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Confessions of a Fat Pilgrim

Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I'm one of the lucky ones who does usually manage to lose size when I walk a camino, even if I do not always lose weight. One of the advantages of walking is that it keeps me out of the kitchen! Still, it seems a shame not to enjoy the food on offer in different countries - it is part of the experience - but I try to be a bit judicious. As a Dutch friend once said to me - don't have both butter and cheese on your bread. Choose one or the other.
Make toast and melt the cheese: scrumptious.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
As a Dutch friend once said to me - don't have both butter and cheese on your bread. Choose one or the other.
I am not Dutch, so no comment. But for the record in this case I am glad not to be Dutch.;)

Or wait...
Maybe not, seeing what that butter and cheese have made.:confused:
@Kanga's right, though. A little less somewhere through the day can be relatively painless but still make a difference.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
He was responding to:

Lisa Brownsey said:
"The food is abundant on the Camino but my husband managed to loose 10kg when he cut out all sugars. No dessert for him from the pilgrim menu. He doesn’t drink alcohol though."

Unfortunately, you can only lose weight by cutting alcohol if you drink it in the first place. If you are a non-drinker, cutting alcohol will do nothing for you. Otherwise, I'd be a lot skinnier.
Many years ago my two daughters were asked what they were going to give up for Lent.
Katherine: cake, chocolate, biscuits and sweets
Philippa: swearing . . . (she was 9)
Beg pardon? Swearing? But you don't swear. It'll be easy then won't it?
 

AnnaWinter

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2021
I take some issue with the statements of some people, including OP, here. I'm fat. Like proper fat. I'm at least 90 pounds overweight. And I can hike.

The only real problem I have, is finding proper hiking clothes that fit, but for the rest...I can walk just as well as many people with normal weights and sizes. It might cost me a little more effort, and I might sweat more than the next person, but I can still do it. Even right now, I'm hiking 15 miles easily these days and I know average sized people who can't do that. So fat or not, you can still train and reach goals.

I haven't walked a Camino yet, but I'm working on it. It's a dream of mine and I'm not going to let my big butt stop me. So what? Now fat people can't enjoy the outdoors because we're too fat and that might hurt our knees? Come on...you can train for everything. If it takes a skinny person half a year to train for the Camino, it might take me a year, but I can still train for it. There are many people who hike the Camino without any training at all, and there are also quite a few very old people finishing the Camino, so I guess a properly prepared fatty can do it as well.

Hiking is good for you. Training for a major hike is good for you. Enjoying the outdoors is good for you. It's good for your body, it's good for your wellbeing. Maybe I'll lose weight training for the Camino and maybe not. But training for it, and hiking it won't hurt me anymore then any other person, especially with a sensible approach.

If you're really not buying a ticket to SJPDP before you're a certain weight, you're only going to sell yourself short. I have waited to do many things in my life if I reached X weight, and the bottom line is that those things rarely happen, because most of our weight goals are way too ambitious. So buy that ticket, start training in time, get a good set of trekking poles and don't put too much weight on your back. Hike the Camino and live your life. If you lose weight doing it, good for you! If you don't, you'll at least have a bloody good time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
@AnnaWinter We don't want you to give up your dream. Almost all of the posters on this thread have also walked the camino and not let their weight get in the way of the dream.

But on this thread we are discussing the merits of losing weight before walking maybe a 3rd or 4th camino - and we are supporting the OP who wants to lose weight.

You have a great attitude about the camino, and we look forward to hearing about your adventure!
 

AnnaWinter

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2021
@AnnaWinter We don't want you to give up your dream. Almost all of the posters on this thread have also walked the camino and not let their weight get in the way of the dream.

But on this thread we are discussing the merits of losing weight before walking maybe a 3rd or 4th camino - and we are supporting the OP who wants to lose weight.

