Should You Use Body Compression Garments for Weight Loss?

There have been many claims recently that wearing compression garments can help you lose weight.

Some companies claim that you can wear these garments and do nothing at all different in your day and still lose a few pounds a week.

Others say that if you wear them during exercise, you will sweat off pounds of fat faster.

The Science

The general science behind this type of weight loss solution is based on the neoprene band that is worn around the waist. Wearing the band will apparently rid you of the stomach fat it covers, quickly and without great effort.

Claims are, the band works because it raises your core body temperature and causes weight loss through your body sweating. If you work out while wearing the band, you will sweat more, and lose more weight.

Sweet Sweat Premium Waist Trimmer, for Men & Women
Sweet Sweat Premium Waist Trimmer, for Men & Women

Some companies have said that “micro-massage”, or the gentle and constant pressure on your body as it moves against the neoprene, will make you lose weight. There is no actual evidence that this is the case, though people who have worn these garments seem to think that it breaks up the cellulite enough to make their skin seem smoother and more attractive.

Effectiveness of Body Compression Garments for Weight Loss

Compression garments do cause you to sweat more, whether you’re working out or sitting around the house. Sweating does make you lose water weight, but it doesn’t make you burn fat. Your body will lose water and appear to be thinner, but once you rehydrate back to a healthy level, you will look like you’ve gained the weight back.

If you want a similar product, try body wraps!

Other Types of Compression Garments

Some compression garments are useful for slimming your figure and making you appear smaller than you are, or holding fat in place, but these aren’t for weight loss. These garments are more like a corset, which you take on and off for certain occasions. They may make it easier to go to the gym (if you are feeling self-conscious), or do exercise (if you want to reduce fat movement).

Sports compression garments are used for medical purposes, as pain aids and support aids. They also tend to keep everything in place, to reduce rubbing and irritation during workouts.

Medical compression garments are commonly used after weight loss surgery, but this is only to reduce pain levels and increase healing. After a surgery, steady pressure on a wound can reduce swelling and enhance blood flow to an area that needs to heal.

The Dangers

Using compression garments for weight loss can lead to some serious problems. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Overheating, sometimes leading to heatstroke
  • Dehydration
  • Under-exercising

Loss of Muscle Tone

There are Doctors who believe that wearing compression garments around your stomach can actually cause the muscles to relax so much that they start to burn less calories than normal. Everyday movements should burn calories, but with constantly relaxed muscles, these calories aren’t lost as well.


Body temperature is something that needs to be kept in balance, and having your body get too hot or too cold can cause a lot of problems. If you overheat, you can feel dizziness, faint, or even get heat stroke.


Any weight loss solution that requires being constantly dehydrated is damaging to your body. Many serious problems stem from dehydration, like confusion and fatigue.

Squeem 'Perfect Waist' Contouring Cincher
Squeem ‘Perfect Waist’ Contouring Cincher


Wearing compression garments while working out (jogging on a treadmill, riding an exercise bike, etc.) makes you overheat faster, and this makes most people workout at a lower intensity and for a shorter amount of time.

Sweating during a workout is an indicator that you are working hard enough to be losing weight. If you sweat from very little exertion, you don’t know how much harder to work out in order to cause weight loss. You will also become tired very quickly and not last the amount of time needed to make a difference to your weight.

Other Reported Issues

Doctors have also been reporting an increasing amount of issues coming from body compression garments, corsets, and ultra-tight legwear. Some of these include:

  • Circulation problems
  • Increased pulse and blood pressure
  • Fainting
  • Muscle pain
  • Bad posture
  • Pinched nerves, normally in the spine
  • Heartburn or reflux
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Bladder infections

The Illusion of Weight Loss

These garments, or shapewear, can give the illusion that a person has lost weight. They can make a body more of an attractive shape, and move fat around to look less obvious. Wearing them for a short period can be useful, if the change in appearance is only for an event or party. When removed, the garment may leave the area looking bigger, due to body swelling.

No one knows for certain what the long-term effects are from wearing these types of garments. Circulation problems and internal organ bruising (like that seen with corsets) could be problems that we don’t know about yet.

More importantly, they can make you think that you look better, thinner, and healthier, than you actually are. They can take away the motivation to exercise and become more healthy. Many of these garments tuck away stomach fat, which is the most dangerous fat on our bodies. This fat produces the hormones that lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, gallbladder problems, and different types of cancer.

Can Compression Garments Help You Lose Weight?

Overall, they will only temporarily change your appearance, and there are no real benefits to using them. There is also no real, sustainable weight loss.

If you are looking for a very quick weight loss of a couple of pounds, then losing the initial water weight could give you that. It’s important to rehydrate though, so the loss is very temporary.

Maybe you’re embarrassed to go to the gym because of your appearance, or the fat jiggle that comes with bouncing around. Wearing a compression garment for light exercise can help, but beware of working out too short a time, and drink lots of water.

If you’re looking to fit into an outfit that is too small, and you’re going out for the evening, then putting on some shaping garment can possibly get you into that outfit, but try not to overheat!

Written by Hugo L

Hugo is a 29 years old nutritionist, ex-pro hockey player and a published author.

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