Meet Brant & Mark

“Fitness” needs a makeover. It’s not about the size of your muscles, how fast you can run, or how much you weigh. There are plenty of physically fit people who are unhappy, eternally pessimistic, and drained of spirit. True fitness starts with emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finding Peace in Chaos

 Article by Brant Secunda

Often we find ourselves overwhelmed by the tasks at hand and in turn forget the beauty of this world, of life.  Sometimes shifting from a cluttered state of mind to one of clarity can seem impossible.  Maybe you try to take a walk or sit along the ocean, yet still the escape is only momentary.

I have found that at moments like this, it may take a dramatic short-term change in someones life in order to clear the mind and in this way heal the body and empower the soul. 

A retreat in nature can offer this change of lifestyle and change of mindset.  Throughout the many years I have lead retreats at places of power around the world, I have witnessed this transformation in participants over and over again.  People arrive drained and lethargic in spirit.  For the first few days most people are trying to analyze what they have gotten themselves into.  “Do I like this retreat?”  “Am I learning anything?”  And most importantly, “...how is the food.”  Then, as they begin to connect with the spirit of the land, their analytical minds calm and they begin to be aware of not just the overwhelming beauty of nature, but of the beauty of each leaf, every river and all the flowers.  When we are able to practice this awareness and see the energy flowing around us, then it becomes very difficult to worry about that work presentation due next week or cooking dinner for friends this weekend.  If we can remember the power of the world around us, we can face every obstacle, big and small, with a sense of self-confidence.  This confidence arrises from the realization that we are a part of something much larger then our selves; that we can utilize the energy of the trees, waters and flowers.  In this state of mind it is very difficult to become overwhelmed... ...at least in the negative sense.

So if you are finding yourself constantly stressed and cluttered, it may be a good time to step away from your routine and head to a place to which you feel drawn.  Wether that be joining me here in Italy or going camping or renting a place at the beach, create a change in your life that will help you focus on the bigger picture.

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Today, Brant is high in the Italian Alps, teaching his annual spring retreat.  Mark is there as well, participating in the retreat, as he does every year.  View a photo gallery of last year’s retreat or read his article from last year.

To learn more about retreats with Brant Secunda or to register for next year’s Retreat in the Italian Alps, visit DanceoftheDeer.com

Evolving Goals


Article by Mark Allen

Regardless of whether you are pursuing a fitness goal, striving to achieve something at work, trying to change home life dynamics to be positive or are on a spiritual quest to better yourself, a common thread that can support your journey is having a clear picture of why the efforts have meaning to you. This is what we call in our book “Know and Set Your Quest.”

There is always a picture, feeling, thought or indefinable energy that draws you to take action. The positive form of this is an idea of something that you have yet to embody. Perhaps it is a physical change. “I want to lose weight. I want to complete a race.” It may be emotional. “I want to find something positive even in the toughest moments of my life.” Perhaps it is spiritual in nature. “I am going to take time each and every day to stop and feel the springtime unfolding.”  Whatever it was that inspired you to take the first steps toward a goal, remember it. If you cannot recall those initial thoughts or if the original idea doesn’t have meaning, now is a good time to regain an image that does.
 
Here is an example from my racing career of an evolving goal. Initially my overall driving quest was to win the Ironman. It was a clear goal. Yet it was complex because of the number of valuable facets of preparation that could help me achieve it. But it was worth embracing as many of them as I could. This goal influenced every aspect of my training throughout each season. And indeed in 1989 through the incredibly good luck to connect with the Huichol tradition and Brant Secunda I became that champion.
 
But then what? Win again? Okay, that inspired me, and I achieved that…a couple more times.
 
But then what? By 1993 I could see that my quest had to change. “Knowing and Setting Your Quest” is a call to look deep inside and find the picture, thought or focus that has meaning deep in your heart. A good way to gain this perspective is to place yourself at the end of your life and take a look back. What do you want to see? What reasons do you want to see that inspired meaning to do the things that you did? 



I saw that “winning” was great, but not really quite the right focus. The quest changed. Through personal reflection and with Brant’s help I dedicated my quest in racing from that point forward to the pursuit of being the best I could be on race day. The placing was secondary. This was Knowing My Quest. It’s a quest that continues today and transcends time, situation or circumstance. 

What is your quest? What inspires you about your efforts? 

