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Will Wearing a Trash Bag Help You Lose Weight When Working Out?

author image Kate Richey
Kate Richey has been active in the health and fitness fields since 2005. Following completion of her M.S.Ed in exercise science and wellness from Old Dominion University, Richey obtained her physical activity in public health specialist certification and health fitness specialist certification through the ACSM.
Will Wearing a Trash Bag Help You Lose Weight When Working Out?
A woman holding a garbage bag in a kitchen. Photo Credit: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images

Sauna suits and other similar getups have become popular in recent years. While they tout quick results with minimal effort, weight-loss methods such as these pose serious health risks. Weight loss experienced while wearing a trash bag or sauna suit can be attributed to losses in body water rather than fat. There is no secret to successful weight loss; it requires a balanced diet and daily cardiovascular and resistance training.

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Body Water

Your body is approximately 75 percent water. Each organ system requires adequate hydration to function properly. Without an ample supply of water you are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, losses in coordination, mental confusion, and fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure. To avoid putting your body through unnecessary stress, strive to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. During exercise you may need to consume more.

How Trash Bags Cause Weight Loss

Your body uses some of its water stores to regulate body temperature. This is achieved through sweat production. When temperature receptors located within your skin send signals to your brain that your temperature has hit a certain threshold, sweat glands begin producing sweat. To cool your body, the sweat evaporates off the surface of your skin. Wearing a trash bag short circuits part of your body’s cooling process. The trash bag prevents the sweat from evaporating, signaling the body to keep producing sweat in the hopes of lowering your body temperature. In this manner the trash bag causes weight loss from water loss.

Temporary Results

Weight loss attributed to water weight is only temporary and is also dangerous to your health. Gains can be expected once you rehydrate or eat. Because water is vital to many different body systems and functions, it's not recommended to attempt to lose weight in this manner.

Long-Term Results

There are approximately 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat. To lose 1 pound per week, you should strive to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day. Manageable weight loss occurs in steady increments of 1 to 2 pounds per week and is achieved through a healthy diet and exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular activity weekly paired with two to three days of resistance training.

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