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Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 14:19:12 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!

Andy Berner
(Berner9) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
"Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!" on 12/15/2009 14:35:07 MST Print View

Good read.

I have been really paying attention to what and how much I eat. Ive also been doing p90x for the past 3 weeks and with the daily exercise and healthy/smarter eating I feel great and am never tired. I haven't been out hiking, but I'm sure next time I go out I will notice a difference.

The owner of my work place had a guy named Chris Johnson come in a give a seminar about "on target living" It covers pretty much everything here and more. Good read if your looking for more info.

ontargetliving dot com

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: "Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!" on 12/15/2009 15:08:41 MST Print View

Cutting cals is great if you're an overeater. I lost about 35 lbs this way until my metabolism caught up and started to crawl. It took adding intense exercise (P90X like Andy) to drop another 30 lbs and make sure it was mostly fat. Cutting cals without adding exercise will cost you muscle as well as fat. If you're only worried about a number on the scale, this is fine but if you want to maintain muscle mass, you need exercise.

In my case, I dropped from 211 lbs down to 175 lbs. Adding a little regular exercise got me to 165 lbs and I was very fit cardio wise but I didn't look fit until I did P90X. The first 90 days made a huge difference and then another 90 days made an even bigger difference as far as looks go. I would say that arguably I'm at my fittest now and I also look like it.

Cutting cals is only half the picture.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
thumbs down on 12/15/2009 15:15:25 MST Print View

I can't say I'm impressed with this article. I presume everyone reading it knows the information contained within. Applying it successfully (if you care to) is another matter, which is both more interesting and only tangentially covered here.

More to the point, a question can be asked of loosing weight (much the same question that applies to things like buying cuben fiber): what is the point?

I think the answer to the weight question, be it for gear or yourself, ought to be that you loose it for function and for enjoyment. Loosing either purely for appearances sake is feeding the problem that creates eating disorders, obesity, and disposable packs: our culture cares more about appearance and bragging rights than experience and internal satisfaction.

And I think everyone's lives are the lesser for it.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: "Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!" on 12/15/2009 15:16:50 MST Print View

Nice article Jeremy. Sound advice and one I "try" to follow. Liked the calorie breakdowns

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 15:19:45 MST Print View

I don't know any dudes in real life that are as light as many ultralighters, nor do I know anyone that voted for Bush.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 15:35:25 MST Print View

As someone who use to weight 220lbs and now I'm in the 160's, loosing weight can make a huge diffence in comfort on the trail. The effort I used to dayhike when I was 220lbs seemed far more tiring then when I carried about the same weight as a combined body+backpack. And as the combined weight dropped even farther, backpacking has become even easier.

For me, other then just doing a daily brisk walk for 1.5-2miles, the main reason for the weight loss was strictly diet. I don't mean starvation either. For me, it wasn't a matter of calorie counting but increasing nutrition by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eliminating sugar and processed foods (basically trying to eat how our grandparents did when they were young back when the nation wasn't full of overweight people). I found that some of the cravings I had during the day for snacks diappeared as my body had the nutrients it wanted. The weight just started dropping on its own and I never felt that I was starving.

Edited by Miner on 12/16/2009 13:12:35 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: "Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!" on 12/15/2009 15:54:26 MST Print View

"Cutting cals is only half the picture."

And maybe less. There are a few 'gurus' who talk about 'skinny fat people.' You see them all the time.

The mindset should not be losing weight. The mindset should be losing fat. Weight, for the most part, doesn't kill you. Fat does. You can lose a lot of weight and still be 'fat,' meaning, as Chris says, you lose more muscle than fat.

In a slightly different vein, in my opinion (and in the opinion of many health care professionals, actually), some type of anaerobic (such as weightlifting) exercise should be practiced by everyone, women included (and perhaps especially). Lifting weights helps reduce bone density loss, which helps you stay fitter into your later years and reduces the chance of injuries. Elderly folks who were put on a simple weight lifting program showed wonderful improvement in bone density (if I remember correctly).

So, to gather it all together -- IMO, your focus should be on losing fat, not weight (muscle actually weighs more than fat). And you should incorporate some type of weight lifting into your exercise routine.

Now, to read the article...... ;-)

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Lighten Yourself on 12/15/2009 15:56:46 MST Print View

Thanks Jeremy, Thats the second time you have told me how to loose weight...Hope all is well!

Look at that skinny guy!

