Jul 16, 2013 at 5:34 am #1305441
Why do I gain ~2-3 lbs after an extended day hike?
I weigh 242 lbs. I have lost 17 lbs in the last few months at about 1.5-2lbs/week and I have another 50 to go. I find that after a 10+ mile day hike on the weekend I typically gain 2-3 lbs that I eventually lose over the next week, but when I hike every weekend, I'm not losing that weight + the 2lbs that I used to.
On Saturday I hiked for 8.5 hours in the New England humidity and burned >5000 calories according to my polar HRM. I sweat profusely. I drank 4 liters of water, ate a sandwich and three granola bars + a Subway buffalo chicken sandwich + Coke on the way home. My diet since then has been under my caloric allotment for the day (typically consuming about 1600, allotted 1920). Sunday I was up 1 lb, Monday I was up by 3 lbs total, and on the third morning since the hike I'm still up by 2 lbs total. I'm slightly dehydrated and know that will cause some weight retention.
What causes this retention when the calorie burns are significantly greater than intake? Is it all due to water retention/stool retention?
Is there something I could/should be doing differently?Jul 16, 2013 at 5:59 am #2006589
Water and poo retention. You can never trust your weight until it has settled a couple of days later.Jul 16, 2013 at 6:33 am #2006597
happens to me every time also.
I just view it as a normal part of the process (hope its normal).
like Greg said, don't weigh yourself till several days afterwards.Jul 16, 2013 at 6:43 am #2006601
I eat a lot more when I get back. I eat less if I have to carry my food.
Congrats on losing the weight and good luck on the rest, it's so difficultJul 16, 2013 at 6:57 am #2006607
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
Most normal backpacking food is chock full of sodium. As malto said, lots of water retention. If you have the typical burger, beer and fries type meal post-hike, that is also usually high in sodium.
I find if I weigh myself on Wednesday post-backpacking weeekend. I am a lb less than say Friday.Jul 16, 2013 at 6:58 am #2006608
" I eat less if I have to carry my food."
LOL. That's funny. I too notice a direct correlation!
It would seem that the body couldn't operate at such a caloric deficit over time without it showing up more rapidly on the scale.Jul 16, 2013 at 7:56 am #2006626
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
You need to pay attention to the sugar, sodium and fat content, maximize the fiber and go for more complex carbs. Just looking at calories is a weak measure of your food intake.Jul 16, 2013 at 7:58 am #2006627
"It would seem that the body couldn't operate at such a caloric deficit over time without it showing up more rapidly on the scale."
Or, the opposite, we normally eat way more than necesary – food is too plentiful – but I enjoy it : )Jul 16, 2013 at 8:56 am #2006660
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Congrats on all you've accomplished so far!
Long-term, more exercise plus a calorie deficit and you will get there. Use an app to track calories and exercise – it makes it like a video game – if you're honest and tweak your behavior for a better "score", it really helps you be conscious about each choice.
Short term, food can pile up in your gut and bowels.
Short term, you can retain water due to salt, dehydration, or altitude ( I gain 3-4 pounds at 8,000 feet hiking or from taking 6 jet flights in 2 days. It takes me two days to pee it away. I notice the first day or two out I almost don't pee. Back home, I pee and pee.
If you are exercising, you are burning fat but putting on muscle. A pound of fat represents more calories than a pound of muscles. So calorie-neutral eating while exercising at a higher level and you will weigh more (but look better) as you lose fat and get toned up. Your strength to weight will improve greatly. Maintain that exercise, and later the weight will come off as you lose more fat. Also, your performance on the trail will skyrocket – you've essentially been training with a heavy-weight pack on at all times, but over the next months you'll lose that excess weight. A 10-20 pound pack will seem trivial in comparison.
Don't weigh yourself every day (and fret about being a pound up or down). Weigh yourself once a week. Track food and exercise all day each day. And trust that "conservation of energy" works – fewer calories over time and you'll lose weight.Jul 16, 2013 at 9:32 am #2006672
Eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes
less sugar, white flour, white rice, and potatoes – spike insulin, then plunges making you eat moreJul 16, 2013 at 9:57 am #2006682
@fluffinreach-comLocale: no. california
also, not only water retention from salt and bad things. but, as you get stronger, and the fat goes away, it is replaced by muscle (very heavy).
as you get more cardio, and make enough horsepower to hurt yourself, your body will build more and more muscle (to a point), and thusly it may "seem' that you are "not loosing weight". but you are. sort of. you are losing fat.
xhitcan the coke. it's ALL bad.Jul 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm #2006890
Thanks for all the encouragement.
I gained about 30 lbs after tearing my ACL and during the early part of recovery. I've been slowly improving, logging calories in LoseIt and exercise using PolarPersonalFitness (what an awful web utility!).
If the weight loss is essentially water/stool retention, is there a way to remain neutral during/after the hike through a combination of drinking more and finding an electrolyte balance? I've been reading through a number of old threads here regarding electrolytes and it sounds like the theory is all over the map and you just might need a Ph.D. to unravel it….
