Season is Changing… Healthy Habits for Shorter Days

The last five elements have set you up with a clear understanding of where you are currently in terms of your health and identifying your motivation. Now we’ll explore how improving weight management is a byproduct of a simple approach to creating overall health and wellbeing. First, you’ll need to assess the current phase of your weight management. There are three different measurements to evaluate your current phase in your weight management: body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat.

  • Body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. When combined with your waist circumference, it determines if you’re at a healthy weight.
  • Waist circumference. Waist circumference allows us to evaluate organ fat accumulation and indicates if extra fat poses a health challenge. To correctly measure waist circumference, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bone, and measure your waist after exhaling.
  • Body fat. Tracking body fat helps you determine if you are in fact losing fat and not muscle. OPTAVIA’s Programs are designed to minimize muscle loss.

The current state of your weight is exactly that—a phase that you will move through as you continue to improve your weight management. Don’t get caught up on numbers of your weight, BMI, and body fat percentage. Instead, keep these three key points in mind when working toward a healthy weight:

  1. It’s more than weight loss. Your focus should be on building health and wellbeing. These lifestyle changes will motivate you each day.
  2. Use structural tension. Use structural tension to help you transition from your current weight to your desired weight. This will determine the actions you need to take to make this a reality.
  3. Implement the Habits of Health. Your healthy weight will derive from implementing new healthy habits that will make managing your weight much easier. Unlike willpower, habits transform your old actions into new choices that support your long-term health.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, about other tips to improve your weight management on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time® and stay tuned for next week’s newsletter featuring Element 07 of Your LifeBook in the new Habits of Health Transformational System—creating a new leptogenic world.

Still need to order your NEW Habits of Health® Transformational System? Let’s connect today!

Join this week’s Habits of Health® Webinar, Your LifeBook—Element 06 on Wednesday, September 18th  at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT, hosted by Independent OPTAVIA® Coach Amber Smithson.
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Now that the days are getting shorter, you may be tempted to stay indoors and hibernate, which can stall your progress toward reaching your health goals. Don’t let this get in the way of your transformation! Here are some ways to stay on track and maintain your healthy habits:

  • Get some sun. As the days become shorter and darker earlier, we get less time in the sun. Supplement with either Vitamin D or make sure that you spend some time outside. Vitamin D can boost your mood and immune system.
  • Prepare for flu season.  Build up your immune system by taking vitamins and stock up on hand sanitizer. Practicing healthy sleep habits can help keep the common cold away from you and your family.
  • Maintain your Habits of Motion. Just because the weather is changing that doesn’t mean that you can’t continue your healthy habits of motion. Take your habit inside or layer up and continue to stay in motion.
  • Take time for yourself. This time of the year can be hectic and overwhelming, so it’s important to take time for yourself when you can. It can be as simple as journaling for an hour each day or reading each night uninterrupted.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, about other ways to practice healthy habits this season on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®.





For Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns:

1 large spaghetti squash

1 cup chopped scallions

½ tsp garlic powder

3 eggs

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tsp olive oil

4 oz shredded, low-fat cheddar cheese

For Maple Turkey Sausage Patties:

½ tsp dried sage

¼ tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp rosemary

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

2 Tbsp sugar-free maple syrup

1 lb 95-97% lean ground turkey

2 tsp olive oil


  1. Prepare the spaghetti squash. Cut in half, and remove seeds and stringy pulp.
  2. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in a microwave-safe baking dish, and fill dish with about one inch of water. Microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes, until middle is tender and pulls apart easily.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare turkey sausage patties. Combine all seasonings in a bowl. Mix seasonings and syrup into ground turkey with hands. Form turkey mixture into patties, and cook in skillet with olive oil, until cooked through and lightly browned.
  4. Scrape flesh of spaghetti squash with a fork to create spaghetti-like strands, and remove strands from the skin.
  5. Allow squash to cool, and then squeeze the squash strands in your hands a few times over the sink to release excess water.
  6. Combine drained squash strands, scallions, garlic powder, eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
  7. Cook squash mixture in large skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. Immediately top with the cheddar cheese, and serve with maple turkey sausage patties.
Per Serving: 330 calories | 40g protein | 17g carbohydrate | 13g fat

Visit our OPTAVIA Pinterest page for an extensive assortment library of Lean & Green meals.


You’ve dropped your bad habits, but the urge to do them is still there. This is normal and expected. What can control the urge and even stop it is creating an environment that’s conducive for change. Our environment impacts our habits more than we think and we are often competing against it. Making a conscious effort to control and create your environment can make changing easier. Here are some tips on how to create a conducive environment for change:

  • Create friction. Focus your energy on making it hard to continue bad habits. Move your television out of the bedroom to promote healthy sleep habits. Take another route to work to avoid your favorite coffee shop. Stock the fridge with water to stop yourself from reaching for a soda. When you do this, it makes healthy habits easier to do.
  • Control your environment. Controlling your environment means equipping it with everything you need to succeed in implementing the change that you want. It is more than removing temptations, it’s about replacing habits with new ones. Try setting an alarm on your phone for reminders to for exercise, drink water, and practice mindfulness.
  • Task association. Task association is a way to train your brain to complete a task automatically. Light a scented candle at night while practicing mindfulness. Each time you do, your brain will associate that task with that scent. This can also be practiced in other ways. For example, if you frequently eat at your deskIremove all snacks from near your desk to associate your desk as a place of work, not eating.
  • Healthy support system. All of these tasks are more difficult when you don’t have support. Continue to build your health bubble and promote wellness. When others are aware of the lifestyle that you are leading they will either align themselves with you or be considerate of the efforts that you are trying to make.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, about other ways to creating conducive environment on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®.


