What are waist beads?
Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips. They come in different colors and shapes and may also include decorative stones, crystals, or charms. Waist beads have been worn for centuries by women in many West African cultures. In more recent years, they’ve gained popularity among women in the West. They’re also referred to as belly beads, waistline beads, or beaded waist chains.
Historians believe the African tradition of waist beads may have originated among the Yoruba tribes, now mainly in Nigeria. But the practice is also seen in West Africa, notably Ghana, where the beads signify wealth and aristocracy, as well as femininity. Waist beads are also found in other cultures, and while African and Islamic women typically keep them under wraps, some display the beads over their clothes or on bare midriffs, such as belly dancers in Eastern cultures.
Beads, which are typically worn at all times — even while bathing or sleeping — waist beads can serve as symbols of sensuality, fertility and rites of passage, passed down from mother to daughter. There are superstitions about pregnancy and the energies of the Earth. Some see them as conveyors of positive energy and healing. Some wear them strictly for fashion. And still others choose them for the very practical use of weight control — when your beads are getting a little tight, it’s time to back off that blueberry muffin.
How Waist Beads is Used For Weight Loss
Many women in Africa use waist beads for weight loss because it helps in tracking their weight loss progress. Generally waist beads fall lower on your waist as you shed inches and pounds so you can visibly see your weight loss. Waist beads also roll higher on your waist as you gain weight.
Using weight beads can help you keep your weight in check. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it can also lower the risk of many different cancers. However, it is important to note that, some African women wear waist beads as a body shaping tool to shift their weight to their hips and buttocks.
Some women have an issue with their middle section, and the last thing they want to do is draw more attention to that area,” said Sewra Kidane of Waist Beads by Sewra, who has been wearing and making the jewelry since 1999. She sells the beads at art shows all around the country and has a booming online business. “By putting on something very beautiful and adorning that area, you accept your body more, appreciate the beauty of it.” Waist beads are a wonderful way to combat the unrealistic body images women see in magazines and on fashion runways.
Frequently Asked Questions About Waist Beads
- How do I put on my waist beads?
Ans: You tie waist beads on to your body using one side of the string and adjust them to where you would like them to sit on your body then tie the other string together.
- How do I remove my waist beads?
Ans: Use scissors or a sharp knife to remove the waist beads off your body. If you cut the bead in the same place that you tied them you will be able to retie them on your body.
- Will my waist beads fit my body size?
Ans: Yes. All waist beads are meant to fit any body types. Below is a sizing chart for your waist measurements and sizing. The beads can be made as long as 60 inches.
- XS 20-25 inches
- S 26-31 inches
- M 32-37 inches
- L 38-42 inches
- XL 43-48 inches
- XXL 49-54 inches
- XXXL 55-60 inches
- How many waist beads should i wear?
Ans: You can wear as many waist beads as you would like depending on your intended purpose to put them on your body.
- What happens when my waist beads break?
It is natural for your waist beads to break off your body. Do not panic. You can try to save the beads to tie them back together or you may have to purchase a new one. Please be careful when attaching your beads unto your body and be mindful when they are on your body to prevent them from breaking off easily.
- Can I wear my waist beads in the shower?
Ans: Yes. You can wear waist beads in the shower and also while exercising. However, excessive water can weaken the string over time but they will still be durable. Also please be mindful that excess water can also change the color of the beads depending on which bead is worn on your body.
Are Waist Beads Only For African Women?
Ans: No. Any woman can wear waist beads
SEE: Meaning of African Waist Beads Colors