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Where Does the Fat Go When You Lose a lot of Weight?

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There are many theories explaining where our fat goes after we lose a lot of weight, but which one is correct? Is fat being converted to energy or muscles? Does it leave our bodies in the form of sweat? Is it excreted? Is there something else what we are yet unaware of?

Fat is Lost in Thin Air

This might be the most unbelievable theory – it sounds so simple, yet is so hard to trust. It states that the weight we lose is actually transferred into air and we exhale it through our mouth. Yes, through our mouth! While it does sound quite hard to comprehend, a 2014 study conducted in Australia and published in the British Medical Journal states exactly that. Thanks to complicated metabolic processes that are going on while we are jogging, training and working out hard – i.e. losing weight – the biggest amount of fat is being transferred into carbon dioxide and we breathe it out.
The scientists behind this theory say that “losing 10 kilograms of fat requires 29 kilograms of oxygen to be inhaled and that this metabolic process produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water,” which is why they believe their idea makes sense. However, limiting your fat loss to your lungs and hoping that this far-fetched theory might be correct is certainly not enough.

Fat is Lost via Sweat

This is probably the most popular where-does-my-fat-go theory out there and every single gym enthusiasts is familiar with it. In short, it proposes the idea that your fat is being transformed into sweat and it then exits your body while you are working out. The same thing occurs when you are jogging, swimming and sitting in a sauna. However, this popular theory includes a popular misconception – it is not fat you are losing, but water.
By working out hard, you increase your heart rate and make your body more intense and this is what burns fat-based calories. This can easily be accomplished with an easy run around the park or even by climbing a few flights of stairs – as much as 10 calories can be burned during a minute on the staircase. But, only when you work out extra hard can you expect to produce enough sweat to make a difference in your weight and only if this happens day after day will you see results. Nevertheless, there are opposing opinions as well and a number of experts argue that this theory is just a myth and that sweating is a reaction to heat produced by your physical activities, so you only lose weight by losing water.

Fat is Lost because of a Good Plan

A problem with these two theories is that they lack credibility – not many people believe that fat simply evaporates and leaves our bodies just like that. What they do believe in is hard work, sacrifice and a trustworthy meal plan. This means that a number of things you have previously paid too much attention to, such as avoiding certain kinds of food and favoring others, are quite useless unless you have a proper plan in mind.
You can eat all kinds of foods – especially lean meat, vegetables and whole grains – provided you balance their energy levels correctly and count their calories. Using a detailed meal plan will get you prepared for building muscles, losing weight, burning fat and everything in between.

The Bottom Line

People who lose weight often do not think about where it has gone as long as it is not attached to their bodies any more. As long as you work out properly and make healthy food choices, you can be sure that fat cells will eventually leave your body and that is all you need to worry about.

Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.