For better or worse, our bodies are really efficient at storing energy for later. This is super helpful when we’re starving and need to find food to eat. It’s super unhelpful when we build up a big chunk of stubborn body fat from all this excess energy. Unfortunately, getting rid of this extra energy and fat isn’t as easy as just doing crunches to get rid of the belly. The body has its own process of using up and removing fat, and sometimes it’s not exactly what we want.
How Does the Body Burn Fat?
At it’s simplest, fat loss comes down to creating a calorie deficit. This means either using up more calories than we take in (recommended), or eating less calories than we use (be careful). The body burns fat by tapping into the energy stores, as it needs them. In practice, however, there is more to building up and losing fat than just calories in versus calories out.
In the process of getting rid of body fat, energy is used up but fat cells themselves do not disappear. Existing fat cells grow and swell up to absorb the extra energy the body takes in through the food you eat. When the body dips into these energy stores, the fat cells shrink.
Extra Science Alert: When the fat cells shrink, the body depletes the triglycerides that helped contain this excess energy. The triglycerides are metabolized and broken down into their components, which the body’s organs absorb again in order to produce energy.
Where Does the Fat Go?
As with any bodily process, waste products are created and removed from the body in the form of carbon dioxide and water. That’s right, breathing works to get rid of the wastes from burning body fat.
Before you start hyperventilating, that doesn’t exactly mean that breathing more makes us lose more fat. When you move, more you use more energy and burn more calories. This higher activity level makes you breathe more and deeper, which then increases the amount of fat wastes your body is able to release. Breathing itself won’t necessarily cause you to burn off that belly, but it can work to raise the limit of fat and energy that your body can metabolize. So make sure you keep moving and taking nice and deep breaths all day, especially during exercise.
Fat Keeps Coming Back
Because each of those individual fat cells remain and just grow and shrink, they can always grow again when you give your body another boost of extra energy. New fat cells can be created as needed, if all existing fat cells are filled to capacity. The only real way to completely remove fat cells is through surgery like liposuction. Now while this may sound like a great option, it’s really not. If you keep up your habits, the body will just make new fat cells to replace the ones you took away.
The body naturally wants to put more fat in the belly because it’s the most energy efficient, and the easiest place to carry it. If you’re missing fat cells where the body wants to put more fat, it will start adding fat to areas you and it do not want, like the hands, knees, face, arms, and more. Because of this, liposuction can actually cause to more harm, except of course in medically recommended cases.
What Should I Do To Lose Fat?
1. Eat Right
Getting rid of body fat takes time and effort, since you’re always getting more energy from food. And now, you don’t have to stop eating in order to lose fat. You just have to eat healthier, nutrient rich food according to your needs, and not overeat.
While there are little tricks you can do to lose fat, the key is long term consistent lifestyle change. It’s important to eat the right kinds and quantities of food that let your body tap into energy from body fat. If you’re not active enough, limiting foods with huge amounts of energy can help keep body fat levels in check. Drinking enough water is another key to help get rid of unwanted fat through of its role clearing wastes from the body.
Exercise alone will not make you lose all of your body fat, but a regular workout regimen with healthy eating, can contribute to getting rid of excess body fat. While there isn’t just one best exercise to lose weight, creating a program that balances strength training and cardio can help. Getting the body moving and using up energy is essential to staying fit and stopping more body fat from forming.
Overall, getting rid of body fat is a complicated balance between what you put into your body, what your body does with that food, and what you do with your body. Setting realistic goals is an important step to make sure that you’re staying safe in your fat loss journey. They say that a healthy rate of losing fat is around 1 pound a week. Remember that muscle weighs much more than fat, so relying on the scale to measure your progress may not be the most effective. Be sure to track how you feel, in addition to how you look, and enjoy the process of getting healthy and staying active.