Our bodies convert the molecules within fat cells to usable forms of energy, thus shrinking the cells. This doesn’t isn’t just granted with gym attendance. Yes, weight loss is a result of calories burned and calories are a measurement of energy in foods in the form of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Essentially, if our bodies were automobiles, energy would be the fuel that enables the vehicle to run. Leisurely watching television can be compared to driving through a school zone. On the other hand, a 200 meter dash is equivalent to drag racing. More energy allows functional work. Your body uses calories to digest food and the remainder are converted into energy or stored in fat cells. Fat cells are in adipose tissue which acts as the internal gas station, storing fuel reserves. To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume in order to revert to usage of the ‘fuel reserve’.
The Process of Fat Burning
Fat cells grow, they don’t just develop. In accordance with the Law of Conservation of Mass, matter is not created nor destroyed, but it alters its form by chemical reaction. This means that while we lose body mass when we burn fat, it does not just disappear. It does, however, change form, not unlike water changing to steam.
The first fuel source our body turns to when we eat, is glucose from carbohydrates. The liver stores glucose as glycogen and releases it into the bloodstream when needed as the demand for stamina (energy) presents itself. It’s on an ‘as needed’ basis. Once glucose storage is depleted, your body turns to fat. Converting energy from fat is known as ketosis. This all happens through a process where hormones regulating our blood sugar levels enable an enzyme to become active in fat tissue blood vessels which is known as lipase. The lipase activates fat cells making them release macromolecules known as triglycerides, which is the makeup of a fat cell. Triglycerides are a combination of three fatty acid chains plus glycerol. When lipase signals the triglyceride to exit the fat cell, the triglycerides break up into their single fatty acid chains to enter the bloodstream and be utilized. The liver utilizes the glycerol as energy and some of the fatty acids then move to muscles to be used as energy there.
Lipolysis is the act of triglycerides being broken down into usable energy. Triglycerides enter the cell and target the power source (mitochondria, liver cells, muscle). The components of the glycerol and fatty acids are jostled around capture energy potential, creating heat, carbon dioxide, water, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP carries the potential energy in its molecular structure to be used when we expend energy. The water leaves our body in the form of sweat and urine while we exhale the carbon dioxide.
Skin After Weight Loss
The fat tissue shrinks and you are left with excess skin. When moderate weight loss occurs, the skin’s elasticity acclimates to the body’s new size. The protein known as collagen is responsible for this but it is only so durable. Growth spurts and extreme weight gain kink collagen production in skin resulting in stretch marks also known as striations. Striations occur most often with adolescents going through puberty and with pregnancies.
When extreme weight loss occurs, you have folds of skin left because it was stretched beyond its elasticity so it hangs like any worn out thing. The only thing to remedy this is corrective surgery. It’s not completely cosmetic contrary to what one might believe. Leftover skin can not only irritate but can lead to rash, infection, and back issues. It can be a highly invasive procedure to be spread out over the course of months costing upwards of $100,000.