Lisa Wonders: Where Exactly Did the Fat Go?


Did you ever wonder "Where exactly did the fat gooo"? when you lose weight? No? It's OK...I ask questions like this all the time.


Before we answer this question let's talk about what fat does. Fat is not your enemy, as a matter of fact it plays vital roles in your body and life.


Fat's Job:

  • Fat is a macronutrient like Protein, and Carbohydrates

  • Gives you energy

  • Protects your internal organs

  • Fat is part of every cell in you body

  • Helps your body hold onto fat soluble vitamins, A, E, K, and D

  • Fat plays a part in having healthy hair and skin

  • Fat helps us feel more full

  • Fat helps foods taste good

  • 60% of your brain tissue is made up of fat

  • Fat helps your body regulate as well as produce hormones

See Fat isn't all bad, it's when we have an over abundance of fat that things start to go haywire for us leading to and exacerbating many health problems.


When we start packing on the pounds we often then decide to lose weight, but we mean lose fat.

Ideally we want to lose fat while maintaining lean mass, this helps us maintain our metabolism and strong healthy bones. But where does the fat go?


Before we find out let's deal with the myth that muscle turns into fat. Nope. They are very different types of cells and structure, but fat can develop over your muscles and inside your muscles (think of a fatty piece of steak) and this could cause us to think that the muscle turned to fat. Plus, as we are more inactive we lose muscle and lean mass and gain fat which also leads us to think the muscle turned to fat.


Where does fat go?


Nerdy Part: It's the basics of chemistry! Conservation of Mass. No...don't worry...you still get to lose that extra fat. It means that "The mass of one element at the beginning of a reaction will equal the mass of that element at the end of that reaction". Basically what goes into a reaction comes out of it. Fat is made up of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen and even when we break them up, they will still be there after we are done.


You: OKKKKaaay. Lisaaa! Where. does. it. go??

Me (Lisa): Ok, I'll tell you!


We breathe it out! We exhale it! Well, at least 80% of it we exhale as carbon dioxide. The rest we lose through sweat and urine (water). More Nerdy Part: It's a complex process that looks like this: for every 10 kg of fat we lose we must inhale 29 kg of oxygen to metabolize the fat which then creates 28 kg of carbon dioxide and 11 kg of water. Hhmmm now I see where we are going! Conservation of Mass (but that doesn't mean I have to keep my rear end as is).


OK...Wait..in plain English? It just means we breathe out most of it and pee or sweat out the rest.


This is when we burn fat, not when we just carry it around. If our body doesn't see the need to use it as energy it says "Hmmm, let's all go hang out at the rear end, heart, etc. until we are needed".


That makes huffing and puffing seem worth it huh? The next time you are exercising think about breathing that fat out, but don't fuss at your partner for breathing their fat all over you. It's a good thing.


Another of life's mysteries solved!! Stay tuned until I once again think "Hmmm...I wonder" - words that make my husband shake his head!!



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