If you’ve ever out backpacking, you may have dealt with some unwanted side effects like appetite suppression. There are three reasons why this may happen: changed eating schedule, different food, less free time. It’s worse on short trips. Here we will talk about these three reasons and help you understand what to do to combat the problem in each case.
It happens when a person changes his or her eating schedule. Let’s say you always ate breakfast at 7.00 am and then lunch at noon on your normal day of backpacking. After backpacking, you will be free to eat at noon every day if you want to, but it’s not mandatory. You can also eat lunch at 7 am again if you want to. There is not much difference between eating breakfast in the morning or lunch at noon, as long as you eat something within the same period. Thus, your body thinks that you are still on your normal schedule. That’s why it suppresses your appetite.
Food tastes different on backpacking trips. It’s more difficult to eat the same food every day. And it’s not just about the taste; some foods may contain more or fewer calories, leading to weight loss or gaining. For example, a meal was nothing special, and it only consisted of tomatoes and bread; now you eat this same meal on your normal day of a backpacking trip, but it won’t be as tasty as on your previous trips. That’s because the food you eat on backpacking trips is not prepared like it’s usually done in a restaurant.
Less Free Time
This one is the most important reason why hiking suppresses your appetite. When you are on a short trip, the hiking time may be longer than you expect, especially when it includes lots of breaks along the way. It means that it will be difficult to get enough calories like usual. It would help if you always carry something with you to eat during these breaks. But it would be hard to always carry something with you, especially for short trips. Even if you do, it won’t help you gain the weight you want.
How to Fight Appetite Suppression
Eat a big breakfast before hiking.
Some people may call this the “heart attack breakfast” because it is so huge yet so tasty and rich in calories. It can help a lot by giving you enough energy for the day while telling your body that everything is normal. It means that you are still eating like you used to do. And it’s a good choice for long backpacking trips.
Bring more food on your short trips, as long as it won’t be too hard for you to carry.
You can bring snacks like nuts and dried fruits with you to eat during breaks. It’s very important that you eat something during these breaks because the hiking time is not long enough for your body to get all of the calories it needs.
Always carry at least one snack with you.
It is one of the easiest and best options to fight appetite suppression. If you only have one snack, it won’t bother you if you don’t eat it right now because you can always eat it later on your trip if you still have time.
Your appetite will be back to normal after a short or long trip.
The first day back home usually brings your appetite back to normal. This is because your body needs some time to restore the missed calories. It’s better to bring more food on short trips because you don’t want the hunger to come back again. But it wouldn’t be necessary if you had enough calories when you were on long trips because these needed fewer calories than usual.
If your appetite is always suppressed, try eating slowly.
The first few bites will help you feel how much food it takes to satisfy your hunger. You can eat the big breakfast easily after slow eating. And after having a big breakfast, you won’t miss it anymore because you have more energy for hiking than usual, and that also means that your appetite will be back to normal.
Don’t worry about what people think when they see you eating only snacks on short trips.
People will understand that you are still eating but can’t cook like before. They may think that you need more calories than usual, but they won’t understand what is going on in your body. After all, it’s only a few days that they will see you doing this.
If your appetite is always suppressed, try eating slowly and less often during the day.
The less often you eat, the less likely you will suppress your appetite. You will be able to have a big breakfast and a decent lunch without feeling full, and that will mean that your appetite is back to normal.
What to Eat and Drink Before, During, and After Going on a Day Hike
Before you go on your next day’s hike, here are the things you should be eating and drinking before, during, and after to help maintain good hydration and keep yourself in a state of energetic balance.
A healthy diet is important to be in the proper physical condition and avoiding injury while hiking. The quality of your diet can impact how well you feel after a hike. Make sure the day before your hike that you eat at least one substantial meal, preferably about three hours before going out. According to Dennis Cottrell – an expert on hiking and sports nutrition – “You should take in 50 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from protein, and 20 percent from fat. You should also take at least 1.5 liters of water per day.”
Take time to chew your food well. It will help keep you hydrated and support your digestive system by ensuring all the nutrients in your food have time to be absorbed and digested. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks, as they are diuretic and can cause fluid imbalances. Energy bars, power bars, and gels may be a great option to help you rehydrate throughout the day.
After your hike is finished, make sure to eat a light meal with high carbohydrate content, such as a banana or berries. Try not to eat for at least two hours after hiking. It will keep your blood sugar levels even and prevent you from crashing following a hike.
When hiking, you must stay properly hydrated. By drinking water throughout the day, you will ensure that your body receives adequate amount of water and electrolytes. Make sure to have water with you at all times, so you don’t forget to drink. It would help if you aim to drink at least two quarts of fluid per day. If possible, try to drink an electrolyte replacement drink, which you should enjoy with water.
Electrolytes are important because they help regulate your hydration levels and other bodily functions. They can be found in “energy drinks,” coconut water, sports drinks designed for athletes, or packaged sports foods like Gatorade. Electrolyte beverages will help replenish the sodium and potassium lost when you sweat. They will also replenish calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and bicarbonate.
Hydration Level and Dehydration Rate
Hydration is important to getting around while hiking. It also contributes to how long you can go without water in your body. Your dehydration rate will depend on how much you sweat while hiking. And if you run out of water before you reach a water source, you’ll start to get lightheaded and lose energy. It will slow down your progress on the trail.
