First off, I guess this requires a couple of definitions (from http://www.absolutecorsets.com/customer-services/corset-faq.htm):
"Waist training" , when done with proper diet and exercise, is a practice whereas one can gradually achieve realistic, non-harmful waist reduction or waist shaping by moderately lacing and wearing a corset on a regular basis.
"Tightlacing" is the practice of applying corsetry to its extreme to achieve the smallest possible waist. A tight-lacer typically wears their corset night and day, and consistently pulls the laces tighter. When a tight-lacer achieves a 2-4 inch reduction, they graduate to a smaller corset to continue their figure training until they've reach their "ultimate waist".
Even though it was only 2 or 3 weeks ago, I have no idea how I came upon the decision to add corset training to the process. It seems like a very drastic thing to do to lower your waist size, as a true training program requires time and dedication, along with a lot of patience. There are, however, different levels of training that don't involve striving to achieve an 18" corseted waist like Lady Annalai.
Lady Annalai is a 23/7 tight-lacer (23 hours a day, 7 days a week), but waist training may also be undertaken over a period of months, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, to permanently trim the waist down several inches. During the course of training, the corset is worn for long hours (sometimes during sleep) for roughly 6 days per week, with one day of rest. The constriction of the corset almost acts like an external lap-band (used in gastric bypass surgery)... it reduces the amount of food you can fit in your stomach, providing automatic portion control. Because you cannot eat huge meals, a corset requires you to eat more, smaller meals per day, which is a healthier way to eat anyway, and this helps combat unhealthy snacking caused by between-meal hunger. Once the training period and desired waist size has been achieved, the corset can then be worn for maintenance several days a week thereafter, to serve as a reminder of posture and portion control.
I did quite a bit of research on waist training and tight-lacing, and found Romantasy, a custom corset site employing the services of several top notch custom-corsetiers. They also offer training services and advice, with an approach that is less terrifying than traditional tight-lacing. They encourage a healthy diet and best of all, exercise to keep up muscle strength. When wearing a corset 23/7 and engaging in extreme reductions, ones muscles, especially in the core and back, will atrophy and the corset will eventually be required for support. I play roller derby, and as an athlete I'm not particularly interested in the sounds of that, and will need to keep up my muscle tone so that I can continue to play my sport safely. Romantasy has had hundreds of customers who have achieved a "2 to 5" waistline reduction, and from 3 to 50 pounds of weight loss in only three months of six-days-per-week waist training", and most gain very little of the weight back, when following their training with maintenance corset wear and the continuation of a healthy-lifestyle.
I have always loved the look of corsets, and the promise of a large tax return this year, has led me to seriously consider combining a waist-training program with a healthier diet and increased exercise, in order to achieve some permanent change in my shape. For the past 2 weeks or so, I have been shopping corsets on the Romantasy site, since they offer the largest array of styles and options for true tight-lacing and waist training. I had a wonderful conversation yesterday with Ann Grogan, the owner, who provided me with some helpful recommendations and useful information.
In the past, corset wear did change the shape of a lady's ribcage over time, usually because of the long hours of wear (including during sleep), the extreme tight-lacing and reduction, and the early age at which girls started corset wear, often while their bones were still soft and moldable. Modern tight-lacing may change the shape of one's ribcage (small reductions have been recorded), although it is unlikely unless a corset of the proper shape and quality is worn for a year or more, for long hours every day. I've accepted that I may never be able to permanently affect the shape of my ribcage, but I also know that the right corset will at least visually narrow the appearance of my torso and waist. There is, after all, a limit to what one can do to change what nature gave them... unless extremely large sums of money are involved!