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  1. #1
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Default Complications of extreme weight loss in thru-hiking of long distance trails



    Complications of extreme weight loss in thru-hiking of long distance trails

    Weight loss is a familiar term for thru-hikers. Most of the thru-hikers are lighter when they cross the finish line and some are substantially lighter.

    It is not all good to lose weight even if you are overweight. There will be some complications if hikers lose too much or too fast weight along their journey. It is almost inevitable for amateur thru-hikers not to lose weight in major trails but they should be aware about hidden dangers of losing too much weight.

    Average hiker weighs about 170 pounds at the start of a trail. He or she can lose about two pounds a week on trail and by the end of tenth week he has lost around twenty pounds.

    At this stage many hikers may feel healthier in their new weight class and do not try to stop or slow down their weight loss. Their cloth seems a bit loser and their belt has been tighter one or two hole which does not feel bad.

    The speed of weight loss slows down in most cases when the body of the thru-hiker starts to adapt to the new environment, situation and lifestyle but in some cases the adaptation does not happen fast enough and other measures should be considered to stop or at least slow down the weight loss process.

    When our average hiker reaches to 145 or less then new unexpected things happen that are not all pleasant.

    By losing too much weight body starts to shrink from almost everywhere including the cushion of your feet and now with less natural cushion to protect your weight, blisters starts to appear in places that has never been experienced before . Sometimes these new blisters are an addition to prior blisters. Blisters are not good items to collect, we all know that.

    Losing fat cushion of the whole upper and lower back is another source of problem. The backpack starts to hurt in places that are not expected to hurt and sitting on rocks for a period of time does not feel good as before if not hurt.

    Add this loss of general cushion of body to the loss of cushion of the sleeping pad due to natural course then you have some unpleasant nights toward the end of the trail. In areas like hip crest, shoulders, knees and elbows he may start to fill friction pain and discomfort.

    More experience hikers need to pay attention here, any denture starts to lose its grip in extreme weight loss and with hard-food diet of thru-hikers ulcers can happen quickly in their gums and mouth which is not picnic also.

    By reaching to 130 pounds our average hiker is not an average hiker anymore and even the hat feels lose and every breeze may take his hat off if not fixed to head by some measures.

    By this stage our ex-average now small hiker has no more fat anywhere in the body to lose and he is losing weight at the expense of his muscles.

    The muscles are not supposed to be lost but they do. Muscles are not at the top of the food chain in the body when extreme conditions happen.

    Our small hiker has some new issues with his stamina by this new weight. He has lost some steam by now and he does not feel healthy anymore.

    Mood swings and emotional breakdowns happen more frequently due to extensive hormonal changes that follows extreme weight loss.

    It is time to break the vicious cycle of weight loss of our hiker or he is not going to make to the end.

    Measures to stop losing too much weight might be changing the food and bringing more variety if possible, slowing down the pace of hiking to appropriate level, walking in cooler hours of the days knowing that sun is not an appetizer and in some cases stopping for couple of days to give the body the chance to rehabilitate itself.


    Finishing any major trail is excellent achievement regardless of extent of weight loss but finishing it in a healthy state is much more commendable and splendid.


    Good hike

    Kookork

  2. #2

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    Having recently been diagnosed with gout, I've been told not to lose weight quickly or I might trigger an attack. I've also been given a list of foods to avoid, since they, too, can trigger an attack.
    The one I will miss most is oatmeal. I think of that as the first meal of the day, every day, on or off the trail. I am already missing it very much, and am eating hot wheat cereal, instead.
    The list also says to avoid:
    Red meats (all of them, but especially highly processed ones like BACON and fatty or organ meats, such as one might find in SAUSAGES ). turkey and some fish are also on the gout list, as are EGGS , so, basically, I might just as well go hydroponic, and have someone put me in a pot and hang me from the ceiling .

    BEER? That "breakfast of champions"? YEP! - It's on the list, too.................and red wine.........well, I don't care much for that anyhow.

    Asparagus, my favorite vegetable, is on the list. Thankfully, broccoli is not. It's my second favorite, besides french fries (which, thank God, are absent, as are all incarnations of the mighty Mr. Potato Head).

    It's a good thing I don't have a dog or she'd end up dead.

    As far as I know my wife's not planning on leaving me - YET - but I'd better come up with something more substantial than odd jobs to pay the rent.

