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In Element 17, you will learn the importance of increasing your activity level and NEW ways to increase this level by relying on the NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) System.

The best part about NEAT is that it can be integrated into your everyday tasks. By being intentional with the NEAT System, you can burn extra calories without an intense workout or making significant changes to your lifestyle.

Here are the six NEAT categories, matched with the corresponding microHabit, including a tip to help you understand ways you can increase your daily healthy motion:

  • Stance. Practice NEAT while you're sitting. For example, while sitting in an upright chair that supports your posture, flex your stomach muscles, and take deep breaths. microHabit: Focus on the core position an extra 10 minutes per day.
  • Standing. Get out of your chair as much as possible. Instead of sitting for hours, try to stand when you talk on the phone or try a standing desk when you are working on your laptop. microHabit: Add 10 additional minutes of standing per day.
  • Strolling (Walking). Take standing one step further and walk whenever possible. Park your car farther away from the store to add some extra steps to your daily count. microHabit: Add 100 additional steps per week.
  • Stairs. Climbing one flight of stairs is equivalent to walking 100 steps, so instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs to add even more healthy motion! microHabit: Add one additional flight of stairs per week.
  • Samba (Dance). Turn on the music and start moving! Music boosts both physical and mental performance. Tapping your foot, nodding to the beat, or even singing will elevate your heartbeat. You can also try a Zumba class if you want an extra challenge. microHabit: Listen to 10 additional minutes of music per day; work up to an hour or more of dance per week.
  • Switch. To switch means to do things by hand instead of using a machine. For example, instead of loading all the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner, take time to wash them by hand. microHabit: Add one or two substituted manual tasks per day.

These six categories cover the full range of muscle energy expenditure in your everyday life. By making these small daily choices, you can reach your physical goals and set the stage for exercising at your own pace!

Remember, habits are built over time and do not happen overnight. Simply using one of these tips - each day of the week - and working your way up will still have an impact.

Reach out to me, your independent OPTAVIA Coach, for more ideas about how to become a “Perpetual Motion Machine” on your journey to optimal health and wellbeing.

Check out Dr. A’s Element Stories here!

Back to school time is here for many children/families. While it is an adjustment going from the care-free summer months to the schedule of back to school, it is important to get everyone back into structure!

Simple plans for keeping your kids healthy and happy during the school year are key to a smooth transition back to learning and back to the routine that school requires.

Consider these tips as you re-establish healthy back-to-school habits for the new school year:

  • Get enough sleep. Many kids shift their sleeping patterns in the summertime to staying up and waking up later in the morning. In the days leading up to the first day of school, get in the habit of establishing an earlier bedtime, so your child becomes used to going to bed earlier. Most important, be sure to put away all electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, encourage your child to relax with a good book. This will ensure an easier transition when it’s time for bed.
  • Ensure a healthy start. A healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for children, it may help increase concentration and focus at the start of the school day. Follow with a healthy lunch filled with lean protein (like turkey roll-ups) and vegetables (like cucumber and celery sticks).
  • Prep in advance. Make your mornings easier by preparing the night before. Partner with your child to select school clothes in advance and pack what you can for lunch. Get a jump-start on breakfast by making a mental note of what you’re cooking and prep ingredients in advance.

Encouraging these healthy habits at home or in the classroom will teach your children to make healthier choices as they grow and mature.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: 1 lean, 3 green, 3 condiments

Total Time: 30 minutes


1¼ lb. 90% lean ground beef

¼ tsp salt, divided

¼ tsp ground black pepper

4 oz. reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup water

½ cup thinly sliced cucumber

1 tbsp yellow mustard

6 tbsp lemon juice

8 cups chopped leaf lettuce

1 cup diced fresh tomatoes

2 scallions, chopped

4, quart-sized mason jars


  1. Heat up a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Add ground beef and brown all sides, breaking up any clumps; season with salt and pepper. Drain and allow to cool.
  3. Bring vinegar, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Pour liquid over cucumbers and set aside to make pickles. Drain the juice when ready to serve.
  4. Whisk together the mustard and lemon juice to make a vinaigrette.
  5. For 1 portion, fill a quart-sized mason jar with 1½ tablespoons of lemon mustard vinaigrette, ¼ cup of tomatoes, 4 ounces cooked ground beef, 2 tablespoons of pickles, 2 cups lettuce, 1 ounce of shredded cheese, and ¼ of the scallions.

Nutrition Per Serving: 360 calories, 38g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 20g fat

Download the OPTAVIA App today for additional Lean & Green recipes!

New Season of Hope

In a season of life when Laura was feeling a loss of hope, she saw a before and after image shared on social media.

"I dreamed of fitting my goal sized jeans by 40. I tried everything while I attempted to hit my goal on my own.”

Laura knew she needed some support, so she reached out to her friend, who was an independent OPTAVIA Coach. After receiving guidance, she quickly got on plan.

"I knew I felt amazing, and I knew I needed to share my experience with others." So, as Laura continued her journey, she became an independent OPTAVIA Coach to help others feel as amazing as she did.

The best news? Laura was wearing her goal jeans for her birthday and even needed a belt*.

“I found my joy again. The impact that I am now having on those around me warms my heart beyond all belief.”

Laura now calls herself, “a hope dealer” and strives to help people awaken to their own potential.

“Thank you for allowing me to join this mission. Thank you for the groundwork that has been laid out ahead of me, to allow me to be one of the many vessels in this ocean of the world. Every day I am grateful.”

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


Bill Ellis
Orlando, Florida

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