Will I lose weight on the Camino de Santiago?

Weight loss on the Camino de Santiago
Weight loss on the Camino de Santiago

The question was:

I would like to here from members who have previously completed the camino, if they experienced any loss of body weight during their walk, and is it necessary to watch your diet.

Read more on the discussion on weight loss while on the Camino de Santiago here.

38 Replies to “Will I lose weight on the Camino de Santiago?”

  1. Yes and No. If you carry your own bag and walk an average of 25 km each day and you don’t stop at every bar for a beer, then you may lose weight. Don’t bargain on it though. Depending on your metabolism you may not lose a single gram! I lost 17 kg during my practice walks (1200km) at home and during the 36 days it took me to reach Santiago from St Jean Pied de Port. My bag weighed 14 kgs when I started and 7kgs when I reached Santiago (Had to leave unnecessary things on the way). So my bag lost also in the process. Bottom line is. If you don’t overindulged, walk every step and not take the bus, carry your own bag, just take the needed food and drinks (Mostly water of course), then you may lose some kilos and inches.

  2. I like the suggestion you mentioned.  I would like to implement this. I hope for the
    positive results.

    1. I walked from SJPP to Santiago (april/may 2013), 32 days with a 7kg backpack. I lost about 5 kg but I agree with MB above, if you are already slim, the muscle you gain may outweigh the fat you lose. I look and feel slimmer. Buen camino!

      1. 7kgs backpack……Is that all you’ve……
        Can you please share what items are in such compact 7kgs?????
        Thank you in advance for your sharing…..
        Buen Camino

        1. My pleasure to share it: 1 sleeping bag – 600gr
          Backpack about 2.5 kg
          3 t-shirts short sleeve
          1 t-shirt long sleeve
          2 bermudas
          1 pair of pants (or tights) or convertible pants, so you can have less 1 bermuda
          2 pairs of thin socks
          2 pairs of thick socks
          3 underware
          1 poncho
          2 bras
          1 pair of pants for rain
          swiss knife
          head lamp
          1 jacket for cold days
          water bottle
          meds for pain, Vaseline (very important to prevent blisters)
          shampoo, soap and dental cream, deodorant (travel size)
          sun block
          body cream (very important)
          lip balm (also very important)
          1 pair of gloves
          neck warmer
          1 towel (small, good absorption)
          a good pair of sandals (not flip-flop types) for relaxing your feet at the end of the day, taking shower or even walking with them for a while to take a break of your reg shoes
          A pair of gaiters does help (I didn’t have one)

          I chose to buy everything “dry fit”, light weight materials, water proof.

          If you are going in summer time, maybe you don’t need some of the items (i.e.gloves).

          Believe me, by the time I checked in my backpack at the airport, it was 7.0kg 🙂

          Of course I was wearing the paints, jacket, t-shirt hehehe

          Do not by boots! A very good pair of running shoes, breathable, with good cushioning, flexible will be excellent.

          Hope that helps. Buen Camino!


          1. Please accept my BEAR hug!!!!!!
            Million thanks for your input…….

            I will start El Camino on Sept 23,2013…..from SJPDP; with
            own pace without time limit to reach Santiago de Compostela eventually………..(winks)

            Buen Camino

          2. We might meet on the Way, I’ll be starting from SJPDP on the 28th of September 🙂

            Buen Camino

          3. It is so nice to hear from you………
            Look forward to meeting you in person too………
            I’ve decided to start from SJPDP on Monday September 23.
            It is NOT a race, I will have my own pace without rush to enjoy this unique/special journey………..
            Bear HUG

  3. I’ve done the camino several times – French, Portuguese and the Primitivo. I can always count on losing half a stone. Mind you, I don’t travel light and have a guitar on my back too.

  4. I walked from SJPP to Santiago in 34 days, didn’t eat a crumb of bread (because I’m celiac) and did not lose a single pound. From obersvation, it seemed like men lost more weight compared to women and those who ate a lot lost more than myself who sometimes ate very little due to lack of choice. Or maybe it was the foods because I often lived on nuts, olives, chocolate, wine and lots of water. The weight lifted from my shoulders meant a lot more than the few inches around my waist. 😉 Happy travels.

  5. Depends on a lot of things. If you are already slim, the muscle you gain may outweigh the fat you lose (i gained weight). if you are heavier, i can’t imagine that you wouldn’t lose some weight.

  6. Hi, walked from SJJP to Santiago last May/June, in 28 days lost 20lbs whilst eating constantly (and not the right things) :).

  7. I walked from St. Jean Pied de Port, France to Fisterre, Spain in 36 days and gained about 5 pounds. Not in the gut though, the weight seems to of been added in muscle mass. I ate a very large amount to accommodate the calorie expenditure from walking.

