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5 Ways Alcohol Hinders Weight Loss

a glass of white wine

No single food item affects humans in so many varying and differing ways than alcohol. How it affects you specifically depends on genetics, diet, gender, potential ‘sensitivity’ to it, and your habits.

While enrolled in the Mountain Trek program, we ensure our guests avoid alcohol to help with detoxification and weight loss. That’s not to say we recommend completely avoiding alcohol altogether! But it’s important to get to know its impact on your body in order to make good decisions about when you do decide to have a drink.

To that end, below are five ways alcohol hinders weight loss.

1. All Alcohol Is Full of Calories

At seven calories per gram, alcohol supplies almost twice as many as protein and carbohydrates. In fact, alcohol has only two fewer calories than fat, which has nine per gram. It must also be remembered that the calories in alcohol lack the nutrients beneficial for a healthy metabolism and will therefore hasten fat storage.

The calories found in the average alcoholic drink are quite concentrated compared to many foods, and this actually causes one to inadvertently take in many more calories than would otherwise be consumed. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories from other sources, which add to overall caloric intake. Certain cocktails, for example, contain fats. Wine and beer both have high carbohydrate content. Although the effects that these calories have on the body are different: carbohydrates release insulin, which can hasten fat storage (unless we are active after imbibing), while fats will be stored directly in the fat cells. Thus, the overall result is added body-fat.

Related Article: My Body Feels Toxic, What Should I Do?

An example of how many calories can be easily consumed can be seen with a small glass of wine. A 5-ounce glass of wine will typically contain 110 calories, 91 of which come from the alcohol itself (13 grams), with the remaining five grams coming from carbohydrates. Beer contains more carbohydrates (except for “light” beers, which have a carb content similar to a glass of wine) and less alcohol than wine, but is seen as being more fattening, due to its higher calorie content.

2. Alcohol Loosens The Inhibitions

While drinking, people will not usually stop to consider the impact alcohol is having on their bodies; such is alcohol’s affect on loosening the inhibitions. The result of this relaxed thinking could mean more food consumed and extra body fat gains. Those that drink often might also eat more of the wrong kinds of food, without thinking of the consequences.

3. Alcohol Increases Appetite

Alcohol can increase appetite, making the combination of alcohol and a fattening meal worse. In fact, a hormone linked to increased hunger, particularly hunger for high-fat foods, has been linked to cravings for alcohol. According to Medical News Today, a study conducted at Princeton University showed that the hunger-increasing hormone, known as galanin, is produced when alcohol is consumed. Though the effect of increased galanin on appetite and eating behaviors varies amongst individuals, there’s a good chance your consumption of alcohol increases your desire for high-fat foods.

4. Alcohol Can Damage The Stomach, Lessening Its Efficiency

Given alcohol is a by-product of yeast digestion; it can have an irritating effect on the lining of the stomach and gradually weaken the kidneys and liver, leading to serious health problems. Any weakening of the stomach will lessen the rate and efficiency at which food is digested, which ultimately interferes with a healthy metabolism and the weight loss process.

5. Alcohol Lowers Testosterone

Testosterone, which has a powerful fat loss effect, is reduced whenever alcohol is consumed; thus halting its full potential as a fat burner. Also, testosterone as an anabolic hormone contributes to gains in lean muscle mass. Lowered testosterone means fewer muscle gains, and less muscle means a lowered metabolic rate.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Cuisine Secrets – 10 Ways to Cook Healthier

We are regularly asked by those who visit Mountain Trek how it is that our food is so delicious and yet we avoid using such “staples” as refined carbohydrates, salt and sugar. The good news is it’s simple: we just don’t have any of those things in our kitchen.

10 Secrets to Healthy Cooking

1. Use Smart Fats


There are two types of fat: unsaturated, such as olive oil, and saturated, such as butter. Choose the first more often and only eat the latter in smaller doses.

2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables


Stick to wholes (unprocessed) grains such as wild rice and quinoa, which have more fibre, zinc and other nutrients.

3. Go Unrefined


If you take nothing else away from these secrets, remember this: eat more vegetables and fruits and less of almost everything else.

4. It’s Not All About the Meat


Meat is a source of protein but most also contain saturated fat. Eat small portions and substitute often with beans and legumes such as peas.

