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The "big 1" of hiking lighter - weight loss

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  • John Ladd
    There s a lot of discussion on various hiking boards on how to reduce weight of the big three (backpack, shelter, sleep system). People make all sorts of
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 1, 2012
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      There's a lot of discussion on various hiking boards on how to reduce weight of the "big three" (backpack, shelter, sleep system).  People make all sorts of sacrifices to shave 5-15 lbs on these three.

      Since it is New Years resolution time, I'd like to suggest that, before making major gear changes, you think first about the "big one" (your personal bodyweight). I hardly ever see this discussed in hiking groups online, maybe because it can sound way too preachy. Since changes here take time, I suggest you start thinking about it now. 

      Here's why:

      The US Army's research in the physiology of humping loads (Google "Pandolf Equation" for the details) has found that personal bodyweight has equivalent impact as packweight on the energy needed per hour of hiking.  (This assumes a pack that carries loads efficiently.) So a 200 lb hiker who loses 10% of his bodyweight has the made the same progress as one who reduces his packweight by 20 lbs. 

      Plus, if you weigh 180 rather than 200, you body will need to fewer calories, so you need to carry less food and your pack will also be lighter even with the same gear choices.

      My basal metabolism (calories need to stay in bed for 24 hours) at 180 lbs is 1653.  If I were still 200, it would be 1778 (125 more calories per day).  At an average of 100 calories per oz., that means I need carry 1.25 fewer ounces of food per day.


      Plus, as a potentially bigger factor, your body starts using calories more efficiently after a diet.  A 180 lb man who reached that weight after years at 200 will burn about 10-20% fewer calories per day than one who has always weighed about 180.  (One of the reasons why it is so hard to maintain a weight loss)


      These two factors combined should reduce your daily calorie needs by about 25%.  Therefore, a person who needed to carry 2 lbs of food per day should be able to get by fine with 1.5 lbs of food per day after a 20 lb weight loss. 

      I also found that backpacking is a huge motivator not just to lose the weight, but to keep it off.  I was always good at losing weight, but not good at keeping it off.  But now that I get out with a pack several times per year, I find I now have the added motivation I needed to keep it off. (I'm now 175 and came down in stages over multiple hiking seasons from 225).

      Caveat: I know that many of our members are already quite slim and I don't want to encourage anyone to go all anorexic.  Losing muscle is not a good plan.  And I know that people tend to come to a personal "set weight" which can be devilishly hard to change.  But if you have a JMT thru-hike planned for this summer, your diet motivation should be quite high.  So, if you can, go for it.  You will hike more happily and may save a lot of money on new gear.  (For example, to save 2 ounces, lots of people buy the JetBooil Sol Titanium for $150 rather than the 2-oz heavier non-titanium version for $120, which works out to $240 per lb. saved.  So you could think of a 20 lb weight loss as worth $4,800 in gear.)

      PS: If you want to play around with the Army's Pandolf equation, see the Excel spreadsheet version of it in our files area:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/files/Science%20of%20backpacking/

      For me, my Pandolf calculated calorie burn rate at 175 lb and a 50 lb pack is 302 calories per hour.  If I dropped my packweight by 20 but but weighed 195, my calculated calorie burn rate would be 304 per hiking hour.  (Personal experience with calorie counting and weight change while hiking suggests that both figures are an over-estimate for me, probably because of my age.  Us old guys use calories more efficiently than the young guys underlying the army research.)

      PPS: My personal New Year resolution.  The holidays got my weight up to 178.  I want to be 170 by the time I do Ned Tibbits snow course in mid-February and 165 by the time I head in to Bodie in mid-March.

      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279
    • charliepolecat
      And there I was about to enjoy another slice of that double fudge chocolate cake. Well John, you ve gone and ruined that lovely moment, I hope you are
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 1, 2012
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        And there I was about to enjoy another slice of that double fudge chocolate cake. Well John, you've gone and ruined that lovely moment, I hope you are satisfied now.;-)
      • Jgoring1
        Hmm. So I should schedule an even MORE ambitious hike after the JMT next time. Lost about seventeen pounds on it last August! My math came to about 5$ per
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 1, 2012
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          Hmm.   So I should schedule an even MORE ambitious hike after the JMT next time.  Lost about seventeen pounds on it last August!  My math came to about 5$ per ounce.  Pack and bag were costly.  Much of the rest was just a matter of leaving it home. 

