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‘From a 36 to a 27,’ but waist training comes with health risks

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RICHMOND, Va. -- If you watch reality television and wonder which diet the Kardashians or The Real Housewives follow to keep their hourglass figures, the  secret may not be in what they eat -- but what they use to "train." Some women have gone back in time and turned to an old 18th century clothing item to shrink their waist size. The fad is called waist training.

Jessica Lovejoy has been waist training for two years. She wears a type of corset underneath her clothing design to shrink her figure.

"I would wear it eight hours a day, every other day and then as time went on maybe eight hours a day, maybe four hours a day," Lovejoy said. "I went from a size 36 to a size 27."

Despite the results,  Dr. Jennifer Hopp cautioned there were serious health risks associated with waist training.

"When a woman wears it and she wraps it on really tightly her ribs will actually get bruised," Dr. Hopp, with HCA Virginia Sports Medicine, said. "So a woman's rib cage, especially an adult fully-formed woman, is not going to change the size of her rib cage."

The corset, Dr. Hopp said, also can prevent you from fully expanding your lungs to take in deep breaths.

"Especially if you wear it tightly, you will have acid reflux and chronic constipation as you're squeezing the internal organs of the abdomen," she said.  "I think it's a false way to get to looking slim and getting healthy."

Dr. Hopp said the safest and healthiest way to get the body you want is to watch your portion control and exercise. Despite the health risks, some women are still willing to take a gamble. You can find these waist trimming corsets online and on social media.