5. Lessen Intake of Fat-Filled Dairy Products


Fat-free dairy products are usually full of artificial sweeteners, which are worse than fat in our opinion. Better to lessen your intake of fat-filled dairy altogether.

6. Keep Portions Reasonable


At Mountain Trek, we’re big proponents of healthy meal composition as well as meal timings. Remember to keep portions small and simple and eat the majority of your daily food before 5:00 pm.

7. Avoid Sweeteners


Whether you’re using unrefined honey or white sugar, you’re adding calories to your meal and hardly any nutritional value.

8. Reduce Sodium


The recommended intake of salt per day is about a teaspoon – which you will get naturally in your food. Throw away that salt shaker.

9. Go For the Flavour


There are many other delicious ways to flavour your dishes than just using salt and pepper. Fresh herbs, spices and citrus will add punch to your meals without making you feel you’re missing out.

10. Be Mindful and Enjoy


In our culture, it’s so easy to just grab the most convenient thing in the cupboard and run. (Or worse, eat out for every meal.) But by putting more time and effort into your cooking you’ll be happier, healthier and enjoy a lot more vitality.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Mountain Trek featured in Canada’s Largest Newspaper

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Mountain Trek  was featured on the front cover of the Travel section of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest national newspaper, this month:

“7 hours a day of exercise…Welcome to your vacation.”

The Globe feature was written by Amy Rosen who found “bliss in a boot camp getaway.” She chronicled her experience in a diary-format and spoke of each day and what she ate, experienced, and witnessed from “halibut fish steaks with pineapple mango salsa” to “vibrant green old-growth forests.” This is an excerpt:

“Mountain Trek’s spa and fitness studio have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the 100-kilometer Kootenay Lake. There are gardens and wildflowers, mountains and blue skies. Meals are local, organic, plated – and most delicious, enjoyed by guests around family-style tables. So that’s the good news. Back at my weigh-in, the excuses fly: “I’ve been traveling a lot, no time for exercise. It’s summertime … and those gin and tonics aren’t going to drink themselves!” Until, finally, acceptance: I’ve gained a few on the rump. Let’s. Do. This.”

Click here to read Amy’s entire article, and to experience a similar personal transformation to what she did, contact Mountain Trek and we’ll let you know about what program would best suit your needs.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you detox, unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

The Biggest Loser Fiasco: Tips for Healthy Weight Loss

Recently, the hit reality TV show “The Biggest Loser” had their biggest loser ever: winner Rachel Frederickson lost an astonishing 60% of her total body mass, a total of 155 pounds in just over 3 months. Controversy is flying high in the media around the health and fitness industry, asking the question: Just what is healthy weight loss?

In this special Mountain Trek two-part blog, we will first cover what constitutes healthy weight loss, the potential health risks of unhealthy or too-fast weight loss, and the role of metabolism in all this: how our metabolism works, and how giving it a boost will help us lose weight more efficiently.

Copyright NBC

Over a short period of time, like one or two weeks at Mountain Trek, a metabolic ‘kick start’, through calorie control and extensive exercise can be a very effective way to reboot the body’s metabolism, our fitness, and, very importantly, our own psychology and mind set towards our own weight loss. During a short time frame metabolic ‘kick-start’ like this, losing weight quickly (0.5 – 2 pounds/day) is safe, effective, and encouraging. But limited calories and extensive exercise over a longer time frame can do more harm than good. When you eat severely reduced calories, your body compensates by slowing down your metabolism, allowing it to save calories for energy your body will need to handle its basic functions. Achieving healthy weight loss doesn’t mean only considering the obvious strategy of decreased calories and increased exercise, but considering a more holistic approach that includes stress reduction, detoxification and sleep improvements. This all-encompassing lifestyle approach allows us to balance our hormones, thereby raising our metabolism, and voila, we’ve got healthy weight loss. And after a 2 week intensive metabolism kick-start, all these same components would continue to be the focus for a continued, sustainable, and slower weight loss.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, dieters should aim to lose approximately 0.5 – 2 pounds/week after the first 2 weeks of their regime, for sustainable, healthy weight loss. Rapid weight loss can result in numerous health risks, including: loss of bone mass, increase in bone marrow fat, which can in turn lead to increased risk of bone fractures, heart attacks or high blood pressure, gall bladder stones, kidney failure, thyroid problems, excess estrogen, osteoporosis, and the list goes on.

