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Re: [pct-l] Weight lose on a thruhiike

From my observations on the AT, men generally lose a lot more weight
than women, especially if they have the weight to lose.  i.e. an
overweight man will lose 30-40 lbs.  A thinner one would only lose 10
lbs. A very thin one might put on weight. Women (and some few men)
generally either stay the same of put on a few lbs as fat is replaced by
muscle (which weighs more.)  The shape of the body changes, but the
scale may not. I find  that I will lose some weight on a short trip, but
on long ones I don't.  Remember, women's bodies are more efficient -
they perceive a starvation cycle (i.e. thruhiking) and slow down the
metabolism fairly quickly. That's what makes dieting so frustrating. Men
are slower to do that.  

You're right about the need to use town stops to reenergize.  This seems
to be especially true for those whose diets are nutritionally void. But
also, when the fat content on the body goes way down, so does energy. 
One time on the AT, when my energy was down and my mood correspondingly
low, three of us split a dozen eggs, a lb of bacon and some bread - and
all of a sudden all was right with the world.  Town stops tend to be the
time to stock up on pizza and ice cream - high fat and high calorie and
utterly necessary.  

Appetite is greatest when it is cold, understandably, and there is a
period about 2-3 weeks into the hike when the hiker hunger really gets
fierce.  After that you are generally constantly hungry but it becomes
manageable - or you learn better what you need to do to manage it.  One
thing new thruhikers tend to underestimate is the amount of snack food
you crave. Fortunately, it is easy to stock up on cookies and candy bars
at the stores and minimarts you'll encounter along the trail if your
resupply box is light on the fattening foods. 

The hard part is slowing down again afterwards. Some people can
immediately stop eating a lot, but for some of us, the habits of feeling
free to eat anything you want can be hard to break. At the Gathering
I've noticed that all those skinny men are back to original weight a
year later, or heavier, while the women tend to be about the same as
they were at the end of their hikes.  If you can keep on walking, it the
weight stays off a bit better, as long as you don't keep eating those
gallons of ice cream every day.
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