Whether you're trying to hide a little extra baggage you might be carrying in your mid-section or you just really want to fit into that tight pair of jeans you just thrifted, you might want to think twice.
As it turns out, the dangers of forcing yourself into tight pants might well be above what you would have ever expected. Pelvic floorexpert, Stephanie Taylor who works at Kegel8 explains that squeezing your stomach for prolonged periods of time could result in both negative physical and mental repercussions.
Taylor says that engaging your core muscles unnaturally for too long can lead to bladder incontinence, pelvic organ prolapseas well as back, neck shoulder and hip pain. She added:
Engaging your abs for prolonged periods while walking or standing can alter your body’s mechanics, putting extra load on joints and muscles to make up for the lack of support from the constricted diaphragm.
When the diaphragm doesn’t descend downwards (as it should) into your belly—breathing into your lower torso—then it puts the neck under strain as it tries to compensate for the lack of breath.
Effects on one's mental health
When it comes to your mental health, constantly sucking in your stomach, or as Taylor calls it 'stomach gripping', can be devastating for your self-esteem. As you start to normalize a flatter stomach through the clothes you wear, the moment you let go and see a bit of pudginess poking through, you can fall into a vicious cycle of body dysmorphia and self-loathing.
Instead, the expert says that one should be focusing on dressing in ways that naturally flatter their own bodies. She explains that:
If you have body confidence issues that are made worse by having to dress up and socialise over the Christmas period, only every wear something that you feel good in – not what you think is on-trend.
Dressing for your body shape (rather than trying to change it) can help to knock these anxieties on the head.