Dec 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm #1252706
Companion forum thread to:Dec 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm #1554027
I have been really paying attention to what and how much I eat. Ive also been doing p90x for the past 3 weeks and with the daily exercise and healthy/smarter eating I feel great and am never tired. I haven't been out hiking, but I'm sure next time I go out I will notice a difference.
The owner of my work place had a guy named Chris Johnson come in a give a seminar about "on target living" It covers pretty much everything here and more. Good read if your looking for more info.
ontargetliving dot comDec 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm #1554041
Cutting cals is great if you're an overeater. I lost about 35 lbs this way until my metabolism caught up and started to crawl. It took adding intense exercise (P90X like Andy) to drop another 30 lbs and make sure it was mostly fat. Cutting cals without adding exercise will cost you muscle as well as fat. If you're only worried about a number on the scale, this is fine but if you want to maintain muscle mass, you need exercise.
In my case, I dropped from 211 lbs down to 175 lbs. Adding a little regular exercise got me to 165 lbs and I was very fit cardio wise but I didn't look fit until I did P90X. The first 90 days made a huge difference and then another 90 days made an even bigger difference as far as looks go. I would say that arguably I'm at my fittest now and I also look like it.
Cutting cals is only half the picture.Dec 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm #1554046
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
I can't say I'm impressed with this article. I presume everyone reading it knows the information contained within. Applying it successfully (if you care to) is another matter, which is both more interesting and only tangentially covered here.
More to the point, a question can be asked of loosing weight (much the same question that applies to things like buying cuben fiber): what is the point?
I think the answer to the weight question, be it for gear or yourself, ought to be that you loose it for function and for enjoyment. Loosing either purely for appearances sake is feeding the problem that creates eating disorders, obesity, and disposable packs: our culture cares more about appearance and bragging rights than experience and internal satisfaction.
And I think everyone's lives are the lesser for it.Dec 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm #1554047
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Nice article Jeremy. Sound advice and one I "try" to follow. Liked the calorie breakdownsDec 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm #1554048
I don't know any dudes in real life that are as light as many ultralighters, nor do I know anyone that voted for Bush.Dec 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm #1554051
As someone who use to weight 220lbs and now I'm in the 160's, loosing weight can make a huge diffence in comfort on the trail. The effort I used to dayhike when I was 220lbs seemed far more tiring then when I carried about the same weight as a combined body+backpack. And as the combined weight dropped even farther, backpacking has become even easier.
For me, other then just doing a daily brisk walk for 1.5-2miles, the main reason for the weight loss was strictly diet. I don't mean starvation either. For me, it wasn't a matter of calorie counting but increasing nutrition by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eliminating sugar and processed foods (basically trying to eat how our grandparents did when they were young back when the nation wasn't full of overweight people). I found that some of the cravings I had during the day for snacks diappeared as my body had the nutrients it wanted. The weight just started dropping on its own and I never felt that I was starving.Dec 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm #1554060
"Cutting cals is only half the picture."
And maybe less. There are a few 'gurus' who talk about 'skinny fat people.' You see them all the time.
The mindset should not be losing weight. The mindset should be losing fat. Weight, for the most part, doesn't kill you. Fat does. You can lose a lot of weight and still be 'fat,' meaning, as Chris says, you lose more muscle than fat.
In a slightly different vein, in my opinion (and in the opinion of many health care professionals, actually), some type of anaerobic (such as weightlifting) exercise should be practiced by everyone, women included (and perhaps especially). Lifting weights helps reduce bone density loss, which helps you stay fitter into your later years and reduces the chance of injuries. Elderly folks who were put on a simple weight lifting program showed wonderful improvement in bone density (if I remember correctly).
So, to gather it all together — IMO, your focus should be on losing fat, not weight (muscle actually weighs more than fat). And you should incorporate some type of weight lifting into your exercise routine.
Now, to read the article…… ;-)Dec 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm #1554062
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Thanks Jeremy, Thats the second time you have told me how to loose weight…Hope all is well!
