Where Does Lost Weight Go?

Ok, so you weigh too much. Somehow by eating like everyone else you know, you have managed, over the years to accumulate a lot of extra mass. It has changed the way you think, the way you eat, the way you move. Your life is different than it was when you were young, because you don’t know how to reverse a lifelong process.

At first you thought you could just do what other people do when they want to lose weight–you diet. As far as you know, to diet means to quit eating so much. Everybody seems to think that if you eat less calories than the amount of calories you burn, the fat will melt off of you like it does off of bacon in the morning skillet. You watch a million different exercise videos and the point of all of them is that you are going to have to ‘melt’ your fat. Burning is required if there is going to be joy at the end of the diet.

So, you burned. You starved. You counted calories eating and exercising. You were miserable and hungry every waking and sleeping moment. You lost some weight, and you figured that you were done when you lost enough of it. After dieting you go back to living normal and the weight comes roaring back, most times way faster than you managed to shed it off.

Next time you decided to ‘eat healthy’. You got a book that described a perfectly balanced regimen that combined nutritious low fat foods, nutritious fruits and vegetables, smoothies, and maybe a supplement or two to make sure that you got enough vital nutrient. Of course the calories were restricted, so there was that hunger thing again. Naturally, in order to lose weight it meant more walking or running or swimming. No way to lose weight without cutting calories and burning calories. Except this time you didn’t lose weight very quickly at all. You figured that you weren’t trying hard enough. You didn’t want it bad enough. You knew you were doing something wrong. This time you quit the diet before you hit a weight goal, and once again what was lost was found again, plus some.

Why can’t you lose weight and keep it off? If the only way to lose weight is to eat so little that you are constantly in pain and to exercise so much every day that you don’t have time to go to work, then how are you ever going to gradually decrease your weight instead of gradually piling it on? Why doesn’t dieting work?

Where does lost weight go?

When you lose body fat it is not burning. In even the process of living your body consumes its stores of energy in the instant that it is needed. Unless you have just eaten, then the energy will come from your stores of fat, but the fat is not converted to energy. That would be a nuclear reaction. No mass is lost to energy–energy weighs nothing. Here is the chemical equation for the conversion of fat.

C55H104O6+78O2 —> 55CO2+52H2O+energy

On one side of the equation is fat and oxygen. The other side the weight is exactly balanced by carbon dioxide and water. The energy weighs nothing, so it has nothing to do with losing weight. Pounds come off in the form of carbon dioxide gas. You learned in school that you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Nobody ever told you that the carbon dioxide is carrying off pounds. If you never add to your fat stores then the fat disappears into a cloud of carbon dioxide gas.

If you never add to your fat stores, they will go away. How does one accomplish not adding to fat stores? If you don’t eat carbohydrates you will not add to your fat stores.

See, you don’t lose weight by breathing harder. The fact that you need to breathe harder when you exercise is a clue, but your muscles burn energy every instant of your life, you don’t have to use them more for that to be true. Unfortunately for working harder, a side effect of this is increased hunger. Ever heard of working up an appetite? Have you ever worked up your appetite? If you work more and don’t eat more you will become hungry, you will starve, you will be miserable. This is why regular ‘diet and exercise’ prescriptions are so much work. It’s why people can’t do it for the rest of their lives, which is what it would take to keep weight off by doing it.

You lose weight by not putting food consumed into fat in the first place. For instance, when you eat fruit, the sweetness in it is from the type of sugar “fructose.” Fructose in your bloodstream is unusable in that form by any muscle or organ except the liver. Your liver metabolizes fructose immediately into fat. I figure this is because a natural human living in the wild would come across fruit in the fall, right before winter. You would eat a lot of fruit because it’s easy to get and there is all kinds of it laying around, and it’s sweet. Every bit of that sweetness goes instantly into fat stores, where it will be when times are lean in the winter. There is a lot to say for that theory. But if you want to not store fat, because your modern diet has given you plenty to live on this winter, then you should forego the fruit. You should forego the fruit smoothy, or the fruit juice. That high fructose corn sweetener in your Pepsi is also going straight to fat.

Before you take your first bite of food, just the thought of it causes your pancreas to inject insulin into your blood. That first shot of insulin clears your bloodstream of energy bearing fat molecules, putting any sugars into fat cells and preparing the way for a deluge of blood sugar molecules. When you take that first bite you get another shot of insulin, because your blood sugar levels must be contained in a tight band or the chemistry gets out of whack and you may suffer ill effects immediately. As the sugar hits your system your muscles and organs are ordered by the insulin to take up as much as they can, and any excesses are immediately cleaned out of your blood into fat stores. It’s immediate. You have just put more energy into your blood stream than it can handle, the excess is immediately put into fat stores. This leads, after mealtime, to the insulin crash, where your blood sugar goes too low, you get drowsy–and you get hungry again. It’s the oriental food syndrome, where one hour after eating you’re hungry again. It is not just oriental food though, any high carb meal will leave you craving and starving for more food once the insulin wave has subsided. The point here is that if you eat sugar, rice, bread, potatoes, you are going to experience this instant storage of blood sugar into fat. You are increasing your fat stores, and now all of this fat will have to be eliminated through the process of fat consumption described above.

If you don’t eat carbs, none of this happens. You still get the initial hit of insulin before your first bite, but you don’t get the blood sugar rise, you don’t get the insulin rise, and because there is no blood sugar to store, you also don’t get the increase in fat storage. You don’t get the insulin crash, you don’t get hungry an hour later, you don’t crave carbs, you can avoid snacking to take the edge off your hunger. You get to eat what you want, when you want without having to worry about your fat stores going up. Ever so slowly you will lose the fat in your storage, usually at night, while you sleep. When you eat fat during the day it will gradually be introduced into your bloodstream and only when you go for a very long time overnight without eating, usually around twelve hours between dinner and breakfast, you will have lost a minuscule amount of weight. The system stays finely balanced. You will get hungry when there is an actual deficit of available energy, not because your body chemistry is out of whack oscillating all over the place trying to maintain blood sugar.

Every bit of this is described in excruciating detail in the excellent book “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes. To make a long story short, you gain weight not because of how much you do or don’t eat, but because of what you eat, even if you don’t eat much of it. Your body will put fruits into fats, even if you are starving to death. There are other examples like this in the book. Exercise does not cause weight loss, calories do not cause weight gain. It’s just not that simple. Its all in the book and makes perfect scientific sense.

Your doctor won’t tell you any of this. Your doctor will say “lose weight or else” like that idea had never occurred to you. Sure, now that the doctor said lose weight, I will, I was just waiting on orders. If asked, your doctor might say “eat less than you burn”, but that diet idea works two times out of one hundred. Not eating carbs works 99 percent of the time.

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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