"ASK THE DIETITIAN"
by Helen Lutz MPH, RD
We hope you find these Questions
and Answers helpful in attaining peak condition for your Everest.
submit a question.
LOSS ON EVEREST
is Jim, Currently station in Iraq, very active in weight training since
1983 and some jogging. My problem is I came to Iraq in Jan 07 at 240lbs,
I am at 219 lbs today 2 June 07, I have not lost any more weight in the
past 6 weeks. I eat light breakfast and medium lunch no dinner since I
arrived in Iraq. And no snack. My weight will not drop any further. I am
on blood pressure medicine Atenerlol 50gm. my blood pressure is
excellent my pulse 59, when I get on on the tread mill my pulse will not
go past 89bpm. At 60 most people consider me big and muscular. I am 5'11
and weigh 219lbs.
you give me any advise? I did loose weight from 240 to 219 rather easily
in 21 lbs. in a month and half.
from the banks of the Green River.
have calculated your Body Mass Index (BMI) using your height and weight.
BMI is a tool that is used to determine if someone is at a
healthy weight for his or her height.
Given your muscular build though, and the fact that muscle tissue
is fairly heavy, BMI isnít the only consideration I use to assess
whether someone is at a healthy weight.
For example, your BMI at 219 lbs is 30.5.
Generally a BMI over 30 means overweight for most people, but not
in your case due to the heavier weight of a muscular build.
weight loss of 21 lbs is quite significant.
Gradual weight loss over several months isnít quite as alarming
as a very sudden weight loss. Since
arriving in Iraq, your weight loss could be explained in several ways,
including unusual and unfamiliar food, a hot climate will
reduce appetite, a recent or re-occurring illness, and
stress and strain can also affect someoneís desire to eat.
You mentioned that you do not eat dinner or snacks, which means
your calorie intake is less than it was before arriving in Iraq.
your 21 lb weight loss, you are still very likely to be at a healthy
weight for your muscular and heavier build and I am therefore not
concerned. Your blood
pressure and resting pulse rate are also great.
Your weight loss may reduce your blood pressure somewhat, so have
it regularly checked and medication adjusted if needed.
I would advise against further weight loss because it could
lower your energy level and make it easier for you to become ill.
suggest that you begin eating supper, even if it is a small meal.
Also, snack once or twice a day on the healthiest of foods that
are available. Keep
snacks handy and remind yourself (or set your watch) to snack
regularly. Muscle tissue
is very metabolically active and needs nourishment.
You may want to consider taking a high quality nutritional
supplement as an added benefit. You appear to work
hard to maintain your fitness, and eating nourishing food throughout
the day will help too.
diet and High Altitude Mountaineering
II am a strict Vegan
(no meat, no dairy, no fish, chicken, cream, eggs). I eat mostly a diet
of raw salads, fruit, nuts and seeds.
I am wondering if I
climb peaks from 6- 8000m meters what you think of a vegan diet. I
drink plenty of warm lentil soups, eating whatever fresh and dried fruit
I can and plenty of water. I am used to this diet at sea level, but i am
curious what you think about using this diet at high altitudes. Also I
am 6 feet tall, 140 lbs and in very good condition and excellent healthI
Your question is a good
one, and I completely agree with Becky's comments regarding body fat,
red blood cells, etc.
I would also add the fact
that at altitude the body's systems (including the digestive system)
tend to slow down due to the physical stress of the climb and lower 02
levels. Therefore eating foods that are easily digestible (and that
won't place extra stresses on the body) at altitude is a good idea. As
you know, raw foods, legumes, beans and other high fiber foods take
longer to digest (which is one of the reasons they are healthy choices).
While you can manage eating these foods at a lower elevation,
these foods may contribute to unexpected cramping and even vomiting when
at altitude. My advice would be to practice with your diet choices at
altitude as much as you can to see how altitude will (or won't) affect
your digestive system.
It's also import to
consider the fact that altitude tends to take away one's appetite and
can change preferences for favorite foods. People find that they lose
interest interest in foods that they typically eat at lower elevation,
making the planning for high altitude meals and snacks very important.
once again, the best advice is to practice with your foods to see how
you tolerate them as well as whether you can stand them. While a warm
lentil soup sounds wonderful at lower elevation, it may be the last
thing you want on Everest or any other high altitude peak.
At altitude, temperatures
are lower, meaning that some of your raw food choices might freeze
solid. This would make them unappealing and even impossible to eat. If
you want to eat warm soups, then you'll need to plan extra fuel
for warming them, extra weight (and energy) for carrying them. etc.
There are some great dried lentil and been soups that only take hot
water to rehydrate. I'd suggest that you experiment with finding some of
these that you like.
mountaineers typically do best when they stay very well hydrated.
Relying on carbohydrates laden beverages when climbing is a very good
idea. I'd suggest this to you as well, to make sure you include
sweetened beverages in your climbing diet. This could include warm
juices and warm herbal teah (sweetened with your preference of
I hope these ideas are
helpful. Good luck and let us know how you make out.
WEIGHT FOR CLIMBING EVEREST
Tim here, I am trying to
put on some weight before the climb. I know some of my Everest 2008 team
members are also. Any ideas?
order to gain weight, you will require more calories in than you
expend. So choosing plenty of high fat foods with lots of calories
use of butter, mayonnaise, avocado, peanut and other nut butters,
salad dressing, full fat milk, full fat yogurt and sour cream.
with lunch and supper such as ice cream (good protein value as well
as fat), fruit desserts with whip cream.
and seeds sprinkled onto hot or cold cereal, onto salads, mixed into
yogurt with dried fruit.
sweetened drinks such as rich hot chocolate.
would suggest you stay away from alcohol this close to leaving for
altitude. Keep a bag of mixed nuts, dried fruit and chocolate in
your pockets, glove box etc.
these ideas help. Some of us only wish we would need to gain weight!
RETURN TO EATING FOR EVEREST