    Oh, rent - At least I don't have a HOUSE that the bank can take from me (but the landlord is a bit light in the job department (he's a self-employed plumber).

    THANKFUL??? It may not sound like it, but I don't have much to lose besides my health, and I can do something about that besides hope and pray.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD HIKE!!!
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    The average 170 pound hiker isn't going to lose 40 pounds!!

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    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinker View Post
    Having recently been diagnosed with gout, I've been told not to lose weight quickly or I might trigger an attack. I've also been given a list of foods to avoid, since they, too, can trigger an attack.
    The one I will miss most is oatmeal. I think of that as the first meal of the day, every day, on or off the trail. I am already missing it very much, and am eating hot wheat cereal, instead.
    The list also says to avoid:
    Red meats (all of them, but especially highly processed ones like BACON and fatty or organ meats, such as one might find in SAUSAGES ). turkey and some fish are also on the gout list, as are EGGS , so, basically, I might just as well go hydroponic, and have someone put me in a pot and hang me from the ceiling .

    BEER? That "breakfast of champions"? YEP! - It's on the list, too.................and red wine.........well, I don't care much for that anyhow.

    Asparagus, my favorite vegetable, is on the list. Thankfully, broccoli is not. It's my second favorite, besides french fries (which, thank God, are absent, as are all incarnations of the mighty Mr. Potato Head).

    It's a good thing I don't have a dog or she'd end up dead.

    As far as I know my wife's not planning on leaving me - YET - but I'd better come up with something more substantial than odd jobs to pay the rent.

    Oh, rent - At least I don't have a HOUSE that the bank can take from me (but the landlord is a bit light in the job department (he's a self-employed plumber).

    THANKFUL??? It may not sound like it, but I don't have much to lose besides my health, and I can do something about that besides hope and pray.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD HIKE!!!
    Sorry to hear that . My father once had a gout attack. I remember even shoting the door of the room was painful for him. I have the genetic of gout and sooner or later it might come to bite me . I am a meatiterian and Gut is a nightmare for me.

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    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch View Post
    The average 170 pound hiker isn't going to lose 40 pounds!!
    We have a saying in persian language which we use when someone says something that is totally irrelevant to the subject.

    We say: Morde goozid which word by word translation of it is : Dead person farted. That saying works for you.

    I did not say average hiker would lose 40 pounds. The title says it all: Comlications of Extreme weight loss.

    So if you have nothing to sdiscuss, just keep it to yourself or you make fun of yourself here.

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    i have lost 40 pounds three times on three long hikes. It always comes back on at the rate of six ounces a week after I get home. The fast burn apparently keeps up for a week you don't even notice the measly six ounces a week. Then one day you wonder where the gut came from. I have never had any of those things kookork mentions. I have always felt healthy and elated at the end of a long trip. But maybe because I start at 250 the percent loss is ok?
    Everything is in Walking Distance

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    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamboo bob View Post
    i have lost 40 pounds three times on three long hikes. It always comes back on at the rate of six ounces a week after I get home. The fast burn apparently keeps up for a week you don't even notice the measly six ounces a week. Then one day you wonder where the gut came from. I have never had any of those things kookork mentions. I have always felt healthy and elated at the end of a long trip. But maybe because I start at 250 the percent loss is ok?
    Yes Bob, 250 in your frame keeps you from some complications. a 210 pound hiker is still in normal range even if you lose 40 pounds but for a 170 pounder losing 40 pounds is not going to be uneventful. the speed of the loss is important either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kookork View Post
    We have a saying in persian language which we use when someone says something that is totally irrelevant to the subject.

    We say: Morde goozid which word by word translation of it is : Dead person farted. That saying works for you.

    I did not say average hiker would lose 40 pounds. The title says it all: Comlications of Extreme weight loss.

    So if you have nothing to sdiscuss, just keep it to yourself or you make fun of yourself here.
    If an average 170 hiker loses 40 pounds, that is extreme weight loss.

    1990 I went from 212 lbs to 147 lbs on my thru and felt more healthy than I ever had before.
    I put that weight and more back on after the hike and started my 2002 thru @ 228 lbs. I finished @ 165 lbs and was able to run 5-6 miles non-stop with my pack anywhere in Maine @ 49 years old. The way to stay healthy through the entire hike is to eat correctly and you should never go into deficiet.

    geek

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    When I did my thru of AT I was shocked how much & how quickly I lost weight. I remember climbing out of the shower at Elmers in Hot Springs & seeing myself naked in the full length mirror. Most of my dinners were freeze dried, so not much fat. Squeeze parkay became my friend. It went in everything. It was a battle to keep weight on & not burn muscle, or not to much. In Maine I could tell just when I burnt up a meal because I would feel the energy drain. I learned it was time to stop & eat.

