Experts weigh in on why you should never try this weight loss strategy at home.
Sometimes, Kim Kardashian is relatable. We totally felt for her when she dealt with anxiety after her Paris robbery and when she stuck by Kanye in a crisis. On the other hand, she's been known to do some pretty extreme things to get the appearance she wants, like wearing a corset and getting her stretch marks removed. While we're all for doing things to make yourself feel good about how you look, sometimes Kim takes it a little too far.
Case in point: one of her most recent Snapchat stories. The reality star pans the camera around her gym in the style of her usual workout Snaps, but instead of just showing off her moves of the day, Kim points the camera downward at herself to show that she's wearing a full-on garbage-bag-style sweatsuit. You might remember this style from this past summer when Khloe Kardashian shared why she wears one during cardio and weight workouts.
She's also added the caption "7 lbs to go to get to 115 lbs." But will wearing one of these actually help you drop weight? The short answer is yes, but the long answer is more complicated. "The garbage bag strategy is a highly-controversial, old-school thermogenic method that works for weight loss in a way that's similar to sitting in a sauna," says Mike Clancy, C.S.C.S. and founder of MikeClancyTraining. "You simply put your body in a heated environment so it starts to release water (sweat) to cool you down." This process continues until your body has returned to its normal temperature, usually when you stop exercising. "In this process of releasing water, your body can shrink down five to ten pounds," says Clancy. That might sound appealing, but he adds that "this method of sweating out the last few pounds is extremely dangerous because your body is dehydrated and the stress on your internal organs can quickly land you in a hospital." Yikes! So yeah, it's probably not a good idea to try this on your own.
In Kim's case, her Snap clearly shows that her trainer is there to supervise, but what's more worrying is that fans watching might think this is a good idea to try at home when they're trying to shed weight. But there's another important reason why you shouldn't use this method. "You'll gain the weight back quickly, most likely as soon as you start drinking water after your workout," says Dani Muckley, director of fitness at Studio Three in Chicago. In other words, the risk of dehydration is 100 percent not worth it.
So what can you do instead to help you lose those last few pounds? "A healthier alternative would be to realize that there truly is no quick fix to weight loss," says Muckley. "Instead, healthy weight loss is the result of a dedicated nutritional plan, workout regimen, and requisite recovery." We couldn't agree more. But if you do want to try a specific workout method, Clancy has a suggestion. "A safer alternative to this tactic would be doing a sustained, fasted cardio in the morning while drinking plenty of fluids," he says. That means you wait until after you work out to eat. "A favorite of my clients' is walking uphill on a treadmill on a high incline for 30 to 40 minutes before breakfast," he explains. And unlike Kim's strategy, this kind of cardio is more likely to use adipose tissue (aka fat) for workout fuel, so the results will actually last.