You’ve no doubt heard the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” This old adage definitely applies to trimmer belts, devices worn around the midsection to melt away belly fat. Unfortunately, wearing something around any area of the body won’t help you lose weight.
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Trimmer belts are basically elastic girdles — for lack of a better term. Prior to your workouts, you bind your waist with the belt to trap in heat. The heat increases your body temperature, which leads to better weight-loss results, according to the manufacturers. They're made from a variety of materials, but the most common is neoprene, a synthetic rubber.
Any difference you see on the scale is going to be the result of a loss in water weight. These devices keep body heat in. This increase in temperature does nothing to encourage the burning of calories or fat. Instead, you’re just perspiring more, which causes you to lose fluids, explains Patricia Floyd, author of "Personal Health: Perspectives and Lifestyle." Once you drink something after your workout, the scale will likely return to your original weight.
After wearing a trimmer belt, you may notice that you’ve lost an inch or two, giving the illusion of weight loss. Like body wraps, the compression of the trimmer belt can sometimes provide a smaller waistline, but this is only temporary. Given time, the body returns to its normal shape and size. You’re not actually losing real inches. To do this, you’d need to lose weight, which the trimmer belt can’t provide.
When it comes to weight loss, there’s no substitute for diet and exercise. Reducing your calorie intake and increasing physical activity is the best way to trim belly fat, advises Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite and Dr. Sheila Dugan of Rush University Prevention Center. As you lose weight, include abdominal exercises to help firm and tone your stomach muscles. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat.