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Where Does the Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

Does it just disappear?
inhaling breathing

We all love staring at those before and after pictures on the Internet. Look! You could fit two of her in those old pants! We're so eager to banish, beat or burn fat that we haven't thought much about the process that goes into it. Sure, calories in should be less than calories out to "burn" fat, but where does the fat go when you lose weight?

Our ignorance on the subject might be easily chalked up to willful ignorance. After all, who cares where it goes as long as it's gone? But the misconceptions on this process go well beyond the public, into the ranks of the professionals. A new study published in the British Medical Journal surveyed general practitioners, dietitians and personal trainers and found that even they had a shaky grasp on the truth.

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The "eat less, move more" suggestion is sound, according to the study; the goal in fat loss is to "unlock the carbon stored in fat cells" so they can be excreted by the lungs.

Yes, you read that right: When we lose weight, 80 percent of the fat we lose we simply breathe out as carbon dioxide (CO2). The other 20 percent leaves our bodies in ways that might sound a bit more familiar: sweat, tears, urine and other bodily fluids.

So while you may already spend some quality time working up a sweat in the gym, make some time during the holiday season to simply breathe deep and let it go. Stress and fat, that is.

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