Where Does Body Fat Go When You Lose Weight?

If there’s one place we hear people talking about more than any other, it’s Instagram. On this social media platform, people show off their daily life with posts like “before and after” shots that document their weight loss or gain. With nearly a billion monthly active users, it’s no wonder people go nuts for instagrammable food and fitness trends.

While we love to see people achieve their dream of slimming down, it’s not always a pretty picture. According to scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, as much as 70% of the weight lost by a person who has undergone weight loss surgery will be regained in the long term. While there’s also a temporary setback after surgery, it’s still too early to tell if this trend will hold.

So, if you’re considering weight loss surgery, where does your body fat go when you lose weight? How about your muscles? Let’s take a look.

Where Does Muscular Tissue Go When You Lose Weight?

If you’ve ever had a serious workout session or diet, you’ll know that your body goes through a major reconstruction process as it adapts to the new lifestyle. As your muscles tear and break down during the initial stages of weight loss, they need to be replaced. This is why, even years after your surgery, you will still need to work out and eat healthy foods to maintain your new, thin physique.

At the same time, your skin will flush and tighten as your body adjusts to the new you. The resulting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos you see on social media would suggest that weight loss surgery is a guaranteed way to achieve flawless, Instagrammable skin. However, while there’s no denying that weight loss surgery can boost your confidence and promote social wellbeing, it can also take a heavy toll on your health.

If you’re going through the surgery, your surgeon will first give you a general anaesthetic and put you under for the procedure. During this time, you’ll be unable to feel or move any part of your body. While this might seem like a good idea in theory – giving you a break from your everyday life – the reality is that it can have serious consequences. When you wake up from the procedure, you’ll find your body in a state of readjustment and you might not feel like yourself. Not taking your body’s recovery into consideration could lead to complications.

In some cases, people have reported that their heart and lungs were affected by the general anaesthetic. In general, the longer you go without eating or drinking, the greater the impact the anaesthetic will have. If you’re going through a painful procedure and require strong pain relief, then it’s preferable to have a separate anaesthetist to handle the surgical part.

Where Does Unhealthy Tissue Go When You Lose Weight?

If you’ve managed to restrict your diet and exercise sufficiently and your body has started to lose weight, then the last thing you want to see is a balloon-like figure marching down the street. Your organs will start to shrink and you’ll have to make some major adjustments to your lifestyle to keep your new, slender physique. Your heart might not be able to keep up with the physical demands of exercise training and your lungs will struggle to accommodate faster breathing. In extreme cases, this could lead to organ failure or even death.

If this is going to happen, it’s going to happen regardless of whether you have weight loss surgery or not. The main difference is that, with the surgery, you’ll get to try a new and more active lifestyle first, before your body starts to break down. Even after your surgery, you will still need to manage your nutrition and exercise to avoid complications. While it’s tempting to think that losing weight is all about “giving your body a rest” and “feeling better”, it’s important to remember that your body is not a machine and trying to ‘reset’ it like that could end in disaster.

The Overall Impact

Even if you have the best intentions and your health is not a concern, weight loss surgery is still a major operation and it’s not something to be taken lightly. While it’s great to see people taking more care of their bodies and feeling happier and healthier, the truth is that they’re likely to encounter some complications. These are just some of the things your surgeon will tell you before the procedure and, even after the surgery, you’re going to need to be mindful of your health and aware of the risks that come with weight loss surgery.

If you’re happy to undergo the surgery and are confident that it’s the right choice for you, then great! You’ll be transforming your body for the better and feeling happier and healthier. However, it’s not always straightforward and there are a lot of things you need to think about before you make the final decision. You’ll need to consider your overall health and wellbeing and what’s best for you.