David's Way to Health and Fitness

Where Does Burned Body Fat Go?

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When you are losing weight through diet and exercise, do you know what is actually happening within your body?

Do you know what becomes of all these fat cells as your body leans out?

At David’s Way, we believe for one to be successful at weight loss and management, it is imperative that you know and understand what is happening within your body. Knowledge is the key simply because just going through actions is truly not enough. If you do not understand the physiology of your body, you are more likely to put your undesired weight back on after losing it.

Of course, most all people understand that when we  consume more calories than our body can burn, fat cells increase in both size and number. But what becomes of these cells when we diet and exercise?

When you lose fat, your fat cells actually shrink in size, while their number remains roughly the same.  The primary reason for changes in body shape is a reduced size of your fat cells,  not the number of them. When you lose weight, these fat cells remain and if you do not remain vigilant and steadfast in managing your weight, these fat cells are going to enlarge themselves once again. This is one of many reasons why maintaining weight loss is so difficult for most people. This is exactly why healthy nutrition and physical fitness need to become a part of your lifestyle rather than something you just want to get through in order to be ready for the beach in the summer.

How fat loss works.

When we over eat, or consume the wrong foods, the excess calories from fats or carbs is stored in fat cells in the form of triglycerides. This is how your body preserves energy for future needs. Over time, this excess energy results in a fat surplus that can affect your body shape and health. This is why calories consumed versus calories burned is important to weight management even if all we eat is healthy foods. Excess calories are excess calories no matter who you are. You have to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose fat. If you are on a diet and the fat is not coming off, you can be guaranteed that you are still eating more calories than you are burning.

When we maintain a consistent calorie deficit, fats are released from fat cells and transported to the energy-producing machinery of the cells in your body called mitochondria. Here, the fat is broken down through a series of processes to produce energy. This is a process that is occurring within your body 24 hours per day, but for some, the process is hampered when it is still having ten pounds of junk being shoved into a five pound bag. Excess calories overwhelm this process! You must maintain a calorie deficit in order for fat stores in your body to continue to be used as energy, which is the only way to reduce your body fat.

Carbon dioxide and water are the byproducts of fat loss.

 When we consume fewer calories than our body burns, our body composition begins to change. Carbon dioxide and water are released when your body fat is broken down for energy through complex processes within your cells. The carbon dioxide is exhaled during breathing, and the water is disposed of through either urine, sweat, or exhaled air. Disposal of these byproducts is greatly elevated during exercise due to increased breathing and sweating.

The Bottom Line

Of course genetics and medical reasons can make it difficult to lose weight, but they do not make it impossible. Fat loss is a complex process influenced by a number of factors, with diet and physical activity being two of the major ones. With a sufficient calorie deficit and proper exercise regimen, fat cells shrink over time as their contents are used for energy, leading to improved body composition and health.


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