Appetite and Stomach issues while Long Distance Backpacking

Have you ever worked so hard that you encountered a loss of appetite, rather than an increase?

Similar conditions are present in long-distance backpacking and thru-hiking, especially during the first couple of hundreds of miles. Also, stomach upset and added fatigue from physical exertion can cause your body to not feel hungry which compounds the problem when one radically alters their dietary habits.

"I figured if I could do this, I could do anything..."
- Anonymous A.T. tru-hiker.

Thru-hiking can be relentless, and if you are the type to test your own limits, thru-hiking will be your personal dream come true. The elevation gain and loss of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 16 times -- the elevation change hikers traverse along the A.T. totals up to an approximate 464,464 feet!

With this understanding, it is important to give your body enough recovery time: a zero-day during the week, or three nero-days every other week.

High-carb foods are supposed to help with altitude adjustment. It's also important to keep very well hydrated, especially at higher altitudes. An electrolyte drink mix in your water may help; it does for me.

Soupy foods on the trail are surprisingly effective; there is an excellent article on this topic here.

For different people, it's going to be different things, and often it will be different combinations of things. Keeping these elements in mind, you kind of have to design a plan that works for you. It took me a lot of experimenting to find a diet that works well for me and to confirm that if I'm going at high intensity for full days, I'm not really going to feel very hungry for the first week and a half or two of backpacking.

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