Being able to relax in your lifestyle is necessary for reducing the effects of disease. Take time each day to relax through activities that will improve your vitality.


The Power of Nature

I’ve discovered the reason Mountain Trek’s program is so successful.

I know it’s never just one thing that makes anything successful; the combination of big hiking days working at near your cardio max, delicious healthy meals, detox practices… those sorts of things of course, are major contributors why our guests leave pounds lighter and more energized. What I did discover from my experience as a facilitator at Mountain Trek’s satellite program at Rancho La Puerta (which just finished last week), was the power of nature. Being outside in nature completely recalibrates and rebalances us. It simply makes us feel better in all arenas of life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It’s funny, I’ve always known this, being an avid hiker most of my life and of course, being a hiking guide at MT, but I experienced this healing aspect of nature more profoundly at Rancho La Puerta, as much heaviness was weighing on me (life stuff) when I went there. And now, I come back home, lighter in so many ways, a different attitude towards that which still is present in my life. I feel balanced and I attribute this to being immersed in nature.

There’s branch in psychology called “ecopsychology” which researches what I just experienced, the effects of being in wilderness on a person’s well being. It makes sense, yet, how many of us get so caught in work we forget to get outside, to feel nature touch us in those ways nature only can, to feel and hear the silence it provides us. It’s sublime, yet, oh so powerful.

I know now why Mountain Trek works and why guests show up, it might be for weight loss, or gaining more fitness, but with those subtle forces at work, one can’t help but go home feeling lighter in being. For that I am grateful.

Ideas for the New Year

New Year - New You

Instead of setting resolutions this year, why not think of the New Year as an opportunity to add some new ideas into your lifestyle. For instant stress release try:

  • Have a cup of tea. Perhaps the English had it right taking an afternoon break for tea. According to a study conducted at University College London, tea drinking has been show to lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol after a stressful event.
  • Listen to classical music. This helps produce the “calm and connect” hormone, oxytocin.

Some nutrition ideas might be:

  • Eat high fiber food (vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds) – not only are they highly nutritious but because fiber creates the sensation of being full, they will help you stay lean. Fiber is also a great boon to help the body rid itself of toxins. All the more reason to load up on fiber rich foods.
  • Drink wine it after dinner if you are going to have it. Research has shown alcohol consumed before eating increases the chances of eating more food as alcohol not only whets your appetite but also makes food more tasty.

Fitness quickies:

  • See a door, do a stretch – raise your arms up and grab the top of the door frame and lean forward as far as you can, hold for 30 seconds. Your shoulders will love you.
  • Mix up your exercise regime – not only will it help you stay motivated, but it will help you burn more calories and prevent injury. The body responds to variety.

By taking care of the three pillars of vitality – stress management, good nutrition, and fitness, weight loss is a natural bonus.


Self Soothing to Replace Stress Eating

Self soothing with food

Emotional Eating is a common stress release, or reward choice, for most of us. Using food as a way to work through our feelings, we lower the intensity, or even numb uncomfortable emotions by chewing, grazing, searching, tasting, craving, overeating or even binging. Unfortunately, eating can lead to guilt or shame when we do it for soothing rather than to stop hunger. In Susan Albers book “50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food”, the author of Eating Mindfully, offers 5 other choices to replace stress eating:

  1. Mindful Meditation Techniques
  2. Changing Thoughts (journalling, affirmations, etc)
  3. Soothing Sensations to Calm and Relax the Body (baths, yoga, massage, etc)
  4. Soothing with Distractions (music, shopping, creativity, etc)
  5. Social Soothing (buddy system, furry friends, safe venting, etc)

Susan’s practical alternatives to stress eating are beneficial to all of us who anesthetize our difficult emotions with oral pleasures. Her crux, is to practice “Radical Acceptance”…the complete focusing on “what is” rather than on how we wish things should be…feeling our feelings and accepting them for what they are. Susan offers,”Emotional eating is the opposite of acceptance…it involves warding off feeling bad with comfort eating because we don’t accept the way we feel.” Acceptance doesn’t equal condonance, it just allows more grace to be with what is…and the spaciousness to explore our unmet needs. Check out Susan’s Book if any of these thoughts resonate for you.


Sleep and Stress

Woman relaxing in a bubble bath

If insomnia is plaguing your sleep, you are probably one of the 75% suffering from too little, or frequently interrupted rest, that is triggered by a current stressor (it’s also a symptom of menopause.) Most studies show that poor sleepers tend to have higher levels of cortisol and related stress hormones in their bloodstream. Cortisol affects our sleep depth, continuum, and state, and the long-term lack will affect our memory, cellular repair, and energy management.

