Author's details

Date registered: February 3, 2015

Latest posts

  1. 5 Actionable Steps for New Year Goals — January 4, 2018
  2. False Assumptions and Rainbows — September 30, 2017
  3. Strangers Aren’t the Ones we Need to Fear Most — July 21, 2017
  4. People who Workout Frequently are Still Just People — July 11, 2017
  5. What Do You Do When Life is Insane? — June 9, 2017

Most commented posts

  1. Waist or Waste? You Can’t Have it Both Ways. — 11 comments
  2. False Assumptions and Rainbows — 9 comments
  3. Are Other People Making you Eat? — 9 comments
  4. Avoiding a Train Wreck: Curbing Emotional Eating — 8 comments
  5. Build Your Best Self While You Sleep. 10 Tips to Help You! — 7 comments

Author's posts listings

Jan 04

5 Actionable Steps for New Year Goals

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch

I’m a little late posting here.  I shared the information on Facebook back on December 31st.  It’s still – come one, we’re only 4 days into the new year – incredibly relevant.  I want to preserve it for the long term.  So…here goes.

It’s here. December 31st. That magical day when we all change our lives for the better!!

Only. Not really. 80-92% of all NYE resolutions fail by February!

I saw the most appropriate quote this morning. “Getting into shape isn’t something you, ‘do’, it’s how you live. Resolution people fail because they believe working out cancels out all the bad in their lives that led to getting out of shape.”

Just as medicine frequently only masks symptoms; forcing yourself to exercise only masks other issues.


STEP ONE: Address the root causes.

Why are you not taking care of yourself already? What are the triggers that cause you to eat the pint of ice cream and family size bag of chips while laying on your couch in front of the tv? Why aren’t you moving your body even though you know it makes you feel better?


Think about that. Honestly. Write down your thoughts.


STEP TWO: Add 20 minutes each day to your schedule. This is non-negotiable personal time. It’s only 20 minutes!

Set a timer first thing in the morning. Take 10 minutes to think about what you want your day to look like. Not just a to do list – but how you’d like to feel too. Write this down. In an old-fashioned paper notebook. Keep it with you.


STEP THREE: Follow through.

As we go through the day we make a series of decisions. What should I eat for lunch? Dinner? Should I have this treat? Can I fit in time for a walk? Etc. stop for 30 seconds prior to each decision and ask, “does this fit with my goals for the day?” If not, “what choice would?”


STEP FOUR: Review your progress daily.

Before you go to bed, set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down your thoughts about the day. What are you pleased about? Where did you not reach your goal and – this is important – how will you change that situation next time it comes up. It will come up again!! Plan for that.


STEP FIVE: Commit to doing this every single day for 30 days.

At that point, set aside a full 20-30 minutes to review what you’ve accomplished in the month. NOT where you failed but where you succeeded. Celebrate your wins.



I’d love it if you’d be willing to share your goals for the new year. Putting them in writing is an affirmation – it can help you achieve your goals.


Sep 30

False Assumptions and Rainbows


Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

I’d like to talk for a minute about false assumptions and rainbows.  


FACTS:  I’m a personal trainer.  

               I’m certified in nutrition.

               I’m pretty good at what I’ll call “bull-dogging”

                             …setting goals and not letting go until I have accomplished them.  


Because of these things, many people assume I must exercise and “eat right” all the time.

  • These are both false assumptions. 


First of all, there is NO right or wrong way to eat!!  What people usually mean when they use those words is that I only eat “low fat, low sugar,  ‘healthy food like fruits and vegetables’.”



Here is the truth about my diet.


Everyday that I’m home {Every. Single. Day.} the first thing I do, when I get out of bed, is eat one frozen chocolate chip cookie and drink a cup of coffee.  I put a splash of Bailey’s in that coffee.  Every. Single. Day.  I’ve been doing this for seven or eight years.  If you want proof of these statements, I can provide references! 


Here are three further facts you need to be aware of though:


(1) It’s only “every day I’m home”, and I’m only home two or three mornings a week.  I spend a lot of time on the road for business.