What is it about your quests that focus your efforts in a positive direction? These are the things that will carry you far.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Spirit of Love

Fostering the essence of creation itself
by Brant Secunda

Love is considered to be the most powerful of all powers by the Huichol people.  We say that the world was created with the spirit of love.  Because of this, all of creation has at it’s core this power.  I often tell people that love is more than just something found in a book or a movie.  It is tangible.  
The Huichols relate the power of love to the Earth.  Mother Earth nourishes us with food, beauty and love.  This sense of “taking care” is love.  We, in the modern world, are easily distracted by the objects that so often clutter our lives.  We love this and we love that, whether this be a new car or that be a new shirt.  Love your friends and family, love the plants and animals of nature, love life.  When we do this, true and lasting love is fostered.  
When you wake up in the morning, go outside with a sense of appreciation for all that you have been blessed with.  If a flying bird or jumping deer catches your eye, stop and enjoy your connection to the animals.  If a tree is budding fresh leaves, take a moment to recognize the growth happening before your eyes.  By simply taking the time to appreciate nature you will learn to love the world around you.  
It so important that we remember that we are a part of something much larger than ourself.  By doing so we can let go of our individual objects of distraction and instead focus on the things that offer true and lasting joy, happiness and love.
There is much more to be said about love, but right now I simply want to go outside and practice developing that power.  I recommend doing the same, for when you experience the love of Mother Earth all your problems seem to dwindle away, leaving you with that power of Love.

5 Basics for Health

by Mark Allen

I want to give you 5 Tips for Health and Happiness. None are new and most likely you have seen all of them before. Each one has its roots extending back to the beginning of time. All are worthy of another mention and reminder today. The emphasis of how we work with each may be different than what our ancestors did to thrive and survive. But each is a must for grooming health and happiness to a polished shine.

The first is eating healthy. Most of us in the modern world have at least three or more chances throughout the day to focus specifically on how we integrate this into our lives. A modern world twist to this has first and foremost to do with portion size. Regardless of the actual nutrient value in our meals, no matter how balanced and healthy our sources of carbohydrate, fats and protein, if the amount we are eating is too much, the effects reverse themselves and we can find extra weight being the result rather than good health. Solution? Smaller dishes! This makes cutting portion size simple. Second tip for controlling portion size is to drink a glass of water BEFORE you dive into the main dish. Then finally, increase the frequency of meals so that you are never going into any meal feeling completely ravenous.
The next key to great vibrant health is exercise. This can be in the form of traditional sports and health club classes or it can be as deceptively simple as walking, moving things around, gardening or anything else that gets your body off its duff and in the upright position. Even if you do a 30-minute run in the mornings, make sure to get out and move a few other times throughout the day. This also has a side benefit of helping curb your appetite. So if portion size needs some help, go for a walk first!

A third key to having both the energy to exercise and an appetite that comes from the needs of your body to replenish itself and not from an emotional hole that crying out for filling is to manage stress. Long-term stress zaps energy, can lead to depression, can initially cause weight loss from muscle wasting then later cause weight gain because fat burning is inhibited, none of this being desirable.

You may not necessarily be able to eliminate the causes of stress, but there are ways to reduce its negative impact. One is to do what we call in our book “Quieting The Mind”. There is an entire key devoted to this. In tough moments often the only thing that can be changed are the thoughts that are running through our brains, and usually they are not the ones that help us out! But if we practice quieting the mind, then at least we can give ourselves a break from our own internal chatter, which often opens up the space to hear the answers and solutions we are working so hard to find.

Then in addition to this, use nature as a source of stress reduction and personal inspiration. Walk in the woods, sit by a stream, jump in the ocean, and breathe in the colors of the sunset. These are all tools Brant has us do in workshops he leads. Every single one can give you a calmer feel inside and reinvigorate your trust in life. It sounds simple, and it is, but it can also be a powerful tool for bringing a healthy and happy attitude back when you may not feel it so strongly.

Then lastly, reach out and connect with the community you are part of. Having social interaction has shown to be part of having a healthy mind and body even in the twilight years of one’s life. Community has served humans well for survival both from a logistical standpoint but also because being in community infuses our souls with a sense of belonging, with the side benefit of bringing our being into a more positive state that can actually be measured physiologically to be healthier and happier! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Developing the 4 Powers

