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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 July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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