Girdles for Weight Loss

One of the many weight loss fads that resurfaces from time to time is the idea that you can lose weight with a girdle. Women also use girdles and other shapewear to hold in and smooth out body fat, and some use them in efforts to lose weight and tighten up their bodies after having a baby. A girdle might provide some aesthetic results, but it won't be enough on its own to help you lose weight.

A young woman is measuring her waist. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Girdles Are Nothing New

The trend of wearing a corset or slimming wrap is not new, as various cultures have used this method over the centuries, especially to deal with pregnancy weight gain. Many girdles work by sucking in body fat and compressing the body. Some girdles include heat. A "Fox News Magazine" article explains that one wrap designed to slim the waist claims to take off as much as 4 inches from the belly through sweating.

How Girdles Might Help

There might be some weight to this fad. In the "Fox News Magazine" article, nutritionist Franci Cohen and Cora Harrington, founder and chief editor of the blog, "The Lingerie Addict," discussed wearing a girdle or similar type of restraining garment. They explained that it prevents you from eating large meals or bloating foods because it is pushing on your waist and that it brings in the waist muscles and gives them support. This might help you take in fewer calories -- which could conceivably help you lose some weight -- and create stronger abdominal muscles.

How Girdles Might Hurt

Wearing a restricting garment like a girdle might also cause some health problems. For example, it can cause a lack of blood flow to organs and push the organs into an abnormal position. It can also cause compression of the nerves, bladder infections and reflux. To reduce the risk, wear the undergarment for no longer than three hours at a time. If a girdle is painful or too tight, opt for a lighter, less-constraining version.

There's a Better Way

The healthiest and most effective way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. You should strive to perform cardiovascular exercise and strength training to lose weight and fat throughout your body. A healthy diet will also help you lose weight. The Weight-Control Information Network explains that 1/2 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy rate of weight loss following your initial efforts, during which you might lose more weight in a faster period of time.

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