Review: Will wearing this 'Waist Trainer' corset for two weeks really give you Kardashian curves?
We tried the infamous 'waist trainer' girdle to see if there was any truth behind the hype that it will give you that coveted hour glass figure.
I'm firmly in the 'I'll try anything once' camp - and at no time is this more prevalent than when a product offers to transform your body.
Even when faced with the prospect of lacing myself into a restrictive harness for eight hours a day, I said I'd give it a go. What's the harm, after all?
Thanks to endorsements from the Kardashian sisters, Jessica Alba, Lily James and Samantha Mumba, these glorified corsets have recently gained notoriety as a quick and easy way to get into shape.
The concept is certainly not new - women have been forcing their limbs into girdles for centuries in a bid to manipulate their natural shape and there's an intrinsic association with corsets and sexuality.
Back in 2012, The New York Times ran an article about women who were importing 'fajas' from Colombia. The faja, which is the Spanish word for wrap, was used as dressing for patients recovering from surgeries such as liposuction in order to help the skin tighten properly. The publication noted that an increasing amount of young Latina women in boroughs such as Queens were turning to the faja as a shortcut to a svelte and curvaceous figure.
Again, the aforementioned Hollywood actress Jessica Alba caused demand to soar in 2013 when she told Net A Porter magazine that wearing a double corset to bed every night for three months helped her regain her physique after the birth of her children. "It was sweaty, but worth it," she admitted.
Once the 'waist trainer' wound its way onto the Instagram feeds of the Kardashian trio - Kim, Khloe and Kourtney - who heralded it as a sure fire way to emulate their hourglass curves, it became an international phenomenon.
Prominent medical professionals warned against relying on wearing them, as they said that organ failure, difficulty breathing and sagging skin were likely consequences, but they were still sold in their thousands.
After being approached by a company to trial a latex waist trainer, I was willing to try it (blatantly ignoring the health warnings) and see if the hype was warranted.
If I could sum up the experience in one word it would be - discomfort. Even on days when the waist trainer itself wasn't uncomfortable persé, the way it forces you to sit up as alert as a guard dog was quite a nuisance. When it came to eating, it was awkward, impractical and most worryingly - it made you feel like you just shouldn't be eating at all.
I began to feel quite paranoid as to whether people could tell I was wearing it. One day, I even worried that should I suddenly faint, people who rushed to my aid would think I was some weird 50 Shades of Grey enthusiast. Sneezing was also not fun. And trying to sit elegantly on public transport was completely out of the question.
Still, I persevered. The guidelines that come with the waist trainer do insist that you work out and eat healthy while wearing the apparatus. Herein lies the clincher. If you're increasing your activity and following a nutritious diet, you simply don't need this kind of device.
Like a fad diet, there is nothing sustainable about torturing yourself to get that 'quick fix'. After two weeks of contorting my body into the contraption, I saw no visible difference and the measuring tape stayed the same.
Every medical expert and personal trainer worth their salt echoes this sentiment: there is no replacement for a healthy lifestyle.
"I don't think there is any quick fix for weight loss," says personal trainer Siobhan Byrne. "If it comes off quickly, it will usually go back on as fast" "There is no substitute for hard training and a healthy balanced diet for overall health and feeling great.
"In order to slim down any part of our body, we need to lose bodyfat which can only be achieved with proper training and nutrition. If we just drop water or lose muscle this is not ideal and can leave the skin sagging," she concluded.