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This is where your fat goes when you lose weight

In a world where our physical appearance is seemingly prized over anything else, it's hard not to feel the pressure to fit society's expectation of what is considered "beautiful".

Popular culture, whether it be in the form of television, films or magazines, constantly bombards us with retouched images of flawless human beings. Not only does this make us question our self-worth, but the ideals that they promote are impossible to reach, at least until photoshop becomes a form of virtual reality wherein we can edit our own hips and guts.

What makes this even more difficult, however, is that aesthetic ideals are constantly morphing and shifting. In the past ten years alone, we have seen the "desired" female frame undergo a major shift; after years of models and celebrities sporting the wafer thin, heroin-chic look, celebrities such as Kim Kardashian can be considered at least partially responsible for bringing curves back into vogue.

Supermodels Credit: Getty

Consequently, despite dieting being something that has been practically inbred into our lifestyles, in recent years it has become markedly healthier with the rise of the "wellness" industry.

Now, I'm sure that we have all lost and gained amounts of weight that are not insignificant and it can be a rather surreal experience. It's odd seeing places where you used to hold fat suddenly slim down and take on new nuances, and if you have experienced such a thing, you have probably asked "but where has it all gone?"

Well, the science gods finally have an answer to that age-old question and it might surprise you...

Fat loss Credit: Getty

I don't know about you, but when I lose weight I just imagine my fat cells spontaneously bursting and vanishing into thin air. Others have more technical explanations that revolve around fat being converted into muscle or energy. But as it turns out, we're all wrong. According to physicist Ruben Meerman, MD, "the correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide. It goes into thin air."

Yes, you heard that correctly: we breathe out fat.

Meerman detailed that around 80 per cent of fat is expelled from the body via the lungs, and the remaining 20 per cent is exhumed through urine, sweating, faeces and tears.

Breathing Credit: Getty

If you feel a little ignorant for not knowing this rather basic fact, fear not, even doctors and dieticians have fallen into the trap of believing that fat is converted into muscle, energy or heat.

Head of the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Bimolecular Sciences, professor Andrew Brown stated that "there is surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight loss." In fact, in a study conducted by Brown he discovered that out of 150 doctors and dieticians surveyed, over 50 per cent believed that fat was converted into energy, heat or muscle.

However, we have to refrain from getting too excited, as unfortunately, we can't lose weight just by breathing as fast as we can. Fat loss is a metabolic process, so that has to come first through some good old fashioned healthy eating and exercising. And then yes, you will breathe out all the fat that you've lost... bizarre, right?