Aspects each one of us has and should work to emPOWER

by Brant Secunda
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Each and every person is inherently powerful.  We each have the ability to do good or bad, construct or destroy.   It is what we do with this power that defines our character.  In the modern world we often gauge one another by the type of car we drive or by the house we live in.  These plainly physical appendages of life can blind us from comprehending not only the true character of someone else, but indeed our own identity.  It is not our house or the price of our shoes that define us.  Rather  the essence of a human being is determined by how we use our innate capacities.
The Huichol Indian people of Mexico, with whom I lived for many years, refer to the human capacities as the 4 Powers.  The first power is Love.  Love is the foundation of all power, with which the universe was created.  Love is not just something found in movies or novels.  Nor is it solely a feeling shared between humans. It is a natural energy rooted in all of life.  
My teacher, the renowned Huichol shaman Don José Matsuwa, would always tell me, “Love your Earth mother; she provides for you everything you need.  Love the plants and animals.  Love nature.”  
By simply acknowledging a tree, a flower or a person, we cultivate the power of love.  Recognize those who love you and in turn you will simultaneously feel and give love.  Be passionate about the Earth, devote yourself to your work and adore the world around you.  By doing so, you can live a life of love.
The second power is physical power.  We all have different bodies.  Some tall, some short; some thin, some fat.  Yet, we all have a body.  It has been said since time immemorial that the body is the house of the soul.  For this reason we should strive to make ourselves as physically powerful as possible.  Of course, not all of us will become professional athletes, but still it is important to cultivate a strong and healthy body.  
For the Huichols, another aspect of physical power is the realization of our connection to Mother Earth.  Through gaining an understanding of the body of the Earth, we build our own physical power.  In truth, we are simply physical extensions of the Earth.  Once we realize this simple truth, our bodies can no longer be separated from the energy of the entire planet and so any weaknesses or vulnerabilities are overpowered.
Intuitive power is the third facet of our character.  In the modern world, many people do not give much weight to the intuition or psychic ability someone may have.  In the Huichol culture on the other hand, the visions and dreams a person has, garners them as much respect as how much firewood or water they can carry.  For a person to be truly powerful, they must continually develop their spiritual awareness.  It can seem difficult to find the time to focus on the power of intuition; however, simple games can help us refine our intuitive abilities.  When your phone rings, try to guess who is calling before you pick up (or look at the Caller ID).  While driving, envision the color of the next car you will see in the oncoming lane.  Simple amusements such as these can enrich your spiritual intuition.
The last power is the power of intelligence.  What does this mean?  Is our intelligence determined by how well we did on a math test in high school or by our problem solving skills at work?  Though this may be a part of the answer, the Huichols view intelligence as the way we live our life.
Do we live our life in the right way.  This is the ultimate test of intelligence.  If you are a doctor, don’t abuse your power over a patient.  If you are a teacher, don’t take advantage of your students.  If you are a parent, don’t abuse the power you hold over your children.  Right action, that is the sign of a truly powerful person.  When someone does not act humanly, they are not being human.  Foster the power you have and apply it to good deeds.  Use your gifts not only for your own personal empowerment, but also to strengthen those around you.      
Someone can be physically fit; nevertheless, if they are not loving to their friends or to the Earth, that person is not fully powerful.  We must cultivate all four of the powers, love, physical power, intuitive power and the power of intelligence.  By doing our best to empower ourselves and the world around us, we can become truly powerful people.

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Brant Secunda left his hometown of New Jersey the day after his eighteenth birthday to journey to the remote Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  There he found the Huichol Indians, considered to be one of the last tribes to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Brant was put though a twelve-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, in which he learned the ancient teachings of the Huichol people.  In 1979 Brant founded the Dance of the Deer Foundation to help carry on the cultural heritage of the Huichol Indians.
To learn more about Brant and the Huichols, visit www.Shamanism.com

Take Advantage of the Ups and Downs in Life

Take your workouts off the beaten path
by Mark Allen

Life in the modern world can be overflowing with complexity to the point of overload.  Even our goals for health can sound overwhelming.  What if you had the tools to lose weight, improve your blood sugar balance, de-stress and soothe your soul, charge up with energy and keep your brain functioning properly?  Sounds like a lot of activities would be necessary to gain all of those benefits.  Surprisingly, one simple tool can help you achieve these goals!  You ready?  All of these incredible benefits to your body and soul can be had by simply walking or jogging on uneven terrain that has a few hills along the way.  Read on to hear why…

As we all know, moving our bodies is what gives us fitness.  A sedentary individual is more likely to die at an early age than an active one who smokes cigarettes!  So going for a walk or a jog on a daily basis will cover the first item on our health list.  If you incorporate some uphill and downhill sections in that outdoor adventure, you will start to engage the use of the largest muscle in the body, which is appropriately named the gluteus maximus.  Using these large muscles stimulates the body to metabolize stored fat.  The second task is now taken care of.

