Picture this: You are at a family gathering during a special occasion or one of the few holidays you all decide to see each other. Everyone seems to be having a good time. Your family is catching up, talking about work and their recent successes.
You start drinking refajo with your favorite prima, who seems to be dressed to go to an elegant ball. We all know that these events are chisme central, especially for those select few toxic tias, but you still make an effort to see each other.
Suddenly, someone comments about your weight and starts giving you “remedios” to help you lose weight.
Unfortunately, this is not an exception but rather the norm. In our Latino culture, the so-called “unity” and “tough love” turn into boundary-crossing and unsolicited advice.
The fact is, there are way too many beauty standards in the Latino community. One can say that there is almost a hyper fixation regarding physical appearance. Time and time again, we have seen young people’s self-esteem shattered due to family members’ comments and tips and tricks for weight control.
Fajas, or shapewear, is essentially an undergarment that you bind all around your torso and below your hips, offering a form-fitting effect. While fajas do provide some benefits, such as improving your posture, giving postpartum support, and helping with your exercise routine, are there mental and physical repercussions behind them?
The desire to look slimmer and fit may lead you to search endlessly for anything that will help you reach a fit physique. However, knowing that a faja will not help you lose weight is essential. What happens, in reality, is that fat is compressed and redistributed while you are wearing it.
A faja can be a motivating factor for you to exercise and embark on a fitness journey. Still, they can distort your vision of reality because you expect to have the perfect, unrealistic hourglass shape a faja gives you. This can lead you down a path of disordered eating and exercise and never being content with how you look.
In addition, while a faja provides some benefits, wearing a faja that is too tight for you can place pressure on your digestive tract so long that you can start suffering from acid reflux. The material of some fajas can also cause adverse skin reactions, leaving you feeling self-conscious not only about your weight but also about your skin.
Remember, you are supposed to be comfortable in your clothing. You should not be buying clothing that you hope to fit in. Clothes are meant to fit us, and the wide variety of shapes and styles are meant for different body types. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to fashion and fitness.
You often see these “fitness gurus” on social media flexing a fit body underneath a faja. While not to discredit that they are indeed fit, this creates the false expectation that they achieved this body from simply wearing a faja and running on a treadmill for 1 hour.
At this point, you have to stop and think if you should heed your tia’s advice and wear a faja, when in reality, what matters is having a balanced diet and a solid exercise routine.
Ultimately, what matters is that you are comfortable in your own skin. And, if you are happy just the way you are, then don’t fall into the gimmick of magical weight loss.