(2) I don’t have Bailey’s with a little coffee.  I have coffee with a little Bailey’s.  It’s a regular sized cookie – not 3 cookies made into one.  I don’t eat cookies all day.  I don’t stuff my body with fat, sugar, and things like that all day.

(3) I always follow-up my cookie and coffee with a high protein meal (pretty typically either protein waffles/pancakes or an egg white omelet).


Here is the truth about my exercise.



I’m prepping for my first ever powerlifting meet right now.  I work out 4 days a week, normally for 30-45 minutes each time.  I spend that entire time lifting weights. 






I do not get on the stair stepper, elliptical, bicycle, nor treadmill and gut out an hour of cardio.  Ever.  Not because “cardio is bad” no more than “food is bad”.  Not because cardio doesn’t serve a purpose.  Cardio IS good for our heart, lungs, and circulatory system.  I do very occasionally add in a short run, some rowing, go to a class, or do a video both because I like to, and because they’re good for me.   Most of my cardio comes from walking, sprinting, or hiking – because I enjoy those things and – another fact – if I don’t like it, I’m not going to do it.  The same is true for you… 


Hours of cardio is what many people believe is required in order for them to lose weight.  

  • That’s a false assumption.  


Diet and exercise are both critical components of losing weight – AND staying healthy.


Sleep and stress reduction have a lot to do with it too!  Increasing muscle mass is an excellent way to lose fat and reshape the body.



So what does the rainbow have to do with any of this? 


I snapped a photo of the rainbow over my back yard, this morning.  It was only there for a couple minutes, but long enough for me to see it.  Long enough for me to sit on the porch sipping the coffee and eating the cookie my husband made for me, and enjoy its presence. 


It was there long enough for me to think, “I might only come home for weekends but, I’m so glad I DO get to come home for the weekends – to enjoy this place and these things.”   It was there long enough for me to consider the fact that so many people make false assumptions about my “healthy life” and to realize that I wanted to (once again…) share the truth.  The only reason I wrote the blog is because of the rainbow.  Is it waxing poetic to say, “I’ll consider it a little bit of gold”? 


Jul 21

Strangers Aren’t the Ones we Need to Fear Most

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch
If you have been or are currently in a domestic violence situation, this message comes with a trigger warning.
Other than that…
I am not going to sugar-coat this.
I am not going to try to word it tactfully.
I am not going to apologize if this upsets you. It should!
It upsets me, too. A LOT.
I grew up in a home where, more than once, I went to bed thinking my mother might be dead before morning. She’s had multiple broken bones and countless injuries over the past 45 years. I have multiple friends who have been in abusive relationships. I’ve been the recipient of domestic violence myself, numerous times. In my experience, it is not strangers that I’ve needed to be fearful of.
I also worked as a dispatcher for the State Police. So…I’m not surprised at this headline. “Most female homicide victims are killed by husbands or other intimate partners.”
I am; however, shocked, incredibly sad, and very angry at this stated fact:
“A report out Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that homicide is the FIFTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR WOMEN AGES 18 TO 44. In 2015 alone, 3,519 women and girls were killed. More than half of these killings were perpetrated by current or former boyfriends, husbands or other intimate partners.”
It’s incredibly difficult to do.  I know that.  Women stay for a variety of reasons.  I know that, too.  But…get help.  Please.  It doesn’t get better.

Jul 11

People who Workout Frequently are Still Just People

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

The recent move to Nebraska is #19 for me.  I have an affinity for that number (Ka) so that’s cool.  We’ll have at least one, maybe two, more moves before we settle into a “forever home”.  There have been a lot of transitions for this small town, Maine girl, over the years.  I don’t complain – although there have been some assignments that initially concerned or scared me; one time when I hid from my husband so he wouldn’t see my cry at the news; three times when he watched me cry because we were leaving people I loved and I just couldn’t hide it; and some places I don’t care to ever return to.


