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  1. #1
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    Default Overweight and cant get off the ground

    My dream was to hike the AT after retiring . So I've been retired for 6 years and still haven't even hiked a section of the AT . I'm 68 years old . My problem is I'm overweight (100 pounds ) and cant seem to get the weight off . I hike local trails here in eastern Ohio but nothing works . I also swim everyday for 1 hr . . When day hiking after about and hour my hips start to hurt as does a shin splint feeling in my shins . I'm blaming the weight for all of this . Does anyone have any suggestions . I've been to the doctor and he prescribes cutting back on food intake and exercise which I am doing . Help get me out there .

    Thanks ,
    Gonzo

  2. #2
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Eat consistent times
    Limit skipping meals
    Increase water intake
    Limit carbs
    Limit high sodium foods
    Plan small snacks through out the day
    Cut out sugary drinks and Limit diet drink
    Vitamin B
    ''Tennessee Viking'
    Mountains to Sea Trail Maintainer
    Former TEHCC (AT) Maintainer
    Falls Lake Trail: 2011

  3. #3

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    Exercise is great but weight loss comes from the kitchen.
    Do you drink alchohol? Extremely hard to lose weight if so.

  4. #4
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    The thing about getting old is everything works against you. I'm not a doctor but at some point common sense has to be applied. Nearly everyone will tell you NOT to fast. However if you watch Naked and Afraid and back in the day, Biggest Loser it becomes pretty obvious(scripted or not the subjects do loose weigh) the only way to get weight off quickly is a drastic cut in caloric intake and still maintain some moderate level of activity.
    I think IF you make sure what you DO eat provides the basic nutrients to prevent vitamin deficiencies, maintain somewhat of an electroylte balance etc you can "survive" a period of fasting/very low intake without much real damage. THIS ASSUMES you do NOT have any significant health issues...which at 100lbs overweight is pretty unlikely, however thats for you to know. I DO NOT recommend that path but mention it to drive home the point that weight loss for seniors can be difficult.

    BY far the best way is to just make the commitment to cut your daily intake significantly below what your target weight would dictate as proper to maintain your target...and trust me at our age that is a rather disappointingly small amount of food. Its hard to do because you will NOT see results in any kind of time frame that will act to motivate you, however for many slow and steady is easier to maintain vs dealing with hunger pains, head aches etc for months. The side benefit is you can keep up a higher level of activity since you will have some calories to burn which can help speed the process and hopefully as you get lighter, have less of those joint issues.

    I would add to the list provided by Tn Viking to eat your meals early in the day....there is mounting evidence that eating past 4-5pm results in more weight retention of what you do eat and to me it just makes sense that it would. I think this goes double for seniors, I think part of getting old is a natural tendency to fatten up(makes sense to me as a survival hedge against illness) beyond the obvious factors of lower activity, less muscle mass to burn calories, slower metabolism etc....as I said, everything works against making weight loss easy for seniors.

    I'm a perfect example, weighted 130 odd pounds for nearly 50 years then in my early sixties after a lifetime of being unable to gain any significant weight despite eating like 2 horses, BOOM I gained 30+ pounds without trying, in fact I'm still trying to find that happy medium between not starving and not gaining weight.

  5. #5
    illabelle's Avatar
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    I've hiked over 1800 miles of the AT and I've lost several pounds ... over and over again. I really thought that by now I'd be a slim trim hard-muscled thing, the envy of all the couch potatoes. Instead, I hover on the overweight/obese line, and I envy others. Disappointing though that is, I've still hiked over 1800 miles, a pretty impressive total if you ask me!

    I strongly encourage you to just pack your gear and get Out There. Who cares if you walk slower? Who cares if the slim trim crowd passes you by? Who cares if you huff and puff up the hills? At 68 years old, I'm sure you're fully aware that time is your enemy. Most people find that fitness comes as they hike.