          But good points.  I have some fitness nut case cyclist friends who love pointing out the guy with the $5000 bike who's saved 5 lbd, and clearly could loose five times as much from 'personal accessories'. 

          Alas.  My 17 lbs has mostly found its way back from the mountains.  It's a miracle!

          Sent from my iPhone

          On Jan 1, 2012, at 11:35 AM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:

           

          There's a lot of discussion on various hiking boards on how to reduce weight of the "big three" (backpack, shelter, sleep system).  People make all sorts of sacrifices to shave 5-15 lbs on these three.

          Since it is New Years resolution time, I'd like to suggest that, before making major gear changes, you think first about the "big one" (your personal bodyweight). I hardly ever see this discussed in hiking groups online, maybe because it can sound way too preachy. Since changes here take time, I suggest you start thinking about it now. 



        • John Ladd
          ... Also my experience that weight lost *on* the trail is usually regained afterward. Weight lost before a hike has a chance of staying off if you get to like
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 1, 2012
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            On Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 4:28 PM, Jgoring1 <jgoring1@...> wrote:
            ...
            Alas.  My 17 lbs has mostly found its way back from the mountains.  It's a miracle!


            Also my experience that weight lost on the trail is usually regained afterward.  Weight lost before a hike has a chance of staying off if you get to like the feeling of hiking lighter without a lot of gear compromises.
          • Roleigh Martin
            Excellent thread to start, John. It s been my number one focus for 2 months now. After years of trying different diets I finally figured out how easiest to
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 1, 2012
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              Excellent thread to start, John.  It's been my number one focus for 2 months now.  After years of trying different diets I finally figured out how easiest to take off the weight and maintain that weight loss, and in the process optimize my chances for living a couple of extra decades.  Do a Wikipedia search on "Intermittent Fasting".  I find it far more easier to do intermittent fasting than caloric reduction and study after study shows Intermittent Fasting to be far more satisfying and easier to perpetuate than caloric reduction, as well as it being less stressful and more inclined to live longer.

              In just two months I have lost 20 pounds.  My goal before I do the JMT in 2012 is to get down to 15% body fat (a man's goal is 15%, a woman's goal 22% on the Zone Diet). 

              Here are my favorite links (they show up on my Google  Profile too):


              I like to think as packing weight is really muscle/skeleton-out weight not "skin-out weight".  Basically it is your muscle and skeleton that is carrying all the weight of everything else in your body plus what's on the outside of your body (your pack). 

              The Eat-Stop-Eat book is the one most scientifically interesting about the diet, a few quotes:

              "A very impressive volume of published peer reviewed scientific studies, short-term
              intermittent fasting has been shown to have the following health benefits:

              • Decreased body fat & body weight
              • Maintenance of skeletal muscle mass
              • Decreased blood glucose levels
              • Decreased insulin levels & increased insulin sensitivity
              • Increased lipolysis & fat oxidation
              • Increased Uncoupling Protein 3 mRNA
              • Increased norepinephrine & epinephrine levels
              • Increased Glucagon levels
              • Increased growth hormone levels
              • Decreased food related stress
              • Decreased chronic systemic Inflammation

              Quite a list I’m sure you will agree. What is even more amazing is that many of the
              benefits were found after as little as 24 hours of fasting!"
               (page 61)

              The book then goes into depth on each of these bullets.

              Of great interest is the detail on "increased growth hormone levels":

              Research has shown that short-term fasting can increase growth hormone levels by
              nearly six fold 25, 76, 77.
              ...
              Fasting triggers the “growth hormone response” and this response is what prevents
              you from losing muscle while you fast81,82. In fact, research has shown that when
              people fast and do not have any growth hormone (it’s release was ‘blocked’ in the
              study) there is an increase in protein loss by about 50%!83 Further evidence that
              Growth hormone is an incredibly important part of the fasting process.

              Another point to consider is that growth hormone is the only anabolic hormone that is
              actually increased by fasting. And, since your muscle is largely responsible for your
              metabolism, growth hormone also plays a large part in keeping your metabolism
              elevated while you are fasting.84

              Growth hormone also plays an important role in maintaining healthy blood glucose
              levels while you are fasting. By increasing the amount of fat you’re burning as a fuel,
              it reduces the need to use glucose as a fuel source. This is important for two reasons:
              It keeps your blood glucose levels stable, and it is also part of the reason why you do
              not lose muscle mass while you fast (remember the ‘feast famine cycle’ we talked
              about earlier). By lowering the amount of glucose that is needed by your body, it
              prevents your body from ‘breaking down’ your skeletal muscles in order to ‘make’ new
              glucose85.