For the most part, though, this is just a normal part of life for military families and it’s been pretty amazing.  I view every move as a big adventure. In talking to some of my friends this week, we don’t know whether we love it or hate it.  To be honest, for  me it’s a constant melding of both…




There are new places to explore. New things to do.  New people to meet.  It keeps me from getting into much of a rut because nothing stays the same (except family – that’s the one constant, and SO very important).



You, and every single thing you own (material things of financial value but most importantly, those things that have only great emotional value – the clothes you brought your babies home from the hospital in; their kindergarten drawings and homemade Christmas ornaments, etc) have to safely make your way across the country, or the globe.  There are new things and places to learn.  We need to find a new vet, new doctor, new dentist, new hairdresser, bank, grocery store, insurance carrier, and so much more.


  • IT’S SAD

We’re always saying, “see you later” (which is goodbye a large percentage of the time although none of us like to put it that way) constantly. Either you, or your friends are moving.  I’ve left my sisters (which hurt) and both of my children (which hurt even more).  I have honed an ability to disconnect from people and places.  Good and bad.  It can be hard to make friends. The situation sometimes hurts people because I don’t always cry when I say goodbye.  This transitory lifestyle has an up-side though.


We have friends all over the world.  We really do have a second (military) family.  We have the ability to not see people for years, yet fall into easy, comfortable conversation the next time we do talk.  It keeps me appreciative of things and relationships when I have them.  I know, for sure, everything in life is temporary.  Many people never realize this until it’s almost too late.




This reflective mood has been brought on by the fact that today I will go to a new gym.  My realtor gave me a month’s free membership to a local barbell club.  Perfect!  I’m excited but also super anxious. As much time as I spend in the weight room, and as long as I’ve been going to the gym, I’m comfortable in that environment.


It’s still not easy though.  People who work out frequently are still just regular people.  It’s a new place.  New environment.  New people.  I’m a private individual for the most part so none of this really thrills me.  Will I fit in?  Will this be a good fit for me?  Will I feel intimidated or make a fool of myself?


I want to go – but I don’t.  Know what I mean? 


I will. 


We’re busy and in the middle of a cross-country move.  It would be easy to say, “I can’t” and at least partially convince myself that’s really true.  But I’d only every partially believe it.  So I will get dressed.  I will make the drive.  I will take a deep breath and walk inside.  I will do my workout.  It will all be okay…it’s just a little uncomfortable.


Places don’t become home…

People don’t become friends…

Situations don’t become comfortable…

Unless we put ourselves out there.

Jun 09

What Do You Do When Life is Insane?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


Things are about to get (more) insane around here.
My kids and grandchildren are all traveling to my house over the next 36 hours. We’ll have 6 adults and 5 kids. It will be loud and chaotic. It will be crazy. It will be amazing. I’ll be knee deep in babies and I’ll be loving it. We’re going to have so much fun.
They will all be here for a week.  #mycrewe
The same day they leave, I’m leaving. We all have a 6 am flight. I’ll be on the road for business for 2 straight weeks, holding a TSP webinar, and also indulging in an annual girls’ weekend between those commitments with 3 of my very best friends. #vegasgirls
I have to catch a red-eye home at the end of that trip, to have a closing on our new house. We will then have 3 days during which the packers will be here; everything will be boxed up, we’ll have our final home inspection, wrap up things in DC and hop in the truck and drive from here to Nebraska.
There will be a little stress.  #thisislife 
I’ll handle it by remaining steadfast in my commitments to myself.
==> I WILL WORKOUT. If I don’t make it to the gym, I’ll run, play on the playground with the babies, dance, or do something with my exercise bands.
==> I WILL FIND SOME TIME TO WRITE every day – even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes before I get out of bed.
….because if you only work on your goals when life is uncomplicated and not stressful, you’re never going to work on your goals.

Jun 03

Alpha Maiden for the Month of June

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


My friend, Jordan, hosts a site designed to inspire, support, and empower women. She puts it this way:


Alpha Maiden‘s Mission is to empower women to become physically strong, mentally tough and to develop the skills and tactics to stay safe.


