How does weight loss work? The world is so obsessed about weight loss, fitness and diets. And despite all this, many doctors, fitness gurus and dieticians get it wrong when asked the question: “Where does our body fat go?“
When you lose weight, where do the fats go? There are a lot of misconceptions on this topic. And most health professionals say that burned fats turn into heat or energy. Well, they are actually wrong. We breathe out 84% of this mass as carbon dioxide into the air! I’ll show you how with equations and easy to understand explanations on the next sections.
“We breathe out 84% of fats as carbon dioxide!”
#1. Fat is NOT directly converted into energy
Let’s first talk about the misconception that burned fat gets directly converted into energy. It is true that some energy is released for the body to use during fat burn. But it is FALSE to assume that fats directly convert into pure energy. Why? Because this is how it would look like…
Your body does NOT convert fats directly into energy. Because if it was, then that is a crazy amount of energy. It’ll be at the same level as an atomic bomb! Einstein proved this already with his ever famous “e = mc2”.
A few grams of fat converted to pure energy is enough to power a huge city for a day! This is both amazing and absurd at the same time. And I am pretty damn sure that even the most athletic humans don’t produce that much energy.
Your body produces energy when it burns fat but the mass gets converted into other molecules. This is the nature of the “law of conservation of mass”.
We’ve dispelled the most common misconception of fat loss in this section. So, we now move on to how fat loss is in reality…
#2. The Fat Burn Equation (how weight loss works in math form)
Yep, this section is about the math and chemistry behind how weight loss works. This is already simplified and understandable. And a lot easier if you still remember your high school lessons! Also, you don’t have to worry because each step has an explanation. 🙂
(But if it still makes you dizzy, then feel free to you skip to the next section for a more layman explanation.)
C55H104O6 + 78 O2 -> 55 CO2 + 52 H20 + energy
Use stoichiometry to solve for the breakdown of fats. For each fat molecule you need 78 molecules of oxygen. This in turn produces a reaction resulting to 55 molecules of carbon dioxide, 52 molecules of water and some energy.
10kg average fats + 29kg O2 -> 19.6kg CO2 + 9.4kg H2O + energy
This is how it looks like when written in mass form. For every 10kg of fats, you’ll need 29kg of oxygen. This results into 19.6kg of carbon dioxide, 9.4kg of water and some energy.
10kg average fats -> 8.4kg CO2 molecules + 1.6kg H2O molecules
Let’s look at the mass distribution using the mass of the fats alone. For every 10kg of fats, 8.4kg of it becomes carbon dioxide and 1.6kg becomes water.
#3. We Breathe Out Most of Our Fats (the more layman explanation)
We exhale 84% of our fat mass as carbon dioxide! And 16% of it becomes water. The water could be urine, faeces, sweat, tears and other fluids.
“Our lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat loss”
So, does this mean that fat is mostly converted into air?! Yes, we breathe out most of the fat mass during weight loss. And if you haven’t realized it yet, it means that our lungs are the primary excretory organ for fat loss. Weight loss requires that the carbon stored in fat cells get converted into carbon dioxide. Quite a shocker, right? O.O
“Less than 1/6 of fat mass becomes water in the form of sweat, urine, etc”
The sweat that we perspire during exercise is less than a fifth of the total weight we lose. So, what about the “sauna suit” or “extra jacket layers” that some weight loss “experts” (lol) recommend? It’s all just a sham to convince you to buy their products. And if you bought those products, then sorry but you got duped by their marketing campaigns.
At least this verifies that doing regular cardio workout does help in weight loss. Cardio workouts forces your heart to pump blood faster. This in turn forces your lungs to speed up its breathing cycle to absorb more oxygen.
But there is an even better exercise for weight loss that we’ll tackle in the next section…
#4. Deep Breathing Exercises as a Weight Loss Strategy
Consistency shouldn’t be an issue for deep breathing exercises. The beauty of it is that you can do it anywhere and anytime you want to do it! It is very easy to be consistent with it compared to jogging, cycling or other cardio workouts. Plus, this directly trains your lungs.
10kg average fats + 29kg O2 -> 19.6kg CO2 + 9.4kg H2O + energy
You need almost 3 grams (or 0.7 liters) of oxygen for every gram of fat you want to burn. Practicing “deep breathing” will train your lungs to absorb oxygen at higher volumes. And the “breath retention” trains your body to be more efficient with the use of oxygen.
“You need 0.7 liters of oxygen for every gram of fat you burn”
You can of course combine “deep breaths” with your favorite activities. These activities can be rock climbing, martial arts, yoga, basketball, football and others. It also makes your body more efficient at producing energy from the combustion of fats. Some studies suggest that it even strengthens your mitochondria’s ATP production. That is some awesome cellular level strengthening right there!
#5. My Experience with Deep Breathing Exercises and Weight Loss
I tried several deep breathing exercises while monitoring my weight change. The breathing exercises I did lasted for about an hour each session. And I lost weight between 300g to 800g (without peeing or pooping). That is an average of 550g of weight loss in an hour. Even I surprised myself with this weight loss from deep breathing exercises only.
“I lost an average of 550g per hour of deep breathing exercises”
After every session, I’d feel more energized, replenished and even refreshed. I’d say that it is superior than regular cardio workouts for pure lung strengthening. I rarely jog anymore but whenever I go for a run with friends, I never run out of breath.
I recommend that you get good at Basic Deep Breathing Exercises first. After that, you can start practicing advanced breathing exercises like Wim Hof Method, Qigong and Nadi Shodhana. Not going through the basics will only result to disappointment and disbelief, lol.
Have you tried this before? How was your experience with breathing and weight loss? Share your thoughts and make sure to comment below! 🙂