After you’ve reached your target healthy weight, the next step on your health journey is to optimize and maintain your healthy weight by continuing to implement healthy habits. Additional benefits for maintaining a healthy weight are linked to decreased risk of disease, better sleep, and living a longer life. If you turn healthy eating habits into healthy lifestyle habits, you’re more likely to maintain your healthy weight. Here are some keys to success for remaining in your target weight range:

  • Make healthy food choices. When confronted with a choice between what looks good and what is good use Stop. Challenge. Choose. to make the nutritious selection that will be more beneficial for your long-term health.
  • Track food intake. Tracking your food intake makes it easier to identify any corrections you need to make to your diet. Try using an app that provides specific calorie and nutrient counts so you can easily pinpoint your habits and make choices in a mindful way.
  • Healthy motion. Burning calories and increasing metabolism are necessary for maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen recommends thirty minutes a day of moderate activity. For more information, please see Dr. A’s Habits of Health Chapter 16.
  • Plan ahead. Plan meals in advance to avoid being hungry and making unhealthy decisions. Keep Fuelings or healthy snacks in your car or backpack so you can grab and go.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water regularly helps promote fullness and can help keep calorie intake in check. Try drinking a glass of water before your meals and aim to drink at least 64 oz. daily.*
  • Manage stress. Stress is an appetite stimulant and a common trigger for impulsive eating. Try meditation, exercise, or keeping a stress journal to help manage your stress. For more information, please see Dr. A’s Habits of Health Chapter 25.
  • Use your support system. Reach out to your OPTAVIA Coach or Community for extra motivation. Having a support circle can help keep your goals and accountability in perspective.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, for other tips to maintain your healthy weight on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®.

* Talk with your healthcare provider prior to changing the amount of water you drink as it can affect certain health conditions and medications.

Tips for Staying on Track During Vacation

As we head into the summer months, it’s almost time to take that summer vacation that the entire family has been anticipating! Vacations are a time to relax and take a break from your normal routine, but they can also pose some challenges for healthy eating. Remember, just because you’re going on vacation doesn’t mean your healthy lifestyle needs one. Here are some tips for staying on Plan during your vacation:

  • Plan your meals. Remember to pack five Fuelings per day for each day of your trip and to eat every two to three hours. If you’re renting a vacation home and have access to a full kitchen, go grocery shopping once you reach your destination so you can pick your own healthy ingredients for your Lean & Green meals. Or look over the menus at your destination restaurants so you can plan your meals in advance.
  • Utilize NEAT and EAT. Vacations are a great opportunity to practice healthy motion! Continue to utilize NEAT strategies like using the stairs instead of elevator and standing instead of sitting when you can. If you usually take a daily walk, simply move your walk from your neighborhood to the beach or while sightseeing with your family. 
  • Drink water.* Opt for water instead of juices or alcoholic beverages which can contain extra calories and can dehydrate you. Carry your water bottle for easy access to hydration, especially if you’re in a warmer climate.If you experience symptoms such as thirst, headaches, muscle cramps, or fatigue, you should try to replenish your fluids as soon as possible.
  • Get enough sleep. Your sleep schedule on vacation should remain as close as possible to your sleep schedule at home—get at least seven hours of sleep, wake up and wind down around the same times each day, and create an optimal sleep environment for a good night’s rest.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, about other tips to stay on track during vacation on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time™.

* Talk with your healthcare provider prior to changing the amount of water you drink as it can affect certain health conditions and medications

We’ve all heard the old sayings “look on the bright side” or “view the glass as half full”, but why is positive thinking necessary for achieving Optimal Health and Wellbeing? Positive thinking can give you more confidence, improve your mood, and combat negative thoughts, which can lead to chronic stress and contribute to other health problems. Here are some tips for creating a positive mindset:

  • Positive Affirmations: Positive self-talk can calm you down and control stress. Try starting your day by talking to yourself in a positive way. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this”, try “I can handle this by taking one step at a time.”
  • Turn setbacks into “set forwards”. Instead of focusing on your setback, use this opportunity as a lesson to grow and move forward.
  • Breathe. Take some reflective time to do a breathing exercise at the beginning of your day or when you have a midday break. Deep breaths cue the brain to calm down, allowing you to refocus.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Reach out to your OPTAVIA Coach or OPTAVIA’s supportive Community to talk through any challenges you are having on your health journey. Make use of your social network or get in touch with a friend to seek advice.

Recognizing how our thoughts are structured is the next step toward transforming unhealthy habits to healthy habits when faced with a difficult or uncomfortable situation. This practice is easier if you use Stop. Challenge. Choose.®:

  • Stop. Take a slow, deep breath to help control your emotions. Recognize that you are triggering an unhealthy habit. Pausing and taking a breath helps to regain control.
  • Challenge. Think about why you are responding to the situation the way you are. Remind yourself of your goals and the choices you should make to reach these goals.
  • Choose. Make the healthy choice that gives you a similar reward but is much better for your long term health.

Ask me, your OPTAVIA Coach, about other tips for creating a healthy mindset on your journey to Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time®.