Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

The Dangers of Using Plastic Wraps for Belly Fat

In hopes to shed weight fast, individuals may be turning to stomach wraps. While they are tempting, body wraps for weight loss can also come with dangerous side effects.

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Losing belly fat is often desired based on vanity measures. But it is also issued by health professionals to combat associated risks of metabolic disorders, including heart disease and diabetes.

In hopes to shed weight fast, individuals may be turning to stomach wraps marketed on social media web sites. Besides, their promotion as "detox wraps for cellulite" and fallacious before and after pictures are often too enticing to pass up.

While stomach wraps are tempting and likely to be harmless, they can likewise come with dangerous side effects. Belly wraps can impact mental health, too.

So if curious to use stomach wraps to lose weight, find out their real truth before turning to such a method.

What Are Stomach Wraps?

Stomach wraps are essentially plastic wrapped around the midsection. Some individuals prepare homemade body wraps. However, they are often used in spa settings and come with a hefty price tag.

Consumers are often wrapped for 20 minutes up to an hour, though sessions are also dependent on the specific spa treatment. A wrap session may also be paired with techniques to stimulate blood circulation and sweat. These often include massage therapy, exercise, and the use of a sauna.

Body wraps are often infused with herbs, oils, clay, algae, chocolate, coffee, essential oils, and other added "natural" ingredients. The most common types of body wraps claim the following:

• Raise core body temperature to lose fat

• Moisturize the skin and improve skin texture

• Stress relief and relaxation

• Detox the body from harmful "toxins"

• Rid or diminish the appearance of cellulite

• Slim and tone the body

• Shrink fat cells

• Lose inches off the waist

Do belly wraps for weight loss really work?

Belly wraps often claim to target fat loss in the abdominal area. Some spas even promote a six to 20-inch loss among various parts of the body! But if hoping to use stomach wraps for weight loss, results are marginal and short-lived.

Whereas stomach wrappers may see the scale drop following a wrap session, the instant weight loss is not fat loss. Instead, stomach wraps often cause the body to lose water weight. Once the body is rehydrated, the weight comes straight back.

Users may see a slight reduction in the appearance of cellulite, though results fade quickly. There is also no science-based evidence proving wraps "rid of toxins” and "slim and tone the body."

What are the dangers of stomach wraps?

Most healthy people are unlikely to experience any adverse effects from the belly wrap session. But it is still important to highlight potential risks. And especially if taken to the extreme, belly wraps can be dangerous to both physical and mental health.

The use of body wraps may cause dehydration, which can actually be quite serious and even fatal. High water loss can cause hypovolemic shock, a condition in which the liquid portion of the blood is low.

Hypovolemic shock can be life-threatening as the body's organs become deprived of blood and oxygen. Symptoms of hypovolemic shock include:

• Weakness

• Fatigue

• Fainting

• Dizziness

• Nausea and vomiting

• Mental confusion

• Accelerated heart rate

Beyond physical risks, stomach wraps paint a deceiving picture on what health and weight loss actually involves. Some regimens even encourage exercise and a healthy diet. However, users may attribute any weight loss to the wrap itself rather than making healthy lifestyle changes.

What's more, stomach wrappers may also fixate on quick weight loss. This is not ideal for reaching and sustaining a healthy weight. It can also lead to yo-yo dieting, which comes with its own subset of risks such as heart disease.

Users may further disregard the power of a well-functioning body system. And that "detoxification" function the stomach wraps promote? A healthy body houses its most valuable and efficient detoxifiers, largely the liver, skin, kidneys, and lungs.

Additional Precautions

Individuals with any preexisting health conditions should tread with caution. This includes, but not limited to, those with diabetes, a heart condition, and sensitive skin such as eczema.

Women who are pregnant or lactating should also consult with a doctor before considering any sort of treatment, body wraps included.

The Reality of Body Wraps for Weight Loss

Before spending time and money on a body wrap, you should reflect on your expectations and react realistically and appropriately.

If content with short-term results, body wraps will likely not cause harm. But if expecting lasting changes, you are likely to be disappointed. And not to mention, shortchanged without results to show off.

And really, true and healthy weight loss stems from adopting a healthy lifestyle. Common recommendations include consuming a well-balanced diet and engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Adequate sleep and stress management are encouraged, too. This comes with or without a pricey stomach wrap attached.

So rather than spending time and money on temporary fixes, allot time and funds towards proven to lend long-term results. For instance, purchase a gym membership and schedule a few times each week to go. Finding it difficult to make healthy changes to your diet amidst a busy schedule? A weight loss meal delivery service can also assist.

The Bottom Line:

With any sort of weight loss product or technique, always do your research beforehand and consult with a primary care provider.

Remember, too, such gimmicky methods should never displace a healthy lifestyle.

And that's a wrap!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on August 25, 2017. Updated on October 24, 2019.

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