How do you balance carb intake with energy expenditure? In early days I knew I needed carbs so I ate a LOT of high-carb trail snacks–and legitimately gained weight each hike that didn't come off. Ideally I'd like to consume few calories so as to burn as much fat as possible without bonking. Is there some way to calculate the minimum calorie threshold (obviously tempered by the actual energy level on the trail)?Jul 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm #2006899
Two subjects related to hiking that I know a bit about. Electrolytes mixes usually contain sodium so that will not minimize your post hike yo yo. As far a weight lose. I can dial in a pound of body fat lose per day of hiking. Granted that will be a 30 + mile day but the concept is this. Eat only the carbs that your body needs for energy and minimize the fat intake. What? Sounds counter to every gram weenie approach to BPing food. Here's the theory. Your body can provide a lot of energy from stored body fat. Utilize this to the max. Intake carbs to keep your glycogen level from "hitting the wall". After doing this for a couple of years I have this dialed in very accurately. It will take you a while to find the right balance. Also, as your fitness improves you will find that your body becomes more efficient at burning fat and you will likely need fewer eaten calories to hike a given distance. Again, you will learn the signs. At this point I eat 100 calories of very high carb food per mile, about 300 per hour. I would reco starting with maybe 80 per mile. If you are doing shorter days then try to eat your normal daily intake but just shift it to high carb. Try it and see what happens. This assumes of corse that you don't have health issues that would make this a bad idea. Also, there is one downside that would need to be managed. I have found that I go into food feast mode on my return and it takes some effort to not undo the gain from the weekend.Jul 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm #2006917
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I can vouch for Malto's approach working because I witnessed a friend (a very fit dog-mushing, soccer-player 40-year-old) before and after the Iditarod sled dog race. Going, going, going for 16-18 hours a day (the dogs rest half the time, but not the musher), and he eating a ton but burning even more calories. He lost three belt notches in 16 days and you wouldn't have thought he had anything to lose. Despite brownies and pizza and hot meals whenever he could, he clearly was burning off (and living off of) body fat.
If there'd been a grocery store on every corner for the last 200,000 years, we wouldn't have evolved to store body fat. But there used to be lean times and fat was the fuel in the tank to get through it.Jul 20, 2013 at 9:08 pm #2007951
Malto, could you give some examples of what you would eat on a typical hike day? I'm having some trouble visualizing what sorts of snacks would be 1) easy to carry 2) low in fat, high in carbs. Nuts clearly would be out. Simple carbohydrates or complex? I have to eat gluten free, dairy free as well.Jul 21, 2013 at 5:36 am #2007993
"Malto", as in maltodexterin.Jul 21, 2013 at 11:33 am #2008061
When I look up maltodextrin, it's described as a thickening food additive that is flavorless, and has basically zero calories, vitamins, or other nutrients. It's used to bulk up food and improve texture. It's described as 4 calories per gram, and easily broken down to energy. But that doesn't sound like much of a calorie source. It also sounds like GI distress in the making, although the ultimate in "low residue".
That and only that? nothing with fiber?Jul 21, 2013 at 11:39 am #2008066
Like lots of other carbohydrates, it has about 100 calories per ounce. I would not call that zero.
It is sort of like sugar, except it is slower-burning.
I use maltodextrin as an energy additive to lots of other recipes.
–B.G.–Jul 21, 2013 at 11:41 am #2008068
Read Here, and remember that you are reading information put together by a marketing company. It's good info, just a bit slanted.
No fiber, no protein, no fat. Does not sustain life.
But in powder form – Perpetum is a light weight way to carry a lot of calories, plus some protein, a few electrolytes, and other stuff.
"Malto" buys 50# bags of the base and mixes his own. And he eats "real" food as well.
Some UltraCyclists use malto exclusively for coast-to-coast racing.
It's not for everybody, but if you are a competitive distance person, it has a place.
Personally, I like Lays potato chips (repackaged from a can) and Chex Party Mix. Add 4 or 5 PowerBar "Harvest Energy Bar", or ProBars, and it is easy to eat 1800-2000 calories while on the trail. Then use dinner, a 2 AM snack, and breakfast to round out calories, protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, etc.Jul 21, 2013 at 11:55 am #2008082
"Personally, I like Lays potato chips (repackaged from a can) and Chex Party Mix."
I make Chex Party Mix according to the standard recipe, except that when I am heating the soy sauce, I spoon in some maltodextrin just to boost the calories.
–B.G.–Jul 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm #2008086
"I have to eat gluten free, dairy free as well."
How do you feel about peanut butter?
I have a recipe for quinoa cookies that have a substantial amount of peanut butter, plus I add some maltodextrin. Gluten free, dairy free.
–B.G.–Jul 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm #2008101
@bookLocale: Northern California
I read a study about muscle recovery which concluded that maltodextrin was good for that.Jul 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm #2009197
Lay it on me, Bob! I don't mind quinoa, and I add some quinoa cereal to my oatmeal recipe for an added protein boost. Always happy to have a new recipe, too!Jul 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm #2009201
This is the recipe that appears on the package of Ancient Harvest brand Quinoa Flakes. I've used it quite a few times. Note that these are flakes, not the normal form of quinoa, and the flakes are necessary for the texture to be right.
Finding this particular package was tricky. Some Whole Foods stores stock it sometimes.
–B.G.–Jul 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm #2011222
I'll definitely have to give those a try. I don't remember what brand of Quinoa flakes I have, it might be Ancient Harvest. So, these hold up well on the trail, and you eat them instead of your usual energy bar?
I vacillate between eating Zing! and Kind bars for snacks (stop and snack), and having homemade dehydrated bananas, nuts, and jerky in my hip belt pouches and munching as I go. Probably no difference in terms of weight management.
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