I recently went on a vacation in which food was the main objective. It was truly a lot of fun to eat with abundance all the things I never eat when I am home and paying attention to my body. When you are an adult and you visit home—the city you were raised in, assuming that is not where you live now— you want to go to restaurants that you enjoyed as a child. It brings back a nostalgia that is not duplicated by anything else. Especially if you stay with your parents and they cook all the food you grew up on. It is a food vacation.
My food vacation is now over and I enjoyed it more than I should have. Midway through the week, I started to notice that my clothes were a little tight. To say I enjoyed my food vacation very much is an understatement. I over-consumed. Instead of cutting back on calories, I kept on eating. I knew that I shouldn’t have enjoyed the food that much but I was enjoying the moment and not thinking about the next week. When I noticed that I was gaining a little bit of weight, I pulled out my Spanx bodysuit, put it on, and put my jeans on and they were no longer tight. I happily continued my food obsessed trip down memory lane.
Later that night, I took off my bodysuit and crawled into bed. That’s when it hit me: my Spanx bodysuit is making me delusional. I laughed at myself over this. I am using the bodysuit to ensure that I fit into my clothes when I have eaten too much. This “crutch” and the deceptive way I have used it has kept me from reaching my weight loss goals. Yes, I said crutch. What I mean by this, is that as long as I have this suit on, my clothes will fit the way I want them to, no matter what my weight is. As long as the mirror reflects the same way I do not think I have a weight problem. I do not think I have gained weight. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, I did a little research on “compression garments” and waist cinchers. I had no idea that there are workout clothes that are designed to accelerate weight loss, improve circulation, compress your muscles to aid in removal of lactic acid, all while making you appear slimmer when you have them on. Spanx actually advertises that its compression garments will make you instantly appear 10 pounds slimmer. This is the promise being made by athletic apparel companies, as well as a few professional athletes.
Are we really hooked on the idea of instant results to the point that we believe these claims because companies like Underarmor and Nike are saying they work? Obviously, yes we are. Weight loss is a lot of work that requires we cut back on fattening foods and move more. We are a lazy society and obviously want as many shortcuts as we can get. None of these compression garments are backed up by science or proof, so how do we really know they work? We hope they work because if they don't then we wasted a significant amount of money on blind hope. Doesn’t that sound completely rational?
So, obviously we like the way we look in compression garments, this much I have gathered and experienced. Our vanity is overriding our sanity when it comes to the benefits of compression garments. Is it possible that wearing these types of garments might be bad for us? Yes, it is.
However, there are some positive aspects to wearing compression garments for a short period of time.
The one thing that they are proven to do is to keep pressure on the muscles while you are working out. This lactic acid buildup is what makes you unable to walk the next day after a leg workout. You are sore. Your muscles are burning. If your muscles are compressed then there isn’t any place for lactic acid to buildup so it goes out with all the other body waste. Less buildup, less sore muscles. YA!!
However, there are some drawbacks to wearing compression garments, delusional thinking being one of them.
If you are like me and you're using Spanx as an excuse to not moderate yourself correctly, then you are in as much denial as I was in. The idea that more sweat means more calories burnt is correct, however, the extra calories that you may burn an hour wearing compression clothing is minimal. Sure, it’s enough to make you think you are doing more than you are, but in reality, you aren’t working out to your potential. You might skip out on an extra cardio session or two during the week thinking all that extra sweat is enough to make up for it and it isn’t even close to it. Your results will not be what you think they are.
Despite the positives, the drawbacks of compression garments are serious. You can avoid all this delusional thinking and these negative health effects by only wearing them for short periods of time; they are not made to be worn all day. Save your money on compression garments and spend it on more important things... like shoes!