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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 December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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