If your favorite trail winds through any kind of natural setting, which most trails or unpaved roads do, there will likely be a bit of nature going on around you.  Right now we are in springtime, which is the perfect season for absorbing the wonder of life renewing itself and bursting forth with energy and color.  Take a look around and soak in that life force.  This simple act takes our minds off of what might be otherwise weighing us down and gives us a break from the normal obligations in a way that feeds both our body and our soul, and charges us up with positive energy.  Another task covered!

So what about the blood sugar and brain benefits?  Some interesting research has shown that walking or jogging on uneven ground actually stimulates the brain to improve its circuitry.  In short, when the ground we move over is unpredictable, meaning there are little rocks, twigs, maybe some bumps, divots and other non-smooth features, the brain gets used in a way that stimulates its growth and health.  Want to get smarter?  Walk through the woods!

With regard to blood sugar, a number of studies in Europe have shown that while uphill walking is good for burning calories and losing body fat, it is the downhill that gives a huge boost to the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.  Downhill walking uses our eccentric muscles, the ones that accept a load rather than generate it.  Using these muscles when we walk downhill helps bring blood sugar levels down and actually increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

This second benefit enables a person to efficiently handle dietary carbohydrates (sugars) without having to release large amounts of insulin. For those of you who have read our book, you may remember that a big release of insulin shuts off fat burning, which is not something many people want to have happen.  Just make sure that you go easy on your knees if you do decide to make downhill part of your exercise program. And if you can’t find a hill, there are always stairs. It’s just hard to find ones that are lined with blooming trees and flowers!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mother Earth Prepares to Awaken

by Brant Secunda
There seems to be an awakening of positive energy in our world at the moment.  Furthermore, it is a time of transformation and hopefully a time of healing and love.  Mother Earth is slowly waking up from her sleep of winter.  She is still living the art of regeneration, charging herself up with the light of creation.  It is a wonder to remember this process has been happening for millions and millions of years.  I reflect on how, at this time of the year, Don José and I, as well as other Huichols, would prepare the earth for planting.  “She is still sleeping”, Don José would say, “but she is slowly waking up, emerging from the darkness of winter.”
Remember, change starts with you.  I always remind people of this simple truth.  As you walk on Mother Earth at this time, try to feel her aliveness.  She is still dreaming, but now a conscious dream, as she gets ready for spring.  Feel in touch with the earth and your environment during this great time of transformation.  This is the wisdom of the shaman. 
A Huichol will also try to dream as Mother Earth dreams.  We are truly a reflection or mirror of the ancient ones.  Mother Earth dreams, so why can we also dream and awaken?  Shamanism sees all of life as interrelated, mysteriously and majestically. 
As you walk outside on the earth or at the beach, feel Mother Earth as she prepares to awaken from the dream of winter.  Feel yourself also connected through your heart and mind.  In this way we can be connected and be a part of something natural, powerful, and real. 
By engaging ourselves and being connected to the earth, we can feel joyful and complete, not separate.  This is a natural process that has occurred for millennia.  Whenever I return to  the Huichols in Mexico I feel this strongly and watch how the Indians feel joy just by being alive and living a normal life.  We can also do this in the modern world. 

Levels of Excercise

by Mark Allen   
       
One common decision people make on a daily basis with their exercise is the amount they will do. The old government recommendation use to say we need 20 minutes three times per week for good health. They have changed that and now suggest 30 minutes per day to ward off chronic disease, 60 minutes for good health, and up to 90 minutes a day for those trying to lose weight.  A 90-minute workout for some might be like a climb up Everest, but for others that is just their warmup.  A triathlete training for an Ironman will do a 5-hour bike ride on the weekend without blinking. How does that level stack up on the overall health meter? Let me give you the Fit Soul, Fit Body thoughts on all of these levels.

One of the goals for most people who exercise is to either maintain a healthy weight or even lose some unwanted pounds. And to do that, we need to activate the fat burning mechanisms in the body and keep them firing day to day. Research suggests that doing moderate cardiovascular exercise where your heart rate is elevate for a minimum of 20-minutes will keep the fat burning engine set in the “on” position. This is a minimum, however. To really drop weight through exercise, it can mean doing 60-90 minutes of exercise most days of the week to really shed the pounds.

That may be an amount that is out of your realm. If it is, you can employ a simple technique throughout the day to supplement whatever amount of exercise you are able to put in. You ready for it? It’s called “Standing Up”. Yep, it’s that simple. We have an enzyme in our body called lipoprotein lipase. It is an enzyme that helps us burn stored body fat. If a person is inactive for even one day this enzyme’s activity is reduced by a whopping 94%!

