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!

The Wonders of Water

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Water is essential to our overall health and wellbeing. Based on his Dr. A’s Habits of Health book, Dr. Wayne Andersen calls for about 64-ounces of water consumption per day.

This may seem like a lot so we wanted to highlight some specific benefits of water to ensure you that it is essential when seeking Optimal Wellbeing.

  • Water can help control calories. This all-natural, calorie-free beverage is an essential component of a healthy metabolism. In addition, water may reduce hunger by filling you up if consumed prior to meals.
  • Water keeps skin looking fresh and vibrant. Water moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth. It’s a great anti-aging treatment.
  • Water increases energy and reduces fatigue. Staying properly hydrated can help you focus, concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, water will also boost your energy levels!

If you think you need to be drinking more water, here are some tips to increase your intake:

  1. Have water with every snack and meal.
  2. Eat vegetables with a higher water concentration, such as cucumbers and celery.
  3. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.

Join me this Wednesday, April 11th for our Habits of Health call to learn more.  As a community, I'm here to support you as we all achieve lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time™.

Journey to Success - Esther Hollander

Fulfilling Dreams

“My motivation to lose weight stemmed from my worsening physical and mental health. I despised the way I looked and was close to 300 pounds. My body was starting rebel.”

Esther Hollander was overweight as a child and for the majority of her adult life, hitting her peak at 320 pounds. But, as she turned 40, she was determined to make fundamental changes and see a different reality.

“Being overweight was tough. Because I had little self-worth and confidence, I shied away from seeking new friends and career advancement, and felt closed off to general opportunities and experiences.”

Esther was acutely aware of her size and felt like people were staring and judging her. She felt embarrassed and ashamed most of the time so she avoided activities that required too much exertion or activities where her size was prohibitive.

“My children were being parented by a mom who was less active, involved and energized. And, I felt out of sync as a wife. I was not setting a healthy example for my household.”

Changes began when Esther connected with her OPTAVIA Coach who guided and encouraged her. In the course of nine months, she lost 137 pounds*.

“My Coach believed in me before I could believe in myself. I was grateful to have found a program with structure and built-in support from its Community. I cemented numerous healthy habits that were not part of my previous routine. And, I now use those habits as my road map.”

Now, Esther pays it forward as an OPTAVIA Coach and she is humbled to motivate others. Since being on the program, her life has transformed dramatically, both physically and emotionally. She is happier, more vibrant, and more engaged in all aspects in life.

“Losing my weight has given me self-confidence not only because I accomplished a goal, but before, I just didn't feel worthy of happiness and fulfillment. Well, I am worthy. I believe in myself.”

Esther is still in awe that this is her life.

“If you believe in yourself and work towards your goals you CAN change the course of your life and fulfill your dreams!”

*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.

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 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.

How to cope when feeling overwhelmed

When living above the line, you empower yourself to take ownership of all aspects of your life, you are accountable for your actions, and you act responsible.

Living above the line is not always easy and can sometimes feel overwhelming. In moments of stress, it’s important to take a step back and follow these steps to help re-center yourself.

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  • Breathe. Breathing is essential to life. Steady breaths can help you relax your body and ease your mind. Inhale for five seconds. Hold your breath for an additional five seconds. Finally, exhale for another five seconds. Repeat this practice for as long as you wish.
  • Stop and Visualize. When negative thoughts seem to fill your head, picture a ginormous traffic stop sign to help guide your mind to positive thinking.
  • Find Your Mantra. “I can do this!” When times are tough, it is important to have your own personal mantra to help guide you. Find your affirming phrases and keep it close.
  • Body Scan. Lay down and focus your attention on your body. Do a mental body check from head to toe. This self-realization will help to center you and make you more self-aware.
  • Sensory. Check in with your senses: taste, smell, sight, touch, and hearing. Name a handful of things you see, feel, hear, smell, and taste. Relax your mind by focusing on your immediate surroundings.

It’s time to take ownership and empower yourself. Ask me how you can use the above tactics to help center yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Empower Yourself!

Screenshot 2018-03-31 00.38.03.png | Pam Bredenkamp | Health Coach

Habit for living above the line.

Empower yourself by living above the line and making decisions that reflect you! Take responsibility and take steps to becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.

Here are some habits to help you live above the line:

  • Journal more. Take ownership for your actions and write them down. Take a few minutes each day to write a sentence or two reflecting on your day.
  • Sleep more. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. By getting restful sleep, you can become more aware throughout the day and be more accountable.
  • Drink more water. Try to drink about 64 ounces of water a day to stay healthy and help fight potential food cravings. Hydration is essential for your Optimal Wellbeing, can help you remain responsible, and assist you in making better decisions.
  • Reach out to your supportive Community. Connect with those who have likely been in a similar situation as your own. They can help guide you with making above the line decisions and keep you on track to your goals.
  • Get moving. Participate in healthy motion to help guide you along your journey. Not only is healthy motion good for getting your blood flowing and heart pumping, it is also a great tool for clearing your mind. Help focus your mind on what is most important to you.

