Regarding the weightloss I described in my previous post (thank you so much for all the comments and warm, fuzzy love about that!), I should probably clarify that it didn’t just magically melt off due to hiking. I’m a firm believer in the saying that you can’t out-exercise your mouth. Those 500 calories you might burn on a hike won’t make much of a dent if you reward yourself with a giant chocolate bar afterwards (not that I would ever do that, of course, she whistles innocently).
(That said, backpacking trips and very long dayhikes did lead to weightloss for me, thanks to the combination of sustained exercise and low calorie intake, because I just ended up eating way less than I would at home. Road trips where we would camp and go backpacking were especially effective, but of course my weight would just shoot back up the second I came home and resumed my normal eating habits.)
The big change was, I think, a change in the way I saw myself. Suddenly I was out there experiencing a whole new world and my body started feeling stronger every time I climbed a mountain. That confidence boost made me respect myself enough to start taking better care of my body.
I flirted with a few things like Weight Watchers, but never lasted very long because I just loathe any sort of food tracking with every fiber of my being. So mostly I just ate healthier than before. Honestly, my diet prior to discovering hiking was so atrocious that even the smallest of tweaks gave big results, but I also learned to really love vegetables. I started reading healthy living blogs and learned that kale is a thing, and actually a surprisingly tasty thing! I discovered the joy of cooking, which in itself was a huge step up from eating french fries and Quorn nuggets and all sorts of pre-packaged junk every day, even though I smothered most things in cheese. (My affair with chocolate, however, kept burning with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.)
I lost around 30 pounds that first year, then lost and gained the same 15 or so over and over and over and over again, depending on my state of mind. Last year, I found my preferred way of eating and (effortlessly! it’s magic!) lost 35 pounds over the course of three months before becoming pregnant, and now I’m working on the last 30 or so that it will take for me to reach a truly healthy weight. Just last week I reached the “normal” BMI range for the first time. I know everyone loves to hate BMI, but I don’t have enough muscle mass to skew the results, so I’m going to take this as a huge win.
A big difference today is that it’s truly health-motivated for me. Like a lot of women in our society, I’ve always had a strained relationship with my body and my appearance, but something about having kids has made me put much less weight (heh) on my looks. (I like to think that I’ve matured, but maybe I’m just too chronically sleep-deprived to give any f*cks.) I won’t lie, it’s fun to look at photos and see a big difference, or to be able to use the baby carrier after JK has worn it without having to loosen the waist belt (woot!), but it’s way more rewarding to be able to hike briskly uphill without getting out of breath and to finally see my cholesterol fall into the normal range.