If you’re on a mission to lose weight, or if you’re considering undergoing bariatric surgery,
you might want to learn more about body fat so you can truly understand what you need to do to be successful on your weight-loss journey. Do you know what a calorie is? Where does fat go when you start losing weight? These are questions with answers that might surprise you, and could motivate you even more in regards to weight loss.
Here are five fascinating facts about your body fat that will provide you with a better understanding of how your body works, especially when you’re intent on shedding that extra weight.
1. Calories are simply units of food energy
A calorie is a unit of food energy, or the amount of energy it takes to increase the temperature of a gram of water by only 1 degree Celsius. A great way to think about how the body uses calories is to think about how a car uses gas. If you’re moving around a lot, you’ll need more calories, but if you’re being sedentary at home or in the office, you’ll require fewer calories.
2. Calories cause weight gain if you consume more than needed
If you don’t move around at all, your body will only need about 1,500 calories per day to perform normal bodily functions such as digestion and breathing. But if you move around and get physical, you might need around 500 additional calories to be able to stay active. If you consume more calories than your body is able to burn off, then your body will convert those extra, unused calories into body fat.
3. Certain foods will boost your metabolism and result in fat burning
Healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts are more difficult to break down, so your body will exert more energy just to digest these types of foods. Considering your body has to work harder to digest healthy foods, consuming more of these foods will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight faster.
4. Muscle is denser than fat, and weighs more
You’ll often hear the argument that a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, because a pound is a pound. That statement is true, but one cubic inch of muscle is heavier than one cubic inch of fat. Fat takes up far more space on your body than muscle, because muscle is smaller and more compact than fat. So as you lose fat and gain muscle, you could see the number on the scale plateau. Focus more on your body composition and the way your clothes fit rather than on actual pounds lost.
5. Fat is absorbed into your body and burned off during the weight-loss process
When you lose weight, you body will convert fat into carbohydrates that your body will use as energy. That’s why it’s important to exercise and stay active when you’re trying to lose weight, and why exercise will result in accelerated weight loss. Another way to think about fat burning is to envision your fat cells as large bubbles. As you become more fit and lose weight, those large bubbles will shrink until you can barely see them under a microscope.