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Weight loss - or gain?

Planning to walk Camino frances from St Jean in Sept 2007 - first camino.
Question arising from interest more than concern. What weight change have pilgrims noticed when walking 800km over 4-5 weeks.Numerous variables - age, degree of fitness, weight at start,intercurrent illness on journey,calorific intake etc.
P.S Not proposing the camino as a weight management plan
I have noticed not much change of weight but movement from fat to muscle.

40-50 age group, ate all I wanted when I wanted which was generally pilgrims menu in the evening with coffee and toast breakfast and bocadillo luch and tortilla if I felt hungry on the way. Be sure to get plenty of liquids too.

Buen Camino


Maggie Ramsay
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
My husband and I are both 59 and similar sizes, but I lost 6kg over 5 weeks walking and he stayed the same. But he started mostly muscle and I had 6 (actually probably 9)kg to lose. I did drink wine, ate bocadillos, menu del dia, cafe con leche, and chocolate close to the end of a long day's wallk, but I didn't eat desserts, lollies or cakes as I was hoping to trim down. I did better than I expected.


New Member
I just read an online diary of a womans walk where she talks about losing enough weight so that her trousers became uncomfortable (too loose) would people recommend bringing a belt of some sort?


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I'm 54 and started at 65kg and ended up 60kg.Breakfast was a coffee and lunch occasional-depending on availability on VDLP. then beer wine and dinner out at night. Definitely have a belt or velcro/adjustable pants.
Weight Loss and Gain

A bit off subject, but an interesting observation. My finger and toe nails grew thicker whilst on the Camino. I had a ridge about 4mm long of increased nail thickness after my Camino in August and September last year, which has gradually moved upwards and is only now just growing out at the top of my nails. Does a long period of intensive exercise such as this cause thickening of other bones in the body, not just finger and toe nails?

And if anyone has the answer - why?
4mm? Certainly, excercise will have a certain amount of influence on bones, increasing calcium absorption (due to pulling of tendons on bones and pressure) but not on nails, as far as I know.

If it was your toenails, maybe it had to do with the walking (?) A fungal infection?

Nails are only thickened (in a positive way) by dietary changes.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I too had one nail appreciably thicken and another appear to have a (painless) bruise under it.The nail thickening is no doubt caused by constatnt pressure on that particular nail producing a compensatory thickening.Diet would have nothing to do with it
Nail Growth

Yes it was both toe nails and finger nails. Maybe if exercise was a factor then the finger nail thickening was due to using walking poles. But absolutely no doubt about it, a thickening of finger and toe nails about 4mm long, which I assume is the amount of growth over a 5 week period.
I lost about 7lbs over 13 days (Porto - Santiago, 185 miles on the route I took). I did notice that my hair and nails grew like crazy for a while after my return... I did eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies!


Northern Route Pelgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Past : Northern route, Primitivo
Future : Via de la Plata, Sanabres, Portuguese routes
Hair and nail growth increasing; my guess is due to an overall increase in your metabolic rate . . .

Buen Camino !
Camino(s) past & future
From Pamplona to Burgos in 2012, SJPP - Finisterre in 2013, planning another for 2014 and every year after!
I lost about 2 dress sizes, but no weight. I was *really* surprised that I hadn't lost any weight because I'd lost inches. My trousers were tight at the beginning and falling off at the end - and they had elasticated bits that I could tighten - but that still wasn't enough. I ate as much as I wanted, and whatever I wanted. Drank plenty of water too. Unfortunately, I've lost much of the tone since I've been back. The one exception is my calfs - which were always really skinny... now my old knee boots are really tight and it's definitely muscle not fat!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
Will be hard with tapas
Do not eat bread for one year...........................5kg loss..........bread alone.

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