If you are looking for that deep state of rest and recovery found in “slow-wave” sleep…do everything you can to reduce mental stimulation before going to bed. In 1910, the average night’s sleep was 9 hrs, now it is 7.5 hrs, and dropping.  A 100 years ago, we didn’t have the News on TV, emails, movies, etc. to stimulate us and absorb our pre-slumber hours. Allow “morphious” to seduce you away from your stressors by having a warm bath, massage, or meditate before retiring.

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:

Stress Less…Sleep Deep

If you are having difficulty falling asleep at night, try walking the perimeter of your home…checking that doors and windows are locked. Sounds silly, but you will allow the unconscious to relax, knowing that “all is safe”, when it is stimulated by high levels of the stress hormone “Cortisol”, this part of your mind will relax…enabling us to drop into deep Stage 4 sleep.

Getting Good ZZZZZ’s

If you’re like me, you know when you’ve had a rough night of sleep. I’m usually not on my game, my energy is lower, my temper is shorter and people ask me “Are you tired?” The proof is on my face. Now imagine the impact of nights upon nights of poor or interrupted sleep? Vampires were right when they say that sleep is good for the blood, it’s also prevents heart disease, mental decline and overeating.

There are four stages of sleep, the deepest called REM. This is the deepest stage of sleep and important to experience in order to feel rested when you wake up. Deep sleep is also needed in order for the body to release the human growth hormone (HGH) known as one of the  anti-aging hormones. Benefits of this hormone include increasing lean muscle mass, a balanced weight, and feeling good. No deep sleep, no growth hormone output. Exercise also helps with HGH release, as taught at Mountain Trek.

Tips to help with a good night’s sleep? Turn down the lights a few hours before retiring (this includes no TV watching) as it can be too stimulating. Late night eating can create digestive disturbances, and need we mention caffienated beverages should be avoided?

Reinventing Aging : Reduce or Managing Stress

Looking for a way to easily reduce stress? Walk into any bookstore and the opportunities are boundless, dozens and dozens of experts expounding research supporting the ill effects of aging. Everything from heart disease to getting fat around the middle to wrinkles is attributed to stress. Looking to accelerate the aging process? Just add stress.

In MT’s last newsletter, a yoga pose was described for restoring and rejuvenating when stress is causing you to lose your cool and calm. The backbone of this pose, actually of all yoga or meditative practices is the breath. If you do one thing, remember to breathe and breathe deeply and slowly. Take 20 seconds now and simply close your eyes and take in those big breaths.

See…feeling more calm and centered instantly. Simple and effective. And it works every time!

The Power of the Mind


The mind has tremendous power over our physical well-being. We can certainly support good health by eating a natural foods diet with a limited amount of processed or refined foods and get regular physical movement, but how we perceive ourselves and the world around us makes a difference.

In several interviews with centenarians, most exhibit one striking similarity: they are all happy, bright, and exuberant. It is their positive outlook on life that contributes to their longevity and well-being. What contributes to an overall sense of well-being? Play and laughter. Play is any activity you engage in for the reward of simply doing it. It’s important to do something you enjoy not just on weekends but every day. Remember a tip from Kirk’s self-care talks – do something you’ve wanted to do or used to enjoy without any attachment to end results. And of course, no one needs to tell us the importance of a good belly laugh. Rent a comedy, read a funny book, tell funny stories of your past to your kids, just remember to laugh.

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:

As David Bowie sings…ChChChChanges!

Gym work outTime to make the change…chchchchanges….ah yes, it’s entering the third week of the New Year, our lists are posted on our fridges, this is the YEAR I want to and will:

  1.  lose weight
  2.  get fit
  3.  have more energy.

Change, if it was easy, would negate the endless diet books, endless motivation books, and endless books in general with advice on how to incorporate and stay with our goals.

What is our motivator to make change? What continues to motivate us to continue to pursue our goals when life seems to interfere with our plans? I read somewhere that training new habits takes courage and compassionate resolve – its purpose enables you to transform or assimilate change through endurance or to step into your power by following your heart or standing up for your choices. It’s a challenge or a test of character that comes from facing your fears or training new habits and it relies on perseverance or the powers of persuasion to hang in there.

For those of you out there, who feel at times the universe conspires against your well intended plans (did you hear the joke about how do you make God laugh? You tell him your plans.) remember to hang in there. Allow yourself the space and grace to flow with what life offers and to be mindful of the choices you make in the moment. It’s the little things we do bit by bit that eventually add up to bigger changes. There is no such thing as failure, just opportunities for learning. So remember to reward yourself every week for your efforts, to journal or somehow keep track of your progress and to find the support you need and to use them especially when times get a bit challenging.

And remember to believe that you can do it!