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The holidays are always enjoyable—time to spend with friends and family, catch up on your favorite shows, and most importantly, eat to your heart’s content. The New Year rolls in, and so do ambitious resolutions. I will fit into those jeans I finally received, I will eat out once every two months, I will not eat fried food, I will lose ten pounds, I will go to the gym four times a week, etc. One of the most common resolutions is heading to the gym. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, twelve percent of gym members join in January. And then twenty four weeks later, they are gone.
There are sixty- six percent in America who are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are all familiar with the term calorie; many people dictate whether foods are healthy or not by just looking at the number of calories. However, calories are defined as the measure of potential energy in food eaten in the form of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. To lose weight, you have to consume less and exercise more to burn calories. So what happens in our body when we lose weight?
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Carbohydrates serve as the number one energy source in our body. Fats serve as the number two energy source, and they provide insulation and protection to our bodies. Glucose, a monosaccharide, is stored as glycogen in the liver. The liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream whenever deemed necessary. Fat replaces the glucose when it runs out. Lipase, an enzyme located in the blood vessels of fat tissue, becomes activated by hormones that regulate our blood sugar levels. Lipase initiates the release of triglycerides—described as what make fat cells, fat. Triglycerides consist of glycerol and three fatty acid chains. Lipase tells triglycerides to exit the fat cells, so they move into the bloodstream. The liver, then, takes the glycerol portion of triglycerides and utilizes it for energy. The remaining three fatty acids are moved to muscle cells. This process, the breaking down of triglycerides, is called lipolysis. When the glycerol and fatty acids move to the mitochondria, or the powerhouse of the cell, they are eventually generated into adenosine triphosphate, ATP. So, while we are at the gym exercising, ATP is giving us energy to finish that last mile, or to complete that last sun salutation.
After lipolysis and the formation of ATP, the fat cells do not contain fat so they get smaller. When people lose a massive amount of weight, their skin sags, right? This is because collagen, a protein, gives our skin the elasticity to fit to our body’s new size. However, losing heaps of weight scatters the production of collagen and this causes the excess skin to simply hang.
It is crucial to keep healthy—whether that means utilizing a gym membership, or walking ten minutes a day. There are so many diseases that we are susceptible to if we do not care for our bodies. We should all find the motivation to incorporate physical activity into our lives. Also, it is vital to keep a balanced diet and to consume enough nutrients. Learn more about nutrition and fitness here!