Look at that skinny guy!Dec 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm #1554069
To those who have commented on the value of exercise, I completely agree, and I don't mean to diminish it. I was hoping to convey a one step at a time approach. Get eating under control, then work on exercise, something this article was not meant to cover. Most ultralighers are otherwise active folks, but many still may struggle with some extra lbs, so I wanted to focus the discussion on eating.
Full disclosure on my end. I am a regular runner, avid hiker (even when not backpacking), walk at least a mile every day at lunch, and some days walk 2.25 miles each way to and from the BART station. I also maintain muscle with 1-2 days a week of yoga (in a fairly demanding level 2-3 power yoga class). HOWEVER, I was also extremely active before I changed my diet, but then I weighed about 200 lbs; since diet changes I have been consistently for several years now between 145-150 lbs. So for me, diet was the biggest issue.
Also, FYI, the changes were gradual, it took about 5-7 years of small eating habit changes for the weight to come off and stay off.
And to those who say you shouldn't lose weight for appearance, I couldn't agree more. Strangely enough, for me changing eating habits started with an effort to simplify my life in general by focusing on what mattered and eliminating excess of all kinds. It's the same effort that led me to lightweight backpacking.Dec 15, 2009 at 4:19 pm #1554099
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail.Dec 15, 2009 at 4:27 pm #1554102
For you folks doing or interested in P90x, I recommend checking out crossfit.com. I find the workouts more varied and more challenging. Crossfit uses many of the same exercises, dropping the body builder style moves like curls, and adding more gymnastics and olympic style weight lifting. Plus it's free.
I still can't do the workouts listed on the main page, but the "Start Here" link takes me to the BrandX scaled workouts which anyone can do.Dec 15, 2009 at 4:51 pm #1554115
I don't know David, I'm impressed with the article for a few reasons:
I'm impressed that Jeremy took the time to share some of the things he's learned with the rest of us. It's a short article, so obviously it's not meant to be comprehensive, but it does contain some good info. It doesn't matter if 'everyone reading it' already knows the info, sometimes it takes a small prod to get us doing the things we know we should do.
I'm impressed that he's traveled down this road in the first place. In our gluttonous, obese culture, it's not the easiest thing to do. His story and tips might just be the final push for someone else. Also, writing the article can be a form of reminding yourself why you started the path in the first place, and can help rejuvinate you to the path. That can be important.
I'm impressed that he wrote the article without judging anyone else or writing it in a high-minded way as if his way was the only way. He wrote it in a helpful way from personal experience.
So thanks Jeremy. Thanks for taking the time to share. It's a well written piece, so you obviously spent some time on it.
And, personally, I think the answer to your weight question is that you lose it for whatever reason is meaningful for you. Losing weight for appearance sake doesn't necessarily mean you're headed for eating disorders and such. In fact it can lead to better health and greater self respect. It doesn't matter what the impetus might have been.
I'll certainly agree, though, Dave, that there is a problem with eating disorders, obesity and such. The causes of these terrible problems are, however, quite varied, including some of what you mentioned.
All the best,
DougDec 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm #1554117
"I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail."
Sure, but those are UL cheeseburgers (no lettuce, no mayo, no tomatoes) so they're okay. Could'a used a whole grain bun though…..Dec 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm #1554125
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Ah, just as we're already well into the annual Christmas baking/party routine!
Perhaps a better time to issue this article would have been just before the first Sunday in Advent (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), in which the designated prayer for that Sunday begins with "Stir up, O Lord," the annual signal to start our Christmas baking! (Sorry, standard Lutheran joke!) :-)
My own experience is that when I'm out backpacking I'm not hungry! When I get back home, and no longer need the calories, that's when the appetite kicks in. In other words, I need to keep on exercising right after each trip instead of coming home and relaxing with my feet up and a beer in hand.
Good ideas on cutting back the junk without getting hungry!Dec 15, 2009 at 5:11 pm #1554126
"I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail."
Hmmm, photos can be deceiving but I'm thinking dat's no cheeseburger … dat's a Slider!