              Not only does growth hormone prevent you from losing muscle while you fast, it is
              also vitally important in the process of releasing your stored fat so it can be burned for
              energy. It is easy to think of this as a sort of cyclical relationship: Eating prevents the
              release of Growth Hormone, while fasting promotes the release of Growth Hormone.
                         ...
              Growth hormone is also tied to the aging process. Beginning in early adulthood, GH
              declines at a slow steady rate leading to GH deficiency in some older populations8889.
              These declining levels of GH have been correlated with weight you gain in older age,
              reduced insulin sensitivity and even muscle loss90.
              ...
              Another interesting fact about GH is that you need to be fasting, not just dieting, to
              get its full effect.
              ...
              Even more interesting is that adding exercise into your weight loss program seems to
              increase GH levels more than just a diet alone92.
              ...
              The key to growth hormone isn’t to have as much as possible, since too much or too
              little of any hormone in your body can have negative effects. Instead, by fasting you
              can ‘reset’ the balance between insulin and growth hormone.

              The book demolishes all the typical myths people have about the harm of fasting (and
              difficulty of fasting).  We're only talking short periodic 24 hour fasts, nothing more here. 
              Variations of the Intermittent Fasting diets alter it to either 18 or 19 hour intervals.  The Fast-5
              diet has you eating every day but only in a 5 hour period. 

              Many people who write about the Paleolithic diet advise doing intermittent fasting, and their reasoning
              is that in our genes, our genetic ancestors did not hunt and eat three meals a day but more likely
              limited meals to once a day.  Nuclear analyses of ancestral bones shows ancestral man predominantly
              ate large game and it's a lot of work to hunt, gut and eat large game.  It's not something that they
              would have done three times a day.  It was to our species benefit to evolve in such a way to have more
              energy during a fasting period than less so that we could hunt successfully during the fasting period.

              A great JMT related blog  posting on intermittent fasting is that of a faster who did the entire hike from
              Whitney Portal to the summit of Mt. Whitney and back all the way to the portal on  nothing but air and
              water.  No food during the entire hike. 

              http://www.gnolls.org/2443/occasional-insanity-outperforms-daily-misery-day-hiking-mt-whitney-fasted/

              The free book, Fast-5 at the Fast-5.com web site explains how during a fast, you will not be hungry as
              long as you avoid any calories.  There is a hunger hormone that is only triggered if you start eating
              something, but avoiding all calories does not trigger that hunger hormone.  After having done two
              months of periodic fasting, I can state this as the full truth.  There is also a starvation type hunger but
              that takes more than one day of fasting for that to trigger.  I find my limit to fasting comfortably to be 30
              hours but more and more I have limited my fasts to 24 hours and just before I go to bed, I use my
              Vitamix Blender to make up a 64 oz green smoothie shake, fat-free, that is only about 200 calories
              full of organic greens, organic carrot, a half of a banana, and grass-fed organic whey protein from
              http://www.energyfirst.com.  By the way, the CEO of Energyfirst is an amazing guy, he did the JMT
              last year in 7 days hiking it with Andrew Skurka.  His facebook page is here showing that hike:

              https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.286937931317343.79004.261359140541889&type=3


              -------------------------------------------------
              Visit Roleigh's Google Profile
              _




              On Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
               

              There's a lot of discussion on various hiking boards on how to reduce weight of the "big three" (backpack, shelter, sleep system).  People make all sorts of sacrifices to shave 5-15 lbs on these three.

              Since it is New Years resolution time, I'd like to suggest that, before making major gear changes, you think first about the "big one" (your personal bodyweight). I hardly ever see this discussed in hiking groups online, maybe because it can sound way too preachy. Since changes here take time, I suggest you start thinking about it now. 


            • JamesB
              ... There is a certain amount of negativity and despair in the Tara Parker Pope article on maintaining weight loss. She makes is sound that nearly heroic
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                >

                >
                > Plus, as a potentially bigger factor, your body starts using calories more
                > efficiently after a diet. A 180 lb man who reached that weight after years
                > at 200 will burn about 10-20% fewer calories per day than one who has
                > always weighed about 180. (One of the reasons why it is so hard to
                > maintain a weight loss)
                >
                > See
                > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?ref=health
                >

                There is a certain amount of negativity and despair in the Tara Parker Pope article on maintaining weight loss. She makes is sound that nearly heroic effort is needed to lose weight and maintain the reduced weight.