You have a great attitude about the camino, and we look forward to hearing about your adventure!
Thank you for your kind reply. Of course I know it's always easier to do anything when you're lighter, but for some people that's never going to happen, however hard they try. It's just that a few remarks were along the lines of "don't try this when you're overweight" and I used to be one of those people that really let that stop me. And I wanted to write something on this thread for any of those people ;-)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Thank you for your kind reply. Of course I know it's always easier to do anything when you're lighter, but for some people that's never going to happen, however hard they try. It's just that a few remarks were along the lines of "don't try this when you're overweight" and I used to be one of those people that really let that stop me. And I wanted to write something on this thread for any of those people ;-)
@AnnaWinter
It sounds like you're doing excellent preparation for your first camino. Hiking 15 miles in a day makes you a lot more ready than many of us were. However, I could not see anything about your location in your information available on the forum. Could I suggest that, if you live in a flat area, you might do some practice in climbing? It is possible to do this climbing up and down in a sports facility, and not just in the mountains. I am, I suspect, a fair bit older than you, and I was not in good condition when I walked my first camino three years ago. I was also overweight. But I had a lot of experience in mountain hiking: body and brain knew what to do and I took the high points with ease, if not with speed. It might make things easier for you, especially if you start in St Jean pied de Port, if you had some practice in this. Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I take some issue with the statements of some people, including OP, here. I'm fat. Like proper fat. I'm at least 90 pounds overweight. And I can hike.

The only real problem I have, is finding proper hiking clothes that fit, but for the rest...I can walk just as well as many people with normal weights and sizes. It might cost me a little more effort, and I might sweat more than the next person, but I can still do it. Even right now, I'm hiking 15 miles easily these days and I know average sized people who can't do that. So fat or not, you can still train and reach goals.

I haven't walked a Camino yet, but I'm working on it. It's a dream of mine and I'm not going to let my big butt stop me. So what? Now fat people can't enjoy the outdoors because we're too fat and that might hurt our knees? Come on...you can train for everything. If it takes a skinny person half a year to train for the Camino, it might take me a year, but I can still train for it. There are many people who hike the Camino without any training at all, and there are also quite a few very old people finishing the Camino, so I guess a properly prepared fatty can do it as well.

Hiking is good for you. Training for a major hike is good for you. Enjoying the outdoors is good for you. It's good for your body, it's good for your wellbeing. Maybe I'll lose weight training for the Camino and maybe not. But training for it, and hiking it won't hurt me anymore then any other person, especially with a sensible approach.

If you're really not buying a ticket to SJPDP before you're a certain weight, you're only going to sell yourself short. I have waited to do many things in my life if I reached X weight, and the bottom line is that those things rarely happen, because most of our weight goals are way too ambitious. So buy that ticket, start training in time, get a good set of trekking poles and don't put too much weight on your back. Hike the Camino and live your life. If you lose weight doing it, good for you! If you don't, you'll at least have a bloody good time.
Go for it. Great attitude ! :):)

Absolutely DON'T let your weight stop you.


I was merely pointing out that for me, it was a bad choice, and caused much pain and not insignificant permanent damage. And if I share that experience and 'call myself out' on it, others may have a better Camino and vastly increase their chances of finishing one.

Lots of people have to give up through injury............

Maybe it was because I walked three vastly overweight :oops:
I won't make it a fourth time at this weight. I know that. No way Jose.....
I'd be lucky to make 200-300 kms I reckon.
So I'd rather give myself better odds fourth time around ;)

The 'Elephant in the Room' for me was the thinking (like many) that " I'll train when I get there " or " I'll start slow and get fitter as I walk "

I was fooling myself really. Whilst my Strength and Stamina certainly improved it was the weight on my feet and joints that still caused the pain and damage.

So I'm going to try the 'easy' option next time. Yea right! Easy!
Reducing the weight on my feet and joints.
I've got my pack down to about 6 KG.
How could would it feel, to have another 15-20 KG weight reduction on my feet and legs?
I'll be running up those hills :):)
It will be soooooo easy :cool:
 

