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Breathe to burn: Mathematics of weight loss part 2

Have you ever wondered if there is something more to weight loss than just eating less and moving more? Are you frustrated with your inability to lose weight? Are you unable to maintain your weight loss?

Let me tell you why. It is because there is much more to our weight than just diet and exercise.

Weight is not just a number but rather a reflection of our life. Our weight is not only about how we eat and how we move. It is everything about us. It is about how we think, how we feel, how we sleep and most importantly how we breathe. Yes, our breathing is critical to our metabolism. In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of breathing in weight management.

Most of us are shallow breathers and likely not even using one-third of our lung capacity. You will be surprised to know that our lungs are the organs responsible to help us lose weight. If we start using even half of our total lung capacity we will accelerate our fat metabolism significantly.

Let me explain Fat molecules that are stored in our fat cells are mainly triglycerides. Triglycerides are made up of one molecule of glycerol that binds to three fatty acids. To burn or metabolize these triglycerides( essentially our body fat) for energy use we need oxygen.

As per the scientific research, to burn 10 kilograms (22 lbs.) of fat we need to inhale 29 kg (64 lbs.) of oxygen. And the chemical process of burning that fat produces 28 kg (62 lbs.) of carbon dioxide and 11 kg (24 lbs.) of water.

Simply put, to burn 1 kg of fat our body needs roughly three times the oxygen. And the end process produces 2.8 kg of CO2 ( the gas that we exhale) and 1.1 kg of water. So yes surprisingly we breathe out more than 80% of our fat as the end product of our metabolism- Carbon dioxide.

One other important fact to remember is that in the absence of adequate oxygenation we cannot burn and breathe out fat completely.

Doing regular physical exercise improves our lung capacity and oxygen delivery supply to burn more fat.

But there is one very simple thing we can do to burn more fat. And that is deep breathing. Deep breathing not only provides more oxygen so vital to boost up our metabolism but it has tremendous other benefits as below that indirectly aids in more weight loss.

  • Deep breathing helps to reduce stress hormones which play a big role in weight gain.

  • Deep breathing increases our lung capacity that in turns increases our exercise endurance.

  • Deep breathing also suppresses our hunger and cravings for junk food. Don't believe me? Breathe as deep as you can for five minutes when you are craving junk food. Your cravings will subside significantly after the breathing exercise.


Action plan: Practice five minutes of focused and very deep breathing in the morning and evening. In addition, keep a reminder on your phone to take five deep breaths every hour.

Technique: Deep inhalation ( very deep) - Practicing this every day improves our energy level and endurance as it increases our total lung capacity.

Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Pull the air in thro deep inhalation. It has to be a very deep inhalation where your breathing makes a sound while pulling in the air. You should feel a lower part of your lungs opening up. Initially, you may feel tired even after 10 breaths. Ideally, you should take 30 deep breaths.

After deep inhalation let go of your breath- meaning don't exhale deeply or forcefully but just let the lungs come back to their normal position on their own. Sit quietly for five minutes with your eyes closed after the deep breathing exercise if the time permits.


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