Healthy Body

Fall for your local farmer's market!

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You can smell fall in the air. We come outside in cooler weather and survey our surroundings, start to clear the vestiges of summer, and look for every opportunity to absorb the opportunities of a new season.

One great fall activity is to hit the farmers’ market! Many cities have them year round. You don’t have to get up too early in the morning to beat the rush at the beginning of the season, and you’ll feel great when you have a hand in picking your own fresh foods.

Once you’re at the market, you’re sure to be struck by the colors and textures—green and purple and red lettuces in the buckets of spring mix, yellow zucchinis, and glorious red apples.

If you’re on one of OPTAVIA’s Plans, like the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan®, you have many fall options available. If you’re on transition or maintenance, the farmers’ market is your oyster!  What’s a salad without the fresh taste of arugula? Fresh vegetables are the perfect accompaniment for fish. Look for chard and fiddleheads, scallions, parsley, spring onions, leeks, fennel, and all kinds of flavorful greens. 

But don’t go just for the vegetables. Treat yourself to potted herbs, fresh flowers, farm-fresh eggs, candles and soaps, hand-made crafts. Let the whole family enjoy healthy living. And you can have a cup of local coffee while you stroll.

Farmers’ markets are about more than food: they offer entertainment, community, camaraderie and sheer joy.  Not only do you get the best, freshest, just-picked produce, but you get the best, freshest people, too—all of whom are happy to be out and about, enjoying the colorful sights and delicious aromas of the growing season.

Best of all: you’re moving. You’re helping yourself while you help the farmers and the environment. Become a regular, and it will be one of the highlights of your week.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Once the magnolia and dogwood blossoms appear, it’s time to shed those outer layers. Our hiding place for the last two seasons—beneath baggy sweaters and loose-fitting pants—is now gone for a few months. If you’re not quite ready for shorts-wearing weather, you’re not alone.

Eating, especially in the spring and summer months when outdoor celebrations dot our calendars, is an American pastime. Cookouts, graduations, weddings, and pool parties are a blast, but can be tricky to navigate when you’re on Plan.

So how can we keep our friends and our figures, our social engagements and our health goals?  It’s easier than you think.  Below are some strategies to keep you on track:

  • Routine is keen. On the day of your party, you might make a few alterations to your meal schedule, moving your Lean & Green to lunchtime for an afternoon event, splitting it in half for two events. Remember to stick with your schedule, especially your exercise.
  • Bring something. Showing up with a platter of veggies or a tray of lean deli meats will ensure that you have plenty of on-Plan foods to keep you safe and satisfied.
  • Talk, walk. Parties are not really about the food; they’re about the friends. Chat up a new acquaintance, or cozy up to an old pal. Find someone whose company you enjoy, and talk or, better, walk.  Moving away from the buffet and ditchin’ the kitchen are a must.
  • BYOB. That’s Bring Your Own Bars! Is everyone carrying a plate with a slab of cake on it? Bring along an OPTAVIA Campfire S’mores Bar, place it on a plate, and top it with one to two tablespoons of pressurized whipped topping (2 Tbsp = 1 condiment). They’ll want what you’re having!

You’re only human so don’t beat yourself up if you slip off of Plan. Just get right back on track after the party. 

Reducing Inflammation

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We can do many things to help minimize the uncomfortable and often disabling effects of inflammation. A healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and good sleep habits are powerful tools in fighting swelling and other side effects.

Here are several ways from Dr. Wayne Andersen’s Dr. A’s Habits of Health book to refer to when trying to stave off inflammation.

  • Eat your vegetables. Ensure you incorporate greens like lettuce, and spinach, and/or cucumbers, which are low in calories and full of water, into your daily meals. Get creative with your Lean & Green meals to keep inflammation at bay.
  • Control your stress. Save some time for yourself during the workday. Take a 20-minute walk at lunch to unwind; learn how to let the stress rebound off your body and leave your mind. You will instantly feel the rebounding affects.
  • Sleep more. Dr. Wayne Andersen calls for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Record your evening programs and watch them at a later time so you can get to bed earlier. This will help you work in extra time to your sleep schedule, and will keep inflammation from creeping in.
  • Get a massage. Just one massage can reduce inflammation. Research shows that a 45-minute Swedish massage can greatly lower levels of two key inflammation-promoting hormones, according to a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Ask me for more details on how to reduce inflammation and achieve Optimal Wellbeing in your life!

Acheiving Optimal Health

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Working towards Optimal Health requires a series of gradual changes made at your own pace.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about losing weight, but about becoming a balanced person that displays healthy habits across the gamut – from healthy sleep patterns to maintaining healthy nutrition, and more.