Jordan asked me to be her Alpha Maiden for the month of June.  I was humbled, and flattered. I accepted immediately but then (as I typically do) I began analyzing everything.  AM I an Alpha Maiden?  What does that really mean?  It took me a week to drill through everything and write something on the paper.  When she published the bio, she said,


l am so excited and honored to announce the Alpha Maiden of June.  She is one of the strongest (in mind and body) women I know!  From riding choppers to practicing Krav Maga and being a business owner too – she’s about much more than what we see at first glance.


I love that!  We ALL are so much more than we appear at first glance.  We all have a back story; it’s just that not everyone knows (and not everyone is entitled to know) that story.  Several of my friends and I, after having bared our souls to one another, have asked, “What if, instead of meeting people, we met their stories?”  What if we were able to know what someone had been through?  What their life experiences were?  I think we would have very different relationships!  We would be more kind and compassionate to others.


I am sharing, here, what I wrote for Alpha Maiden both to create a permanent record for myself but also to reach as many people as possible.  To teach.  To help.  To inspire if possible.

​To be honest, I’ve had a difficult time with the title “Alpha Maiden”.

Am I one?  If so, why?  What makes me so?

Oh, there are the “obvious” things I suppose.
Those things on the surface that people like to look at.
The accomplishments.
The list.

Between 45 and 52, I’ve competed on the figure stage several times. I finished my master’s degree:  was certified as a holistic health & fitness coach, in nutrition from two different agencies, and as a mindset specialist. I’m closing in on a 300-pound deadlift and I will have that by the end of this year.

I am managing two very successful consulting businesses and spending a couple hundred days each year on the road.  I published two books and started practicing Krav Maga. I have been a military spouse for over 22 years; a military mom for 15.  Neither is a job for the weak. I’ve kissed my husband and both of my children as they headed off to war. I cried, at some point, every day they were gone.
​I have a lump in my throat just typing that.


I continue to ride my dirtbike and chopper.  I’ve flown half-way around the world to scuba dive.  I did a 26.2 mile ruck, wearing combat boots, and carrying a 52 pound pack.  I am smarter, stronger, more physically fit, and more confident than I have ever been in my life. I am a grandmother to 5.

To be sure, it’s a decent list with some pretty bad ass accomplishments in a relatively short period of time.

None of these define “alpha ” for me, personally, though.  It has to be more than that.  ​


I am a survivor.  

From the time I was 6 months old until I was 26, I was physically, sexually, and emotional abused. I was told routinely that I brought such things upon myself; that they were my fault.  At times I believed it.

They really weren’t my fault, though.
I know that now.

I kept quiet for too long.  I refuse to be quiet any longer and let other women feel like they are the “cause of their abuse”.  I won’t let them think it’s “their fault,” they “deserve it,” that they are “alone” or “the only one”.

They aren’t.
I’m not.

This has happened to many women.  It’s happening now.  Maybe to your sister, mother, or friends.  Maybe to you.

It’s a discussion we need to be willing to have.  

If someone else can use my voice as a beacon, I provide it.  There is hope.  I’m here.

I am a warrior.

I have been a warrior from the beginning (a name my sister gave me) and I carry this shield with pride.  My battle has frequently been for others.  I have, quite literally, taken the hit to save someone else.  I was the person who broke the cycle of abuse at home, not because of what happened to me but because it had started to happen to my sister.  I was a single mom for a few years after finally getting out of a physically abusive relationship.  We lived on welfare and food-stamps.  I remember one time when my son and I had nothing but a 50-pound bag of potatoes to eat.  I fought, not for myself but to make a better life for my children.

I have struggled with self-confidence and shame my entire life. I struggle to feel good enough – in my skin, in my head, in this world – to feel like I’m “worth it”…even still, sometimes.

I refuse to accept limits, though, and it doesn’t matter if those are placed by someone else or self-imposed.  I was afraid of public speaking; now that’s what I do for a living.  I’m afraid of heights, so I climb.

