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You don't need a waist-trimmer belt to lose weight.
Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images
At most drugstores, megastores and online retailers, you should be able to find a waist-trimmer exercise belt for less than twenty bucks. Dozens of companies make some form of the inexpensive one-size-fits-all contraptions. By some estimates, these devices generate millions of dollars in sales each year, and it's no wonder. If you believe the ads, all you have to do is wear one to lose weight while you work out. The truth is, in some respects, you might lose weight - but if you are hoping to burn belly fat, you may be disappointed.
A waist-trimmer belt might compress your belly, but it won't cause extra fat burning.
You Breathe, the Belt Doesn't
Sure, you may breathe hard while you're exercising, but a waist-trimmer belt made of non-porous synthetic rubber won't breathe at all. As you exert yourself, any sweat you produce will be trapped by the neoprene fabric velcroed about your waist. You aren't actually perspiring any more than you would without the belt, but the perspiration you generate will collect and pool until you take the garment off. You may experience a momentary insignificant reduction of water weight, not belly fat, and that will only last until you rehydrate with your next beverage.
Don't Be Deceived
Women often wear compression garments like corsets and shapewear to create the illusion of a slimmer figure. Waist-trimmer belts work the same way, wrapping around and compressing your stomach, temporarily redistributing your skin so you look thinner. According to the Mayo Clinic, wearing a girdle-like contraption may improve your appearance and posture, but it won't strengthen or tone your stomach muscles. Only diet and exercise will actually flatten your stomach.
Do the Math
The American Council on Exercise is pretty clear on the subject -- spot reduction is a myth. You can't lose belly fat by donning a gizmo or performing countless crunches. In order to lose fat - whether it's on your belly, rear, back or thighs - you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. This is done by controlling your diet. Put another way, you need to burn more calories than you consume, which is where exercise comes in. A pound of fat is the equivalent of approximately 3,500 calories. To lose one pound in a week, you have to eliminate 3,500 calories somehow, whether it is through diet, exercise or a combination of both.
Look at the Big Picture
ACE recommends that, in conjunction with two weekly strength training sessions and maintaining a healthy diet, you exercise - a lot. ACE suggests performing an hour of aerobic activity - moderately intense swimming, jogging or walking - most days of the week to effectively burn sufficient calories to lose weight. You can exercise in 10-minute increments if you need to. If you still want to, wear a waist-trimmer belt while you exercise. It won't help you burn belly fat, but it will remind you of the results you're shooting for and may keep you motivated to stay on track.