Someone help me understand what just happened please!

Heres the very long story:
I've been loosing weight since - well I don't actually remember, but its been since at least before spring. A month or two ago, my husband and I decided to go backpacking (his first time, my first since I was a teenager (I am now 27)). We went to Bomber Mountain in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming. This is no beginners hike, it is 3 days of grueling mountain climbing. My pack weighed a modest 25 lbs, and contained everything that I needed to survive including my sleeping bag, tent, water purifier, flashlight, etc. Plus food. Meals were generally a 'Cup O' Noodle' Soup, a few crackers, half an apple. Or half a can of tuna with half pkt of mayo + mustard on a 100 calorie flat bread, a few slices of apple, a handful of cashews. I got to have hot cocoa one night, but the food was rationed, and I was at between 1200 - 1500 calories for three days.
Day 1:
The Hike began at West Tensleep Trail Head at 9,000 ft. We hiked for 5.5 hours to Lake Helen going as high as 10,500 ft. We estimated the trip to be about 5 miles completed in around 5 hours. The terrain was mostly a dirt trail up that wandered up and down the side of the mountain over rocks and between trees with a definate up hill trajectory.
Day 2:
From our Camp at Lake Helen, we set out towards Bomber Mountain. Our Goal was the summit to see the wreckage up there, but weather forced us to take our leave before that was possible. We carried only the days provisions including food, water, camera, jacket, and most of the weight was carried by my husband. The elevation remained at about 10,500 through Misty Moon lake, but we began another assent that took us past Florence Lake to the Golden Lakes which lie at the foot of bomber mountain. This is where the real climbing began. With no path, and only a massive expanse of boulders to climb we were steadily climbing up a mountain that offered little more than enough grade to not need ropes. I topped out at approximately 11,800ft. Our hike back was down hill - so easier, but a bit scarrier. The trip back was hurried because of the looming rain storm. Round trip was estimated at 6 hours, 7 miles.
Day 3:
This was the trip out, so our backpacks were again fully loaded, but a tad bit lighter considering that we had eaten much of our food. This was basically the reverse of day 1, completing 5 miles, but was mostly downhill, so was closer to a 4 hour hike.
In all, we estimated a total of 17 miles, 15 hours of work carrying between 5 and 25 lbs. This program estimates the total calories burned at 6925. In 3 days. Plus my BMR of 1800. Plus only eating no more than 1500 calories on average.

Therefore my question is:
WHY DID I WEIGH 7 MORE POUNDS THAN WHEN I LEFT?!?!?!?

Replies

  • Jugie12
    Jugie12 Posts: 289
    I'm sure some of it is inflammation from the work, muscles perhaps holding onto some water (though I'd imagine you lost way mroe water than you'd hold onto). Did you weigh yourself on the same scale, same time, etc? A different scale can be calibrated differently and you could weigh noticeably more at the end of the day than first thing in the morning. Lots of factors to consider but rest assured, it's a good bet you didn't actually gain weight, based on what you told us.
  • evalt1
    evalt1 Posts: 9
    Water retention?
  • JessyJ03
    JessyJ03 Posts: 627 Member
    Welcome to the world of backpacking.

    You will eat high sodium foods when carrying around these type of foods.

    Also you ate too little! When on trips like this you need to eat enough to fuel your body for the calories you are going to burn.

    It's water weight it will come off soon
  • mamasmaltz3
    mamasmaltz3 Posts: 1,111 Member
    My vote: It has to be water.
  • murphy612
    murphy612 Posts: 734 Member
    Welcome to the world of backpacking.

    You will eat high sodium foods when carrying around these type of foods.

    Also you ate too little! When on trips like this you need to eat enough to fuel your body for the calories you are going to burn.