If anyone else can use my strength as an example, I offer it. I’m here.

I am an Alpha Maiden 

because at no time, have I ever considered myself a victim. I refuse that label and the limitations it would imply.  I went through some stuff but even when life was horrible, I knew somewhere deep in my soul that I would get out. I didn’t know how but I knew I would.  I vividly remember laying on a grassy hill when I was 12 or 13, dreaming with my eyes open, that everything would be okay…and it is.

Remembering where I came from, and that many are still in that place; I am obsessively passionate about living every single second of life and about coaching others on possibility.  I’ll try just about anything but I don’t just want to learn.
I want to teach.  It’s at my core.  When I learned to scuba dive, I continued until I was a Dive Master, certified to teach others.  I’ve taught basket-weaving, human resources, conflict management, leadership, scrapbooking, retirement & financial planning, and even taught a couple of people to drive motorcycles.

Family & FIT
is an online community where I teach people how to embrace life by setting an example through mindset, sustainable nutrition, and movement. In that order.

Mostly mindset is a tagline I frequently use. #MostlyMindset

Mindset really does matter most.  Mindset, more than physical strength and toughness is what makes me an Alpha Maiden.  It was mindset that allowed me to survive the situations I’ve been in.  Mindset that kept me going.  Mindset that refused the title of “victim”.  Mindset that drives me to share with others.

Let me be clear, mindset isn’t a bunch of meaningless affirmations.  It isn’t perpetual optimism.  It’s not “being happy all the time”.  Mindset isn’t feeling one thing but telling ourselves we should feel something else.  It is about doing the best we can, with what we have available (time, money, strength, fortitude, energy) at the time.

Mindset is realizing we are in control.  

I couldn’t stop people from hurting me when I was a child.  I could escape into the safe recesses of my mind, though.  I could make myself physically tough so the abuse wouldn’t hurt as much when it did come.  I could hide.  I could plan.  ​I could wait.  I could, eventually, speak.

We are stronger, smarter and more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Mindset matters most.

If anyone can refer to my mindset as their inspiration, I give it freely. I’m here.




May 21

Action Begets Action

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

Is there something you dread preparing for, but actually love, once you’re “doing” it?


I’m currently updating my behavioral profile and organizational leadership course. I’ll be presenting this in a few weeks.

Every time a customer asks me to teach this class, I groan. Ugh. Not that…..


It’s not outlined in regulations or law, like so many other things I teach. It’s not clear cut. It’s about behavior, human relationships, interaction, connection, and emotional intelligence. This stuff can be difficult and messy.





Yet, I haven’t taken this class off my curriculum list.  




Because, every single time (without exception) I teach this class, I really get into it and it ends up being one of my favorite things to teach.    




Some times (not often to be honest because this is an engrained habit for me) I don’t feel like going to the gym – yet, once I’m inside and I start moving – I feel great.


I’ve never regretted making the time to exercise.

I’ve never regretted teaching this class.

That’s one of my issues with the “If you don’t like to do ‘this’; if ‘this’ doesn’t make you happy, just don’t do it. Just quit – on the studying, the book, the relationship, whatever doesn’t thrill you every single second.” mentality. If that were the case, I would simply be scuba diving every single day, and laying on the beach. Unfortunately dive gear, traveling to, and/or living in exotic locations with the kind of diving I like to do, costs money.


Sometimes you have to put in the work, you have to trudge through the challenging pieces to get to the easier patches.  Sometimes things don’t get easier but you get stronger.  





Being outside your comfort zone is – well – uncomfortable……



May 14

Mother’s Day: It’s Not About Me

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch

My husband and I were talking about Mother’s Day, on the plane, yesterday.

It generally makes me sad. I can’t talk to my mom because it puts her at risk when I do. Domestic abuse is a very real and immensely complicated thing. Please don’t judge, or give advice. You have no right; and neither do I at this point. Please don’t say, “she should just leave.” It’s not that easy. She has. Multiple times.  It breaks my heart but I remember, vividly, how much it broke her mother’s heart.