Edited by Creachen on 12/15/2009 17:03:18 MST.

Jeremy Pendrey
(Pendrey) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Lighten Yourself on 12/15/2009 16:12:55 MST Print View

Thanks Jay.

To those who have commented on the value of exercise, I completely agree, and I don't mean to diminish it. I was hoping to convey a one step at a time approach. Get eating under control, then work on exercise, something this article was not meant to cover. Most ultralighers are otherwise active folks, but many still may struggle with some extra lbs, so I wanted to focus the discussion on eating.

Full disclosure on my end. I am a regular runner, avid hiker (even when not backpacking), walk at least a mile every day at lunch, and some days walk 2.25 miles each way to and from the BART station. I also maintain muscle with 1-2 days a week of yoga (in a fairly demanding level 2-3 power yoga class). HOWEVER, I was also extremely active before I changed my diet, but then I weighed about 200 lbs; since diet changes I have been consistently for several years now between 145-150 lbs. So for me, diet was the biggest issue.

Also, FYI, the changes were gradual, it took about 5-7 years of small eating habit changes for the weight to come off and stay off.

And to those who say you shouldn't lose weight for appearance, I couldn't agree more. Strangely enough, for me changing eating habits started with an effort to simplify my life in general by focusing on what mattered and eliminating excess of all kinds. It's the same effort that led me to lightweight backpacking.

Edited by Pendrey on 12/16/2009 11:30:57 MST.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 17:19:32 MST Print View

I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: "Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You!" on 12/15/2009 17:27:41 MST Print View

For you folks doing or interested in P90x, I recommend checking out I find the workouts more varied and more challenging. Crossfit uses many of the same exercises, dropping the body builder style moves like curls, and adding more gymnastics and olympic style weight lifting. Plus it's free.

I still can't do the workouts listed on the main page, but the "Start Here" link takes me to the BrandX scaled workouts which anyone can do.

Edited by nschmald on 12/15/2009 17:31:08 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: thumbs down on 12/15/2009 17:51:56 MST Print View

I don't know David, I'm impressed with the article for a few reasons:

I'm impressed that Jeremy took the time to share some of the things he's learned with the rest of us. It's a short article, so obviously it's not meant to be comprehensive, but it does contain some good info. It doesn't matter if 'everyone reading it' already knows the info, sometimes it takes a small prod to get us doing the things we know we should do.

I'm impressed that he's traveled down this road in the first place. In our gluttonous, obese culture, it's not the easiest thing to do. His story and tips might just be the final push for someone else. Also, writing the article can be a form of reminding yourself why you started the path in the first place, and can help rejuvinate you to the path. That can be important.

I'm impressed that he wrote the article without judging anyone else or writing it in a high-minded way as if his way was the only way. He wrote it in a helpful way from personal experience.

So thanks Jeremy. Thanks for taking the time to share. It's a well written piece, so you obviously spent some time on it.

And, personally, I think the answer to your weight question is that you lose it for whatever reason is meaningful for you. Losing weight for appearance sake doesn't necessarily mean you're headed for eating disorders and such. In fact it can lead to better health and greater self respect. It doesn't matter what the impetus might have been.

I'll certainly agree, though, Dave, that there is a problem with eating disorders, obesity and such. The causes of these terrible problems are, however, quite varied, including some of what you mentioned.

All the best,


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 17:53:32 MST Print View

"I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail."

Sure, but those are UL cheeseburgers (no lettuce, no mayo, no tomatoes) so they're okay. Could'a used a whole grain bun though.....

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 18:09:04 MST Print View

Ah, just as we're already well into the annual Christmas baking/party routine!

Perhaps a better time to issue this article would have been just before the first Sunday in Advent (the Sunday after Thanksgiving), in which the designated prayer for that Sunday begins with "Stir up, O Lord," the annual signal to start our Christmas baking! (Sorry, standard Lutheran joke!) :-)

My own experience is that when I'm out backpacking I'm not hungry! When I get back home, and no longer need the calories, that's when the appetite kicks in. In other words, I need to keep on exercising right after each trip instead of coming home and relaxing with my feet up and a beer in hand.

Good ideas on cutting back the junk without getting hungry!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 18:11:49 MST Print View

"I like to eat cheeseburgers on the trail."

Hmmm, photos can be deceiving but I'm thinking dat's no cheeseburger ... dat's a Slider!