  8. Not an ounce! I have walked 25km a day for a week, and done this 4 times (we are doing the Camino in week-long annual bursts) , but never lost any weight. I think what I have tended to forget is that there are calories in red wine!

  9. I walked the Camino Frances last year in 33 days and lost 10 kg! My weight after the camino with bagpack was the same as my weight before without it. I have been eating more then usual and drank a lot more wine then usual!

  10. J’ai marché de SJPP à Santiago en 32 jours et j’ai perdu 10 livres. Par contre, j’ai marché du Puy en Velay à SJPP en 30 jours et j’ai perdu 5 livres. Probablement le fromage et le vin en bonne quantité en France.

  11. I lost 10lbs from 11st, eating pilgrims meals, bocadillos, cakes, wine and beer. Mostly from my waist. Half is back on but am doing it again in September.

  12. I ate all the time, tried the local wine whenever I could and still lost around 10% of my body weight. I’m male, in my forties and built a little more “festively” than my doctor would like.
    I carried a way too heavy backpack, which I guess means that I carried a light weight brain.
    I kept photos on my blog and people comment all the time in the change in shape….I guess that’s good.

    1. Thank you for sharing such wonderful photos and story…..
      I’m going on Camino hike on Sept 22, 2013 from France St-Jean-Pied- de-Port……….

      1. OMG i’m gonne be there too .. but im leaving st. Jean on the 24 th .. maybe we can meet on the way !!

        1. YES!! YES!! YES!!

          I look forward to meeting you………..

          Thank you very much for dropping an email……

          Buen Camino!

          1. My name is Aida Sarkissian , I’m from Montreal ! Me too looking forward to meeting you too…

          2. Hello Dearest Aida,

            My name is Linya HUANG & from Taiwan origin, but live in Sydney, Australia

            The more I learn about it, the more I want to train self now to have enjoyable journey on El Camino……

          3. I’m also going to be on the Camino but I won’t be leaving until Sept 29 with my niece. Aida and Linya the two of you will be at least a good 7-10 towns ahead of us! =(

          4. Hello Priscilla…..
            It is so nice to know you and your niece will be on Camino road………
            Well….we might bump into one another because it is El Camino…..no one knows………
            Actually we’d our first Greetings ON-LINE already……(winks)
            I guess it is easy for you to find Chinese face………then I look forward to having “you” to say “HELLO”……
            Buen Camino

          5. I will leave SJPP on Sep 27 in the morning (will arrive in Europe on the 25th)… Also from Montreal!!!

          6. oh wow I’m gone be in SJPP on the 24th .. we might meet .. nice

  13. I walked from Sarria and gained five pounds. Too many pilgrim meals with wine included.

  14. I lost 16 pounds on my about 1000 mile walk from Le Puy, France to Santiago and on to Finisterre this summer. I was overweight (BMI 28.5) when I started, less so (BMI 25.4) when I finished. I usually have great trouble losing weight, because I am a short, 60+ year old woman. But on the camino – easy!!! All I did was carry a pack that was too heavy, and walk my stumpy legs off every day, and I could eat as much as I wanted of anything – no dieting at all – and still lose weight! Clearly, I was meant to walk 18 miles a day 🙂

  15. If you have a bunch of weight to lose (as I did) you almost certainly will lose weight. Those who were fit already didn’t seem to, they just got fitter. I was a SLOWWWWW walker. I took 3 months to do SJPP to Santiago de Compostela… and “cheated” about half the way by taking buses (my pilgrimage was more about seeing the interesting towns and churches than killing myself). Buen Camino!

  16. We walked the Camino Frances in 29 days (from Pamplona) and my boyfriend lost way more than me, about 10-15kg. I put on more muscle weight than I lost fat, so I think I maybe lost 3-5kg, however my body shape had changed a lot and I looked way more fit than I did at the start. We stuck to salads, veggies (lots of soup), canned fish and chocolate. We were tenting the whole way and mostly making our own food, so we escaped the Bocadillos horror (Spanish sandwich, you will find it EVERYWHERE!!) 😉 If you stick to a diet like ours, you will need a big amount of food to keep you with enough energy. We brought figs or other dried fruits to snack on till you reach the next city. Almost all cities have small fruit and veggie shops.

  17. I lost 26 pounds (close to 12 kilos?). Since I’ve been home, I’ve gained back about 8 pounds. Everything here is fried, and it is rare to find good vegetables. 🙁 Oh, and I’m not walking 10-15 miles a day or burning 3000 calories a day. I guess that comes back to bite you in the end, doesn’t it? LOL

  18. I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 25 pounds in one month without exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

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