Am I mistaken?Dec 15, 2009 at 5:31 pm #1554139
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
And your avatar is an escargot! Just needs a nice garlic sauce!Dec 15, 2009 at 6:07 pm #1554157
@maynard76Locale: New England
"For me, it wasn't a matter of calorie counting but increasing nutrition by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eliminating sugar and processed foods (basically trying to eat how our grandparents did …"
I was a typical male who even though I was exercising and active I still started to get that beer belly as I got to my 30's. I had quit smoking and decided to whip my self into shape and it was obvious to me that it was my diet that was holding me back because I was pretty active. It wasn't until I was introduced to the whole foods movement that every thing made sense, I eat plenty of sat fats, cholesterol, fiber, protien, and fermented foods because theses are what your body needs and they give you energy without making you gain weight. And no they have never been linked to a single disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and weight gain are caused by sugars and refined grains and other junk not from eggs and milk.
I don't believe calorie counting is helpful for losing weight- calorie counts do play a role in whether you will lose or gain weight but the body is far more complex than that. The body is not some simple machine that processes every kind of calorie the same which is the assumption people have when they starve themselves or eat junk -but count the calories.
Example per chart:
orange,carrot,bannana x 4 = 816 cals
3 Candy bars= 810
So, does anyone believe that the meal consisting of fruit and veggies will make you gain more fat? Not a chance!
Also even if its whole grain -which is a good thing- grains will put on the pounds- fat will give you energy without you gaining weight. Your Great grandparents knew this simple fact and we have been brainwashed to think the opposite. Case in point, if you farm and want your animals to gain weight what do you feed them? Across the board for every animal on the farm you would feed them grains! Farmers tried using fat- especially coconut oil ( saturated fat) and it didn't work. The animals just got very active and mated more but didn't gain weight. Thats is why it is perplexing to me that the author has a grain for every meal and then uses lean meat and non fat milk? Maybe if you ate some real meat and real milk you wouldn't need to constantly eat grains to try to satisfy your hunger? And maybe you wouldn't need to torture your self with calorie counting?
I went from 210 lbs to 167, size 36 to 30 waist in a year, Im just shy of a six pack ( its getting there) I have more strength and muscle than before and with the generous amount of nutrition I eat ( not just the USDA's minimum) everything about my health from my skin, hair , nails ,gums is vastly improved. This is from eating real whole food and abstaining form sugars, refined grains, chemical additives and watching the amount of whole grains I eat.
I hope this helps.
edit numbers miss typed.Dec 15, 2009 at 6:23 pm #1554158
Best article I’ve read on BPL in a while.
Truly we squabble about saving a fraction of an ounce on the right piece of gear and happily fork out the extra $$$$”s yet nobody ever thinks about dropping a few pounds of body weight.
RogerDec 15, 2009 at 6:37 pm #1554164
"The body is not some simple machine that processes every kind of calorie the same which is the assumption people have when they starve themselves or eat junk -but count the calories."
This is true, but weight loss does come down to calorie expenditure. You need to consume less calories than you expend to lose weight, it really is that simple. (Though, as I said earlier, losing weight is the wrong goal, losing fat should be the goal, IMO). You can eat only candy bars and lose weight, as long as your caloric intake is less than your caloric expenditure. You probably won't be very healthy, but you can lose weight. And a meal of only fruits and veggies will cause you to gain weight if you eat more, calorically, then you expend.
Now that's not to say that a calorie is a calorie (technically, yes, but…) food has thermic properties that react in your body in different ways. But that's getting a whole lot deeper than I can get in a forum posting.
Anyway, there are a lot of practical ways to lose weight/fat and get healthier. Your's, Brian, is one, but not the only one. There's nothing wrong with eating grains, it won't necessarily make you hungry, and lean meat is a good thing, not a bad thing. There are certainly good fats that should be part of a balanced diet. There are also bad fats which should be avoided and help clog your arteries and such. Just like calories, all fat is not the same. And calorie counting is not torture for some (though it would be for me!).
So, like everything else, there are a lot of different ways to get to the goal. Use the one that works best for you, just do some homework before you engage. There are a lot of fad diets and such that are pretty useless. Some are even harmful.
The mind is a critical factor in all of it. I'll recommend one book that I think can assist anyone who has had trouble in the past sticking to a plan: The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto. Worth checking out.Dec 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm #1554169
Douglas and Roger: Thanks for the positive feedback.
