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Re: [John Muir Trail] The "big 1" of hiking lighter - weight loss

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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.

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


                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 7 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 8 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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