That’s not my point.


My point is, I don’t think Mother’s Day is about me.

It’s about her.

It’s about MY mom. It’s about YOURS.

I don’t think I should feel guilty that I have children, that they are healthy; nor that they themselves have decided to have, and are able to have, offspring. I’m not a selfish person but I don’t think the day was created to make those who can’t (or don’t want to……….no, not everyone wants to be a parent. Surprise!) have children, feel “less than”.





I can’t imagine a life without my children;

I wouldn’t be alive without my mom – and a whole string of moms before her.

Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate OUR mothers.
Birth or otherwise.


This is not just my opinion. In at least one version of the historical start to Mother’s Day, it was created by a woman who did not have children, herself. Like so many things, it wasn’t about cards, flowers, or gifts. It wasn’t about commercialism. It was about care.


It is a day to celebrate the woman who gave birth to us, or raised us, or took the roll of our mother. It is about the woman / women in our lives who made a difference.

Your mother may not be with you any longer; and you may miss her very much. When I’m gone, I hope the day is not sad for my children. I hope they view it as a day to remember me, even more often than they normally do.


I hope they get together and reminisce about all of the memories we made and that they will know, without one single question, how very much I loved them. I hope they’re happy we shared some life together.






You may adore your mother, or despise her. You may blame her for all of your shortcomings; or praise her for a hand in your accomplishments. She may not have done what you think she should have as a mother, or even a person. Or perhaps she was amazing and you strive to be exactly like her.


Maybe you mothered her more than she did you.


But she IS your mother.






Maybe today we take 24 hours off from judging other women for the way they mother? Maybe we say, “She’s doing the best she can with what she has (money, time, emotional ability, background, energy, etc).

Happy Mother’s Day.

Apr 15

Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend Day 2

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


My second day at the Girls Gone Strong, Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend, in Kirkland, Washington, started early.  I got up at 6 so that I would have time to brush my teeth, get dressed, grab a handful of strawberries on my way out the door, and meet a bunch of other women for a group workout by the lake.




What a beautiful morning!  It was early.  It was a Saturday.  It was a chilly 42 degrees.  The energy was contagious.  Molly Scott Kieland, of FUEL House Gym in Seattle led the motley crew on a jog from the hotel to a local park.  There 4 other trainers joined her to set up 5 stations.  After a warm up, we rotated through the 5 stations.  1 minute at each, 3 times through.  To quote one of the ladies, “You don’t have to work long, but you do have to work hard.”


  • East / West jump squats and jump lunges.
  • Agility ladder exercises.
  • Push-ups and pledge planks.
  • KB swings and 1-legged KB deadlifts.
  • Core station (variety of different planks)

A short jog back to the hotel.  Quick shower and just enough time to make it to the coffee social.  

Before Neghar Fonooni, our first speaker of the day, took the stage, Hilary Paris of Nourish You led us through some centering and awareness meditation.

Yes!  I love this stuff!  All of it.

Group exercise.

The lake at sunrise.

Like-minded women.



Amazing speakers and interesting topics.

ALL of it.

Neghar reminded us to show up.  We do not have to look a certain way, or attain a certain body style before we can show up – authentically – in our lives.  The number on the scale – as well as the number on the barbell – should not be the factors we use to determine our mood or value.  It is an inherent truth that we have value beyond our bodies.  I, personally, needed the reminder.  I have so much to share but when I refuse to engage because I’m not wearing make-up; because I have bags under my eyes; or because I’m feeling (visually) less than, I do a dis-service to myself and to others.

F*&^  that. Here I am.  I am strong.  I am powerful.  I can show up authentically as I am.

Leigh Peele made going on after Neghar, look easy – although I’m sure that wasn’t the case!  Her presentation was on variations and determining factors in total daily energy expenditure.  Fancy words.  It boils down to the fact that we all burn calories differently, and in different amounts.