Keeping this enzyme activated and burning fat requires standing and moving around. So fidget away those unwanted pounds with a number of short walks throughout the day, by carrying things from one spot to another, by adding in a few trips going up and down stairs or just about anything that breaks up the kind of day many people find themselves in where they have a statue-like gaze at the computer screen for hours on end. Even if you do exercise the minimum governmental recommendation of 30-minutes per day, by adding in lots of little trips around the office, the house, or walking in a park where you engage the large muscles in the legs and gluteus area, you have a much better chance of making positive body composition changes.

For longevity purposes, there is a strong correlation between burning at least 300 calories per day through using those large muscles and living a long life. This equates to about three miles of walking daily. Those who live the longest AND have the best overall health seem to up that amount to at least an hour a day of exercise. But the exercise benefit curve does top out at about three hours per day. Those who engage in lots of endurance athletics and work out more than about three hours per day end up with immune system suppression, which can lead to illness. Then if the exercise is at high intensity, if done for too long of a period of time the person can actually lose lean muscle, have depression, lose motivation, have very low energy levels, and eventually get totally burned out or injured to the point where they cannot exercise.

Bottom line is that using our bodies for movement is an ancient sign that food was available and plentiful and that we were out foraging and gathering. This is when we would lean out and have a good positive attitude because we didn’t need to store up body fat if there was a bounty of food and there was no reason to feel depressed when survival was easier. This is the opposite of what happened in the leaner months when food was scarce. In ancient times that was when people would sit around more to conserve energy which led to reduced fat burning and a lower metabolic rate to spare the body from wasting away and the mood was more depressive and lacking in motivation to help preserve precious body stores of energy.

Fast forward to the modern world. If we engage our ancient times-of-plenty genetics and move around throughout the day every day, our genes trigger the release of the happiness hormones as well as burn body fat faster. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Acknowledge True and Lasting Joy

Reminding Ourselves of What is Truly “Resolution Worthy”
By Brant Secunda
Last night, as I sat watching the almost full moon with the warmth of the outdoor fire at my house, I began to reflect on the New Years Retreat I had in Germany just a few weeks ago.  There, we welcomed the new year with a traditional Deer Dance, a ceremony passed onto me by my teacher Don José Matsuwa.  This ceremony has many purposes, one of which is to honor the light.  After staying up all night, the ceremony ended after dawn with the welcoming of a new day; a new year!  
We all see the new year as a time to refocus our lives and uncover the truly meaningful goals we would like to fulfill.  Ceremonial practices are one way to find clarity, to realize those goals.  In each retreat or seminar, I tell people to let go of the things that are holding them back from finding their true self.  By letting go of the negative qualities that so often clutter our precious minds we can more clearly see what we want in life.  
It has been a number of weeks now since the holiday season, which may have allowed you time to set goals and imagine the possibilities of the future.  You may be having difficulty following through with those resolutions.  If that is the case, take some time to let go of the mindful clutter filling you life and in the remaining silence, hopefully you will receive a spark of inspiration.  Let that spark light the fire of resolution anew.
Think of every day as a new beginning, another chance to start life fresh.  Pay attention to the growing and dimming light at the beginning and end of each day.  Perceive the constant transformation occurring in nature all around you and strive to stay in sync with the harmony of your environment.  This alone, can be a life-long resolution to work on each day.      
Look for happiness in the minutiae of your life.  What do you enjoy about each day?  Don’t let those finer points become trivial.  By ignoring or simply not giving enough acknowledgment to what brings joy to you, life can become dull and unfulfilling.  Ultimately what brings you true and lasting joy, brings the world balance and stability.  Take a moment now, as you read this, to reflect on what brings you such unwavering joy.  Whether it be spending more time out in nature or creating balance in your physical body, try to decipher how that makes the world a better place.  Are you in a better mood when your body feels well?  Of course.  Does your work quality improve after going for a stroll in the forest or along the beach?  I know know mine does.  When you are in a better mood and do good work, that positively affects not only the people around you, but the entire world.
Make each decision in life a chance to fulfill a resolution.  Ask yourself, is this the right thing to do?  Fine tune your intuition to gain trust in yourself and notice the end result.  Hopefully your decisions will become more fulfilling and you will find greater meaning in your accomplishments.  This is one way it is possible to create a sustainable cycle of joy that can bring balance and long lasting happiness to your life.
When you feel the positive goals slipping away from your grasp, just remember that each day, each second is new and remind yourself how your “new second resolution” benefits you and all of creation.  With this in mind, naturally we become more in tune with the spirit of creation.
By aligning ourselves with our greater environment, we tap into the spiritual energy mother nature has to offer.  We are naturally a part of the cycle of the earth.  Realize this and you will lose any sense of disconnection.  With each breath you take, imagine yourself linking to an endless chain of energy.  With access to all the energy in the world you can resolve any resolution. 

