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Health officials warn about ‘waist training’ as corsets see resurgence in popularity

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 4, 2015)-- In Hollywood, celebrities can be defined by their walk down the red carpet. Cameras and lights capture images that live forever in the minds of people trying to be like them.

We see those curves that turn heads. From the Kardashians, to the Atlanta Housewives to women like Amber Rose. The secret is in how they train, not diet or exercise. This latest fad actually goes back in time more than 4000 years.

"I went from a 36 to a 27," said Jessica Lovejoy, referencing her waist size.

The secret lies under what the rest of see every day.Once a requirement of 18th century clothing, today the corset is used not just for sex appeal, but also to try and shrink women's waist size. Today, the hottest hip trend is called "waist training."

Jessica Lovejoy has been waist training for two years. From work, to the grocery store, to school, she doesn't leave home without her support system.

"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, just whatever," said Lovejoy.

However, doctors warn there are health risks in trying to achieve these dangerous curves.

"The harm is damage to your internal organs. Your intestines, bruising your kidneys," said cosmetic surgeon and OB/GYN, Dr. Michelle Jones-Singer.

Some reports even attributed acid reflux, crushed ribs, blot clots and increased pressure on the heart with waist training.

"I have ladies that when they're wearing them get so short of breath they can't bend because of the restrictiveness. And they're just (heavy breathing) because they want to train their waist," said Dr. Jones-Singer.

Those harsh facts haven't stopped women from cinching their waist with a corset or trainer. It's a thriving industry online and with local distributors. Women are willing to take a gamble to achieve the body of their dreams.

"You're training your body, and your lungs, and your organs to give into that pressure. And once you do anything over a longer period of time your body will be adjusted. The problem is you're not permanently changing that," said Dr. Jones-Singer.

But then there's training the old fashion way. In the gym.

"The waist is never going to get any smaller unless we reduce the fat. The only way we're going to reduce the fat is through diet and exercise."

Carla White, personal trainer and owner of Completely Fit, says ladies need to focus on their entire body to achieve this look, not just your core and glutes. She suggests ladies train their shoulders especially to give off that curvy silhouette from top to bottom. And to hit those inner ab muscles, go back to traditional exercises like planks-- but there is no quick fix that will last.

"They know that in order to do it the safe way and the healthy way, they have to completely change their lifestyle. And they have to change their eating," said White.

Lovejoy's doctor says there have been no changes in her body since she's started waist training two years ago. She does admit some women pull the corsets too tight, which leads to that internal damage. But she says her 27-inch waist was achieved with no harm done.

"I mean I don't see any harm in it unless you're just not doing what you're supposed to do and you just don't get the benefits," said Lovejoy.

And for some women, those vivacious Hollywood curves come at a cost of going for a look that may not be meant for your body type. In a quest to turn heads on your own personal red carpet, Dr. Jones-Singer says do it safely and within reason.

"The idea of beauty changes with society. It's up to a woman to decide what's her body type, what's right for her and what she can tolerate that's healthy for her."