Follow these five steps to fulfill yourself on a daily basis.

  • Get enough sleep. Getting your body healthy starts with a good night’s rest. Dr. Wayne Andersen calls for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping this long on a consistent basis will help you cope with everyday challenges that come your way!
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Ensure the foods you eat are rich in vitamins and nutrients, such as green vegetables and lean proteins like chicken or fish. Also, try to consume 64 ounces of water per day.* Hydration is key to helping your body run throughout the day.
  • Do something you love. We do our best when we’re doing something we love. Play with your pet, go hiking, or challenge yourself to a game of chess! These types of activities will keep us upbeat and in high spirits.
  • Stay positive. Practice positive affirmations to become a firm believer in you. Smile and laugh with friends and family. This will increase your confidence and will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle.
  • Save time for relaxation. Close your eyes, and relax in a quiet place for 20 minutes, take time to practice deep breathing exercises, attend a yoga class, or take a bath. Any of these exercises will leave you refreshed and recharged.

As part of a community, I'm here to support you as we all achieve lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time!

Spring Into Health!

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The change of seasons is the perfect reason to refresh your goals and journey towards lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time™.

Here are several ways you can revamp your lifestyle during the spring season.

  • Change up your exercise routine. Spring is the perfect time to get outside and refresh your daily exercise drill, so find a new walking route in your neighborhood or hit a trail at the local park on your bike!
  • Incorporate more water into your diet. The warmer weather of spring makes staying hydrated more important. Try your best to consume 64 ounces of water per day*. Incorporate more H2O into your day by keeping a water bottle at your desk. You can also try to drink a glass of water before you eat your OPTAVIA Fuelings as it will help to fill you up!
  • Take care of your skin. Since you’re outside for longer periods of time in the spring, it’s important to protect your skin with an SPF of 15 or higher. Also, try to wear sunglasses to shade your eyes, and a hat to protect your face. You should also apply lip balm with a high SPF to shield your lips.
  • Renew relationships. Spend the day with family and friends at the park or go on a healthy picnic. Get outside to enjoy the warmer weather while strengthening bonds with loved ones at the same time.

Ask me for more details on how to spring into health and achieve Optimal Wellbeing!

How To Stick To Your Exercise Routine

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Most people understand that it’s important to make exercise part of your everyday life, but it’s sticking to that 30 minutes of healthy motion every day that can be a challenge.

The good news is that there are steps you can take from helpguide.org to make exercise less of a burden, more enjoyable, and part of your everyday routine.

  • Take it easy, and build up to your main goal. Wayne Andersen advises 30 minutes of healthy motion is important when making strides toward lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time™. However, sometimes you need to start with baby steps, like walking, and use that momentum to begin working out every day. Start small and gain the confidence needed to take on loftier goals, like exercising every day.
  • Make exercise part of your routine. Find daily cues to make exercise a natural instinct. You see your walking shoes inside the front door, and you’re off for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s lunch time so you take a jog before eating your next Fueling. Cues like these will make it easy to make exercise part of your daily routine.
  • Pat yourself on the back. Make sure to reward yourself on a daily basis, but make sure you exercise first. This could be as simple as having a massage at the gym after a tough workout. Rewarding yourself will lead to a more consistent pattern of daily exercise.
  • Choose a method of exercise you enjoy. If you love to dance, try a Ballroom dance class. If you love to speed walk, find a scenic path at the local park. The point is to do something you enjoy! This will make daily exercise less of a chore.

Your OPTAVIA Community is always here to support you. Join me Wednesday evening for our Habits of Health zoom call.

Add some SPRING back into your step!

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As we bring a close to March, we anxiously anticipate the welcoming of spring. Your time for winter hibernating is over and it’s time to restart and refresh. Enjoy all that spring has to offer, get outside, and enjoy fresh spring foods.

Spring it on outside:

  • Take your class outside. Bring your yoga routine to a local park or your backyard.
  • Go for a walk or run. Whether it’s a loop around the neighborhood or a few mile stretch, get fresh air flowing through your lungs and get your heart pumping.
  • Take a hike. Find scenic trails to take in all of the beautiful sights of spring.
  • Go for a bike ride. Put the petal to the metal and enjoy a refreshing spring breeze.

Add some spring back into your healthy eating. Try fresh spring vegetables to liven up your lean and green meals. Enjoy a ½ cup per serving of the following:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Swiss chard
  • Fennel bulb
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi

Or enjoy 1 cup per serving of these spring delights:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce

Spring is almost upon us. Ask me how you can embrace it and enjoy all it has to offer. Spring it on!

