibly different.)


In summary:

WEIGHT ALONE IS NOT NECESSARILY AN ACCURATE REFLECTION OF HEALTH, and should not be too closely tied to your body image. Focusing on your fitness and overall health is more important than what the scale reads.

CORSETS ARE NOT A DIET, and they are NEVER a substitute for good nutrition and fitness.

WAIST TRAINING IS NOT AN EASY, SHORT-TERM SOLUTION. It is often a form of slow body modification that directly affects your ribcage and muscle morphology – any effect on weight (or particularly body fat percentage) is by indirect means. Reduction of your waist size may be independent of any change in the scale.

While weight loss by use of a corset is possible, the expectation that it works perfectly/quickly/effortlessly is flawed. Again, and forever: it should not be the only tool you use to take control of your fitness or body image.


Have you experienced any weight loss or change in body composition with long-term use of a genuine corset, whether intentional or unintentional? Does your appetite increase, decrease or stay the same in a corset? What about the quality or the volume of food you eat? Leave a comment below.

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17 comments on “Weighing in on “The Corset Diet”

  1. ladybird on said:

    I have just heard about this new corseting extraveganza! I have never had too much problem in the tummy area, but all of my weight goes into my lower/back obliques. Did you see any change in the “muffin top” area as well from corseting? This is by far my most troubled spot and I have never fully succeeded at getting rid of it.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      HI Ladybird, sorry for my late response. Corsets have helped with muffin top for some people, but it also requires a change in what else you wear. The tight, low-rise jeans so popular today with the waistband that falls at the hip bones are responsible for some of the formation of the muffin top. I still have a bit of muffin partially because I still have plenty of low-rise pants (and partially because I like to have zero pressure from the corset over my hips, since my actual iliac crest is not well-padded and I don’t like the feeling of my corset hitting my hip bones). Back in the days when people wore high-waisted jeans, muffin top was less pronounced because the pressure was distributed at the natural waist (like a corset) instead of the hips!

  2. Pingback:Czy dzięki gorsetowi mogę mieć talię osy? Kilka słów o gorsetowej diecie | GORSETY INFO

  3. katherine on said:


    i would like to lose about 15 lbs. i am also late 40’s. my lower tummy started sticking out when i was in my mid thirties. i work out and think this would help with eating less. i have a waist still but it’s losing ground every year!

    would there be any health risks trying a corset at my age? i would like to try one of the nude ones as i could wear it under clothes. thanks for your time.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Katherine, I have another article on corsets and age guidelines here. There are definitely people in their late 40s who have started corseting, but they may have different concerns compared to a younger user, for instance if you have hypertension or prolapsed uterus it may not be the best idea. If you’re generally in good health with no serious issues, then as long as your doctor gives you the thumbs up, I don’t see why you can’t wear a corset. 🙂

  4. Angela Porter on said:

    Hi Lucy,
    I just recently took the plunge into purchasing my first corset even though I have had a fascination with them for quite some time. I have lost 40# over the last year with exercise and good eating habits and have carried on over the last month with my waist training régime, where I have lost an additional 7#. I workout regularly especially my core now that I am waste training and try to fuel my body with a wide range of good nutritious food ( I have my off days 😀 ) All in all am am loving my new addiction of Corsetry.
    Thank you for all that you do. Your videos and blogs have been a great help to me in the beginning stages of my journey 🙂
    Angela Porter

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hello Angela! I’m so happy that you’re having such a positive experience with corseting! Congratulations on your good habits, and thank you for your kind words. 🙂 All the best!

  5. Hi Lucy

    I have a 26.5 inch waist and was looking to decrease to around 24 or 24.5. I’m from the UK so I was thinking of purchasing an underbust corset from http://www.corsets-uk.com/.

    I was just wondering if you have an idea of how long it will take to decrease my waist to the desired size if I wear it for about 12 hours a day?

    Also with corset training, do you end up with a ‘bulgy’ stomach from your internal organs being pushed downwards? I noticed another Youtuber mentioned this and I got a little worried!