    Get away from the house and especially the kitchen. Plan yourself a low-mileage hike on terrain that you can handle. Before your body starts hurting, rest a while. Bring a book to read or whatever you need to pass the time. Get up and do it again. Build the strength and endurance outdoors. Even if you never complete the trail, and even if you never lose the weight, it beats staying home for six years.

  6. #6

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    Gonegonzo all the advice so far is good stuff and Illabelle you are spot on. I'm the same age as the OP and section hiking for 5 years and realized during my first section hike of 30 miles that I loved it but my body said hell no.The next year I lost weight by doing what everyone has said and no it's not easy but hard work pays off and I just keep doing it.I haven't made it as far as some but further then others.Starting at Damascus this year NOBO. Good luck and don't quit on a bad day.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by gonegonzo View Post
    My dream was to hike the AT after retiring . So I've been retired for 6 years and still haven't even hiked a section of the AT . I'm 68 years old . My problem is I'm overweight (100 pounds ) and cant seem to get the weight off . I hike local trails here in eastern Ohio but nothing works . I also swim everyday for 1 hr . . When day hiking after about and hour my hips start to hurt as does a shin splint feeling in my shins . I'm blaming the weight for all of this . Does anyone have any suggestions . I've been to the doctor and he prescribes cutting back on food intake and exercise which I am doing . Help get me out there .

    Thanks ,
    Gonzo
    Hike the Buckeye Trail.
    Section hike it if you need to.

    You're retired, clock is ticking.

    Get a hammock- for breaks. Hike an hour or mile or whatever you can handle- then get off your feet for a break or even a nap.
    Repeat.

    Do a 5, 10 or 15 mile section. Whatever.

    Dreams are nice, but reality is until you can put a few days on the trail in a row together the AT will remain a dream.

    Sounds like yer stuck in a rut. I suck at working out too. I go to the gym then eat or drink it away fer being a good boy.
    Being on the actual trail, day after day works best for me.

    If nothing else... decent way to find out if this is something you really want. There are plenty of section of the buckeye just as pretty as sections of the AT... backpacking is backpacking. Nothing magical about the AT that will melt the pounds away or lure you on for days at a time.

    You probably missed this season at a slow pace on the AT (mostly).
    So why not spend the next month or two building yourself up to doing a month section on the buckeye... with the carrot on your stick that you will reward yourself with a week on the AT in late summer or fall.
    The train from chicago to DC goes right to harpers ferry. And september to early november are all very great times to do sections in either direction out of harpers.

    Like sweet miss 'illabelle said; don't worry about what the scale says- worry about what the trail says. Warren Doyle is not exactly what one would call fit but covered more AT miles than anyone... simply by walking.


    PS- go to a real shoe store, get fitted for shoes. While you are there, check out compression sleeves.

  8. #8

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    I was overweight for a decade or so. Some specific things that worked for me included:
    - No fast food, or pizza delivery ever.
    - Cook for yourself, from scratch. If you have to get up, make the dough, make the sauce, assemble the pizza, then you've earned it. You're more likely to put veggies on it as well. Sure beats tossing a frozen pizza in the oven because you're peckish and a little bored.
    - Learn about food in general. Not to the extent of superfoods and specific compounds in foods that some study said are probably good for you... just the basics. Stuff like, whole grains are better than processed grains. Then beware about store bought whole grain breads, because the scumbags put extra sugar and fat into them to make them taste better. Learn to bake, and control the ingredients. Replace potatoes with short grain brown rice. Eat a little less meat, eat healthier meats. Replace some of the meat with mushrooms, or even vegetable protiens. Ground turkey instead of beef. Eat soups, that you've made. Filling and tasty.
    - Plan your menu in advance. Shop for what you need to make the meals.
    - Swimming is awesome, keep that up. Able to get a bike? Those are fairly low stress.
    - Don't get down on yourself if you cheat a little bit. Just make the better choice next time.
    - Don't use the word "diet," it sounds like a punishment. Just make choices that make you healthier. Don't use weight loss as your sole indicator. Measure small accomplishments instead, like you were able to swim an extra lap, or stand up from the couch without grunting, or able to breath easier.
    - Make it a way of life, not a short term goal. Don't get overly excited if you drop 20 pounds fast. I was able to drop 20 pounds in a month simply by cutting out delivery pizza. But, you'll never sustain that kind of weight loss. It's more sustainable to lose 20, then 10, then 5, then a whole bunch of ones and twos per month. Lose it fast, and you risk it coming back fast.
    - Oh, eat human sized portions. Two slices of pizza are enough for a meal. The other 3/4 can be frozen, in single portions. Have a nice salad, without dressing. Strangely enough, vegetables are kind of tasty all by themselves.
    - Stay away from the TV and computer.
    - Buy a pair of 5 pound weights, look up exercise videos for older people. Turn down the volume, and play your own favorite music, or try something new and upbeat that will get you moving.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 05-18-2018 at 16:46.