Dehydration can happen at a rate of one percent an hour. If you are only drinking two quarts of water a day, it will take about ninety minutes for you to be dehydrated. You should always hydrate yourself throughout your hike, even if you’re not thirsty or sweating.
If you are sweating a lot, try not to drink plain water. Instead, drink water with electrolytes. It will keep you from drinking too much, leading to hyponatremia (potassium deficiency due to excessive water intake).
Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates the digestive tract and is considered to be appetite-regulating. Ghrelin levels in the body increase before meals, stimulating hunger (including high-calorie items). It also tells your brain the body is feeling full and stop eating.
Before you go on a hike, plan what you will be eating afterward. You could eat a light meal with a high carbohydrate content (such as berries or a banana).
You may also want to consider adjusting your Ghrelin levels naturally. You can do this by taking the following supplements:
- Chromium Picolinate
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Cinnamomi Cortex
- Garlic Extract (Allicin)
- INGROW prebiotic oligosaccharide complex fiber
Quality of Water
The quality of outdoor water sources will affect the water you are drinking. Try to drink water from natural sources like a lake or stream. The minerals in these natural bodies of water will help your body stay hydrated. If you use a water filter, make sure it has activated charcoal, removing chemicals and particulate matter in the water source. If you can’t, boil the water for several minutes before drinking it. If you are unsure of the quality of a water source, do not drink it.
Considerations and Precautions
If you have a medical condition that limits how much fluid your body can retain, check with your doctor. They may recommend consuming more than two quarts of water per day. They may also recommend taking electrolyte replacement drinks to ensure proper hydration and avoid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Also, if you are hiking for a long period or at altitudes that are higher than your endurance level, inform your doctor about your plans so they can give you advice on helping to prepare yourself for the hike.
Physical Activity Level
The more you exercise, the more you sweat. A high physical activity level causes an increased rate of sweating. In colder climates, you will sweat because your body is trying to keep warm. The more active you are, the faster your sweat rate will be. It can be hard to calculate your exact sweat rate during a hike; however, it’s important to understand that sweat rate varies depending on how much you exercise during your hike.
Should you hike a hilly trail? When you need an exciting and challenging hike that doesn’t take too long, try hiking a local park instead. You can take hikes shorter in length, are not as steep, and aren’t full of obstacles. Plus, it is usually less crowded than other types of hikes.
If you hike with additional gear but aren’t the most physically fit person, wear lightweight hiking poles or trekking poles. They will help support your weight. A good hiking boot or pair of shoes can help you. You will be able to use them for multiple hiking activities after wearing them once.
If you cannot exercise and maintain a regular workout schedule, try outside walking or hiking. It is similar to walking, but it is more strenuous than everyday life. Participating in outdoor physical activity will boost your immune system and muscles.
The best time to go on a hike if you have high humidity, and humidity levels will vary by location. If you live near the ocean, it may be best to go hiking in the morning or early evening.
If you live inland, it may be best to go hiking later in the day. Hiking on a cool day with high humidity and high-temperature levels can be very difficult. It will make you sweat even more than usual. If you do not hydrate yourself properly, your sweat will not evaporate and cool your body temperature. Instead, it will soak through your clothing and make you feel even warmer.
Damaging Effects of Sweating and Dehydration
Everything you do on a hiking trail will burn calories. If you consume too many calories, your body will store them for later. Your body can store extra fat or carbohydrates you eat while hiking. Storing calories is a way to protect itself from starvation during periods of low food intake or extended exercise sessions. However, if you are not putting calories into your body through energy foods and drinks, your body will start breaking down its muscle tissue for energy.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health. If you are trying to lose weight, try using cross-training exercises outside. Using a stationary bike or rowing machine can help decrease your overall body fat and help keep your weight steady. It will prevent you from losing muscle mass over time.
If you do not replace the water lost through sweat and breathing, dehydration is likely to occur. Dehydration occurs when your body lacks the water it needs to maintain normal functions. Hiking requires enough fluids to keep you hydrated; otherwise, you may get dehydrated. Proper hydration also helps with circulation, giving your blood a magnified effect and delivering more oxygen to your muscles and brain. Make sure to keep your water from freezing while hiking.
Dehydration can lead to any number of serious side effects. When your body is dehydrated, it cannot function properly. It can result in:
Fatigue or extreme tiredness
Headaches or dizziness
Dehydration can also cause permanent damage to your body. It can lead to serious complications, including kidney failure and heat stroke.
Always bring hiking water bottle or bladder. If you experience any of the above symptoms, drink plenty of water immediately and stop hiking until the symptoms go away. When you are dehydrated, you must drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes until your symptoms disappear. Continue drinking more water until your thirst is satisfied.
Suppressing Your Appetite on Hiking Is Necessary for Weight Loss
Hiking can help you lose weight when done properly. After all, hiking suppresses your appetite because of the lack of calories in most of the foods consumed. It means that it will be impossible for you to gain weight if you travel with good food. As long as you bring the right food on hiking trips, your efforts will be rewarded with a good weight loss.
The same thing happens to people who don’t consume enough calories when they are at home. If they eat like they usually do, it will suppress their appetite, and they won’t feel hungry when their diet is low in calories.