Healthy Tips - Inflammation

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Keep Inflammation at bay

Pure eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand with inflammation, but by abiding by some general guidelines, you can keep it in check.

Follow these tips from eatingwell.com when on your journey to lifelong transformation. Your body will thank you for it!

  • Take care of your body and your heart with yoga. With yoga you'll take away ways to overcome inflammation by building skills like deep breathing, stretching, and slowing down your mind, which you can practice during mini-breaks scheduled throughout your busy work day.
  • Keep omega fats in check. Eat fatty fish like salmon two times per week as part of the lean and green meal and for a heart healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Exercise is important. Every time you exercise, whether you take a hike or run a mile, your body releases "feel good" chemicals. Exercising not only melts away stress, it also protects against inflammation and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit bad fats. Avoid high fat content found in fried foods, especially, but note that mono and polyunsaturated fats are considered heart-healthy. You can find options for these types of fats on the 'Condiment & Healthy Fat List', including avocado, olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds.

The OPTAVIA Community is always here to support and guide you. Ask me for other ideas on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep inflammation in check!

How To Reduce Inflammation

Reduce-inflammation | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

We can do many things to help minimize the uncomfortable and often disabling effects of inflammation. A healthy lifestyle including diet, exercise, and good sleep habits are powerful tools in fighting swelling and other side effects.

Here are several ways from Dr. A's Habits of Health to refer to when trying to stave off inflammation.

  • Eat your vegetables. Ensure you incorporate greens like lettuce, and spinach, and/or cucumbers, which are low in calorie and full of water, into your daily meals. Get creative with your lean and green meals to keep inflammation at bay.
  • Control your stress. Save some time for yourself during the workday. Take a 20-minute walk at lunch to unwind; learn how to let the stress rebound off your body and leave your mind. You will instantly feel the rebounding affects.
  • Sleep more. Dr. Wayne Andersen calls for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Record your evening programs and watch them at a later time so you can get to bed earlier. This will help you work in extra time to your sleep schedule, and will keep inflammation from creeping in.
  • Get a massage. Just one massage can reduce inflammation. Research shows that a 45-minute Swedish massage can greatly lower levels of two key inflammation-promoting hormones, according to a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check

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Balanced blood sugar helps us to regulate overall energy levels, keep total weight in check, and prevent cravings that can lead to overeating. It is something we should all pay attention to on a daily basis as we strive for lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time™.

Outlined below are some daily habits and healthy regimens from eatingwell.com that may help regulate your blood sugar.

  • Eat six times daily. According to Harvard Health, this is critical when it comes to balancing blood sugar. Meals that are more frequent (every 2-4 hours) can help you with taking the weight off, controlling hunger, reducing blood insulin and lowering cholesterol.
  • Balanced meals are important. On a daily basis, it's important to eat meals and snacks that contain select vegetables and the right amount of protein, as this provides good nutrition that will help you feel full while keeping blood sugar levels within normal ranges.
  • Keep moving. Exercise and movement also help to normalize blood sugar and promote weight maintenance. Try to work in 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise, such as walking, yoga, or Pilates per day. You'll see, and feel the difference.
  • Sleep is critical. Individuals with poor sleep habits may suffer from more erratic blood sugar levels. Aim for the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night to benefit your overall health and to keep your body fresh.

Click the link below to join this week’s Habits of Health Webinar, Balancing Blood Sugar, on Wednesday, March 7th at 8:30 p.m. ET, hosted by Jan Paxman, Certified OPTAVIA Coach, and Jennifer Christman, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Clinical Nutrition Director.

There Is Nothing Sweet About Diabetes . . .

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by Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen

One-hundred million. That’s a massive number, representing almost one-third of the American population, and it illustrates just how serious of a problem diabetes has become in the U.S.

Even worse, this trajectory is accelerating! Between 2010 and 2012, 3 million additional Americans developed diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This worrisome rise in diabetes—which can cause serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of toes, feet, or legs, and premature death—will overwhelm our medical delivery system in the near future.

Click here for the full article

Control Of Your Portions

Part of this dynamic are the habits you have built and strengthened over years and years of repetition, and your body naturally prefers those familiar loops over something new. The other part of this dynamic is our caveman programming, which are hardwired survival behaviors that made a lot of sense when we were hunting and gathering to survive but are less practical in a world where food isn’t hard to find and where technology makes our lives easier with each passing day.

This leads to us answering questions from the field that follow a similar theme: How do I stick to healthy portions instead of overeating?

