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ginkgo
03-21-2011, 16:12
Hey all...
I've heard about a million different things about how much you need to eat, but wanted something a bit more specific. For planning purposes, and because I don't want to lose weight (but don't really want to stuff myself silly and gain a ton either).
I'm 5' (5'1" on a good day), and roughly 95--100 lbs, usually eating 2000--2300 calories a day.
Is anyone else out there of a similar body type, and how much do you recommend eating calorie-wise on a thru-hike?

Llama Legs
03-21-2011, 18:41
I carry about 600 grams of food per day (3 meals). I'm a hungry most of the time, but I make up calories every chance I get - in town and from trail magic.

Blissful
03-21-2011, 19:58
You eat as much calories as you can carry. Which is never enough for the exertion spent on a thru. I for one suggest more protein on a hike than just empty carbs via sugar, personally. And try to pack denser caloric foods.

swjohnsey
03-21-2011, 21:01
Educated guess, increase calorie intake by 50%. Goin' into net calorie deficit won't kill you but it will make you feel weak and tired.

ChinMusic
03-21-2011, 21:11
Hey all...
I've heard about a million different things about how much you need to eat, but wanted something a bit more specific. For planning purposes, and because I don't want to lose weight (but don't really want to stuff myself silly and gain a ton either).
I'm 5' (5'1" on a good day), and roughly 95--100 lbs, usually eating 2000--2300 calories a day.
Is anyone else out there of a similar body type, and how much do you recommend eating calorie-wise on a thru-hike?
Your body will tell you how much you need once you are out there for awhile. Many find that they are not very hungry during the early stages. I find that for a week-long section hike my hunger won't kick in (til I hit that first restaurant after being done). I almost have to force myself to eat on the trail. I assume that would change if I were out there longer.

You mention "planning purposes". If you will be resupplying along the way (recommended) you can simply adjust as you go. I would find planning mostly maildrops to be daunting.

As others have mentioned, once you have been out there for awhile, you are going to carry a LOT of food, and be glad for it.

chasegru
03-21-2011, 21:21
Ginko,
Without knowing your age (I guessed 30), time on the trail (I guessed 180 days), or pack weight (guessed 30lbs again), I put your total trail caloric expenditure at 421319 Cal, or 2340 Cal per day (see attachment). If want me to narrow it down, I'll need a better time, pack weight, and age estimate.

ginkgo
03-21-2011, 21:48
Ginko,
Without knowing your age (I guessed 30), time on the trail (I guessed 180 days), or pack weight (guessed 30lbs again), I put your total trail caloric expenditure at 421319 Cal, or 2340 Cal per day (see attachment). If want me to narrow it down, I'll need a better time, pack weight, and age estimate.

WOW. That is fancy!! I'm 20 years old. Not sure that makes a difference...?

ginkgo
03-21-2011, 21:49
What's the theory behind the hunger increasing as the hike progresses?

ChinMusic
03-21-2011, 22:01
What's the theory behind the hunger increasing as the hike progresses?
At least for me, I think my system is just messed up from the change I am putting my body through. Logic would say that I would be really hungry but just to opposite happens to me. I have almost no hunger at all early on. In fact, food is a chore. I only mention it so that if it happens to you, it is "normal". From reading Trail Journals this phase passes soon enough. I just haven't been out long enough to get to that point.

My caloric burn on a section hike is prob in the range of 5000-8000 cal/day (but I'm double your size). There is no way I could eat 1/2 of that during the first week. I will lose close to a pound a day (prob 5 pounds over a week trip).

Everyone is different. A lot of my buddies seem to eat just fine on a section hike.

Croft
03-21-2011, 22:48
I'm 62, 5'8" and weighed 214 at the start of my hike. I lost 17 pounds the first three weeks eating 3000 calories a day. Upped my calories to 4,000 and was still losing 2-3 pounds a week. Upped it to 5,000 and only lost a pound a week. Couldn't carry much more than 5,000 calories of food a day between resupplies so finally stabilized the weight loss by eating around 8,000 calories every 4 days when I'd get to town. All told I lost 76 pounds, which for me, I was very happy about and could afford to lose. My observations on the trail were that if you are fit and your body weight is appropriate to start, your weight loss will be minor IF you're eating about 4,000 calories a day and 35% of your diet is protein. It was the chunky people like me or the ones trying to make do with 3,000 calories or less a day that had the huge weight losses.

Papa D
03-21-2011, 22:53
The very best thing you can get from a caloric standpoint is a FROSTY from Wendy's - it is the caloric holy grail - no amount of pop tarts or anything else can compare but here is a basic eating guide

breakfast:
cereal with powdered milk, 3 or 4 poptarts and coffee
lunches and snacks - cheese, peanut butter, nutella, bread, tuna, GORP, snickers, and just about anything else you can yogi up
dinner - lipton pasta sides, mac and cheese, rice, dehydrated potatoes, ramen and peanut butter, mountain house meals, pudding, etc.
BUT,
ben and jerry's aside, THE FROSTY is the absolute calorie standard bearer - you just can't do better

Papa D
03-21-2011, 22:57
ps - i weigh in at 145 pounds and am sometimes absolutely desperate for calories - i really do eat tons of trail food - I really am a health food guy in the front country but I will throttle a large Frosty after a week on the trail - for real

Croft
03-21-2011, 23:11
Amen to the Frosty (or two).

on_the_GOEZ
03-21-2011, 23:54
temperature is also an important factor to consider. the colder the weather, the more calories your body will burn trying to stay at the correct temperature.

me and three friends went out last week and did ~15 mpd. I do above average amount of exercise while at home so my food intake was about the same. They however ate tons more than they would have, and were only out for a few days..and the temps dropped to ~30* both nights...

