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35203RE: rest time after thru-hike

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  • straw_marmot
    Sep 28 9:13 PM

      Aside from not having enough room in the pack, it sounds like your planning was good - solid all-round fitness regime beforehand, 3,000 cal would have been fine I think for 10 miles/day for the average female body weight.

      Given your dramatic weight loss, seeing a doctor seems sensible for peace of mind.  But if the doctor doesn't pick up on anything else,  I think just the rapid weight loss while you're beating up your muscles on the trail could explain the long recovery.  But you will bounce back, don't worry!  I've done far worse to my body, smoked for 20 years....

      ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <jotslibrarylist@...> wrote:

      Thank you for that. 
      I thought I was prepared and tried to listen the group's feedback by packing foods that I trail tested previously and liked. My calorie budget was about 3000 cal/day (obviously I did not eat that amount after the second resupply, since I could not carry all 18lbs. of food). I wasn't prepared for my taste preferences to change so drastically on the trail. All the sweet snacks started to taste sickly sweet. AND I LOVE chocolate so I happily put a bar a day in my allowance -- then found I couldn't eat the bars or even look at them. I also had a problem with nausea (elevation?). I have a doctor's appt. in a week, in case there is something else going on.

      But I totally agree -- it's not the time to have a calorie deficit and I did not go in hoping to lose weight.
      I just wanted to finish -- all limbs attached. =)

      It is good to know that recovery can be more immediate if I take better care of myself on the trail. Something I still have to learn, I guess.


      From: "ralphbge@..." <ralphbge@...>
      To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2013 7:43 PM
      Subject: [John Muir Trail] RE: rest time after thru-hike


      From talking to people on the trail, and listening on here, I'm convinced that a lot of misery is caused by people vastly underestimating the amount of food that they need to eat to maintain energy levels.  Most people don't have an adequate hunger response, so the fact that you don't feel hungry does not mean that your body doesn't badly need more calories.  If you're in a calorie deficit of even an ounce of body weight a day (let alone a pound a day, that's insane) then your body is eating itself.   Damaged muscle is not getting repaired adequately because protein is diverted to supply energy.  In this state, most people tire easily, aches and pains are exaggerated, wounds heal slower, even decision-making deteriorates.

      I'm pretty fit, but I'm certainly not an exceptional athlete, and I'm 49.  I finished my JMT in 8 days, without any ill effects, and hiking a fairly normal day.   I found that I could cover 25 miles in 11 hours, giving me a civilized hour of daylight in the morning and evening to eat and make/break camp, and a solid 8-9 hours of sleep.   Now, ok, you need good cardiovascular fitness to cover 25 miles in 11 hours.   But that's not enough - plenty of people can do that fairly easily for one day.  But the main reason it was possible to go at this speed for 8 days (I've never tried it before for so long) was that I found that my digestive system was coping with the 5,000 calories per day that I had to eat to have enough energy to cover this mileage AND RECOVER.   I was basically eating constantly dawn to dusk - every time my heart rate dropped on an easier section of trail, I was snacking on nuts, fruit, energy bars, chocolate.   A lot of that time I really didn't feel hungry, but I knew that I had to keep eating.   I barely lost any weight, around 1lb.

      And post-hike recovery time...  well, got back to Fresno, day and a half in a hotel, and back out on a multi-day hike in Kings Canyon feeling fine.

      Balanced nutrition, sufficient protein, they are all nice --- but if you're in huge calorie deficit, you'll still feel awful and decimate your body.   Just eat, eat, eat.   A huge 200-mile expedition is not the time that anyone should be thinking about losing weight deliberately, although of course as you said it's not always possible to carry enough to maintain weight.   But this really IS a time when you can take food that you enjoy -- I almost never eat chocolate at home, but I was eating half a pound a day on my JMT, and I wish I'd taken more, because it just tastes a whole lot better than energy bars, and just getting calories into your body is the biggest priority.   Just eat, eat, eat.

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