Not only that, but we each burn a different amount of calories each day.  Where are we within our cycle?  Have we been sitting still, moving, or fidgeting?  My biggest take-way from Leigh’s talk?  Stop changing so many variables!  Don’t do Paleo one day, count macros the next, do Keto the next; try this exercise program – no, and now that one.  Take whatever works for YOU from those programs and apply those pieces.  “Fit activity and training; pick dietary habits that fit within your life.”  That’s how you’re going to fit health and fitness into your life – FOR your life.

I left the event at lunch time.  I had a 4-year old little boy waiting for me to come and play.  THAT was important – to him and for me – this afternoon.

I’m absolutely certain Jill Coleman’s rest-based training and Jessie Mundell’s core and pelvic floor sessions were amazing!!  I can’t wait to dig into Starve Mode, Letters to Lola, and Mindset – – my new reading materials from this weekend.

If you get the chance to attend one of these events (this happens annually) – do it!  This community of women; confident in their strength and power fills me up.  Women:  all sizes, shapes, colors, ethnicity, age, holding a place for one another.  <3


<==  Here are some reasons a few of the ladies listed this morning.

For me it’s about seeing old friends, and meeting new ones, learning new things, sharing experiences.

Apr 15

Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend Day 1

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


I’m in Kirkland, Washington at the Girls Gone Strong event: Women’s Strength & Empowerment Weekend. I try to attend one personal and one professional development event each year. I love to teach but, equally, I love to learn.
It’s been incredible:
  • Seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
  • Listening and learning about health & fitness from some of the best in the industry.
  • Being surrounded by about 175 strong, inclusionary women of all ages, size, color, and ethnicity.
 Day one was full day of amazing presentations.
We started off with Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez, digging into the “Isms” of fitness.  She reminded us that not everyone has access to whole foods or a safe, encouraging place where they can exercise. We looked at how women’s fitness has changed from 2013 through today.  Here’s a challenge for you – do a Google search for images of “fit women”.  I did and here’s the first two pages of what came up.
Notice anything odd?  There’s not a whole lot of diversity there, huh?  We don’t all “fit the mold”.  We’re not all white women with six pack abs and long torsos ranging from ages 20 – (maybe) 40.  We don’t all hang out in sports bras and short shorts.  
We – fit women – are different shapes, sizes, and colors. I’m a grandmother of five!
Here’s another challenge, while you’re Googling.  Type in “healthy women” images.  That’s got to be more representative, right?  You tell me.  Here are the first two pages.
The first session was followed up by Melody Schoenfeld.  This 5 foot tall powerhouse (who tears phone books and license plates with her bare hands!) helped us learn how to – quite literally – tear into preconceived notions.  “So much of what we look like and what we do is because it’s expected.  I used to scour Seventeen magazine.  I would look at the pictures and think, if only I could be pretty like her.  If I had her smile, her height, the six pack abs…life would be perfect.  I would be happy.”
With Melody’s instruction, we tore magazines promising to help us “lift our bottoms” “hide our tummies” and “make our boobs more perky” all within two glorious (and “easy”) weeks…  to shreds.
Dr. Kara Mohr presented on mindset, motivation and habit change; three of my all-time favorite topics!  She shared the fact (fact) that thoughts drive our feelings ==> feelings drive our behaviors ==> and behaviors drive our results. The problem is we rarely take the time to identify the thoughts  that are ultimately leading to our behavior.  What is the internal story we’re playing in our heads?  For me, personally, this is so incredibly important.  I’m my own worst critic.  I frequently think “I can’t do this” “I’m not good at that”.  If I stop there, without questioning the story, I feel like this thing is out of my control.  “If I’m not good at this, there’s nothing I can do about it.  That’s just the way it is……”  Which, I KNOW – when I take the time to really examine the thought – is BS.  I’m not good at it yet…..
I wasn’t good at teaching, the first dozen times I did it.  I wasn’t good at pull-ups until I practiced long enough to get better.  I wasn’t good at running, until I focused on doing it.  Mindset matters!!!!  If it’s too hard for you to change the story at first, try changing the behavior.  Consistently and routinely do the new thing – whether you feel like it or not; whether you’re motivated or not.
Repeat after me:  “Motivation doesn’t come first.  Action comes first.  Motivation is the result of action.”
After lunch, it was on to hands-on movement sessions.  My first workshop was with Jennifer Vogelgesang Blake.  I have a huge girl crush on her so this was awesome!!  We learned how to become stronger at pull-ups because, in case you didn’t already know, the idea that women don’t have enough upper body strength to do pull-ups is simply NOT true.  They’re hard!  They require practice!  How do you get stronger at pull-ups before you’re strong enough to do pull-ups?
  • We started with diaphragmatic breathing (aka belly breathing) and, holy cow, I need to work on this!!!!  A lot.
  • Kettlebell arm bars were next.  These can improve mobility and rotary capacity through the thoracic spine.  Strongfirst calls them, “the single best shoulder mobility and stability drill you can practice”.
  • Tension is key for max exercises so we worked on a variety of plank (tailbone tucked; pulling elbows toward toes, and toes toward elbows) and push up (lowering slowly, raising quickly) exercises.
  • From there, it was on to hollow body holds with a piece of PVC pipe.

