Meet the woman with the smallest waist in the world

Every day, people around the world do some pretty insane things in order to achieve their dream bodies. Whether it's something as "normal" as getting an ear piercing, or something as extreme as having ribs removed, almost all of us will have embarked on some kind of mission to enhance our bodies in one way or another.

But very few people go as far as Cathie Jung has.

Jung, an 81-year-old woman from North Carolina, has spent more than 40 years enduring the pain of corsets and training belts in order to shrink her waist down to just 15 inches in diameter. Or, as she likes to advertise it, "about the same size as a regular jar of mayonnaise".

tiny waist Credit: YouTube/TLC

Citing her love for Victorian clothes as her reason for getting into corset-wearing and waist-training, Jung first started wearing the restrictive garment when she was 38 years old. Since then, her obsession with sculpting her waist into a minuscule shape has only progressed, and, as of 1983, she has been wearing a corset for 23 hours a day.

She's not alone in her mission, either. Her husband, Bob, has encouraged and helped her along her journey every step of the way, and even used to go along with her to pick out a new garment whenever she needed to kick her training up a level. He's also a physician, so he helps to ensure that his wife is never doing any serious damage to her body.

Amazingly, the mother of three has never had any sort of surgery to help aid her in her mission for tiny-waisted-ness, and doesn't adhere to a particular diet, either. What's more, when asked about why she went about her mission to shrink her middle, Jung said, "We had no intention of setting a record. It was about dressing appropriately for the age."

smallest waist Credit: YouTube/TLC

When asked about how she perceives herself both in and out of a corset, Jung said: “At first, I was very self-conscious about my figure. But not anymore. When I take the corset off I seem to expand very quickly. When I look in the mirror, from the front, I don’t see much difference."

But there are obvious health risks that come hand-in-hand with such an extreme body modification.

"It’s hard to get around and do a lot of normal things ... like driving a car. I can’t see well or react well. Or you can only sit comfortably in certain chairs," she said.

"And then there’s the social problem. Not everyone understands what we’re doing and thinks a small waist is beautiful. And it takes a lot of time. You know, dressing and undressing and taking care of my body. I have skin problems."

smallest waist Credit: YouTube/TLC

When she was questioned about whether she would consider taking breaks from her exhausting routine, Jung was adamant about keeping to a strict schedule.

"Not really. First of all, I don’t have any clothes to wear without a corset.

"Also I find I’m more comfortable with some support when I’m active or working. The only time I make an exception is when we’re out boating or fishing, when it’s very hot. Then the corset is very irritating so I take it off for an hour or two. But I always put it back on at the end of the outing, even if I don’t want to."

We've all heard that "beauty is pain" before - but this really takes it to another level.