Our philosophy is to promote wellbeing and fitness through healthy habits and lifestyle choices geared towards long term success – and with this comes numerous benefits (increased energy, better sleep, better body functions, etc.) including weight loss!

So here’s to a fit, healthy you! Until next week, when we look at metabolism, and its role in our weight and health.

Review Magazine Features Mountain Trek

Review Magazine Article_cover-smWriter Leigh Doyle interviewed regular Mountain Trek alumni Jean Aldridge for an article called “Exercise Escape” that appeared in this summer’s issue of Review magazine. The story was all about how Jean visits Mountain Trek to and discussed why she returns every six months: “It’s like adult day camp with planned activities and meals ready for you,” she’s quoted as saying.

The article goes on to say, “A week-long fitness vacation can kick-start motivated individuals into making serious changes by showing them how regular exercise, proper eating and dedicated de-stress time can do the body good.”

Click the thumbnails below to read the entire article:

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Mountain Trek’s Weight Loss Tips Shared With Best Health Magazine

best health mag

Freelance writer Trish Snyder visited Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Resort in summer 2013 and her story appeared this week on Best Health Magazine, a health-specific publication launched by Reader’s Digest.

Mountain Trek “has all the trappings of a luxury wellness retreat,” Trish writes. “At the rustic lodge overlooking Kootenay Lake, guests dine on organic cuisine, detox in saunas and enjoy three weekly massages at the only hiking spa in North America…thanks to classes in sleep, diet, exercise and stress, guests learn simple formulas to take their newfound vitality home.”

Trish goes on to describe some of Mountain Trek’s best weight-loss tips including: “Eating breakfast within 30 minutes of rising kick-starts your metabolism and keeps the liver out of starvation mode. When you skip meals, the body responds by slowing down the metabolism and storing fat.”

Click here to read Trish’s entire story on Best Health Magazine.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Top 5 Fitness Apps

At Mountain Trek we know how important it is to have help staying on track during our hectic lives. We regularly hear from our alumni that they love staying in touch with the other guests they met while at the resort and that this support network is key to integrating healthy habits in their day-t0-day.

But sometimes we need more than just a friendly phone call to help us with our health or weight-loss goals. This is when new technology comes in handy. Below are five of the best health-related mobile apps that we’ve come across. Do you have other suggestions for us? If so, please comment below.

fitpalFitnessPal Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker

FitPal is one of the most popular apps on the market, and not just because it’s free. Users can set a daily calorie goal, then record food intake and exercise to help stay on track. The app records your meals and workouts, then automatically calculates the number of calories consumed. And it’s food database is extensive with caloric and nutritional details of over 425,000 foods. It includes:

  • Calorie Counter
  • Nutrient Summary
  • Food Search
  • Food Diary
  • Food Database
  • Personalized Diet Profile



WalkJogRun is an online community of runners, walkers and hikers sharing routes and encouragement with one another. It uses your smart phone’s GPS technology to pinpoint your current location and then suggests routes that have been uploaded by other users. From there you can plot a course, record your own route and at the end of your run you can check distance, pace, time, etc. The $4.99 version includes:

  • accurate mapping
  • ability to log training sessions
  • record your heart rate, weight, cadence, ascent, distance, pace, time, etc
  • download other people’s favourite walking/running/hiking routes (there are over a million of them)
  • training plans and diary
  • community interaction with like-minded people



Six Pack App

This app is a little more hardcore than what we’d normally suggest but we really like the yoga and stretches component. Six Pack App offers multiple exercises and routines for the chest, shoulders, back, legs and, of course, abs. One of the best parts of the app is the “Don’t” section which shows you things not to do while performing the exercise, thus ensuring you maintain good form and avoid injury. Get the $0.99 version to avoid all the pop-up ads. Features include:

  • Step-by-step tips
  • Photos
  • Muscle Diagrams
  • Advice about how to use equipment properly
  • Suitable exercise routines for when you travel


ntcNike Training Club

Nike’s most popular training app is called NTC  and it’s billed as “your personal trainer, anytime, anywhere.” While it lacks the personality of say, someone like Mountain Trek’s head guide Kirkland Shave, it does have more than 100 custom-built workouts as well as those used by celebrities Serena Williams and Paula Radcliffe. For a free app, NTC is very robust and it does a lot including:

  • Full-body workouts for 30 or 45 minutes.
  • Targeted and professional athlete workouts for 15 minutes.
  • Set your workout to your own music.
  • Audio guidance to keep you on track and motivated
  • Step-by-step instructions and video demonstrations for every drill
  • Track details of your workout history and training progress.
  • Share your workout and reward status on Facebook and Twitter.