                However, there are many who report that they attained weight loss quite easily, and have kept it off without heroic effort. Diets and religion are similar in that a great deal of belief is fundamental to both.

                For those looking for a positive attitude and experience with weight loss, in 2004 I was (at 5'6" tall) 245 lbs, and before the year was out I was at 175 lbs, and it was easy to do. This morning I was 169.5 pounds. At 245 lbs, I didn't backpack, but I do at 169.5 pounds at age 71. I do admit that I can't do 20 mile days.

                Another article on easy weight loss, after many failed attempts, is at http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2012/01/01/happier-new-year/ in the article "Happier New Year".

                How you do it is important to your success at losing the weight and at keeping it off. There is some good science to dieting, but most of the diet literature is ..........

                ,
              • skundell
                John, Loved your post. I opened the spread sheet and my wife said, Yes, there are other nerds like you out there . I myself hiked the jmt with a synchpack, an
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                  John, Loved your post. I opened the spread sheet and my wife said, "Yes, there are other nerds like you out there". I myself hiked the jmt with a synchpack, an extra 2 pounds in front, and would not give it up for the world. The benefit in balance for a 60 yr + hiker is significant. bottom line, I would gladly drop 5 pounds to hang on to my 2 extra pounds, and be ahead in the end.

                  Do you mind if I quote your entry on other blogs?
                  Stephen, JMT sobo 2009
                • Herb
                  In 2010 I lost about 30 pounds and been able to keep it off. My inspiration came from a couple books-- Food Rules by Michael Pollan
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                    In 2010 I lost about 30 pounds and been able to keep it off. My inspiration came from a couple books--"Food Rules" by Michael Pollan http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating , (also his book "In Defense of Food"), and "Skinny Bastard" by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin, http://www.skinnybastard.net/praise.php

                    Polan's "In Defense of Food" has more detail and scientific references than "Food Rules", the latter of which is a shorthand checklist of ways to think about and select the food you eat. "Skinny Bastard" is a fun read, but its bent is toward a vegetarian diet. Nevertheless, the authors cite plenty of research to support their recommendations.

                    All of these books offer scathing criticism of the food industry in America, and the negative effects of processed foods on our bodies. Among other things, you will never touch an artificial sweetener again.

                    But the main point of these books is to eat unprocessed foods, organic if possible, and reduce portion size. One of the best tips: decide how much you should eat BEFORE you start eating, fill your plate accordingly, and do not take seconds. By allowing yourself a second (or third) helping you do not appreciate how much your are consuming because you don't see it all at once. Fill your plate with the notion that this is exactly how much I will eat and no more.

                    Ultimately the rules and advice are just common sense. Here is a cut-and-paste of Polan's 7 rules as found on the site noted above:

                    1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
                    2. Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
                    3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
                    4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
                    5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
                    6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
                    7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

                    Herb

                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Excellent thread to start, John. It's been my number one focus for 2
                    > months now. After years of trying different diets I finally figured out
                    > how easiest to take off the weight and maintain that weight loss, and in
                    > the process optimize my chances for living a couple of extra decades.
                  • Roleigh Martin
                    Herb, I love the Pollan books and I too super recommend them. My youngest son turned me onto both of them. (They are available in unabridged audiobook format
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                      Herb,

                      I love the Pollan books and I too super recommend them.  My youngest son turned me onto both of them.  (They are available in unabridged audiobook format and you can then walk and listen to them).

                      As for the artificial sweeteners, you might want to consider an exception for Stevia for the reasons listed on this page:

                      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/stevia/#axzz1iKHoK2SB

                      I agree that all the other artificial sweeteners are out -- they chemically cause your body to crave the sugar you fooled your body into thinking you took (the chemical equivalent in sugar for the artificial sweeteners you consumed).

                      Even if you are not obese, you still might want to consider the life longevity and the hormonal benefit to health from intermittent fasting.  Many of the  published proponents of intermittent fasting are in world class shape to begin with.  Also the amount of money you'll save in food might pay for some of your gear too!0

                      Another good book on portion control is Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think .  In our file library I uploaded links to where to get miniature zip lock bags for packaging items you often buy in bulk (nuts, dried fruit are the two main ones).  This book explains the importance of using small packaging, dark containers, etc., to control how much you eat when you snack.  The books tips on how to be a good host at a super bowl TV party is cool.

