How to Lose Weight by Hiking Once a Week

In late 2008 I was living at home in CA, on hiatus from college and plumper than ever. I had eaten unhealthily, and suffered from sleep-eating disorder. But that is the year I discovered hiking, thanks to my father and his relatively new network of Sierra Club friends.

The first hike I went on was a full 9 miles, to North Dome (in Yosemite), the dopey-looking brother to the vastly more famous Half Dome. A piece of me died for every step I took beyond the first mile of that trip, but a mixture of pride and determination – and a fear of thorough embarrassment at the prospect of quitting the hike before the children and older women who were happily hopping along the trail ahead of me – kept me going, and going and going. By the end I was proud of myself. That is, until the 60-somethings started chatting about the other day-hikes they’d been doing recently. 15 miles, 20 miles, and my father had done 30 or more miles himself.

My legs ached something awful that night, and it was hard to sleep. But soon after that I agreed to go on a 13 mile hike in the Cliff Lakes Wilderness area. 4 more miles than before, a similar sad cocktail of emotions, and just as much exhaustion by the end, but I was hooked. I felt healthier, and I knew the pain was the good kind that makes you stronger and happier in the long term.

I never worked out during the week, and for the next year or so I simply spent one day each weekend (sometimes 2 days) hiking my tail off. I lost 20 pounds and gained heavy muscle. I felt strong and positive and healthy. I loved exploring the wilderness and getting away from the city. That’s the year I climbed Mt. Whitney for the first time, something I never thought I’d do.

Hiking in the Sky Harbor areaHiking in the Sky Harbor area near my hometown!

I now living in Massachusetts and Yosemite’s 2,600 miles away. But there is decent hiking around these parts. As the weather is getting progressively better, Josh and I have decided to adopt this “exercise” plan. We’ll dedicate Saturdays to hiking, and do nothing more than walk the dogs during the week. I plan to track my weight (once a week) and journal about my hikes here on my blog! I’m not exactly in shape at the moment, so you can expect to hear a lot of complaints and well as positive reviews about the hikes we’ll do.

First hike: Next Saturday Josh and I will pick somewhere within reasonable driving distance and wander around for a 9 miles round-trip adventure, to pay homage to my first hike to Half Dome and to kick-start our hiking plans. If you living in the Massachusetts area and enjoy hiking, I’d love to hear any great trails you’ve hiked!

Yours,

Aruna

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6 thoughts on “How to Lose Weight by Hiking Once a Week

  1. Content Catnip says:

    Go Aruna! That’s awesome. I have been doing the same. Although everybody else in my family is somewhat baffled by my need to walk in the wilderness, it seems strange to them. I guess some of us are made that way – to wander on foot!! I feel a close affinity with you xxx

    • arunagee says:

      Aww Athena, you’re so sweet! I love that you love hiking too. You’re definitely right that it’s not for everyone πŸ˜› I’m excited to go hiking tomorrow, and will snap photos and share them. You’re in Australia right? There must be beautiful trails there, right?

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