Health isn’t always about movement or watching what to eat. We at Mountain Trek are true believers in the idea that a certain amount of serenity needs to be injected into our daily lives in order to have a well-rounded, healthy existence. The Calm app helps remind us of that. It offers multiple programs to help users find calm during their busy days in addition to guided relaxation sessions. There’s even a two-minute option so no-one has an excuse not to partake. The price is also very calming – free. Here are some more features:
  •  7-step program designed to give users the tools they need to become calmer
  • 7 guided relaxation sessions (ranging from two to 30 minutes)
  • 10 nature scenes from which users can choose a calming background for their phone.



How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • fatigue from lack of sleep makes it harder to for you to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly.

Ideas for Reassessing Your Approach to Weightloss

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern that can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts, and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly, and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Perhaps that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High-stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning health retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia and featuring daily sunrise yoga and night-time restorative yoga, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress, anxiety, and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Time to Spring Clean Your Body

Spas or America Top 50 Spas in Canada

Clearing out the clutter is common this time of the year, and what better time than to clean out your body too! If you can’t shed those stubborn winter pounds, then a detoxification cleanse is probably needed to restore your body back into balance. Why detox? Because an overload of toxins in your body will prevent you from losing weight, no matter how hard you work out.

Our bodies are working non-stop to keep our sensitive organs safe from the harmful effects of toxins. But our modern world is also a toxic one, filled with pollution, pesticides, estrogen-mimicking plastic compounds and food additives – all of which contribute to an epidemic of disease and obesity.

A Body that Holds onto Toxins Holds on to Fat 

Detoxification is any process that removes injurious substances from your body. These substances can be biological, such as bacteria, viruses, mold, yeast and parasites, or harmful industrial chemicals like heavy metals, compounds from agriculture, food processing, cosmetics, cleaners and paints. In the past, most of our toxins were biological. Nowadays, we have to remove chemical compounds and heavy metals for our bodies. Processed foods alone contain more than 3,000 chemicals that are not natural!

Our main detox organs are the lungs, intestines, liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and skin. BUT, if we can’t detoxify fast enough, our fat cells will enlarge so the body can store the excess toxins and keep them safely away from sensitive tissue. When the toxins are more concentrated, our fat cells will also increase in size to keep them diluted.

Food-Fresh-Salad-Rolls-with-Almond‐Lime-dressing2.jpgHere are some tips to support your body in the Detoxification Process:

  • Detox Cleanse Kits – With guidance from a Health or Nutritional professional, consider a Liver Cleanse, Fast, Parasite / Colon / or a Yeast Cleanse.
  • Diet – Go Organic! Eat pesticide-free produce, and less processed food. Including “super” greens such as Chlorella and Cilantro into your diet for the natural chelation process of the bonding of chemicals for elimination.
  • Water – Drink at least 64 oz. of water a day to support your kidney’s removal of water-soluble toxins. Your urine should be “almost clear” throughout your day.
  • Fiber – Eat fiber-rich foods to aid your intestines in moving toxins out of the body. Aim for 2 to 3 bowel movements per day. Constipation leads to toxin re-absorption.
  • Sweat – Utilize intense exercise, saunas and steams to aid the release of stored toxins. Try having a deeper sweat to cleanse once a week. Drink extra water to support the flush.
  • Massage – Bodywork and Yoga support the drainage of toxins through the lymphatic system (which clears the body of cellular waste). Try to incorporate one or both on a weekly basis. 

Not only will supporting your body’s detox functions protect your sensitive organs and tissue, and avoid the enlargement of fat cells and storage of chemical encased fatty acids, but it will make you FEEL lighter and clean.