I lost about 8kgs, around 18 lbs, over a four week period. So yes, I did lose a lot of weight on the Camino.
However, losing weight was never one of my reasons for walking the Camino. I did not set out on the Camino to lose weight, and I must admit that it never entered my mind at any time while I was there.
Losing weight was simply the result of walking, I ate pretty much anything I wanted, including ice cream, every day – well, it was hot!
I managed, on the Camino Frances, to forget about how I looked. Most of the time I was dirty and smelly, which comes from walking 20-30 km every day and wearing the same clothes over and over again day after day, even though I washed them every day.
After a few days, I managed to stop caring about how I appeared to other people. That was a great relief and very welcome, absolute freedom.
Why the Weight Dropped Off
In my day to day life, I spend about 10 hours a day sitting in front of a computer – not much different from many people. My daily exercise routine amounts to walking between 30 and 60 minutes each day, likely not enough. In fact, recently I have read articles comparing this amount of sitting to the new cancer of the western world. That article should shock all of us computer geeks.
So for between 4 and 5 weeks, I walked about 25km each day – very different from my everyday lifestyle. I did not have a fridge to hand filled with anything I wanted at that moment. Essentially, the larder was empty. Walking that amount naturally uses up energy.
The other huge change was TV. Never on the Camino did I watch TV. At home, I try to watch only a little TV, however, I do get into the habit during the winter of watching about an hour each night – I have come to regard this as my switch off period. My head stops, has a rest, and I leave work behind.
However, I notice a big difference between TV watching and reading, while reading I never munch away on snacks – but while watching the television I can eat without really noticing it. So that one really answers itself…
Related: Why do People Hike?
Walking, Lossing Weight and Health (Exercise in General)
Not looking after myself whether by socializing, eating good food, or having enough exercise outside does affect my mental health.
By nurture or nature, I have a grumpy disposition, I am prone to stress, and in the past depression.
I know I have the power to change this – however, when I have to get work out the door other things are abandoned – and the first to go is always the very good stuff – my health. It is much easier to throw something in the microwave, put off seeing friends, or spending time with family or exercise. Again I answer my own questions.
After each Camino, my habits had changed for a while, and then slowly, the older not so good habits came back. I think I could well be the type of person that could do with walking the Camino de Santiago for a month every year.
While on the Camino I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That was about it, (and a few ice creams). I spent a lot of time every day with other people – talking and listening.
And as for helping people – here I sit staring at one of my three screens, just getting on with work – the contrast is stark. In my daily life, my help of others amounts to donating to Kiva or some other cause – my service is at arm’s length and doesn’t involve my time only money.
In this post, I did not set out to talk about what is wrong with my life, but writing leads where it does.
What about you? Did you lose weight on the Camino, have you better habits after the Camino, or notice any changes in your thoughts about life in general?
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.
18 thoughts on “Did You Lose Weight on the Camino?”
No, I maintained my starting weight. I may have lost some initially but put that back on as I discovered tortilla, tinto etc, then it stayed steady.
Weight loss was not on my agenda at any stage. Buen Camino, Phil
I sure built a different body..firmer and stronger. However, my blood sugar levels were higher when I got home. My doctor asked about my caminos diet. The wine jugs at each dinner must have elevated sugar levels !
No, I did not lose weight nor did I expect to either based on what I had read on this topic.
No,I never lose weight. The amount of food and beverage I have, if I didn’t walk 25 ks a day, I’d probably go home as big as a house
I lost about 10 lbs. I did not try to lose it. I did notice I was tightening my belt every week or so during the Camino. My post Camino habits are the same as before I went to the Camino. Work dictates my life here, on the camino it was way different. Just the way it is. Did my thoughts about life change after the camino? Oh yes. Why am I living my life this way? Isn’t there a better way? Can I really live differently? Lots of questions.
I lost 2 kgs walking 10 days on the Camino in 2003.
I gained 2 kgs two years later while walking for 10 days when I fell in with a bunch of Dutch beer drinking buddies. Hugely enjoyable.
I lost about 5 kg over 6 weeks and I ate far more food than I normally do. I am fairly short and not overweight to start with but I became trimmer and firmer and discovered my waist. Still walk every day back home.
I probably lost about 5 pounds on the Camino. I walked for five weeks. I think I only lost 5 pounds because I gained so much in muscle. I was very fit when I got back and for the next six months could eat anything I wanted and didn’t gain an ounce. But then I gained The 5 lbs. back as my body adjusted to the more sedentary activities of ordinary life. I loved walking every day all day with that as my only goal. Now I run and swim three times a week to keep in shape because I want to go again. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and one of the most wonderful and memorable. I think about the Camino every day. I walked in the spring of 2018. I would like to go in Spring of 2021. I walked alone last time. This time I’d like to go with someone while keeping to my own rhythm.
