For centuries girdles, body shapers, and other shapewear have been mass-produced to meet the needs of women wishing to easily and effortless achieve the coveted hourglass figure. But, for the first time ever these apparatuses are being touted as spot reducing, fat burning tools that promote efficient weight loss and improve posture while eliminating ‘toxins’ through sweat.

Unfortunately, like a fad diet, wearing that tummy control girdle, waist cincher or thigh shaper will only yield short-term results. Furthermore, becoming completely reliant on such shapewear may actually do you more harm than good in the long-term. Here are three reasons why.

1. Promotes Excess Body Flab

Girdles and other shapewear provide a false appearance of firm, youthful muscles. There’s no doubt about that! Problem is, these garments don’t encourage muscle development. In fact, with regular use shapewear can actually make your body parts appear flabbier, as doing so can lead to signficiant muscle atrophy. Atrophy basically means that muscles have lost their strength, firmness and tone due to reduced use. The core and lower body muscle groups are most at risk for atrophy.

Everyday physical activities like spontaneous walking and stair climbing encourage these muscles to work. When such activities are performed while wearing a girdle, the garment itself takes up much of the slack. Given that the hips, buttocks and thighs generally house more muscle than fat, preserving it is one of the best strategies for enhancing the overall appearance of these areas. On the flip side, wearing say a hip-shaping girdle to firm up the butt is a sure way to lose it through atrophy.

Related Article: How to Lose Weight Without Getting Flabby Skin

2. Leads to Muscle Weakness

Wearing a tummy control girdle, waist cincher, hip/thigh shaper or similar garments for an extended period of time (over 8 hours a day) can cause the contacted muscles (lower back muscles, abdominals, gluteals, quadriceps and/or hamstrings) to become lengthened and weak. This can be either a cause or an effect of muscle atrophy. Not cool if you’re wearing your garment in an effort to firm or strengthen your muscles.

Related Article: How to Lose the Gut and Not the Butt

Weakening of these muscles can inhibit efficient contractions, leading to faulty movements and posture, lower back pain, hip and groin pain, and limited mobility (shortened walking stride). Such muscle weakness is primarily the result of an almost complete reliance on your garment for support. Now this doesn’t present a problem if you’re always wearing your girdle. Problems arise when you stop wearing the garment following an extended period of wearing it.

Related Article: Causes of Low Back Pain: Can Exercise Help?

3. Supports Complacent Behaviors

Wearing shapewear tends to lead to a form of complacency that can easily counteract any efforts to lose weight with exercise and healthy eating. After all, why put forth the effort when you can simply spot reduce or redistribute fat by way of wearing a girdle? But, in spite of popular belief, no girdle will magically melt away body fat. And don’t think that you can put unhealthy foods in your body and sweat out the resultant ‘toxins’ by wearing a body shaper either.

Now, if your garment is tight enough you may find it difficult to indulge in your favorite naughty foods without indigestion, which can indirectly lead to abstinence and weight loss. But why even go through such drastic measures for a short-term fix? With a little time and dedication, you can lose weight and build strong and shapely muscles that you’ll keep when the clothes come off and even when the lights go on.

Related Article: Belly Fat: Five Ways to Lose the Pooch

Girdle Use PostureThe Bottom Line

While it’s perfectly fine to occasionally wear shapewear in order to  enhance your appearance in a dress or suit, doing so every day is not an ideal way to achieve a healthy physique or optimal physical function.

At the end of the day, controlling your weight with physical activity and sensible eating takes continuous effort. But, these are permanent solutions that can save you a whole lot of money and disappointment in the long-run.