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Where Does All Our Fat Go When We’re Losing Weight?

Where Does All Our Fat Go When We’re Losing Weight?

As a new year begins, one of the most popular resolutions that many of us will have made is to lose some weight and get healthier. By now you have probably been inundated with numerous ads, emails, websites, and articles about the best diets and exercise techniques you should be using to ensure you’re a prime human specimen by summer.

I’m currently partaking in the 30 Day Shred, and although I feel better I’m not really seeing a huge difference so far. So I started thinking: where does the fat go as we lose weight? Like many others, I have always thought that fat is converted into energy and used as heat or to build muscle. However, recent research suggests this may not be the case. In fact, one study says that losing weight may literally be as simple as breathing.

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Back in March 2014, Professor Andrew Brown of the University of New South Wales was working with Australian TV personality and former physicist Ruben Meerman on an ABC-TV program, Catalyst Science. Meerman lost an impressive amount of weight in 2013 and had been interested in discovering how the fat was leaving his body.

“I lost 15 kilograms in 2013 and simply wanted to know where those kilograms were going. After a self-directed, crash course in biochemistry, I stumbled onto this amazing result,” Meerman writes. “With a worldwide obesity crisis occurring, we should all know the answer to the simple question of where the fat goes. The fact that almost nobody could answer it took me by surprise, but it was only when I showed Andrew my calculations that we both realised how poorly this topic is being taught.”

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After their initial meeting the duo then spent several months investigating the different ways fat leaves the body as we work it off. Their results, which were published in the British Medical Journal in mid December, are rather astonishing: we lose weight as we breathe out, or as Meerman says: “it goes into thin air.”

www.bmj.com
    www.bmj.com

    How Does It Work?

    When we consume excessive carbohydrates and proteins they are converted into chemical compounds known as triglycerides, which consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. These triglycerides are then stored in lipid droplets of fat cells, where they wait to be metabolized.

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    Meerman and Brown’s experiments tracked atoms of fat as they were metabolized to see where they went, and found that the majority of them exited our bodies as carbon dioxide.

    They then calculated that in order to lose 10 kilograms of fat, humans must inhale at least 29 kilograms of oxygen. This in turn produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water. A massive 8.4 of those 10 kilograms is exhaled through carbon dioxide. The other 1.6 kilograms of fat is excreted as water, via urine, sweat, tears, breath and other bodily fluids.

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    www.bmj.com
      www.bmj.com

      Meerman’s findings are now being investigated and praised by many in the scientific community. Professor Brown stated: “Ruben’s novel approach to the biochemistry of weight loss was to trace every atom in the fat being lost and, as far as I am aware, his results are completely new to the field. He has also exposed a completely unexpected black hole in the understanding of weight loss amongst the general public and health professionals alike.”

      Of course, although it turns out that lungs are the primary organs for excreting weight loss, the authors do not recommend you simply breathe a lot in order to lose weight quicker. This will inevitably lead to hyperventilation and possibly even loss of consciousness.

      Brown and Meerman are now focusing on trying to get secondary schools and university biochemistry curriculums to include their findings in an attempt to correct any spreading misconceptions about weight loss.

      Featured photo credit: gratisography via gratisography.com

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      Siobhan Harmer

      Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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