We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Can you lose weight by hiking? Not walking - hiking.
Sure can, and I am proof. 10 days of hiking - urban and rural, mostly hills and many of them steep because it was Tuscany - for 6 hours/day left me with a 7 lb. weight loss. That's with my usual modest but tasty meals in Italy, never hungry at all. Some daily beers or wine: good food requires it. This loss was entirely unintentional. I was shocked when I got on my scale at home (cuz my pants were falling down). Not good or healthy, really.
Also perturbed because that too-fast (1 lb/wk is normal for weight-losers, and I do not want that) loss clearly reduced my deadlifting power this morning.
We have asserted here that you can't lose weight with exercise alone, but that refers to, say, a reasonable and realistic one hour/day biking, swimming, lifting, walking, and the like.
I did a little lazy research. Jogging at 5 mph burns around 550 calories/hour, about the same as energetic hill hiking. Comfortable walking is around 250, speed walking around 300. That ain't enough burn to make measurable difference. One donut or bagel has 300 calories, a slice of pizza around 350-400. But if you multiply that hourly hill-hiking number by 6, you are getting to real daily numbers and getting into real fat-burning.
It's said that 6 hr/day hill-hikers on The Long Trail (Appalachian trail) need about 5000 calories/day to prevent weight loss over days or weeks of hiking.
It is true that all calories are not physiologically equal, but you can come up with rough numbers: the average sedentary adult female needs around 2500 calories daily, male 3000, to maintain weight. Those numbers are average and perhaps high for trim fit people.
(Sedentary - a modern sin - is often defined as daily exercise equal to or less than a 3 mile walk daily at a 3-4 mph pace. Just above that is "Lightly Active", etc. My one hour daily sched of weights, cardio, and calisthenics gets me just into the "Moderately Active" category by most measures because of the high levels of intensity with HIIT, calisthenics classes, and heavy weights. Intensity can try to compensate for duration. I'd put our hiking guide last year in the Hebrides in the "Highly-Active" category. Craig MacDonald was not only Highly-Active and highly-fit, but highly humorous and sarcastic in the Scots way. Always happy to tease you for a half hour if you bought him a dram or two ofHighland Parkat the end of the day. That is his beverage.)
Readers know that one of the rewards of my fairly-demanding work-out regimen is to be able to do things like hill-hike all day without fatigue, until I grow old. What's my point? I dunno. Maybe that fat loss is dietary, except when it isn't. Just facts to consider.
The math does not work if weight loss is just calorie in vs out. You must have been carrying a combat load to burn 800-900 calories/hour while hiking 6 hours/day in hill country. More likely the recent data about LCD vs high. Decreased lifting is not from weight loss. More likely from 10 days off from using those specific muscles, ie deconditioning at your age.
I find that when I hike 8 miles a day give or take for multiple days that I lose weight even if I eat more and eat anything I desire. I think that this is more complex than the simple math and the two variables.
I was part of a team last month and we did about 15-20 miles a day in the Rockies over 4 days. We all lost 5-10 lbs and kept it off for a few weeks afterwords. If we lost muscle mass from changing our routine it was certainly rejiggered to our legs and backs. So I am in agreement that you can lose weight hiking.
Bird Dog: This loss was entirely unintentional. I was shocked when I got on my scale at home (cuz my pants were falling down). Not good or healthy, really.
Perhaps a bit fast, but overall good for health, assuming you have fat reserves. Carb cycling is a way to balance muscle building, which requires an excess of calories, with becoming lean, which requires a dearth of calories. It's also helps train the body's insulin response in otherwise healthy people.
Bird Dog: Also perturbed because that too-fast (1 lb/wk is normal for weight-losers, and I do not want that) loss clearly reduced my deadlifting power this morning
Unless you are already very lean, the weight loss will be largely fat. Some weakness is normal due to the lack of carbs, but carbs can be easily replenished.
Let us know how long it stays off now that you have returned to the land of supersized portions, suburban surroundings (with all your acccustomed food consumption venues) and low food prices.
Rippetoe and Dan John repeatedly point out that strength training that causes muscle gain also causes fat gain. Bodybuilders cycle through separate phase of gaining and "cuttting" to attain those ripped physiques.
People whose days are occupied by something other than physical labor can easily out-eat most exercise routines. Eat 500 calories more than you burn and you are gaining a pound a week. That's a "health muffin" a "health shake" and an alcoholic drink.