After bariatric surgery, you can expect to lose 2-5 pounds per week your first year. While this sounds like an encouraging statistic, you may be wondering, where does all that fat go when you lose it?
The Body You Have
You can’t choose the areas where you lose fat. When the
body loses weight it sheds fat in many places, depending on where that fat was initially distributed throughout the body. What does this mean, exactly? The body you have is the body you will still have after you drop those extra pounds, which is why the concept of “spot-reduction” is a myth in terms of natural weight loss.
If you were born with an
"apple" shape, or one that gains weight on top, you will lose weight from the areas where you gained it but maintain your overall shape. Magazines do little to encourage healthy perceptions of weight loss by photoshopping in spot-reductions on the figures of celebrities and cover models. Your weight loss will produce a smaller body, but one that remains in the shape you’ve always had.
So where does fat actually go?
During weight loss, the cells in your body that once expanded now shrink as your body consumes less energy. Specialized fat cells store the fat we consume in the form of triglycerides so that it will be ready for use when released as per the body’s request.
With the human body carrying between 10 billion and 30 billion fat cells, one can understand why weight loss is generally a gradual process. Obese individuals may carry up to 100 billion fat cells, which have increased due to overeating. During weight loss, those same cells shrink, but the number of cells never reduces, so those who have been heavy must keep close watch on their waistlines to avoid inflating their increased number of fat cells.
What about liposuction?
Liposuction can remove fat cells, but the remaining cells can still enlarge if old habits - overeating, lack of exercise - resume.
What’s the best method for shrinking fat cells?
We’ll nod to traditional methods, such as diet and exercise, as the most effective ways to keep fat cells from growing or increasing.
Don’t give up on toning as a method of body shaping, either. Just because you have the body shape you’ve got does not mean you can’t influence the way your body looks. Weight training to target specific areas on the body can have a substantial effect on how your body looks within the framework on your natural shape. Targeting areas like your shoulders, underarms, and abdominals can help create the lean form you desire when paired with cardio and a great diet that shrinks your fat cells.
Fat doesn’t evaporate into “thin air” when you lose weight. Rather, fat cells shrink, reducing your size within the structure of the shape you were born with. Instead of trying to look like someone else as you lose weight, focus on looking and feeling like your best self. With this approach, you can’t lose!