    Thanks in advance. 🙂

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Zoe, thanks for your comment. I have been disappointed in the quality of Corsets Uk; if you are in need of a budget corset from within Europe I could give you some suggestions if you email me your measurements. In terms of how long it will take, I have no idea – here is a video/ article that explains why.
      Not every corset wearer ends up with a bulge in their lower abdomen, but if you are worried about that happening, you can try using a longline corset that covers and controls the lower tummy.

      • Hi Lucy

        Thanks so much for your reply. My measurements are 36.5-26.5-38 but I would be looking for an underbust corset so I’m not sure whether this take my underbust rather than overbust measurement into account? If so, my underbust measurement is 28.

        Thanks for the link to the article- it was very useful!

      • Hi Lucy

        I sent you a message a while back but haven’t got a reply yet? I was wondering if you would be able to recommend some alternative budget underbust corset brands based on my measurements?

        Many Thanks

  6. Robin on said:

    Hello Lucy, I am so glad that you posted this. You probably don’t remember but, about 7 months ago (October) I had sent you my personal story regarding corseting and weight loss after you had posted a video about the physical benefits of corseting. And at the time I wrote you, I had lost about 10# but since then I’ve lost a total of 50# within a years time. My situation may be a bit atypical because I am a bariatric patient who had gained back much of my weight I had lost in the years after my lap band. The corset allowed my lap band to work for me again. I didn’t consider it any type of diet, I just used it as a tool to help me get back down to the weight I’m now happy with.

    • bishonenrancher on said:

      Hi Robin, of course I remember your email! 50 lbs of weight loss in a year sounds incredible, and quite a reasonable/safe rate. 🙂 I’m glad that you added your two cents here, and very happy to know that you’re pleased with your own results!

      • Robin on said:

        Hi Lucy, I have two more cents to add that I hope helps someone else 😉 My weight loss was actually a wonderful side affect of corseting that I had never realized would happen! Seems like it was a million years ago that I saw a news story of women who corseted and they had lost weight but I didn’t think it would help me so much.

        I can’t say I have any increase or decrease in appetite with my corset on since I’d already felt the change when I’d first had my surgery. But when I first started corseting and realized that I was reducing my food intake I was actually pleased that it did. The one thing I have noticed though is, even with the corset off, I still can’t consume as much food as I had prior to corseting unless I really work at it and take an hour to eat a half a cup of food which defeats the purpose of the lap band in the first place. Although, I find that if I am able to eat more than I normally would corseted, I usually means I need to tighten up my laces.

        Like you, I don’t advocate a corset to be used solely as a “diet” but possibly as an additional tool to help decrease consumption when combined with healthy eating habits and exercise. And, as we all know, with all diets there has to be a commitment to a lifestyle change and if using a corset for the sole purpose of just “dieting”, once the corset is no longer used for weight loss of course the weight will come back on. And that just destroyed all the work anyone has put in to losing the weight, albeit the “incorrect” way.

        I always look forward to the new things you post here since you are a great source of reliable, well researched information. Peace!

    • vanrssa on said:

      Hi Robin. I also had lap band surgerYou about 10 years ago. I lost 50% of my body fat, but have issues with sagging skin. I was thinking the corset would help smooth out my shape under clothing, but was concerned it would bother my port. I was wondering if this was an issue for you?

      • Robin on said:

        Hi Vanessa,

        What a great question. First off, congratulations on your weight loss, the lap band is such a fantastic tool, and I’m sure you’re glad you had it done like I am. I too, have some issues with sagging skin on a couple of areas and yes, a corset helps smooth out the tummy area for a sleeker silhouette. I like to wear an OC 426 to help hold in my tummy more since it’s a longer line corset. I have no issues at all with any of the ones I have bothering my port. Mine is on my left side just under my ribs. The Orchard Corset corsets I like to wear are more of a conical shape rather than a pipe stem shape so I think that may have something to do with my comfort as well.

        Please feel free to ask any other questions, I am more than happy to give my insight on corsetting after bariatric surgery.

        Take care, Robin.

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