The AT Diet

I think I am in the process of reading my 1,318th different book focusing on the Appalachian Trail. Every book has a common theme when it comes to the subject of weight loss.

The trail is possibly the best weight-loss program on the PLANET!

I have been following the daily online journal of a 62yr old man who is out on the trail as we speak, having been hiking now for a little over a month and a half. Thus far, he is 47 days into his hike, has just reached the 600 mile mark, and he just had the opportunity to step onto a scale for the first time since he started his hike.

This man is walking at a slow pace similar to what Steve and I will be probably be doing.

He has dropped 26.5 pounds in those 47 days.

His case is not unique. Whether it be online journals of current hikers, or through the writings of the book authors, it’s clear that irregardless of whether or not you are skinny, average-sized, heavy, or obese, the trail WILL shred the pounds off you, and quickly!

Hikers that reported starting the hike in great physical shape, with no weight issues, all report dropping down to weights in line with what they weighed in HIGH SCHOOL after a few short weeks out on the trail. Apparently, everyone is screaming for family members to send them BELTS and SMALLER-sized clothing, long before they start screaming for food from home.

I have read MANY hikers that stated that they set aside all the clothing in advance that they would need over the course of the hike. They start out with cold weather gear and then have family members send them warm-weather clothing as they work north and get into warmer temperatures. Once they get up into New England, they again swap out the warm-weather clothes for the colder-weather clothes. Many of them do NOT take into account that they are going to be PHYSICALLY SMALLER by the time they need their next round of clothes mailed from home. Many hikers write of getting their clothes from home and nothing no longer fits because they have lost so much weight on the trail. One hiker wrote of getting his hiking shorts mailed to him, only to discover that he ended up having to hike with one hand holding up his shorts as he slowly made his way to the next trail town in which he could buy a belt. (Of course, that town was 45 miles and three hiking days away)

(Note for Steve and I: “Summer clothing should be smaller in size than the clothing we start out with”. For me, this means starting the hike wearing XX-Large…….and wearing just X-large a few months into the hike)

It’s pretty simple. With the constant hiking day in and day out, along with carrying a heavy pack on your back day in and day out, along with the constant sweating and exertion day in and day out, you are burning thousands more calories per day than you could ever possibly eat while out on the trail. If you are burning 4,000-5,000 calories a day while hiking, you WILL drop weight, and fast, because every shelter stop along the trail does not unfortunately include a free pasta and spaghetti buffet that you can use to replenish your calories.

Bottom line, Steve and I will come out of this hike looking like long-haired, pale-skinned, stick-idiots.

Until we get back home.

Then we will explode back to Santa Claus proportions.

And quickly.

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