Take ownership and be responsible and accountable on your journey to lifelong transformation. Sometimes just changes in thinking can make all the difference in the world. Check out some of these positive alternatives. 


Journey to Success - Susan Zartman

Living a Healthier Lifestyle

“I am so thankful to be living an OPTAVIA® life.”

Susan Zartman struggled with her weight for most of her life. “From the time I was a kid, I was on one diet or exercise plan to another. At times I would lose weight, but it would always come back…and bring more of its friends with it!”

A few years ago, Susan’s weight had her facing potential surgery. She knew that was not the path she wanted to take. “I knew I needed to do something.” Tired all of the time, Susan would take a nap in her car during her lunch breaks and again when she got home from work. Susan missed many things because she was constantly saying no.

Enough was enough, but Susan feared the big task that lay ahead of her and she struggled with how she was going to accomplish it. “I knew it was necessary.” Finally, one of her friends invited her to an online challenge. “There, I was part of a healthy Community where we were learning about the Habits of Health. I saw people losing weight, but their focus wasn't on the weight loss, but on living a healthier lifestyle, and I really liked that.”

In October 2014, Susan began her lifelong transformation. She went on to lose 137 pounds*. “But more importantly, I gained a whole new life! I have so much more energy! I feel so much better, inside and out!”

“The girl who wouldn't even get out of her car to go into a store is now walking 5k's, and I've even done a 10k – and I enjoy them!”

Susan’s decision to become a Coach was fueled by her own journey to success. “I became a Certified OPTAVIA Coach along the way, wanting to help others discover the health and the hope I have found.”

*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 To Success

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Top Traits of Successful People

Success is easy to obtain when you follow the advice of those striving for the same goals. Embody tips of successful people on your journey to achieving your goals.

Try these top tips for success while working towards your ambitions:

  • Surround yourself with the right people. Reevaluate your surrounding and find people who are positive, supportive, motivated, and successful. In doing so, you will help to motivate success within yourself. The right community of friends will also help drive the level of success you will achieve.
  • Embrace challenges that are thrown your way. Test yourself and face your fears. You will only grow stronger and get closer to your aspirations.
  • Try hard and focus on your goals. Prioritize when setting goals. Focus all your energy on what is most important. You are more likely to succeed, the more you try.
  • Never give up. However, also understand that there are obstacles you will need to overcome throughout your journey. Believe in yourself and your incredible ability to overcome failure and obstacles. Remember to always remain determined, keep a positive attitude, and commit. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Add your own twist to these tips. To obtain success throughout your journey, follow the example of others, like your OPTAVIA Coach, on your journey to greatness.

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!

Journey To Success - Meike!

Vibrant and Alive!

"I'm a mom over 40, a mother to 4, and a former athlete, whose health went downhill due to Fibromyalgia and Hashimotos Disease."

Fatigued and in constant pain, Meike Morrison tried everything to get healthy but struggled for a long time. She felt trapped.

"I tried many ways to curb the symptoms of my disease, and I tried to keep the weight off, but nothing worked."

When Meike's friend Steph introduced her to OPTAVIA in January 2016 everything changed. After first declining Steph's invitation to try the program, Meike decided to give it a try 1 ½ months later when she hit rock bottom.

Skeptical from her inability to get healthy after countless attempts, Meike followed the program perfectly. She began listening to all of the Habits of Health calls, even before receiving her first shipment from OPTAVIA.

Meike was shocked at her incredible success. Because of her dedication, she regained her energy. Meike was finally energetic and alive for first time in years! "I started to feel amazing!"

"Until you've had your life and your health completely turned upside down, it's really hard to comprehend and appreciate what a great gift it is to have good health. Now that I've been on both sides of that spectrum, I don't ever plan on taking my health for granted again."

Meike is grateful for her current life. "I just want to pay it forward and share hope and good health with others. Especially those who have gone through something similar to myself."

"My zest for life is back." After losing 48 pounds*, Mieke is full of energy, confident, fitting into smaller clothes, and helping others to achieve lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time™. "Life doesn't get much better than that!"

"I feel amazing and alive and I just want to share that with the world. It's the best gift ever."

*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.

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 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!

Journey To Sucess - Karen


"On March 31, 2014, I was the mom of five, four of whom were quadruplets, and I weighed an unhealthy 312 pounds!"