Am I mistaken?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 18:31:16 MST Print View

And your avatar is an escargot! Just needs a nice garlic sauce!

Edited by hikinggranny on 12/15/2009 18:31:56 MST.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 19:07:07 MST Print View

"For me, it wasn't a matter of calorie counting but increasing nutrition by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eliminating sugar and processed foods (basically trying to eat how our grandparents did ..."

I was a typical male who even though I was exercising and active I still started to get that beer belly as I got to my 30's. I had quit smoking and decided to whip my self into shape and it was obvious to me that it was my diet that was holding me back because I was pretty active. It wasn't until I was introduced to the whole foods movement that every thing made sense, I eat plenty of sat fats, cholesterol, fiber, protien, and fermented foods because theses are what your body needs and they give you energy without making you gain weight. And no they have never been linked to a single disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and weight gain are caused by sugars and refined grains and other junk not from eggs and milk.
I don't believe calorie counting is helpful for losing weight- calorie counts do play a role in whether you will lose or gain weight but the body is far more complex than that. The body is not some simple machine that processes every kind of calorie the same which is the assumption people have when they starve themselves or eat junk -but count the calories.
Example per chart:
orange,carrot,bannana x 4 = 816 cals
3 Candy bars= 810
So, does anyone believe that the meal consisting of fruit and veggies will make you gain more fat? Not a chance!
Also even if its whole grain -which is a good thing- grains will put on the pounds- fat will give you energy without you gaining weight. Your Great grandparents knew this simple fact and we have been brainwashed to think the opposite. Case in point, if you farm and want your animals to gain weight what do you feed them? Across the board for every animal on the farm you would feed them grains! Farmers tried using fat- especially coconut oil ( saturated fat) and it didn't work. The animals just got very active and mated more but didn't gain weight. Thats is why it is perplexing to me that the author has a grain for every meal and then uses lean meat and non fat milk? Maybe if you ate some real meat and real milk you wouldn't need to constantly eat grains to try to satisfy your hunger? And maybe you wouldn't need to torture your self with calorie counting?
I went from 210 lbs to 167, size 36 to 30 waist in a year, Im just shy of a six pack ( its getting there) I have more strength and muscle than before and with the generous amount of nutrition I eat ( not just the USDA's minimum) everything about my health from my skin, hair , nails ,gums is vastly improved. This is from eating real whole food and abstaining form sugars, refined grains, chemical additives and watching the amount of whole grains I eat.
I hope this helps.

edit numbers miss typed.

Edited by MAYNARD76 on 12/15/2009 20:36:18 MST.

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 19:23:37 MST Print View


Best article I’ve read on BPL in a while.

Truly we squabble about saving a fraction of an ounce on the right piece of gear and happily fork out the extra $$$$”s yet nobody ever thinks about dropping a few pounds of body weight.

Thanks again

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Lighten Your Heaviest Gear: You! on 12/15/2009 19:37:41 MST Print View

"The body is not some simple machine that processes every kind of calorie the same which is the assumption people have when they starve themselves or eat junk -but count the calories."

This is true, but weight loss does come down to calorie expenditure. You need to consume less calories than you expend to lose weight, it really is that simple. (Though, as I said earlier, losing weight is the wrong goal, losing fat should be the goal, IMO). You can eat only candy bars and lose weight, as long as your caloric intake is less than your caloric expenditure. You probably won't be very healthy, but you can lose weight. And a meal of only fruits and veggies will cause you to gain weight if you eat more, calorically, then you expend.

Now that's not to say that a calorie is a calorie (technically, yes, but...) food has thermic properties that react in your body in different ways. But that's getting a whole lot deeper than I can get in a forum posting.

Anyway, there are a lot of practical ways to lose weight/fat and get healthier. Your's, Brian, is one, but not the only one. There's nothing wrong with eating grains, it won't necessarily make you hungry, and lean meat is a good thing, not a bad thing. There are certainly good fats that should be part of a balanced diet. There are also bad fats which should be avoided and help clog your arteries and such. Just like calories, all fat is not the same. And calorie counting is not torture for some (though it would be for me!).

So, like everything else, there are a lot of different ways to get to the goal. Use the one that works best for you, just do some homework before you engage. There are a lot of fad diets and such that are pretty useless. Some are even harmful.

The mind is a critical factor in all of it. I'll recommend one book that I think can assist anyone who has had trouble in the past sticking to a plan: The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto. Worth checking out.