A Reflection on Breathing and Its Link to Education

Do you know how fat leaves your body? What does it have to do with Education?

A Reflection on Breathing and Its Link to Education

Do you know how fat leaves your body? One of the most interesting TED Talks I’ve ever watched is The Mathematics of Weight Loss, which has over 10 million views. Please watch it - it is mind-blowing! In it, biochemist Ruben Meerman explains how fat leaves our bodies. The popular notion is that we must burn calories, but it is not how it happens.

The average chemical formula for the human fat cell is C55 H104 O6. When fat combines with the oxygen we breathe, it goes through a biochemical reaction resulting in fat leaving our bodies in the form of CO2 (carbon monoxide) and H2O (water.) It looks like this:


Meerman demonstrated the math of losing weight, concluding that we exhale 84% of fat as CO2, and we excrete 16% of fat as H2O. In other words, if you want to lose 10 pounds of fat, you must lose 8.4lbs of CO2 + 1.6lbs of H2O. We lose more weight by breathing than by sweating. But the secret is not just to breathe harder! You must eat well and exercise to create the right conditions in your body to exhale and excrete fat.

Breathing is such a remarkable ability all humans have. If we walk briskly for one hour, we can exhale fat from our bodies twice as fast. It is through a combination of short and long breaths that a mother gives birth to her child. Learn how to breathe from your mouth only, and you can use scuba dive equipment to experience the underwater world. If you drive to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, CO, at 14,114 feet, you may feel dizzy at first because there is less oxygen to breathe. But when you spend some days at a high altitude, your body will learn to live with less oxygen, and your breathing comes back to normal.

Many believe that meditation is to clear our minds of any thought. But it is truly about paying attention to your breathing. When your mind wanders, all you must do is come back to paying attention to your breathing, and voila, you are meditating! If you practice it twice a day for 15 minutes, you become more creative, patient, loving, eliminate bad habits, embrace good habits, and many other benefits.

Breathing is automatic, but at the same time, we can do amazing things when we deliberately change its pace, cadence, or simply pay attention to it. Regardless of your socioeconomic background, the color of your skin, the country you were born in, the school you went to, or the shape of your body, you breathe because you have lungs. All of us have lungs.

In my book Becoming Einstein’s Teacher, I reach the same conclusion about learning because all of us have a brain. We are learning all the time when we are in automatic mode. You learn to drive through a new neighborhood, the location of a new restaurant, an exciting point of a new book, a new word, a fact from a friend, a habit your child develops, and so on. When we make learning intentional, like the examples above on breathing, we can do remarkable things.

By deliberately breathing, we improve our lives in many ways. By deliberately learning, we break the limitations of living an extraordinary life. Read Becoming Einstein’s Teacher to make learning intentional. You will be surprised at how simple it is. I can’t wait to hear your stories!