  9. #9
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Indeed, just do it- at first at whatever scale you can manage, you already know just jumping on the trail is not YOUR answer yet. Perhaps your issue with shin splints and back pain can be mitigated with changing the actual hiking...for example carrying 25-35lbs might pull you more erect and change your hip angle/muscles used. Same with hiking poles but in the other direction...and maybe they will help with the shins. If you are limited to 90 minutes, then use that to try to find a solution that will lead to longer outings.

    The first person I ever saw actually hiking the AT that was not some kid day hiker was a huge(and old)guy with a beer belly worthy of a Guiness record, chugging up an endless hill in 90* humidity.I'm quite sure he was 100 lbs overweight. I fully believe a lot of people hike the AT(at least sections) who are NOT truly fit or in good shape, they just do it at what ever pace they can manage, you need to find out how to get to where you can hike longer- given your current regimen one would assume your cardio health is up to the task.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    - Don't get down on yourself if you cheat a little bit. Just make the better choice next time.
    - Don't use the word "diet," it sounds like a punishment. Just make choices that make you healthier. Don't use weight loss as your sole indicator. Measure small accomplishments instead, like you were able to swim an extra lap, or stand up from the couch without grunting, or able to breath easier.
    - Make it a way of life, not a short term goal. Don't get overly excited if you drop 20 pounds fast. I was able to drop 20 pounds in a month simply by cutting out delivery pizza. But, you'll never sustain that kind of weight loss. It's more sustainable to lose 20, then 10, then 5, then a whole bunch of ones and twos per month. Lose it fast, and you risk it coming back fast.
    - Oh, eat human sized portions. Two slices of pizza are enough for a meal. The other 3/4 can be frozen, in single portions. Have a nice salad, without dressing. Strangely enough, vegetables are kind of tasty all by themselves.
    This is good advice. The best diet you can go on is to eat what you like but learn portion control then you can control your weight for your life time. You will feel deprived if you never get to eat X,Y or Z which are your favorite foods. One day you will give into your cravings, go off your diet, feel guilty and end up gaining back the weight. Instead learn how much X,Y or Z fits into a reasonable calorie intake for the day. With a little self control you will end up with a livable life long weight control strategy.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  11. #11
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    My Doctors have told me when I was over weight to eat smaller amounts 5 times a day instead of three full meals per day. You can also have a small but healthy evening snack.
    Blackheart

  12. #12

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    I've also found the MyFitnessPal app that's available on PC, Mac, phones, and tablets to be helpful. You sign up, enter your current data, then enter the food you eat at each meal and snacks, and add exercise that you do. Having the daily feedback of being over/under your target calories can be helpful. Also, you can see what foods and portions work within the constraints you have.

    The app is part of the UnderArmor family of apps including MapMyWalk, MapMyRun, MapMyRide and others that use your phone to track your activity while you're doing it, and sync it with the MyFitnessPal exercise input, so you don't have to enter those manually. If you do exercise that's not automatically tracked, like stationary bike, then you can enter it manually into MyFitnessPal.