AnnaWinter

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2021
@AnnaWinter
It sounds like you're doing excellent preparation for your first camino. Hiking 15 miles in a day makes you a lot more ready than many of us were. However, I could not see anything about your location in your information available on the forum. Could I suggest that, if you live in a flat area, you might do some practice in climbing? It is possible to do this climbing up and down in a sports facility, and not just in the mountains. I am, I suspect, a fair bit older than you, and I was not in good condition when I walked my first camino three years ago. I was also overweight. But I had a lot of experience in mountain hiking: body and brain knew what to do and I took the high points with ease, if not with speed. It might make things easier for you, especially if you start in St Jean pied de Port, if you had some practice in this. Buen camino.
Thanks. That's very good advice since I live in a flat area. I'm 45, so not quite old but not quite young anymore :) the Pyrenees do scare me little, so I'd like to be well prepared!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
@AnnaWinter for hiking clothes that fit and are very comfortable for those of us who are not skinny, have a look at these Macabi skirts. They have a few fans on this forum, including me. Can be worn with long boxer briefs to prevent chaffing, like these.

The pockets are great. Carries passport, credential, wallet, smartphone - and a water bottle! The pockets don't work so well with the short skirts. My choice is the slim line in a medium length.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
Hi, my name's Robo and I'm fat !

According to all the guides I should be about 20 kg lighter!

I've been reading lots of interesting posts and threads recently about topics such as:

  1. How to train for the Camino.
  2. How much weight will I lose on the Camino
  3. I'm trying to lose weight before I go
  4. etc etc
I'd just like to address the Elephant in the Room here :eek:

I planned to lose weight before my first Camino. And didn't lose much.
I planned to do lots of training, and didn't do much.
Because I was overweight, the training caused injury.......

I have walked the CF from St Jean twice and Sarria (plus a bit) once.

And here are some observations from a 'fatty' :)

Thinking I could train on the Camino, by starting slowly. I was kidding myself. It hurt, all the way........ all 3 times.
It started hurting a bit less after a week as my legs got stronger.
And in the last week it hurt a lot......as my legs and joints found it hard to cope.

Training overweight, caused damage before I even started.

Walking three times overweight has caused permanent damage.

If you are significantly overweight, as I am. (BMI 32) You probably eat and/or drink too much and have a poor diet.
If you think you are somehow going to eat less on the Camino, think again.
The walking will make you hungry, and the plentiful supply of yummy, cheap, and hi carb/fat food ain't going to help you much.

On 3 Caminos, whilst I got fitter and stronger, I hardly lost any weight. Maybe 2-3 kg. (starting at 94)

So fool yourself as much as you like ;)

But for my next Camino, I'll be:

Losing weight before I go. By eating less! (Yes, it's about energy balance. Not rocket science)
I will loose at least 10 kg before I start any serious training.
I will aim for a BMI of about 25-26 if I can, before starting my next Camino.
Still bordering on overweight but a lot lighter than I am now.

I know that if I walk again with a BMI of 32 that.
I might not make it through injury.
And if I do make it, it going to be really painful..........again.

I've come across a few Pilgrims my size or bigger, and..........
90% of them had terrible foot and blister problems.
No wonder really is it ? :oops:

So if you are a fatty like me.
Do yourself a big favour.
And use your upcoming Camino as a really good reason to lose some serious weight, before you go.

Your Camino will be easier.
Less painful.
And far less damaging in the long term.

P.S. I find it really hard to stick to diets.
But the one that seems to work is the 5-2, or a variation of it.
Basically 2 days a week I don't eat much at all.
When I do this, I can lose 1-2 kgs a week easily.

Then Pat cooks a great meal, I get a bottle of wine to go with it.
And I start all over again :(
But you get the point.
I know what I need to do prior to my next Camino.......
And I've found a diet that will work when I need it.
I have had another thought! (Steady.....:D)
Walk the Via Francigena from the start. I can guarantee you’ll lose weight when going through the French part! It took me 25 days from Canterbury to Besançon, not sure how much I lost but 12 days later, in Germany, I could weigh myself and I had lost 10 kgs. That was after 12 whole days of eating myself silly to compensate.... :D
 

Mapanggulo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I haven't done the Camino yet, the plan is to do it 2020 or 2021. So here for information/research.
I take some issue with the statements of some people, including OP, here.
If you took any issue with what I wrote it wasn't intentional on my part at all.

