As much effort that has gone into reducing the weight of my gear, I have spent the past week countering these efforts by stuffing myself with holiday food! I’m calling it frontloading. Not surprisingly, thru-hiking is an excellent way to burn calories and loose weight. Estimates put a day’s worth of hiking (about 20 miles for me, depending on the terrain) to be worth about 5000 calories. It’s nearly impossible to find the time to eat that much, let alone carry it. Thus, calorie deficits result.
While not intending to, I lost nearly 10lbs in just 1 month thru-hiking the Colorado Trail this past summer. For me, already being a bit of a twig, that is a lot of weight. I also learned what it is like to have hiker hunger…an insatiable feeling only quelled after at least one full-sized pizza, possibly 2. For weeks after the hike, I thought I must have a tapeworm (named Phil). But finally the hunger subsided and I resumed my normal weight.
The past few weeks, I have been intentionally overeating, with the goal of putting on a few extra pounds as spare weight. I expect I’ll lose it pretty fast once I start hiking again. However, since the TA passes through so many towns on the North Island, I’ve read reports that some people actually gain weight! Regardless, it’s nice to have the excuse to eat a lot of Thanksgiving dinner, especially when we had such a great spread at my family’s get-together.
As a finally measure, I cashed in on a Starbucks reward for a free venti peppermint mocha Frappuccino. It’s like 500 calories!
This morning, I went on probably my last run for 4 months. I run 3 to 4 times a week but I won’t have the time or energy to keep up my schedule when I’m already walking so much everyday. Interestingly, the muscles used for walking and running are quite different and it can be very painful to try to run after training your body to walk long distances. I wonder how hard it will be to run again after taking 4 months off and walking 1900 miles?