For me (and them apparently) trail appetite kicked in immediatly

blitz1
03-22-2011, 01:10
temperature is also an important factor to consider. the colder the weather, the more calories your body will burn trying to stay at the correct temperature.

me and three friends went out last week and did ~15 mpd. I do above average amount of exercise while at home so my food intake was about the same. They however ate tons more than they would have, and were only out for a few days..and the temps dropped to ~30* both nights...

For me (and them apparently) trail appetite kicked in immediatly

ditto that - definitely bring extra food for winter backpacking. I eat at least 50% more in winter than summer.
In the summer, I agree with Chinmusic that I'm just not super hungry the first few days, even hiking hard I'll have 1-2 instant oatmeal in the AM, some handfuls of gorp and an apple or other fruit through the afternoon (usually not hungry enough for a bar) and part of a mac and chees dinner w can of meat. I'm 5'10", 155 lb, run regularly. When I'm backpacking with my son or brother, they eat about twice what I do, and seem as happy. by 4-5 days out I'm really picking it up, and when I get to a town will eat as much as anyone. agree with the frostys, yum!

chasegru
03-22-2011, 08:12
WOW. That is fancy!! I'm 20 years old. Not sure that makes a difference...?

Not much, It increases your Basal Metabolic Rate (resting caloric requirement). New calcs put you at 429736 for the trail, or roughly 2390 per day (attached).
If you hike faster/slower than 180 days for the trail, that can end up making a significant difference.

ginkgo
03-22-2011, 09:37
This is all really helpful! I guess I'm a little worried because I'm vegan so need to plan mail drops (i.e. soy protein powder in excessive amounts)....
If only a frosty was vegan!

ChinMusic
03-22-2011, 09:42
This is all really helpful! I guess I'm a little worried because I'm vegan so need to plan mail drops (i.e. soy protein powder in excessive amounts)....
If only a frosty was vegan!

That should have been in your OP. It is a game-changer. The logistics of your chosen diet are daunting.

Tinker
03-22-2011, 09:52
This is all really helpful! I guess I'm a little worried because I'm vegan so need to plan mail drops (i.e. soy protein powder in excessive amounts)....
If only a frosty was vegan!
He's big, and probably packs a huge caloric punch, but he's probably tough and stringy and definitely isn't vegan:
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php?u=1763 :D
I hiked with him in Georgia in '06.

leaftye
03-22-2011, 10:11
You eat as much calories as you can carry.

It's just about that simple. The only change I'd make is that you limit what you carry by how much you can eat. I had tried carrying 6000 calories a day, but found I could only eat 4500 calories a day, so I started carrying only that amount instead of coming into town with days of food left in my pack.

Blue Jay
03-22-2011, 10:21
Don't worry, you have a huge advantage. Women just turn into Aerobic Instructors, lose all fat and gain muscle.
Men become concentration camp victims.:banana

chasegru
03-22-2011, 13:42
This is all really helpful! I guess I'm a little worried because I'm vegan so need to plan mail drops (i.e. soy protein powder in excessive amounts)....

As a practicing vegan you probably already know this...but I'm going to point it out anyway. Soy protein, especially excessive amounts, will act as a phytoestrogen (in both men and women) and can cause serious thyroid problems. (don't take my word, do some research)

You need to take a serious look at legumes, lentils, peanut and almond butter (those are all vegan right...?) Unfortunately, all a little heavier than powder. If you were just vegetarian instead of vegan you could look at including whey (milk by product) to reduce the soy.

ginkgo
03-22-2011, 18:15
You need to take a serious look at legumes, lentils, peanut and almond butter (those are all vegan right...?)

Yep, all vegan and tasty! Easier to find in your average grocery store than soy protein powder, too. So that would make things a little easier...
The big question: canned beans or dried? Cans are heavier, but dried beans take forever to re-hydrate....

leaftye
03-22-2011, 18:18
The big question: canned beans or dried? Cans are heavier, but dried beans take forever to re-hydrate....

I believe people have had success if they cook at home, dehydrate, and then rehydrate on the trail. Don't do cans. That'd be horrible. At worst, you can rehydrate them while you're hiking.

ChinMusic
03-22-2011, 20:29
... but dried beans take forever to re-hydrate....
I believe I have read where folks will add water to them at lunch? and they are about right by supper. Something like that anyway. I'm sure someone will chime in with the details.

Farr Away
03-23-2011, 11:48
I believe I have read where folks will add water to them at lunch? and they are about right by supper. Something like that anyway. I'm sure someone will chime in with the details.


A lot of beans would take longer than that just to be ready to cook at supper. I'd start soaking at breakfast if I was using supermarket dried beans. YMMV.

-FA

chasegru
03-23-2011, 17:26
It's going to take a weird turn here...Hemp Protein. No joke- I am quite serious. Check it out.

Available at your local drum circle (okay that last one was a joke)

Bronk
03-24-2011, 01:45
I've met very few vegans/vegetarians who know what they're doing when it comes to their diet...adding a thruhike into the mix complicates it even more. Plan on doing maildrops...many resupply points are simply a gas station/convenience store and you probably won't find much that you are able to eat there.

ginkgo
03-25-2011, 09:35
Just bought some hemp protein powder!!

AndyScott
03-28-2011, 02:23
I don't think about calories while eating...I'd rather work out later...

veteran
03-28-2011, 08:38
Pack Light, Eat Right:

This article might help.

http://www.thru-hiker.com/articles/pack_light_eat_right.php

ScottP
03-30-2011, 00:58
I maintain weight at 7,500-8,000 calories on a hiking trip.