I am only a judgmental person when it comes to myself and how I am, not others. I've seen what people that are my weight or more can do and are doing when it comes to Triathlons, distance running, endurance events and such...and I have done some stuff that people didn't think I could do or were surprised I could do.

If others are comfortable in their own skin far be it for me to say anything about what they choose to do other than to support them.

Ultimately for me it comes to doing something smart & loosing weight prior to the Camino for me (not others) is the smarter choice. Because of my knee injury before and because it will make the trek easier on me. I know I've felt better at my target weight and I miss that. I also know I was able to do more physically. I have already started training at my present weight and I know I can shed it and train at the same time so it's more me taking the easy way on the Camino when I do it for the first time. But that's just me :)
 

Mapanggulo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I haven't done the Camino yet, the plan is to do it 2020 or 2021. So here for information/research.
@AnnaWinter
Could I suggest that, if you live in a flat area, you might do some practice in climbing? It is possible to do this climbing up and down in a sports facility, and not just in the mountains.
Another suggestion for anyone living in a flat area but is in an urban area/city, use parking garages.

Kansas is very flat and the nearest mountains are 6-8 hours away. I have hosted a ruck for a group that is a 6 mile ruck that goes to 14 parking garages...we go up the stairs or ramps, then down. Anyone going on it does what they can and skips stairs as needed. It's a great workout and helps training for elevation. Those that have done a Camino would think we are crazy though because of the weight we carry doing these, which I don't suggest for anyone unless your used it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
If you're really not buying a ticket to SJPDP before you're a certain weight, you're only going to sell yourself short. I have waited to do many things in my life if I reached X weight, and the bottom line is that those things rarely happen, because most of our weight goals are way too ambitious. So buy that ticket, start training in time, get a good set of trekking poles and don't put too much weight on your back. Hike the Camino and live your life. If you lose weight doing it, good for you! If you don't, you'll at least have a bloody good time.
Well said!
 

pgsilva

Tracing my Pelayo Family
Camino(s) past & future
none
Ah. We have a different philosophy at work.
Work More, Make More, Give More.
Long story ;)
Great Advice. Totally agree, even without the benefit of the long story. Although it's a great excuse to share a bottle!

In 2008, I ballooned to almost 125 kg before my body succumbed to diabetes. A sobering event, but one that made it clear that controlling my weight was not an option. I quickly lost 13-15 kg and have it under control now through meds, some exercise, and diet - not as in "on a diet," but rather knowing what I eat.

I've lost another 9 kg since the beginning of August when my daughter and I decided to walk the Camino next year. I realized just the other day that it's a bit more than the pack I'll be wearing. And I'd like to lose another 10 by our trip in April. She's a 21 yo, fit gymnastics coach, so she'll be a great motivator when I get lazy!

For me, it really is about calories-in < calories-out. So simple. I use the myfitnesspal app to log everything I eat and all the exercise I do. I like the fact that I decide how much I want to lose in a week, and it gives me a guideline # of calories to make that happen. Seeing the charts in the app showing the days that I'm compliant (and those days I'm not) really helps the motivation by providing instant feedback. I also get to choose how I spend those last 200 calories every day... a cookie? a dram of whisky? a hot apple cider? My choice!

Good luck Robo. It sounds like you've got the right attitude to be successful. I like to live by Oscar Wilde's advice: "Everything in moderation, including moderation.” But when I have a goal in my mind like the Camino, I KNOW I can do what it takes to make it.

Work more...

Jerry
 

Mapanggulo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I haven't done the Camino yet, the plan is to do it 2020 or 2021. So here for information/research.
For me, it really is about calories-in < calories-out. So simple. I use the myfitnesspal app to log everything I eat and all the exercise I do. I like the fact that I decide how much I want to lose in a week, and it gives me a guideline # of calories to make that happen. Seeing the charts in the app showing the days that I'm compliant (and those days I'm not) really helps the motivation by providing instant feedback. I also get to choose how I spend those last 200 calories every day... a cookie? a dram of whisky? a hot apple cider? My choice!
I love the app myfitnesspal, I used it to shed 90lbs in about a year....so that is what I'm back to using.
 

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