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As men age, they tend to accumulate fat along their midsection. You might be desperate to get rid of your gut, particularly if exercise isn't working as fast as you hoped it would. Body wraps can temporarily reduce the appearance of bulk in some men, but the results vary from person to person, and you won't get the health benefits of actual weight loss.
Body Wrap Basics
There are a variety of body wraps on the market, but they all work using the same basic technique of compression. You'll wrap a wide plastic or thermal sheet around your midsection, leaving it on for 30 minutes or so. Some body wraps can be used along with creams and herbal rubs designed to moisturize or smooth skin. Some manufacturers claim that herbal ingredients in their wraps help you lose weight more quickly, but there's little evidence to support this claim. The weight loss, instead, comes from the simple act of compression, which reduces water weight, creating the temporary appearance of a slimmer midsection.
Your body loses weight by burning fat, and the only way to do that is to either eat fewer calories or burn more. Doing both at the same time by eating lean, healthy meals and getting daily exercise is the most effective strategy. While abdominal exercises such as crunches and situps can help you build muscle in your midsection, to get rid of fat, you'll need to do regular aerobic exercise such as running or swimming. MayoClinic.com advises that you may need as many as 300 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for weight loss.
Body Wrap Effects
The compression of body wraps reduces fluid retention causing you to lose water weight, but this so-called "weight loss" will last, at most, just a few days. While looking slimmer for a few days may sound good, since you're not actually burning fat, you won't get the health benefits associated with weight loss, such as lower blood pressure and better aerobic endurance. If you use body wraps too much, they could even become a deterrent to real weight loss, because you'll already look the way you want to and be left with little incentive to exercise.
Body wraps may also come with some health risks. In addition to being a possible fat loss deterrent, herbal supplements aren't tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means their effectiveness and safety can't be gauged, and proper dosage isn't regulated. Body wraps can also cause you to sweat, so wearing them for too long can cause dehydration. Further, if you wrap the body wrap too tightly, you could interfere with circulation.