Click here to read the full article from my mentor, Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen.

Breaking The Cycle

Break-the-cycle | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

Many of us have used food to bring temporary comfort to our existing emotions. If you find that your hunger cues are more emotional than physical, break the cycle and strategize. Here are several ways to help you and your family, create positive, long lasting behaviors to replace emotional eating:

  • Pack your house with healthy food. Clean your pantry! Rid your home of temptations and keep low-calorie, low-fat foods, such as fresh vegetables, around the house to munch on when needed. Set a good example for your family by enjoying healthier options. Before you go grocery shopping, take a breather, and wait until your emotions are in check.
  • Determine your triggers. Self-monitoring is key to identifying triggers for emotional eating. The next time you reach for comfort food, practice Stop. Challenge. Choose. In the moment, determine what emotions you're feeling. Are you scared or lonely? Keep a food diary or written record of your emotions and what, how much, and when you eat to help you correlate moods and food consumption.
  • Take a mindful pause when cravings hit. Delay eating for a moment and allow yourself to be fully present. Use this time to check in with yourself. How are you feeling? What cues do you have from your body? Pausing gives you the opportunity to realize you have many choices for handling your feelings.
  • Find satisfying alternatives. Once you define your triggers, come up with alternative, healthy behaviors to satisfy your emotions long term. Feeling frustrated? Go for a walk! Bored? Distract yourself by calling a family member and meeting a friend for coffee. Keep the focus on fun and feeling good so that new, healthier habits are easier to adopt.
  • Celebrate success! Focus on the positive changes you make, one step at a time. Your small successes lead to bigger victories and you'll get better results with more encouragement! For example, praise yourself when you complete 30 minutes of healthy motion instead of reaching for a snack.

Join me for the Habits of Health call Wednesday, March 1st, if you are an emotional eater - this will be life-changing!

Celebrate With Non-Food Rewards

Take Care of You!

It's important to recognize your healthy eating and exercise accomplishments along your journey to lifelong transformation. And it's best to enjoy yourself with non-food rewards to keep you on track.

Why do rewards matter? Because when you celebrate your accomplishments, you remind yourself that your goals are attainable.

Each of these rewards celebrates health and promotes wellbeing. Schedule them throughout your journey and feel good about yourself every step of the way.

  • Schedule a massage! There is no better way to spoil your body. If you're on a budget, ask your spouse or partner to give you a massage.
  • Visit a personal trainer. Reinvigorate your workout routine. Hire a personal trainer for a single session or a series of sessions to learn new moves, change your program, or simply to bolster your motivation.
  • Take a day off work! Don't forget about those extra personal days you have stashed away. Take the day off to read a good book, discover new recipes, visit a museum, or get a manicure or pedicure.
  • Try a new haircut! When is the last time you changed your hairstyle? A new cut can boost your confidence immediately. Or if you already have a hairstyle that you like, invest in a blowout or hair color.
  • Take a day trip! A weekend getaway or a luxurious vacation is a fantastic way to celebrate. Pack the car and head to the mountains for a day of skiing with the family. Or grab your friends and head out on a hike for an afternoon of fun!

Ask me about other ways to reward yourself without food, and be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to celebrate YOU without compromising your personal journey to Optimal Health.

celebrate-with-non-food-rewards | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

Journey to Success - Carrie

Journey-to-success-Carrie.png | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

"I love the OPTAVIA program and the support from my coach and community. I love how it has changed my life-and I love how my life is on a different path now. My kids are going to follow me on this path. They are going to see a mom who's happy, and confident, and looking forward to the future."

Carrie Frazier's transformation story began two years ago when she gave birth to her fourth child. "Being 44 years old, I was considered an older mom. And honestly, my body didn't bounce back as it did with my other kids. Although I was thrilled to be a mom again, my body was not in the best shape."

Carrie was tired and exhausted, and eating healthy was not on her mind. As the weight crept on, her self-esteem took a nosedive. "I found myself hiding clothes in the closet, avoiding mirrors, and deleting photos as soon as I saw myself. I was not living the life I wanted for my new daughter."

After starting the OPTAVIA program, Carrie noticed a difference quickly. "My hope returned and I felt more determined than ever to make the changes needed. Within six months, I had lost 80 pounds* and felt ten years younger. My energy has remained high and I look forward to weekly trips to the park with my daughter and being in photos with her!"

As a practicing nurse, Carrie already had a passion for helping others.  "Now I'm paying it forward and helping other people do it. It's so rewarding in my life. Best of all, the relationship I have with myself is healthy and positive once again. I feel blessed beyond measure to have found this life-giving, transformational program!"