Dear Anne- Elizabeth would you recommend walking during the spring
I have never ate so much in my life not to mention wine with a lot of the meals and at least one Grande Cerveza every day, yet I lost 14 pounds over the 31 day hike. To be honest I hadn’t paid any attention during the hike as I rarely looked in a mirror (I didn’t shave on the walk). Looking at my YouTube video (look up PasoChuck if you’re interested) I can see the difference. I went from 219 to 205 lbs and felt better than I had in probably 30 years (I was 63 at the time of the walk). But unfortunately I fell to old ways back home. Although I Peloton several times a week it’s not the same as walking 10-20 miles everyday and I found myself watching TV which like a lot of people equates to eating junk. So now a little more than 2 years later I have gained back 10 of the 14 lbs. I’ve started walking again as much as my schedule allows as I am planning on doing the Camino Portuguese hopefully in May 2021. I hope that I lose again and if I do that I develop some self control and keep it off. But even if I don’t lose a pound I’ll be on the Camino so life is good.
yes, DEFINITELY lost 18 lbs. on my camino. AND I ate three meals a day, including the Ice Cream rewards at the end of a hard day. AND I took a three day bike and one day horseback section of my camino. Pictures prove it–definitely shapes up a body!
Our total trip from St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France to Finnesterre involved 43 days of walking. I lost about 15 pounds an another one in our group lost 25 lb. My weight is now about 13 lb. less than it was when I finished the Camino.
Walked the Camino 4 times and each time I lost as much weight as I carried in my pack—generally 15 to 18 kilos. I might be different as I am 73. Noticed that younger people did not appear to lose as much weight as the “Soon to be dead”.
I have done St Jean to Santiago 3 times and Porto to Santiago once, I was booked for a 4th Camino Frances in October just gone, Covid took care of that. I drank huge amounts of beer and wine and ate heaps on each Camino. Can’t remember how much I lost on the Portuguese, but lost about 8 Kg on each C Frances. I walked about 23km each day. Like some of the other Pilgrims, I constantly think of The Camino, my “Camino Blues” are nowhere near as intense as they were. I have various Camino movies, watching them helps with the blues!
I ate what was served on the Northern Camino way along the sea, despite good food and wine my waist belt had to be adjusted to 16 lbs weight loss. The route of Camino Frances offer more facilities to do coffee breaks chatting and meeting other pilgrims 36 days 10 lbs lighter. in autumn 2021 planning to take another camino despite 78 of age.
This is the first time I am writing to a wide range of English speakers, and I hope you will forgive me and Google Tranlate:-) if there is anything in my text that is not quite right!
I have hiked the Camino three times. In connection with my retirement in 2017, I hiked in August / September and all the way out to sea in 33 days and lost 9 kg.
In September 2018, I managed to get my wife on the Portuguese Central route (12 days and about 250 km), where we started in Porto – a weight loss – of less than two kg (a fantastic shared experience, and which we both often refer to).
From May 6, 2019, I hiked again from SJPDP. This time I chosed to say, “thank you for this time”, when I reached Santiago with 6 kg less on my body.
My height is 191 cm and with normal combat weight 95 Danish kg:-)
PS. If all will be well again and if the pandemic comes under control – there is a possibility that we can be seen in the hostel “Albergue Siervas de Maria” in Astorga. Here I hope to be able to function as a hospitalero for a few weeks in the period from mid-August to mid-September.
Is it safe to walk alone as a single female?
Absolutely, the Caminos are safe. I walked my first one, at 64 years of age crossing France the Country and Spain, alone. I started from Vezelay (Yonne – Northern Central France) to finish 100 days later at Muxia (Galicia) after Finisterre. All in one go. I carried my backpack (13/14 kgs) all the way. I was not a long-distance walker. If you walk the Camino, the way it should be walked, you will, like me have many spiritual experiences. I walked it without GPS, just a guidebook in France and an A4 paper for the Camino Frances. I received it at the Pilgrims’ Office, rue de la Citadelle, SJPP. Walking the Camino over so many days, I left my urban life and my burdens behind me. I lived my Caminos to the fullest, opening my ears and heart to others without judgment. I returned at 72 years to walk more Caminos. I have to say that walking my first Camino and the successive ones have been one of the best things I have done in my life. Live the Camino for yourself and for others. I wish you a beautiful Camino. Let your fears go and live your Camino to the fullest.