Did You Lose Weight on the Camino?

leslie in albergueI lost about 8kgs, about 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. I did not set out on the Camino to lose weight and I must admit that it never entered into my mind at any time while I was there.

Losing the 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, while on the Camino Frances, to forget about how I looked. Most of the time I was dirty and smelly, that 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, real 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 us computer geeks.

So for between 4 and 5 weeks, I walked about 25km each day – very different from my normal lifestyle.  I did not have a fridge to hand filled with anything that 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 a TV.  At home I try to watch only a little TV, however, I do get into the habit during the winter of watching about two hours 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…

Walking and Mental Health (Exercise in General)

Not looking after myself whether by socializing, eating good foods 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 spend time with family or exercising.  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 donating to Kiva or some other cause – my help is at arm’s length and doesn’t involve my time only money.

I did not set out in this post 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?

10 thoughts on “Did You Lose Weight on the Camino?”

  1. 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

  2. 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 !

  3. Tim VanGelderen

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Elise S Cirirbassi

    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!

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