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Do Slimming Belts Work?

Since slim became sexy, there have been various weight loss gadgets designed to mold your middle and wring your waist. The tenacious ab belt is, by virtue of fitting right around the problem area, one of the oldest designs; it appeared sometime before World War II and has persisted right up to the present in one widely advertised form or another. Your grandmother might have used one as a young lady, trying to catch your grandfather’s attention with her slim girlish figure. But longevity does not necessarily indicate effectiveness, as various snake-oil salesmen would have you believe. Do slimming belts actually work, or are they just designed to shake you up and let you down?

Slimming belts generally work by stimulating your core muscles, causing them to contract or spasm quickly and to build solid muscle mass. Repeated contracting and stretching of the abdominal muscle groups is dangerously close to the verbatim definition of an ab work-out. In fact, it is the exact same thing. Some belts do this by applying vibration to your middle, some by applying a mild electric charge. You may feel a burn, but in the long run it may be more efficient to simply do some crunches every morning. Belts that work by encouraging the development of muscle mass may not help you shape your middle, but could actually make your waistline wider as your new muscles press the fat outward.

Other slimming belts work by encouraging your body to sweat while you work out, causing you to lose water weight. It does this by applying heat, which can cause discomfort or burns; also, when losing water weight, you should always be careful to avoid dehydration. Water is definitely good for your body, not something to be shed; you should be losing fat content, not water. Still other slimming belts support your back while you work out. Some are worn under your clothes much like a girdle to compress your midsection into a more desirable shape, but neither of these designs do anything to help you actually lose weight. No fat is lost, even if it makes you look a bit slimmer.

Some weight loss belts are advertised to work within just weeks, and others offer a more believable claim to work within months. Some slimming belts should be worn for fifteen minutes, some should be worn for thirty, and some for an entire hour. The variations don’t seem to be based on any particular factor, but it is always wise to follow the instructions included with the product to avoid injury or discomfort. This is true of all weight loss devices and diet plans; just because you use devices longer doesn’t mean you will receive a corresponding increase in benefits. Sometimes overuse can even harm you. When I used to wonder if slimming belts really worked, I would also think what would happen if we wore the belt for a few hours. Would we lose hundreds of pounds? Probably not.

All slimming belts are meant to be used with proper diet and structured, regular exercise. If you do not exercise and eat properly, no weight loss device in the world can help you. They are devices meant to help you, not to do the work for you, unfortunately. However, all slimming belts and such devices can help motivate you as you work out, can help shape your body, and can remind you to focus on your core muscle groups to maximize the impact of your existing abdominal workout. These effects are psychological, but still very effective. The core muscles are responsible for aiding in healthy digestion, protecting the vertebrae of your lower back from excessive compression, and for preventing injury to your internal organs. Strong abdominal muscles can even help you take a punch to the midsection without being badly injured. Your core muscles are also essential to balance, coordination, swimming, and looking good. Anything that helps to shape your core muscle groups is helpful to your overall health.

Weight loss is a complicated, commercialized business. Many pitfalls and scam artists lie in wait along the path, offering their wares and wiles to the unwary. Be sure to investigate any product you may use, and based on its function and design, decide if it meets your specific needs. Weight loss belts can force your abs into shape by compression when worn under clothes, can stimulate your core muscle groups as you exercise, and can encourage you to lose water weight, but they cannot lose the weight for you. As with all effective weight loss strategies, you must take control of your own health. So, do slimming belts really work? Ask your grandmother. She can tell you.

Kevin Bender

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