If you are reading this, you are probably on a weight loss journey with A New Me. But now that you are starting to see the pounds fall off, have you ever stopped to wonder where that excess fat is going?
We all know that the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you are consuming. Whether you do it through diet, exercise, or a combination of the two, the formula is simple. Many people try and even succeed at losing weight without ever really understanding what is happening in their bodies. Where is that fat going? What actually happens to fat when you lose weight?
What are some of the most common theories?
While many people might offer up a possible solution to this question, the most common theories are usually incorrect. Many people – even health professionals such as doctors, dietitians, or personal trainers – theorize that the excess mass your body stored as fat is converted into heat or energy.
However, this is actually not the case. Due to the Law of Conservation of Mass, a scientific principle that states that matter can never be created or destroyed, only rearranged, scientists know that the atoms that make up your fat cells must be removed from the body somehow. But how?
What actually happens to fat when you lose weight?
A recent study has found that the majority of this excess mass is actually exhaled. You breathe out the atoms that made up your fat cells when you lose weight and burn fat. Note that simply breathing will not help you to lose weight. You will need to exercise to break down the fat cells before they can be released during respiration.
When you eat excess calories (protein, fat, and carbs) throughout the day, these compounds are broken down and stored as triglycerides. This is the process through which you gained weight. It happens slowly, but it can really add up over time if you are not careful.
Triglycerides are made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It is not a coincidence that these are the same molecules that make up the products created when you burn fat: carbon dioxide and water.
When you exercise and break up these triglycerides and fat cells, the carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms that made them up are released. At this point, these atoms are free to recombine with the pure oxygen molecules that you inhaled to create water and carbon dioxide.
This means that once you have put in the work in the gym, the oxygen that you breathe in throughout the day can combine with the byproducts of your broken down fat cells to be secreted as you carry out your daily routine.
The majority of this mass is exhaled as carbon dioxide. In fact, when fat cells are broken down, they become 84% carbon dioxide and 16% water by mass. This means that if you lose 10lbs, it is actually secreted as 8.4 pounds of carbon dioxide and 1.6 pounds of water. During this process, the 10lbs of fat that you burned combines with 29 lbs of inhaled oxygen to create these two byproducts.
How is this water and carbon dioxide released?
As previously discussed, the excess carbon dioxide is released when you exhale. The average human exhales between 17,000 and 17,500 times each day, giving you plenty of opportunities to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of human respiration, but those that are losing weight can have slightly higher carbon dioxide concentrations in their lungs, increasing respiration rates while working to lose weight.
The water that is produced during this process can be secreted several different ways, but the most common is through your sweat or your urine. Many people lose water weight as well while they are working to lose weight, but this is not necessarily directly related to fat loss. However, this can create a noticeable change in some people – including weight fluctuations. Do not worry too much about the weight fluctuations caused by water loss. These are usually temporary and can be overcome with slow, steady fat loss.
How quickly can I lose fat through respiration?
Because of the key ratios involved in this biological process, and because it is difficult to burn 35,000 calories quickly, there is a limit to the amount of fat that you can safely burn each day. This number varies from person to person and can be increased with exercise and natural supplements. Consult with one of our team members to learn more about how you can jumpstart your weightloss.