Ever Wondered Where the Fat Goes When You Lose Weight?

Amanda Montell
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Urban Outfitters

Ever thought about how strange it is that when someone loses weight, they become a physically smaller version of themselves? A rowing class here, a green smoothie there, and suddenly you literally take up less space in the world. Trippy, isn’t it?

What’s even stranger to ponder is where that part of you that’s now gone actually went. Did the two kilos that no longer take up residence in your thighs and across your stomach relocate to another planet? Did they just convert to muscle? Did they spiritually reincarnate? In other words, the question is this: When you lose weight, where does the fat physically go?

When we talk about fat loss, we use terms like dropped, burned, and melted to describe it. But thanks to new research, we now have a more specific idea of what happens.

As it turns out, when you lose weight, you breathe the fat out as carbon dioxide. “It goes into thin air,” says physicist Ruben Meerman, who decided to explore the topic after losing weight himself. As much as 84% of your fat content is exhaled as carbon dioxide, and the other 16% turns into water, which we shed in the form of bodily fluids like sweat and tears.

That isn’t to say if you breathe really hard, you can somehow trick your body into exhaling fat. Exercising and eating right are what turns the fat into carbon dioxide, which you then exhale.

So next time you discover that your jeans fit a little looser, you can thank your lungs for helping out.

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