Tightlacing and Weightloss




By Thomas B. Lierse,
with words from Dr. Ann Beaumont, LISA's resident physician 


Copyright 2002 (rev 2004) LISA

More on this subject on our Medical Advice Page

Often the question comes up:  Should one lose the weight and then initiate a tightlacing regimen?

The main reason to wait until you have achieved your planned weight reduction is economic, in that you will require new corsets fairly quickly in succession, as you are not only reducing your waist through adipose tissue loss, but organ transit and adipose tissue shifting as well.  It should be pointed out that, in this situation, one must make sure to take ALL one's measurements when reordering, not just the ones one might THINK have changed.  Weight loss takes tissue from almost everywhere on the body.  Another point to consider is that excess adipose tissue makes it difficult to measure for your corset, due to the bulges and lack of definition of the waist area.  However, if one IS ordering before one loses weight, a little trick is to wear pantyhose, and use its firm waistband as a waist anchor.

But cost is certainly not the only consideration:  One should also consider the health aspect, as well. Firstly, most people do not realize that adipose tissue does not exist exclusively on the outside of one's body cavity, but also on the INSIDE of the body cavity, sometimes substantially.  In addition to impeding, and thus slowing the process of transiting organs (which is really the basic cause of reduction in waist size during tightlacing, not compression of fat), one runs the risk of causing undue stress on the body, at a time when stress should be minimized.

However, some people find it easier to actually LOSE the weight when are tightly laced -- they certainly eat less at any given meal, and when they eat, it is likely to be more frequently and in smaller portions -- that is generally a very good regimen for successful weight loss and the prevention of recidivism.  In addition, their self-confidence is enhanced, thus spurring them along.

Evidence suggests that a side effect of waist constriction is that local accumulation of fat is inhibited or slowed as a direct consequence of the applied pressure. It explains the different figure shapes of Victorian women. Consequently, corsetting itself will affect this distribution as well, although probably only the external accumulation is affected, internal pressure being more distributed.

Finally, there is the appearance issue: In most cases, a corsetted person of normal weight presents a better appearance than an overweight corsetted person because fat tends to be squeezed out at the upper and lower edges of the corset and causes bulges.  Now, there are always personal perception preferences at odds with this observation, especially if some people find "big beautiful women" attractive.

Furthermore, the "seeping" tissue at the bottom edge of the corset, and possibly cause difficulty in sitting, and at the top end of the corset, it may distort the appearance of one's bosom.  This is not necessarily unattractive, and was certainly acceptable in days gone by, but today's silhouette is more natural and a squeezed-up bosom draws attention to itself as an anomaly.

NOTE: One way to address the "seepage" problem, and smooth the transition at the bottom, is to wear a light panty girdle, pulling it up OVER the corset.  This also gives the advantage of making it easier to provide for bodily functions. 

One significant observation (made by Titus Canby) for people using the corset to lose weight is that, after the weight is off, the corset can and will maintain whatever smaller waist measurement been achieved, even if the wearer subsequently gains the weight back!  No need for further dieting! Eat all you like! No diet can offer THIS advantage!

Another advantage is spot reduction.  Only the waist is made smaller.  Diet reduces waist, hip, bust and all dimensions except height. Therefore, corsetting produces a greater improvement in bust-to-waist ratio (as well as hip spring) than diet!


Here is LISA's Dr. Beaumont's perspective:

It is my opinion that corsetting can take place at any time, but of course smaller body dimensions can be achieved if preceded with dieting. The advantage of the availability of adipose tissue is that in the beginning period of training this padding prevents bruising.  And, it is easier to tightlace with excess adipose tissues, hence less of a "struggle," if you will; therefore, the reduction happens sooner.  A more svelte person will tolerate a reduction of 4" or 5" without much trouble, while a thin person will struggle with 3", so the reduction may be more comfortable for the thinner person and thus go slower.

Furthermore, there is the inherent effect of constriction of the digestive system, which will limit food intake and so promote weight reduction. Weight reduction without this constriction is by willpower alone. It is a choice of the individual which route to take. But over-constriction of the stomach can result in heartburn and this should be avoided.

In any case, the process of becoming accustomed to tight lacing with the adipose tissues in place is easier and promotes reduced food intake right away. It may be a more rewarding experience. As the corset is laced smaller, its effects become more apparent, and as the wearer gradually becomes more comfortable in it the person in training will find it easier to continue. I have seen too many people start diets and then fail after a few weeks and, having lost ten pounds, gain back twelve almost immediately.  Better to lose half to one pound a week by a lifestyle change. In the end I think corsetting should make the wearer feel better in general. I realize I'm less sensitive regarding the economic aspect, but it's a choice the wearer should make.

Aside from this, I think there is an advantage of starting early with the corset, as the body needs to adapt and I would doubt that a single corset will suffice from the beginning to the end of the training process, thus undermining the economic benefit of starting after dieting.

Certainly a single garment is not likely to suffice from the starting size and shape to the final size and shape. In corsetting there is always a considerable element of shifting of adipose tissue, as well as the abdominal content that has no defined shape, but rather occupies a volume. This volume can be reduced by reduction in digestive capacity and by weight loss from loss of internal fatty tissues. I believe I have noted in my articles that the abdominal content is not composed of rigidly stacked elements as is seen in the biology classroom, but rather flexible soft organs which move around to allow us to bend, walk, sit or use a corset. Hence the training process focuses primarily on reduction and/or reshaping of this volume and also the reshaping of the ribs or ribcage.



All things considered, it is best to make your health the priority, even if the process costs a bit more. When all is said, one can always make more money, but endangering your health can cause long-term problems which are not easily ameliorated.



Most all women are left with a little belly after having children, and it IS very disconcerting to discover that it can be extremely difficult to lose it by exercise and dieting.

Corsetting, in most cases, CAN help.  However, a woman must become aware of what tightlacing entails, so she knows what to expect.  If she wants to lose the tummy for specific occasions, or for when for she goes out, well, aside from the fact that the stiffness will take a little getting used to, and the slight constriction (that, with a custom-made corset is not uncomfortable after a week or so), this a no big thing, it’s like wearing a boned long-line bra (“Merry Widow” or bustier, as some call them), but a bit more restrictive.

However, if a lady wants to lose that tummy ‘permanently,’ it can only be attained with a dedicated (and gradual) reduction of the waist over a period of time, wearing the corset 23/7.  Even after she achieves her goal, the corset must be worn almost continuously -- the waist and tummy are never reduced to the point where one can go uncorsetted and expect the same look.  Usually, after tightlacing for a period of time, and then taking the corset off, the waist (and tummy) go back to their previous condition fairly rapidly.

How much one should reduce depends on how much it takes to minimize the tummy (the waist must be reduced to do this), and how her proportions look to her.  Although tummy reduction is by-product of waist reduction with corsetting, the corset can be designed to address that area.

Before you make any decisions, a female with such concerns should read two of my articles to get an idea of what to expect: Embracing a Labour of Love and Corset Comfortry.

They can found at:


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