Karen Swantek had been overweight her entire life and had become accustomed to the discomfort; shocked stares of strangers and concerned looks of loved ones.

"I was blessed to have a loving husband, close friends, and a close relationship with God, but I was in pain daily from sciatica, bad knees, aching hips, and a host of other problems that go hand in hand with obesity, especially an internalized low self-esteem that I covered with a wicked sense of humor."

After two Coaches with OPTAVIA approached her about the program, Karen was skeptical, and due to her untrusting nature, she declined to participate. Finally, she tried the program in early 2014.

"I had reached the end of my own stubborn long rope, was sick of spinning my wheels, and being a poor role model to my children as well as a basically unhappy person despite my outward defensive humor."

After losing an amazing 154 pounds*, Karen decided she wanted to share this gift with others, and she became Coach.

"I had embarked upon a new lifestyle, one that was not merely satisfied with weight loss. It was a lifestyle of Optimal Health where weight loss was only a natural byproduct. It was a lifestyle where I could run, and jump, which most people take for granted (but not at 312 pounds)."

Currently Karen envisions a future world, where her story is not unique or rare, but where health through excellent nutrition, great activity, excellent sleep, financial freedom, and caring about others and being a part of OPTAVIA's Community is the norm!

"I know without a doubt that my future involves touching thousands of lives and making them better by doing so, just as her Coaches and Dr. Wayne Andersen have given me a life I could not have envisioned a mere three years ago."

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.

Journey To Success - Laura

"Before I found this program, I felt trapped in my running shoes and chained to my treadmill."

As an exercise enthusiast and fitness professional, Laura Gaffney prided herself on keeping fit and being a role model in her community.

"I have to confess, however, this has never been as easy as I made it appear. I have done countless diets (some not so healthy) and food prep plans (time consuming and boring)."

In the summer of 2016, while training for her 7th marathon, Laura got off-course with her nutrition. Even while running about 50 miles per week, she managed to gain 30 pounds.

"The weight seemed to appear all at once and I was suddenly a prisoner in my overweight body. I felt so discouraged and frustrated. I was working so hard with running everyday - what more was there to do?"

When Laura found OPTAVIA, it brought her hope and eventually gave her a life back. "Along with the help of my Coach, Community and Habits of Health, I was able to transform myself in just a few months into a person I had never seen before! No amount of yoga, weight lifting, or cardio exercise had ever given me this type of athletic figure or leanness!"

With her BMI back in the healthy, normal range, Laura feels confident and believes she is a good role model for her Community and family. This new found confidence and determination equipped Laura with the tools necessary for her to become a Coach.

"It's wonderful to be able to concentrate on what matters most in my life. I have more time for relaxing and spending time with my family, now that I understand how simple, good nutrition will get my body to work for me instead of against me." Laura finally enjoys exercising for the mere fun of it instead of as a punishment to unhealthy habits.

Not only has Laura shed the weight off of her body and lost 40 pounds*, she has also removed the thought from her mind. She feels healthier and happier due to the healthy habits she has adopted and practices. A mother of three, Laura is now a role model to her children.

Laura looks forward to her journey ahead and spreading the mission of getting America healthy! "Now that I am an OPTAVIA Coach, I get to enjoy helping others and see them transform themselves. I feel I have finally found my life's true purpose! My heart sings when I see the joy on other's faces as they reach their goals!"

Beating Stress with Optimal Wellbeing

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Stress is something we all face on a daily basis, and it has a funny way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

What you do with your stress is what's important. Your journey to lifelong transformation is one way to counteract stress, but you can also beat it and achieve Optimal Wellbeing with these healthy activities.

  • Get a massage. Try to find 30 minutes to an hour per month and indulge yourself in a massage. There is nothing like human touch to get your blood flowing and promote feelings of well-being.
  • Practice yoga. With yoga you'll take away ways to overcome stress 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.
  • Disconnect with a warm bath. Step away from the hectic pace of life and relax for 20 minutes in a hot bath. A bath gives you built in time away from phone calls and emails, and you can make it more lavish with essential oils or scented Epsom salts.
  • Laugh. Go see or watch your favorite comedian, tell jokes around the dinner table, meet with friends and reminisce. There are many ways to find ways to laugh, and studies show that this is a verified way to reduce stress in the process!
  • Create a comfy and inviting home. Make small adjustments to de-stress your home such as playing relaxing music, placing plants and other fragrant flowers, hanging artwork, finding a place for meditation. You can also add a wind chime to your porch to relax yourself to sleep in the evenings.

Ask me for more details on how to de-stress your life, and achieve Optimal Wellbeing.

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 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