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188 Weight Loss in the Mountains? 2010-02-10

Eating snacks on top pf Mount Columbia

"Looking for a new weight loss plan? Try living on top of a mountain. Twenty obese men spent a week near the top of Germany’s highest peak and saw their metabolism speed up, their appetite diminish, and more pounds melt off than they likely would have had they stayed at home, a new study reports. However, the study lacked a control group, so firm conclusions are tough to draw, other researchers say."

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, ScienceNOW Daily News, 4 February 2010

Good news. You can lose weight in the mountains! Ooops, did we just let the cat out of the bag? Any folks who have spent any time in the mountains know that you lose weight. In fact you generally have trouble keeping from losing weight. Legendary British mountaineer, Don Whillans used to start Himalayan expeditions in an obese condition. Then, as he trekked toward basecamp he allowed the mountain to get him into climbing shape.

We were surprised that this was a weight loss discovery. For us weight loss in the mountains has been almost unavoidable. We burn more calories than we can possibly consume making the pounds come off. But there is even more reasons why we lose weight:

To start, my wife and I almost always lose our appetites for the first week or so in the mountains. A non-scientific theory is that your body is trying to acclimate and therefore does not want much food. In other words, when you are having trouble breathing, you probably don’t want a lot of food sitting inside you waiting to be digested. You are more interested in oxygen. You then, lose your appetite.

Appetites also change in the mountains. Greasy (high calorie) foods that give me indigestion are definitely on my "do not eat" list. I generally eat better and drink lots of water. Amy, my wife, lives on Hammer Gel for the first couple of weeks. She can hardly eat anything else.

Also contributing to weight loss is that we camp. This is probably minor, but we do burn extra calories trying to stay warm. Our basic metabolism increases.

And lastly hiking and climbing burns a lot of calories. We burn two to three times as many calories climbing as we would in our regular at home routines. A normal day in the mountains would see us burning 5,000 calories and only eating 2,000 calories. We are then able to eat all that we can.

However returning to civilization we find it very difficult to readjust our eating habits. We want to eat all of the time and soon our loss weight returns. Disappointed in the weight gains, yes, but it just gives us a reason to return to the mountains as soon as possible.

So perhaps weight loss camps will be a trend in the mountains. The summit of Pikes Peak would be a great place for a camp. The campers could ride the train to the summit. Remodel the old visitors center into a bunk house. And for fitness build a trail that circles the large summit area. Of course you would have to stop the cafe from serving those donuts!

This was an interesting article... I might have to visit it again soon.

Happy mountain trails.

link - http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2010/204/2


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