                      Tiny Ziploc-style Bags for Packing some of your food items.
                      Useful Items for packaging and storing your food items before you ship them in bulk to your JMT Supply Spots
                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/message/15085

                      If any of you are thinking going vegan is the answer due to having seen the move, Forks over Knifes, then you have to read this movie review by one of the best health bloggers out there.  Denise Minger calls herself a recovering vegan but she appreciates the goodness she got from it and she writes about what is common between Paleolithic Diet and Vegan supporters.  Best of all she writes fantastically well and often with great charm and wit.

                      Forks over Knives - Best Critique

                      I also recommend Dr. Michael Eades, M.D. on his scientific review of the case for being an omnivore (using Michael Pollan's book term).  This review of the use of nuclear analyses of ancestral bones shows convincingly that ancient mankind for hundreds of thousands of years and the genetic like ancestors preceeding homo sapiens for millions of years were predominantly large game eaters and hence would have concentrated their eating moreso around the capture of such large game, meaning intermittent fasting and realizing the benefits of such is in our genetic makeup.  Eades has also written extensively on Intermittent Fasting.

                      Last, I follow a large list of backpacking blogs/web sites but even more intensely I follow a large list of health related blogs/web sites.  To do this and still keep time for the outdoors, I recommend the use of Google Reader to reduce your time on the.  See my Google Profile for links to the blog/web sites I follow for backpacking and health and our file library upload for using Google Reader which is in this files folder:

                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/johnmuirtrail/files/_A%20short%20overview%20of%20our%20Group/

                      Herb, I'm going to read the book you recommend: Skinny Bastard.  Thanks for the link.

                      -------------------------------------------------
                      Visit Roleigh's Google Profile
                      _




                      On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 11:54 AM, Herb <hstroh@...> wrote:
                       



                      In 2010 I lost about 30 pounds and been able to keep it off. My inspiration came from a couple books--"Food Rules" by Michael Pollan http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20090323/7-rules-for-eating , (also his book "In Defense of Food"), and "Skinny Bastard" by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin, http://www.skinnybastard.net/praise.php

                      Polan's "In Defense of Food" has more detail and scientific references than "Food Rules", the latter of which is a shorthand checklist of ways to think about and select the food you eat. "Skinny Bastard" is a fun read, but its bent is toward a vegetarian diet. Nevertheless, the authors cite plenty of research to support their recommendations.

                      All of these books offer scathing criticism of the food industry in America, and the negative effects of processed foods on our bodies. Among other things, you will never touch an artificial sweetener again.

                      But the main point of these books is to eat unprocessed foods, organic if possible, and reduce portion size. One of the best tips: decide how much you should eat BEFORE you start eating, fill your plate accordingly, and do not take seconds. By allowing yourself a second (or third) helping you do not appreciate how much your are consuming because you don't see it all at once. Fill your plate with the notion that this is exactly how much I will eat and no more.

                      Ultimately the rules and advice are just common sense. Here is a cut-and-paste of Polan's 7 rules as found on the site noted above:

                      1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. "When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can't pronounce, ask yourself, "What are those things doing there?" Pollan says.
                      2. Don't eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
                      3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
                      4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
                      5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. "Always leave the table a little hungry," Pollan says. "Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, 'Tie off the sack before it's full.'"
                      6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It's a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. "Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?" Pollan asks.
                      7. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

                      Herb



                      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Roleigh Martin <roleigh@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Excellent thread to start, John. It's been my number one focus for 2
                      > months now. After years of trying different diets I finally figured out
                      > how easiest to take off the weight and maintain that weight loss, and in
                      > the process optimize my chances for living a couple of extra decades.


                    • Joe MacLeish
                      I pork up the last few days before I take off. I lost 14-17 lbs on each of my full JMT trips from my porked up weight and got down to my lowest weights in
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                        I pork up the last few days before I take off.  I lost 14-17 lbs on each of my full JMT trips from my porked up weight and got down to my lowest weights in years each time.  I think that is where my weight should be.  The question is does one get more calories per unit weight from burning body fat or from food carried on ones back.  If the former that would argue to not loose weight before starting the trip.  Should I carry my calories in my back pack or in my body?  I guess I don’t know the answer.