Feed Your Soul, Then the Body






Wholesome health, a balanced approach

by Mark Allen

Perhaps the most universal New Year's Resolution is to drop a few pounds and change body composition in a positive direction. Certainly one tool that gets used for this quest is to add in some extra workouts. Yet it is usually only one part of what will help someone succeed in shifting their composition and losing weight. You see, the body is so efficient at adapting to training, that over time it uses less and less energy to do the same amount of work. For example, a longer walk or run in the beginning of the season may burn 400-700 calories/hour, but later in the year you will only use half that. Exercise is absolutely essential for good health, but usually needs some additional support for weight loss.

Portion Size

The number one tool for helping drop a few unwanted fat pounds is regulating portion size at meals. And the most effective way to reduce serving sizes without feeling like you are depriving yourself is to find smaller dishes on which those portions are placed. Humans have a tendency to eat all of what is put on the their plates. So if you are trying to reduce your overall consumption, start out by putting less in front of yourself. Then if you are someone like me, who knows you will almost always go back for seconds (mostly for the taste), curb that initial serving even a little more so that you do get to go back for round two guilt-free, and in the end still reduce the overall amount you eat.

Slow Down To Eat Less

Next, eat a little slower. As we said in our book, eating is not a speed sport! If you are like me you probably won't be able to do this by chewing more even though that is usually the main recommendation on how to eat slower. An alternate solution is to just put less on your fork with each bite. Lots of smaller mouthfuls will end up reducing the speed with which you eat.

The Smart Snack

Remember the old thing your mother used to yell at you when you were a kid? "Stop snacking before the meal, you'll ruin your appetite!" Well, that is indeed true and something you can use to your advantage in weight loss. Try eating a nutritious snack of about 100 calories 20-minutes prior to the meal that is coming up. This will usually take the ravenous edge off your hunger with the result that the amount you end up eating overall is much less than if you did not have that snack and went into your meal with a completely empty stomach.

Drink Water

Often hunger is a masked sensation for needing water. Make sure you are drinking enough of this precious liquid throughout the day. Also try a glassful first when you start to feel the hunger pangs coming on. Even in the winter getting enough water can be tough. Most heating systems dry the air out, making it just as important to hydrate now as it is in the summer.

Gauging When To Stop

There are many ways to judge the time to stop eating. If a person stops when they are full they will eat significantly more calories throughout the day than if they stop eating at the point where they no longer experience hunger. Experiment with this subtle but important difference. Start by eating a little slower as we just mentioned. Then notice when you begin to no longer feel hunger, which is a different sensation than what you will feel like if you keep going and feel full.

The catch to this strategy is that if you are indeed able to push the plate away once you experience that your hunger has subsided, you will also find yourself getting hungry sooner after the meal. This is normal and fine to have happen. Just make sure that you are prepared for it and have some good healthy snacks or another small meal at hand when you do get that hungry feeling back again.

Pattern Eating

Next see if there are any overeating patterns that you can change. When do you find that you eat too much? Is it when you are alone? Is it when you get together with friends for a meal? How about when you are bored or stressed? Whenever that is, try to come up with another go-to activity that re-patterns what you do in those trigger situations.

If you eat when alone, see if there is something else that you can do that soothes your soul and gives you satisfaction. If it happens when you are with friends, perhaps going for a walk or just simply staying out of the kitchen can do the trick. If stress causes you to eat too much, use other calming techniques to help take the edge off and change the response to a tough time away from the urge to eat. This can be as simple as taking a walk or drinking in the colors of a sunset first. Stick with it long enough to detect if indeed your body was in need of food or if you were reaching for food as a soothing mechanism.  

Feed Your Soul, Then Your Body

Then finally, eating is medicine for the body when our souls are being fed as well. However, many of us have eaten in an attempt to feed a starved inner being. Even taking a few moments to walk outside and breathe in the air with a sense of gratitude that you are alive can shift that feeling and feed your soul with a positive thought. Then the hunger you feel can be that of your body.
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