When you lose weight, where does it go?

Most common misconception is stool. But if not stool, energy or muscles, where does fat go?

Let’s start with the basics. Your body needs a certain amount of energy to function, and this energy originates from food intake. When you consume more energy than you expend, it is stored in fat cells as triglycerides which are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. When you consume less energy than you expend, your body utilizes that stored fat for energy. Those triglycerides go into your bloodstream and break down into smaller pieces mainly fatty acid, which tissues throughout your body can use as fuel. Your body transforms fat to usable energy for your muscles and other tissues through a series of complex metabolic processes. This causes your fat cells to reduce in size. These metabolic activities also generate heat, which helps maintain your body temperature, and produces waste products. These waste products (water and carbon dioxide) are excreted as urine and sweat or exhaled through the lungs.

You are now probably thinking, if fat turns into carbon dioxide, could simply breathing more make you lose weight? If only it was that simple! The only way you can consciously increase the amount of carbon dioxide your body is producing is by moving your muscles. Your muscles first burn through stored glycogen (stored carbs) for energy. After about 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, your body starts burning mainly fat, which is why it is recommend to exercise at least 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week. It is also recommended to do some weight bearing exercises or resistance training to raise your basic metabolic rate. Exercise also increases your respiratory rate = exhaling more CO2 when you work out.

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