                         

                        From: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com [mailto:johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of JamesB
                        Sent: Monday, January 02, 2012 6:31 AM
                        To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Re: The "big 1" of hiking lighter - weight loss

                         

                         



                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                        >

                        >
                        > Plus, as a potentially bigger factor, your body starts using calories more
                        > efficiently after a diet. A 180 lb man who reached that weight after years
                        > at 200 will burn about 10-20% fewer calories per day than one who has
                        > always weighed about 180. (One of the reasons why it is so hard to
                        > maintain a weight loss)
                        >
                        > See
                        > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?ref=health
                        >

                        There is a certain amount of negativity and despair in the Tara Parker Pope article on maintaining weight loss. She makes is sound that nearly heroic effort is needed to lose weight and maintain the reduced weight.

                        However, there are many who report that they attained weight loss quite easily, and have kept it off without heroic effort. Diets and religion are similar in that a great deal of belief is fundamental to both.

                        For those looking for a positive attitude and experience with weight loss, in 2004 I was (at 5'6" tall) 245 lbs, and before the year was out I was at 175 lbs, and it was easy to do. This morning I was 169.5 pounds. At 245 lbs, I didn't backpack, but I do at 169.5 pounds at age 71. I do admit that I can't do 20 mile days.

                        Another article on easy weight loss, after many failed attempts, is at http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2012/01/01/happier-new-year/ in the article "Happier New Year".

                        How you do it is important to your success at losing the weight and at keeping it off. There is some good science to dieting, but most of the diet literature is ..........

                        ,

                      • John Ladd
                        There is an answer to the question Joe poses below. Fat on your body provides you with energy at the same intensity as fat carried in a bearcan - the diet
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 2, 2012
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                          There is an answer to the question Joe poses below. Fat on your body provides you with energy at the same intensity as fat carried in a bearcan - the diet physiology people tell us that a 3500 calorie differential (between calories burned via exercise and calories eaten) is equivalent to one pound of body fat gained or lost.  Olive oil, ghee, etc are 220 calories per oz. or 3520 per pound

                          The problem with burning the fat around your middle is that the 8 oz of bodyfat you burn on day 22 of your hike has been carried for the 21 prior days.  The last 8 oz. of olive oil or ghee you cached at Onion Valley Trailhead has been carried 5 days.  My thought is that if I wouldn't want to leave Happy Isles carrying a 5 liter can of olive oil for gradual use over 221 miles, I shouldn't leave Happy Isles with 5 kg of body fat that I could lose in advance of the hike. The two strategies are equivalents.

                          I don't disagree with the idea of porking up a bit before leaving a trailhead, within limits. But I prefer to lose weight before a hike rather than on it, for at least 3 reasons. (1) I've found trail foods that taste very good to me, so I enjoy eating on the trail, rather than just burning bodyfat. (2) 10 lbs lost before the hike benefits me for every day of the hike, while the last lb. lost on a hike benefits me only on the last day or two, when I need the help the least. (3) And weight lost on a hike always seems to come right back on, while I've found that hiking-motivated weight loss stays off for me because I come to experience the ongoing benefits of staying fairly light and I have become pretty disciplined about keeping it off (Thanksgiving thru New Years apparently excepted).

                          John Curran Ladd
                          1616 Castro Street
                          San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                          415-648-9279


                          On Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 12:09 PM, Joe MacLeish <jmacleish@...> wrote:
                           

                          I pork up the last few days before I take off.  I lost 14-17 lbs on each of my full JMT trips from my porked up weight and got down to my lowest weights in years each time.  I think that is where my weight should be.  The question is does one get more calories per unit weight from burning body fat or from food carried on ones back.  If the former that would argue to not loose weight before starting the trip.  Should I carry my calories in my back pack or in my body?  I guess I don’t know the answer.


                        • charliepolecat
                          I ve just come across the 250 calorie rule, which basically says that you have to consume no less than 250 calories that you burn in a day. If you burn 2,000
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 4, 2012
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                            I've just come across the 250 calorie rule, which basically says that you have to consume no less than 250 calories that you burn in a day.

                            If you burn 2,000 calories for example, you have to take in no less that 1,750 calories. If you take in less than that the body will go into a 'Oh my God, we're starving' mode and start storing fat.

