Category Archive: Empowerment

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.

Coffee.

Meditation.

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

Why?

<==  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.
Hmmm…..
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.

Jan 05

My Body. My Business.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

I am sharing this photo and personal message because Molly’s article spoke directly to my heart this morning.

I believe all of this.  I stand with the 10 women in the article, and the hundreds more who are coming online with #GGSFlawless

 

When I was a young girl, I was told I had “man calves” because they were so muscular. As I grew older people frequently asked me if I was a runner. I wasn’t but I liked that comment better so I always said, “yes’.
I was called “bucky beaver” at school because of a severe overbite. Kids could be mean back then – I had ice balls thrown at me, I was pushed down stairs, I was laughed at and ridiculed. In fact, that comment bothered me so much I had my upper jaw, voluntarily, broken into 5 pieces and my bottom into 2, once I was an adult. Everything was wired back together and it took months to heal.

I have permanent nerve damage in my chin because of the surgery.
My parents’ nickname for me as a kid was “beanpole” because I was slender. Since then, I’ve been called “too muscular” “too big” and “manly” more times than I can count. When I was lifting in a gym in Mississippi, I had headphones on but my battery was dead so I could actually hear everything. Two guys in the weight room were talking to one another and one said, “Don’t worry about her dude. (I was lifting more than they were) She’s not really a woman anyway.” I’ve worn long sleeve shirts and sweaters because I didn’t want anyone to see my muscular arms.

 

I’m now in my 50s and I’ve said – out loud – more than once and to more than one person, “I hate my face”. I don’t like the wrinkles. I don’t like the bags under my eyes. I don’t like the grey hair. And, I’m not alone. Last year, American women spent over $2 billion on anti aging skincare products. That doesn’t include injectables or surgery.

How about this statistic? We spend about $60 billion on fat loss products/supplements. $60 Billion!! A year.

 

Don’t misunderstand me. I absolutely have physical goals! There are things I want to change/improve. I have strength, educational, and personal growth goals that I’m working on, too. I do not believe that accepting yourself, as you are right now, means settling. Not at all. It also doesn’t mean “giving up on yourself”, throwing in the towel and exclaiming, “Oh, well. This is just the way it is, I need to learn to live with it”.
It does mean being okay with the fact that you ARE right here, right now, as you work toward future goals.

Work on the things you want to work on but make sure YOU are the one who wants to work on them: that your goals aren’t being handed to you because you’re “supposed” to do xyz.
Your body is your business. Your journey is your own. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to anyone else. Work hard to be a better version of yourself…not the women in your newsfeed. Not me. Not your sister or best friend. YOU.

It’s hard!

I’ve asked the women in my private FB group, several times, to tell me what they love about their body. It’s hard for most people! Some of the ladies couldn’t think of anything at all. I’ve also asked them to tell me what they dislike about their body. They have no problem coming up with that list.

Fact is: “When we let other people define our standards and ideals, we hand our power over to them. We’re riding high when they tell us we’re beautiful. We come crashing down the moment they tell us we’re……” [insert your “too”. Too fat, too big, too skinny, too muscular, too tall/short, too lumpy, too much of this and not enough of that].

 

Time to face the mirror. You know what? This body, with all of it’s muscular parts, its dimples, moles, and scars has gotten me through some tough shit. A lot of it. Very well……..

 

I picked this picture specifically because I truly did not have one single concern about my body, my face, or anything else when my husband snapped it.
The photo was taken in March. I haven’t edited (or even cropped) it. My husband and I were on a dive boat in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. I was doing 5 or more scuba dives a day. I was in heaven!!!! I cared about having my equipment ready to go before it was time to dive. I cared about getting underwater as quickly, and as much as I could. I cared about capturing videos and pictures of the world I love so much. I cared about my dive buddy, cuttlefish, sharks, turtles, and crocodiles. I cared about eating local food, the sun, the dolphins, keeping my dive log up to date.

How my body looked did not cross my mind even once in that entire ten days.

 

if you feel comfortable, share a picture of your flawless body.

Oct 10

I Am Power(Ful)

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

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Don’t be fooled by these silly faces. These are some INCREDIBLY strong and powerful women. We were strangers when we first met.  By the time we parted, each had given me a little piece of herself – a spark of power and energy I could call upon any time I need it.  Photo by 7th Sister Photography.

 

**

I spent the weekend, and half of today, at I Am Power – an annual empowerment and self-defense retreat for women hosted by Jarrett Arthur & Jennie Trower and Erin Brown.

 

Let me give you some background for how I, personally, arrived here.  In a nutshell, I was physically and emotionally abused from the time I was an infant through my first marriage.  I was also sexually abused from age 10 to 17.

