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Hiking For Weight Loss
Hiking for weight loss is just one of the many motivators pulling women onto hiking trails.
Can women lose weight hiking?
The hard work of
will help you lose weight hiking, in a gradual and safe manner.
And females burning calories hiking? It's a given!
Congratulations for taking the first step down a proven route to feeling stronger and enjoying robust health!
But if you plan to hike specifically to lose pounds, you need a systematic plan to make sure your nutrient levels and hydration status are solid.
Here are some thing to consider if you're serious about using hiking for weight loss.
Hiking for weight loss:
don't deprive yourself of
food and water
Every human body is built from one repetitive unit, the cell.
Add trillions of cells together, and you've built the human body.
Each cell needs water and nutrients and oxygen, as well as efficient waste removal, to exist in its optimal form.
Every cell specializes in performing particular jobs in the body. If you're serious about using hiking for weight loss, you'll be focusing on your adipose cells.
Weight loss involves shrinking the size of your adipose (commonly called "fat") cells.
To do this, you can't starve your cells by not eating regularly.
In retribution, your adipose cells become more and more efficient at storing excess nutrient molecules. They "hoard" your energy supplies, meaning that you'll hit a weight plateau and stay there.
A better strategy is to work with your cells to redirect your adipose storage and encourage the use of your stored fuels.
This will lead to positive outcomes when you step on the scale or zip up your pants.
You might have to "convince" yourself that it's ok to snack regularly on the hiking trail, and to make frequent stops for water intake.
Don't blame/shame yourself for feeling hungry, because you're doing more work than usual and your body is asking for more fuel to support your muscle contractions.
Read up on the nutrition required for a hiker's body here.
For specific advice on how to choose foods as a hiker, go here.
For some ideas on hiking hydration, read this.
Be smart about
hiking for weight loss
Here's a safe and sane approach to losing weight hiking:
hiking trails that will challenge, but not defeat, you. Work up to
double digit mileage and throw in some elevation gain.
- Wear high performance active wear designed for women hikers whose size range is hard to find in athletic clothing.
- Go into training for trail time: Every day, avoid elevators and escalators, park as far away from the front door as possible, use a standing desk for computer work, take stretch breaks from sitting every hour, make a daily walk part of your self care routine.
- Reframe the way you see food. It's fuel for your body, it's energy for your muscle contractions, it's a necessary part of being healthy.
- Don't harass yourself for hunger and thirst sensations. Eat and drink adequate amounts with an attitude of gratitude for your hard working body.
- Avoid using food as reward. Save your favorite chocolate for a trail snack, rather than "at home" food.
- Wear a hiking pedometer that can also track your weight loss goals, like this one.
- Keep a hiking diary/log/journal of where you've been, what you've seen, and how it feels to be striding down the hiking trail with the weight of your pack on your back. Emphasize your experiences, not your weight loss, as your hiking miles pile up.
- Reward your ambitions as a hiker by choosing great destinations. If you can get up to a high point for panoramic views, do it! You'll soon be hooked on this hiking thing for reasons other than burning calories or weight loss goals.
- Realize that hiking is a self-perpetuating cycle of hard work, joy and reward. Over and over again, women who start hiking improve other areas of life, not just how much the scale says.
Mount Rainier from Crystal Peak, Washington State, USA. Work this fantastic destination into your plans for hiking for weight loss!
For weight loss,
hiking is better than...
Hiking is better than lots of other weight loss options involving exercise.
Here's why hiking is better than...
- running, because it's not as hard on your lower leg joints.
- swimming, because you don't have to bathe yourself in chlorine and "used" swimming pool water to get a good work out.
- biking, because you don't need a dedicated bike trail and don't endanger yourself on a busy roadway.
- a gym membership, because once you buy your footwear and pack, you're pretty much set in terms of large cash investments as a beginning hiker.
- a gym membership, because when you're sweaty and out of breath, only your trail buddies (see below) will notice.
- sitting at home feeling out of shape, because it pumps oxygen to your cells, endorphins pumping up your mood (hiker's high, it's a real thing!), and gorgeous vistas into your memories.
- a dance class, because it lasts longer and makes your stronger.
- just a quick walk, because it builds up endurance, stamina and muscle tone that will reinforce your motivation once your clothes start fitting differently and you're not out of breath on the stairs.
- doing nothing, because sitting too much shortens your life span and robs your heart muscle of a much needed work out on the trail.
Find a hiking group with
Losing weight is hard.
Hiking is hard when you first start out too.
Put those 2 facts together, and it's easy to lose motivation and give up.
But not if you're part of a group which includes gentle accountability!
- Take turns choosing a hiking destination and leading the hike.
- Use the best hiking tips on this website to make trail time enjoyable.
- Bring new trail snacks to share with the group, with an emphasis on high carbohydrate/moderate protein/low fat nutrients.
- Check in with each other during the week, just to say hi and to lift each other's spirits when needed.
- Celebrate weight loss goals together.
- Keep hiking, no matter what the weather throws at you! Your hiking clothing and hiking gear will protect you.
Don't have anyone to hike with?
Or want to hike with someone else who has hiking for weight loss as a goal? Hiking For Her has you covered!
Find a Hiking For Weight Loss mentor
In fact, you just did!
If you'd like to email me your weight loss goals, I'd be happy to help you work toward them with a few check-ins and encouraging emails.
- Use the CONTACT link at the top left of this page, or the contact box below, to send your goals along with questions or concerns. I'll write back with encouragement and suggestions.
I really mean it!
If you want to be on the trail, I want to help you succeed :)
Losing weight while hiking has worked for many women, and the extra benefits of cardiovascular health, improved muscle tone, and mental well being cannot be ignored.
Read this woman's story about how hiking for weight loss worked for her.
Hiking = health = a pathway to your weight loss goals.
Let's get started!
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