    It's water weight it will come off soon

    Yep, exactly what JessyJ03 said.
  • mamasmaltz3
    mamasmaltz3 Posts: 1,111 Member
  • suiteblooms
    suiteblooms Posts: 100
    Thank you all for your encouraging words. Looking back, I probably did eat too few calories, but I ate when I was hungry, and I didn't feel like I wasn't eating enough. I am hoping it was mostly water retention. The food is always high in sodium, and my muscles - particularly my calfs are on FIRE! As for the scale... yes it is the same one, and the same time of day. I always weigh on my scale first thing in the morning - no clothes. I guess I will see as the days go on. I guess it was just such a shock to see 7 more lbs. I was expecting to loose at least 1 lb. I was at 141 and really wanted to make it to at least 140. That would just leave 5 lbs on my goal. I guess I will see as the days of this week wear on. I think I'll make an appointment to have a body fat measurement taken. Thanks again.
  • suiteblooms
    suiteblooms Posts: 100
    :smile: That is an excellent explaination. Thanks so much for the reference!
  • It could mean muscle mass.
  • DanaDark
    DanaDark Posts: 2,186 Member
    TONS of waster retention from two sources: muscles and sodium.

    Additionally, more protein during this period would be advised to help the muscles heal.

    Overall, think what you accomplished!
  • MeeshKB
    MeeshKB Posts: 120 Member
    I also vote for water retention due to the all the work your muscles did, and the salty foods you ate.

    Drink lots of water and stay on track...I'm sure you'll see positive results from this soon.
  • maxmama55
    maxmama55 Posts: 19 Member
    When you go to a higher altitude than you are accustomed to, the body retains fluid. Also too, you may have produced more blood to oxygenate your cells since air is thinner at higher elevations. It will come off. Sounds like you had fun!
  • Momjogger
    Momjogger Posts: 750 Member
    You fell into the same trap I always do. DON'T WEIGH YOURSELF SO MUCH! When your body works hard, it takes time to repair and will weight more while repairing (water - needed to repair, swelling, etc.). AND YOU NEVER BURN FROM EXERCIZE WHAT YOU THINK YOU DO. Why? IDK. I have adjusted my sights to weekly goals now and I use my weekly net calorie graph to help me understand my habits and progress.
  • MinnieInMaine
    MinnieInMaine Posts: 6,439 Member
    This is why going by the scale alone is so discouraging for people! I bet your clothes will fit a bit better onces the inflamation in your muscles goes down!

    Think of the water retention this way - when you sprain your ankle, it swells right? Well the same thing is happening in your muscles from all that activity they're not used to. You're sore, therefore your muscles have suffered damage, therefore you're retaining water as part of the healing process. You may also be storing glycogen since it doesn't sound like you ate enough to make up for the major calorie burn.

    Drink lots of water for the next few days, keep your sodium low and keep your activity easy to allow for the healing to start. I wouldn't be surprised if you are already down 2-4 pounds tomorrow.
  • carriempls
    carriempls Posts: 330 Member
    Looks like it's been covered. Water rentention from the workouts and sodium content.

    When I got back from vacation recently (walking & biking all over and eating differently for 2 weeks) I weighed 8 pounds more than when I left. Within a week I dropped 6.5 of those pounds. It was all water weight.
  • MelStren
    MelStren Posts: 457 Member
    Welcome to the world of backpacking.

    You will eat high sodium foods when carrying around these type of foods.

    Also you ate too little! When on trips like this you need to eat enough to fuel your body for the calories you are going to burn.

    It's water weight it will come off soon

    This is what I'm thinking too. too much sodium and too few calories. Give your body 2 or 3 days to recover and see if your weight changes then.
  • postrockandcats
    postrockandcats Posts: 1,151 Member
    Welcome to the world of backpacking.

    You will eat high sodium foods when carrying around these type of foods.

    Also you ate too little! When on trips like this you need to eat enough to fuel your body for the calories you are going to burn.

    It's water weight it will come off soon

    I agree with all of this.
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,565 Member
    When I go camping - particularly backpacking or canoing when we pack light - I always get dehydrated and eat very salty food. And I always gain weight. And it always goes away after a week.
  • Firno
    Firno Posts: 23
    I went on a day long hike and the next day I weighed more. Within the next few days I lost almost 5 lbs. I am pretty sure its just water weight. Give it a few days and weigh yourself again.
  • lolly2721
    lolly2721 Posts: 56 Member
    A couple of guesses here. Water retention would be one. I live in high altitude and the air is really dry. Your body tends to hold more water. It may be hanging on to the water to help your muscles and also the altitude. My second guess is that you didn't eat enough to keep your body fueled while you did this vigorous workout.

    It does sound like you had fun and I am sure the weight will drop right off when you get going on your regular schedule again.