 

I’m saying that out loud.
==> I’m not embarrassed.

Now.

==> I’m not ashamed.

Now.

==> It wasn’t my fault.

I know that now.

 

I’m not looking for sympathy, pity, or even acknowledgment.  I sincerely don’t need anything from you.

 

If it’s too much for you; if this story makes you feel uncomfortable, I respect that.  Stop reading here.  But this is MY story.  I can, and I will talk about it.  I will talk about it because I know I am not unique.  This has happened to many women.  Maybe your sister, mother, or friends.  Maybe you.  It’s happening now and this is a discussion we need to have.

 

I refuse to sit silent and let other women feel like they are the “cause of their abuse”.  I won’t let them think it’s “their fault” or they are “alone”; “the only one”.

 

They aren’t.  I’m not.

 

I was the person who broke the cycle.  I talked at 17 but – wow – I had absolutely no idea what the consequences were going to be.  I almost immediately regretted opening my mouth.  It was too late.

 

People judged me.  People had opinions.  People chose sides.  Going to grand jury at 17 is not something you want anyone close to you to have to endure.  Believe me!  That is another memory burnt into my mind.

 

So I shut up and kept the story to myself for 30 years.  It DOES make people uncomfortable.  It DOES change relationships.  It DOES make things different. I didn’t want to do any of those things.   It was just easier for me but also for everyone else in my life to stuff away all that garbage.

 

Only two years ago, interestingly this very month, did I open up about it, again.  I was with a group of encouraging, strong, beautiful women, talking honestly.  Many had experienced many of the same things I did.  We shared one big, horrible secret, and we had carried it alone for a very long time.  It was quite shocking how similar our stories really were.

 

 

Before and after

During….and After. This did happen to me. I can’t do anything about that. I am strong. I am powerful. I will never allow it to happen again without one hell of a fight!

 

I went to counseling for about a year when the shit hit the fan, originally.  That language provides a perfect description of what happened.  And I’ve spent the last several years working through fault and shame.  I’ve done intense mindset work with a coach and on my own, unraveling and addressing the story in my head.

 

To be sure:

 

I am a survivor.

==>  Always have been.

I am strong.

==> Always have been.

I am a fighter.

==> Always have been.

 

But, what I came to realize through integration of the mindset “piece” is this.  In the past I always fought for other people. Always!

 

My child abuse ended because I was trying to take care of someone else, not myself.

My marital abuse ended because I was trying to take care of someone else, not myself.

I would fight, no matter what, for the people I love.  I didn’t fight for me.

 

Let me be clear.  I have been married to an amazing man for over 20 years.  He would never hurt me and I am in no danger.  My life is amazing; but…the story is still there.  It IS part of me.  I originally signed up for the I Am Power Retreat because I travel a lot and I am frequently alone.  The world can be a dangerous place and I wanted to learn skills with which to protect myself.  What I didn’t realize when I signed up, was that the monster I’d be fighting would be inside of me.

 

I HAD NO IDEA THIS WOULD BE A RESCUE MISSION.

 

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Jarrett, Jennie, and the woman I am today went back to rescue a 10 year old little girl.

Yesterday, I exploded with rage.  It scared me.  A lot!  Both in its intensity and in how close to the surface it sat.   I screamed.  I cried.  I punched and clawed.  The strong woman I am today went back and fought for me, the little girl.

For the 6 month old baby that had to be rushed to the hospital.  For the 10 year old girl who someone should have fought for but no one did.  For me.

My partner, Marcela, took every one of my hits (she was holding a pad).  She was screaming with me – not for me to stop but to fight as hard for that little girl as I had ever fought for anyone.  She helped me stop quivering when it was over.  She reminded me to breathe.

 

 

 

 

The rage is  gone.  To say that it was replaced with love sounds so cliche, so esoteric.  Almost ridiculous.  But that’s the truth.  I have never experienced this level of self-acceptance, compassion, or deep-down peace.  I have never felt as worthy of love as I do at this very moment.

 

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When this picture was taken, my eyes were closed.  This was one of the hardest parts for me – knowing an attack was coming but not knowing from where or what type of attack it would be.

 

Today I let a man attack me.  To be honest, I specifically asked for him to grab me and throw me to the ground.  There was no rage today.  There was merely a definitive line drawn in the sand.  This is me!  This is my body!  I alone decide when someone else is too close.  I decide when I’m not comfortable.  I have a right to stand up for those boundaries, and to fight for them if that is what’s required.

 

We don’t like to face the reality that we might, one day, be forced to fight.  We don’t believe it could happen to us.