*Average weight loss for Clients on the Optimal Weight 5 & 1 Plan® with support is 20 pounds. Clients are in weight loss, on average, for 12 weeks.

Tips for Optimal Heart-Health

Your heart is an incredible organ that works hard nonstop. In honor of American Heart month, show your heart some love this Valentine's Day!

Making small changes to your habits can make a big difference when it comes to heart health. Here are some tips to follow that will prepare your heart for a sweet Valentine's Day.

  • Before walking into the Supermarket, wait. Ask yourself if you're feeling hungry. Before stepping into the store, make sure to eat something first. Keep a few OPTAVIA Bars in your bag, just in case. Your heart will thank you for it.
  • Weigh your protein cooked before you dig in. Weigh out 5-7 ounces depending on the type of protein you select. Because your heart is an important muscle, eating the right amount of protein will help to keep it strong.
  • Did you get the right amount of sleep last night? Record your favorite late night shows so you can get to bed earlier. You can always watch them later, and sleep helps your heart!
  • Have you taken any steps to reduce stress today? Take that yoga class you've been interested in at the local gym - you'll feel calmer after it's over and reducing stress helps your heart now!
  • When is the last time you hung out with friends? If you haven't seen your friends in a long while, make an excuse to get together. Host a book club or gather at a local coffee shop.

Keep your heart healthy and make small habit changes. Your heart will love you for it!

"Lifelong Transformation - one healthy habit at a time!"

Tips-for-optimal-heart-health | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

How to Cope With Phantom Fat

Learning to trust your mirror

How-to-cope-with-phantom-fat | Pam Bredenkamp | Helath Coach

Phantom fat means you still have a large body image in your mind even after you have lost weight. Although your body has changed, your brain hasn't caught up with those changes. The good news is that over time, phantom fat can go away. Here are some ways to overcome it:

  • Write a journal. Keeping a journal will help you gain insight into your thoughts and feelings. By reviewing your journal entries, it will be like having a conversation with the part of your self-image that is still stuck in the past-your "heavy" phase. It should help you gain awareness you didn't have before.
  • Reverse negative self-talk. If you find yourself caught up with negative thinking, try this exercise: for every negative thing you say to yourself, either aloud or in your head, reverse it with something positive. Over time, all the positive talk will help you overcome a lingering negative body image.
  • Self-reflection. Take some time to stop and seriously reflect. Review the Habits of Health that are now an everyday part of your life. What have you accomplished so far that makes you happy? Give yourself credit for all the positive changes you have made during your health journey, not just the pounds you have lost. It'll help make your body changes feel real.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. The OPTAVIA Community is filled with people who are undergoing the same exciting transformation you are. Spend time with them and share your feelings. By joining together as a Community, you'll recognize the amazing person you now see in the mirror!

As your OPTAVIA Coach, I can help you confront the challenges as you continue your journey toward lifelong transformation. Remember, I'm here for you!

Rockstare Food That Help You Stay Hydrated

rockstar-food-that-hep-you-stay-hydrated | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

Food and hydration in every taste bite!

Whether it’s flushing the body of unwanted toxins, regulating body temperatures, or transporting nutrients to cells, water is a rock star when it comes to our health*. In addition to drinking water, foods can also fulfill some of your daily water needs. Here are some hard-working, hydrating foods according to health.com that can help contribute to your hydration:

  • Cucumbers. Cukes have a water content of 95.6% - the highest water content of any solid food. They are the perfect example of looking for opportunities to “eat your water”! With fiber and Vitamin C in every bite, cucumbers offer nutritional benefits as well.

  • Celery. At 95.4% water content, celery is another crunchy and satisfying veggie that will improve your daily water intake. What’s more, with just six calories per stalk, celery’s fiber and high water content work together to fill you up and curb your appetite.
  • Radishes. Full of Vitamin C, radishes boast a water content of 95.3%. In addition to water content, they’re a great source of catechin, an antioxidant that can reduce the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and molecules from damage.
  • Tomatoes. With a water content of 94.5%, tomatoes are an excellent hydrating vegetable. In addition to tasting good, they’re particularly good for you, providing a wide quantity of nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, folate and Vitamin K.
  • Cauliflower. These white florets are another rock star with a whopping 92.1% water content. Along with enjoyable crunch, this veggie is packed with vitamins and phytonutrients that provide nutritional benefits like strengthening bones and boosting the cardiovascular system.

Be sure to take advantage of the important benefits that hydrating foods play in a healthy diet. They not only replenish your fluids, they deliver other body benefits too!