As much as I hated to leave JVB’s session, my next workshop was high intensity interval training with Elisabeth Akinwale.

Whew!  Mountain climbers, burpees, squats, and v-ups, oh my.  It was fantastic!!  What are the benefits of HIIT?  It’s quick (so you’re less likely to get bored), can improve your endurance, and 15 minutes of high intensity interval training can burn some major calories!  High intensity means moving quickly, it doesn’t mean moving frantically.  It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone but it’s not the same as “no pain, no gain”.  In fact, the quality of movement (your form) is very important because we can’t be fit if we don’t have a basic level of health and wellness.


We actually get a lot, mentally and physically, by pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone.  We have to be willing to embrace being uncomfortable and know that that is what’s going to make us better.”

 Dr. Helen Kollias wrapped up the first day, with a presentation entitled, “Why Calorie Counting is Flawed.”  How about these facts (yup, again, facts….)?  
  • The FDA allows a +/- 20% inaccuracy on food labels!!  First, it’s difficult to get people to look at nutritional labels; but even when we do, there’s no guarantee they’re accurate.  If an item lists at 250 calories, it could be as low as 200 and as high as 300!!!!  That’s a pretty big difference.  
  • Not only that, but how we cook our food can change the calories.
  • Ladies, there can be a 10% difference in your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories your body uses to support organ function) depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle.  It can be different if you’ve never been pregnant, during pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
  • Using your Fitbit to track trends may be helpful.  Did you exercise more today than yesterday or last week?  But…relying on it to tell you how many calories you burned doesn’t do much for you.  It has a +/-30% variability.
  • Want to burn extra calories but don’t feel like exercising?  It seems NASA did a study that shows, doing math problems can allow you to burn an extra 20 calories a day.  (lol…..)   OR
  • Get some sleep!  A single night of sleep deprivation results in a 5-20% decrease in calories burned the next day!

It seems the act of simply counting “calories in” vs “calories out” is a little more complicated than initially thought.  What should we do?  Just give up?  

Dr.Kollias recommends being mindful of our body’s messages.  She explained it this way, “When you go outside, you might look at the weather.  You grab a jacket – or you don’t.  When you get outside, you might find that you weren’t correct.  You can either go back inside and grab a heavier coat, or take your jacket off.  It’s the same with food.  Eat mostly vegetables.  Get some lean protein.  Eat when you’re hungry but check in with your body.  Are you full?  Stop eating.  The problem is that we frequently eating without thinking.”  We eat ‘because it is time to eat’ or to make ourselves ‘feel better’.  We eat because the food is on our plate.  We eat standing up, or rushing around, and barely even take time to chew our food.


I hope you enjoyed reading about these sessions.  I definitely enjoyed attending them!  Please let me know if you have questions or would like further information.

Older posts «