    When I hiked the PCT I knew better. More canned (now foil packed) meats. More snacks. Double stuffed Oreos have great calorie to weight ratio! Dessert more, pudding shaken in a nalgene, or cobbler made from FD fruit, sugars & bread crumb in FBM style. When I reached Snowqualimine Pass I called a friend I hiked of & on with on AT. He was amazed to see how fit I looked so late in the trail. He commented when we hit Maine on AT we looked like WW2 POWs & yet at about the same milage I looked more like an alpine guide. I did still have a massive appetite when I hit towns. After Earthdog picked me up & took me to Seattle he treated me to a dinner at one of his hangouts. When the waiter brought out my platter with a huge cheesesteak & fries He said "See if you can finish thet!" Earthdog & I just burst out laughing. After It was gone & I finished up the rest of ED's fries & about of third of his sandwich the waiter was shocked till we told him the rest of the story.

    My advice to newbie. After a week or two you normal appetite will double. By then your lets will have built up if you didn't start that way. Look for fat content. It is the densist weight per calorie ration & your body will crave it. Not saying don't eat well balanced but the scale will swing towars fat & carbs for enery while you are hiking. Foil packs of meats & fish are great for fats & protiens. FD meals are nice for convience but Knors supplemented with FD or dehydrated veggies & protien ( meats or TVP) can cut the price in half.

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    Tinker I feel for you as I also now suffer from gout attacks. I like you had oatmeal most mornings. I just carried quick cook & would throw in it what ever I had for variety. It was about the best weight per calorie option I found & easy to make. I had to cancel one hike this year due to a gout attack. Going to miss all thouse delicious greasy hamburgs on town stops.

    Hey maybe we can get a college to do a study of long distance hiking on gout/ uric acid level??? It sucks to be able to eat what you want cuzz you body needs it or will burn it up to a restictive diet on the trail.

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    Mountain Mike. My wife met me in Erwin and said I looked like a POW.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

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    Yeah I know ribs sticking out, lots of upper body weight gone... But big thighs & shin muscles!

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    I love your caption about walking distance. I lived on Nantucket for many years. When someone asked me if it was in walking distance many of my friends would point out I was not the one to ask!!!

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    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Couple of things were missed - so I will add to the original post about exchanging fat for muscle and one only has to hike off and on over years and you may loose the fat pads under the feet.

    Don't forget - bleeding hips, Charley Horses, Nails falling out, loosing a toe. Mood swings ? forget about it - how about Dementia?

    How about leaving Port Clinton in the morning and be so confused you said you left two days ago?


    Just things to ponder.....
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    Bar/hotel in Port Clinton I shure a friendly cheap place! Got sucked into there on a shorth hike, stopped for a beer on my thru

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    Yea they are good people.
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

    Woo

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kookork View Post
    We have a saying in persian language which we use when someone says something that is totally irrelevant to the subject.

    We say: Morde goozid which word by word translation of it is : Dead person farted. That saying works for you.
    Actually...this is not needed either and makes you look bad too...


    Also, do you have medical credentials or where does your initial post about wight loss come from? It looks like it was copied and pasted from a website, so just curious.







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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Mike View Post
    Bar/hotel in Port Clinton I shure a friendly cheap place! Got sucked into there on a shorth hike, stopped for a beer on my thru
    Just got back from the Keys in Sept. took a short hike around Mallory Square stopped in at Sloppy Joes for a rum runner.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

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    I lost a little over 40 pounds on my thru. Being 6' it wasn't a big deal. Also, I didn't lose weight throughout the hike, only on the first half, then it stopped. I continued to build muscle in my legs, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    Actually...this is not needed either and makes you look bad too...


    Also, do you have medical credentials or where does your initial post about wight loss come from? It looks like it was copied and pasted from a website, so just curious.
    I am a medical doctor but I don't think it is necessary to be an expert to write about this issue.

    About the Paste from a website, no . it was writen by me couple of month ago after a thru hike here in Canada. I will stop posting here in White Blaze forever if anybody brings any evidence that it has been a copy/paste of somebody else in part or total . It has a magazine taste I admit but it is my style of writing.

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