Junk food is cheap, it tastes good, and you can get it pretty much anywhere at any time faster and more conveniently than real food.
Unfortunately though, it’s terrible for your health. We know. Life is unfair.
Because of the convenience and widespread availability of so many high calorie foods, many people in modern society are becoming overweight. It’s no wonder that across the internet, health and fitness has become one of the most popular topics as people struggle to shed pounds and get in shape after a few years of living, for lack of a better word, conveniently.
But how one goes about losing weight easily and effectively remains the million dollar question. In order for it to be answered, we should know a little bit about what fat is and where it goes when you “lose” it. Surprisingly, many health professionals can’t answer the question of where fat goes when we lose it. A common explanation is that we use it for energy. Which is basically true. However, according to a recent study from the University of New South Wales, there’s more to the story than that.
“Considering the soaring overweight and obesity rates and strong interest in this topic, there is surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight loss among the general public and health professionals alike”, the paper begins.
But let’s start with the basics.
What is fat? When we eat too much food, any excess carbohydrate or protein is converted into triglycerides for storage. This in itself isn’t a bad thing. In fact, fat is good. We need fat for a variety reasons, including healthy skin, hair, cell function, body temperature, and energy. When losing weight, it is the metabolization of stored triglycerides for use as energy that occurs. In other words, fat is indeed stored energy waiting to be used.
Now, in order to use enough of this energy to lose fat, you have to be in a caloric deficit. This means putting your body into a state where it’s burning more energy than it’s taking in. This can happen in two ways: eating less food and burning more calories. Essentially, if your body isn’t getting enough energy from food, it’s forced to take it from the energy stored in your body.
So where does it all go?
The South Wales study, conducted by the School of Biotechnology and Bimolecular Sciences at UNSW and lead author Ruben Meerman, began with the knowledge that fat is a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but nobody quite understood where these atoms went as we lost weight. It took months of research before they came across a standout piece of information that helped them to solidify their theory. Stumbling upon an article published in 1949 which showed that oxygen atoms, in comparison to carbon dioxide and water, came in the ratio of 2:1.
Basically, as four oxygen atoms were exhaled, two were excreted through sweat, tears and urine. The researchers concluded that 84% of the atoms which make up a single fat molecule are exhaled through carbon dioxide.
What Meerman found is that while do use fat for energy and heat, most of it is breathed out, vanishing – literally – into thin air.
Before you get the idea that sitting there breathing really fast while hunched over your laptop is the key to ultimate fitness, please be aware that that’s only going to make you hyperventilate. And it’s also weird. Weird hyperventilation is bad. Don’t do that.
Instead, try putting your body into a caloric deficit by burning more energy and eating less calories. Now that you know how weight is lost, all you need to do now is lose it. Don’t worry, it’s definitely attainable, and there are certain hacks you can use to help you reach your goals without even trying all that hard.
Eat More Protein
Fat contains 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates and protein contain just 4. Protein is also extremely satiating, meaning that you’re less likely overeat and you’ll feel full for longer.
Eat More Fiber
Fibrous foods not only fill your stomach up with more volume which signals to your brain that you’re full, but they often contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals too.
Drink More Water
People often confuse thirst signals with hunger signals, which means that they end up eating more food when they should really be drinking water. Also, swapping high-calorie drinks such as cream and sugar coffees, juices, soda and alcohol to water can save you time and energy in making fat loss much easier.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
Many people have the misconception that exercise can’t be fun. However, if you can find something that effectively burns calories while also putting a smile on your face, then you’ll be burning calories without even realizing it. There are a variety of activities that you can choose from such as sports, classes or different styles of weightlifting. Work out with a buddy or hire a personal trainer. Pick something you enjoy and can stick with in the long run.