Brian: I completely agree that eliminating processed foods is a big part of the weight solution. I too have had far more energy since I have gone down that road. Despite what the article may imply, I don't count calories. Never have, and probably never will. I put them in to help, I hope, illustrate the point. Writing that part of the article actually took some work for me, because I didn't really know what calories each food had. I try to simply eat whole, unprocessed foods without overeating. Substituting a fruit or vegetable for a packaged snack will benefit your weight whether you count the calories or not. And I agree that we probably eat too much grains (but we also eat too much meat), as compared to fruits and vegetables. And to be clear, I do eat some dairy, just not very much. (Pizza is still occasionally on the menu, as well as the inevitable baked goodies.)
Thanks again for all the comments.Dec 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm #1554170
"Example per chart:
orange,carrot,bannana = 1059 cals
3 Candy bars= 810"
Where are you getting these numbers? The chart above shows:
Banana (medium) 109
Orange (Navel) 64
Carrot (7.5-inch) 31
So yeah if you eat an orange, carrot and banana for 204 cals vs 810 for 3 candy bars you will lose more weight. If you eat 4 oranges, 4 bananas and 4 carrots it's a wash. But I would certainly feel more full on the fruits and veggies and be less likely to eat more. While I think it is true that the quality of the calories plays a role I think its possible to lose weight and eat crap. My thru hiking diet consisted primarily of candy bars, cookies, high fat meats, cheese, and pasta. And I still lost weight. Calories in vs calories out is the simplest explanation and the easiest one to follow. That being said eating reasonable quantities of healthy food has its own rewards like feeling better and being able to do more.
BTW I lost 80 lbs from 235 to 155 over a couple of years through a combination of diet, exercise, and light weight backpacking. This was about 9 yeas ago and how I came to this site. The combination of lightening myself at the same time I lightened my pack accelerated my ability to get out and gave me the feedback I needed to stay with the program.Dec 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm #1554187
@maynard76Locale: New England
lol, it should be 810 vs 816 for 4x orange, carrot,banana.
and no it isn't a wash your body will not store fat from eating those veggies and fruits while it will preferentially store most of the candy bars calories. And while you can lose weight eating crap it can only be done by under eating and not giving your body what it needs. This can be done for a short hike but it not possible for the long term. And I don't know why anyone would want to do that to themselves?Dec 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm #1554224
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
So will BPL start to include body fat and lean body mass in the gear list?!? It will be a switch discussing pounds instead of ounces!Dec 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm #1554238
"and no it isn't a wash your body will not store fat from eating those veggies and fruits while it will preferentially store most of the candy bars calories"
Again I have to disagree. If you eat more calories than your body needs be it from fruits or veggies or high fructose corn syrup you will convert the extra to fat stores. Eat less than what you need and fat stores will be converted to energy and burned. Now you can tweak the equation slightly. It takes energy (calories) to convert carbohydrate from fruits and veggies to fat. It takes energy to break down the thick cell walls of veggies to get at the sugars/carbohydrates they contain. But these variations are easily outweighed by overeating regardless of source.
Obviously 800 cals is less than the normal caloric requirements for most minimally active folks. But multiply it by 5 and eat 20 bananas, oranges and carrots a day for 4000 calories. This is greater than the caloric requirements for most people in the western world. As such they will gain weight in the form of fat on the banana, orange, and carrot diet.
You missed my statement above. The foods I listed were diet staples for 5 1/2 month thru hike. I added small amounts of dried veggies and fruits daily to balance my diet, but the overwhelming bulk of my calories where from fats, simple sugars, and processed starches. But the totals where less than my activity required so I lost weight. I minimized the difference by overeating during my town stops, zero days to rebuild fat stores.
Losing weight is always a process of giving your body less than it needs, i.e. under eating. When this happens the body needs to use its fat stores. If you give your body everything it needs there is no reason to use the fat stores.
The diet writers have always tried to make things complicated in order to sell books. But the tried and true calories in vs calories out continues to be the most accurate in my estimation.
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