                            The benefits of this is that at the end of the day when you do your sums and find you have consumed less than the 250 calorie difference, you can eat that double fudge chocolate cake with impunity, always assuming that does not take you over the top. :-)
                          • Roleigh Martin
                            The book Eat-Stop-Eat spends a whole chapter demolishing this belief. You have plenty of excess energy to burn outside of the food
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 4, 2012
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                              The book Eat-Stop-Eat spends a whole chapter demolishing this belief.  You have plenty of excess energy to burn outside of the food you eat, including your own body fat and your "amino acid pool" reserves plus various pools of sugar throughout the body.  The starvation response doesn't start until after 2-3 days of fasting.  Mankind would never have been able to evolve if this was true for millions of years humans and their predecessors had to be highly energetic during their hunting (no eating) phase.  There are a multitude of scientific studies quoted by Brad Pilon.

                              I suppose if you had close to zero percent body fat the below might be close to true, but for 100% of those reading this post, it's not true.

                              -------------------------------------------------
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                              On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM, charliepolecat <kennethjessett@...> wrote:
                               

                              I've just come across the 250 calorie rule, which basically says that you have to consume no less than 250 calories that you burn in a day.

                              If you burn 2,000 calories for example, you have to take in no less that 1,750 calories. If you take in less than that the body will go into a 'Oh my God, we're starving' mode and start storing fat.

                              The benefits of this is that at the end of the day when you do your sums and find you have consumed less than the 250 calorie difference, you can eat that double fudge chocolate cake with impunity, always assuming that does not take you over the top. :-)


                            • JamesB
                              You wouldn t have a reference for this, would you? It makes common sense, but the book Everything is obvious, once you know the answer discusses the
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jan 5, 2012
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                                You wouldn't have a reference for this, would you?


                                It makes common sense, but the book "Everything is obvious, once you know the answer" discusses the shortcomings of common sense in depth.

                                These kinds rules remind me of some past rules.

                                "You MUST drink eight eight ounce glasses of water per day (recently disproven as a mistake in interpretation of basic physiology)."

                                "We only use 10 percent of our brain, so we are capable of ever so much improvement. ( I admit that I know people who really do only use less than 10% of their brains.)"






                                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "charliepolecat" <kennethjessett@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I've just come across the 250 calorie rule, which basically says that you have to consume no less than 250 calories that you burn in a day.
                                >
                                > If you burn 2,000 calories for example, you have to take in no less that 1,750 calories. If you take in less than that the body will go into a 'Oh my God, we're starving' mode and start storing fat.
                                >
                                > The benefits of this is that at the end of the day when you do your sums and find you have consumed less than the 250 calorie difference, you can eat that double fudge chocolate cake with impunity, always assuming that does not take you over the top. :-)
                                >
                              • John Ladd
                                On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM, charliepolecat
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jan 5, 2012
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                                  On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 10:45 AM, charliepolecat <kennethjessett@...> wrote:

                                  I've just come across the 250 calorie rule, which basically says that you have to consume no less than 250 calories that you burn in a day.

                                  If you burn 2,000 calories for example, you have to take in no less that 1,750 calories. If you take in less than that the body will go into a 'Oh my God, we're starving' mode and start storing fat.

                                  I have a related experience. I used to count calories consumed pretty carefully and could judge calories burned by weight changes on a trip. E.g., since a lb of weight change corresponds to a 3500 calorie gap between consumption and expenditure, a 2 lb per week weight loss would suggest that I was burning 1000 calories per day (7000 per week) less than I was eating. 

                                  This is subjective and not a large sample (n=1), so it's hardly science.  But I did decide, for me at least, that I could tolerate a 500-1000 calorie shortfall in the summer and shoulder season without hunger or other adverse consequences  E.g., I could lose a pound or 2 in a week of backpacking.  But if I had a shortfall in excess of 1000 calories (i.e., weight loss exceeding 2 lbs per week) I found that I tended to feel a bit lethargic, was more easily fatigued, would drag my body into camp and feel too tired to enjoy my food, and feel colder at night. 

                                  I think this is for the reason charliepolecat suggests - the body starts adapting to the calorie shortfall by over-economizing on it's use of energy in an effort to maintain its weight.  I could still do the basics, but I was paying a price for it.

                                  Caveat: Winter, I've found, is more challenging and I think I pay an unacceptable price for almost any gap between calories consumed and calories burned. I pack at least 50% more calories in winter than in summer.  I can get by with a lb. per day of food in summer if it is very calorie-intense (I prefer 20 oz.) but in winter it's more like 24-30 oz. per day and even more calorie-intense (more fats).

                                  John Ladd
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