  13. #13

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    jackwagon beat me to it. I was going to suggest the myfitnesspal app too. Website version too, if you don't have smartphone. It's really great, you can scan the barcode of most any food and it knows the serving size and nutrition info. For things without a barcode they have a very extensive database to pull from.
    Enter your weight and your goals and it adjusts....as you loose weight you need fewer calories

    I hate the idea of counting calories, and I believe that nutrition is a balance with lots of other variables
    but
    as an engineer I look at it as a basic thermodymics system.
    energy in = energy out
    if it's not equal then something is going up or down......

    Anyway, that app help helped to train my brain to what a real serving size is..... well I'm still struggling with it but at least now I have an idea.

    My best example was my breakfast
    I had been eating "healthy" cereal for years, thinking I was doing good. I'd have what I thought was a normal cereal bowl sized serving. Once in a while I'd have another half bowl or so....
    well..... I looked at the serving size and calorie info on the side of the box..... well ONE of my bowls was like 2-1/2 servings!

    A sedentary person just really does not need all that much food.

    One other thing...a highly active person doesn't either, if they focus on only good calories. My brother in law is a serious iron man / marathon/100 mile bike ride kind of crazy fitness buff. Always going big miles. I was shocked once I started noticing how little food he typically eats.

    The only other thing I've got is this.... when you feel the need for a snack, drink a glass of water instead. It really does help.

  14. #14

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    If you hike one mile on the AT,that is more than probably 99% of the world's population ever will. Just go at your pace. It is worth it.

  15. #15
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    Thank all of you for your input . Every reply seemed to have some good sound advice that is void in my present lifestyle . The encouragement to get out there and do what I can do struck home but I will make sure I'm fitted with the proper fitting footwear . Also maybe a full pack instead of a day pack/lunch pack is the way to go and as mentioned , enough weight to benefit my posture .

    Again , thank all of you for your input and believe me that it didn't fall on deaf ears .

    Gonzo

  16. #16
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    I am a non drinker .

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonegonzo View Post
    My dream was to hike the AT after retiring . So I've been retired for 6 years and still haven't even hiked a section of the AT . I'm 68 years old . My problem is I'm overweight (100 pounds ) and cant seem to get the weight off . I hike local trails here in eastern Ohio but nothing works . I also swim everyday for 1 hr . . When day hiking after about and hour my hips start to hurt as does a shin splint feeling in my shins . I'm blaming the weight for all of this . Does anyone have any suggestions . I've been to the doctor and he prescribes cutting back on food intake and exercise which I am doing . Help get me out there .

    Thanks ,
    Gonzo
    Checkout YouTube Dr. McDougall, and Dr. Michael Greger

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonegonzo View Post
    My dream was to hike the AT after retiring . So I've been retired for 6 years and still haven't even hiked a section of the AT . I'm 68 years old . My problem is I'm overweight (100 pounds ) and cant seem to get the weight off . I hike local trails here in eastern Ohio but nothing works . I also swim everyday for 1 hr . . When day hiking after about and hour my hips start to hurt as does a shin splint feeling in my shins . I'm blaming the weight for all of this . Does anyone have any suggestions . I've been to the doctor and he prescribes cutting back on food intake and exercise which I am doing . Help get me out there .

    Thanks ,
    Gonzo
    Also you can read Dr. McDougall's book: The Starch Solution.

  19. #19
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Just remember the definition of ...... is trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result. So if you aren't making progress, change your program, others have suceeded, so can you. Trust me, whatever it takes will be worth it, 68 is still young enough to have another entire life of experiences and a big part of that is being health and fit.

  20. #20
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I do long section hikes (LASH in hiker parlance). I'm not overweight by any means. Nevertheless, within three to four weeks of hiking, I lose 10 to 15 pounds. It tends to be a problem, but that's me. One thing I have seen on the trail is there are no overweight long distance hikers out there. I would suggest, if your doctor concurs, get on the trail and go 500 miles or more. You don't have to do 20 miles a day. Do what you can. I was doing 6 or 7 miles per day when I first started and still do occasionally.

    Oh, and I did my first LASH after I retired in 2016. I hope to finish the trail this year.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

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