 

Did you know, though, that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2015, reported on average, there are 288,820 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States?  That 82% of all juvenile and 90% of adult rape victims are female?  Or that females ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault?  It’s not something to be taken lightly or ignored.  If you are a woman, please attend a self-defense class (or multiple).  If you are a man, know that you may not always be there to protect the women you love:  help them seek training.

 

Rob grabbed me and threw me to the ground.

Rob grabbed me and threw me to the ground.

I wanted to face that reality today.  I did this because I wanted to prove to myself that I could survive and not just end up, 10 years old again, laying in the fetal position shaking from fear.

 

To quote Jarrett, “It’s time to redefine how we think of fear, and the misconception that fear must lead to shutting down or shrinking.  It most certainly does not.”

 

I have been hit.  I have been the punching bag. I have been kicked, and thrown, and acted upon. My defense against those things was to “merely” stand up – to keep coming back, to not cry, to shrink within my body and away from the physical assaults. To keep standing up.

 

THIS time I advanced. I BROUGHT the fight back rather than just taking it. Instead of being acted upon, I acted. That’s really what this feeling of power is all about. That’s the difference!!

 

I was fighting alone but I was not by myself.

I was fighting by myself but I was not alone. I borrowed power from Erin, Rachel, Kristi, Prisclla, Rosa, and Leilani.

We don’t have to be frightened all the time – nor should we.  I absolutely refuse to sit within the safe confines of my hotel every day.  A stranger has never hurt me.  I am not afraid to go out into the world.  It’s a magnificent place. Closing my eyes and pretending these situations don’t happen, though,  does nothing to protect me if something happens.

 

We have to face that reality too.  Having a safe place to learn and practice is critical.  The I Am Power Retreat happens each year.  You can do as much or as little as you’re personally comfortable with.  You can engage at your own pace.  You can share or not. This weekend was transformative for me.  I can assure you I don’t use that word lightly.  I would be thrilled to talk to you about the experience if you have questions or want to know more.

 

From empowerment to power.

From empowerment to power.

May 08

“I Could Never Do That” and Other Fallacies We Believe”

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

As a public speaker, I have been on the road an average of 200 days a year for the past twelve years. Unlike many business travelers, I go out into the local area.

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

I see the sites. I check out restaurants, gyms, and local parks.  I drive a motorcycle (my own and, very occasionally I’ll rent one on the road). I run in the woods and hike

Northfield, VT

Northfield, VT

mountain trails. I try new things. I go new places, even in different countries.

By myself.
 
I’ve had several people ask, “how can you be so brave?  I could never be that daring.”  The statement always surprises me. First, because I certainly don’t see any of these things as requiring bravery. I am “just” living my life. Every day that passes has passed. Imagine if I simply sat, in complete solitude, in my room, for hundreds of days every year. More than a decade of my life would have slipped away from me that way.  This mother’s day would have passed that way – with me sitting in my hotel alone.  
 

How incredibly sad.  But it won’t go that way.  It doesn’t.  I am going “out there”.  I am experiencing life, fully and with a ton of passion.  I will NOT. I refuse…. to just sit in my safe little hotel, work on my computer, and look at the world through the window.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

 
Another reason I find the question odd is that – while I do get nervous and, in fact, get scared sometimes, I do not ever want that fear to control my life. Could something happen to me? Sure.
 
Could I fall down the stairs at my hotel?
Could the plane crash?
Could I get in a car accident?
Could I simply die in my sleep?
 
Yes.
Yes to all of those things. And I have little to no control over any of it so why would I spend even a few minutes of my life worrying about them?  That (a) will not stop it from happening if that is what’s to be and (b) detracts from today, even when nothing “actually” happened.  
Linville, NC

Linville, NC

When I was a much younger woman, my sensei told me,
FEAR is False Events Appearing Real.
I believe that with every bit of my heart.  
In scary situations, I repeat it to myself.  Over and over if necessary.  
“Could this happen? Yes. Have I been afraid of this before? Yes. Has this ever happened before? No. Is it likely to happen (aka am I putting myself in an unreasonably dangerous situation)? No.”
Moab, UT

Moab, UT

For example, I have a fear of heights. Or rather – that’s what I used to call it. Now I call it a fear of falling because that’s really what it is. I’ve been on a lot of high places. Have I fallen? Only that time I jumped out of the bungee bucket……..  [THAT was brave – and also more than a little crazy]….and I intentionally did that.  

<==  This picture (and every single one that I see of Delicate Arch) makes me sad because it is one day that I didn’t dare to cross the chasm (you can’t see it in the picture because I zoomed in) and stand under the arch for a picture.  
My heart was beating too fast.  My breathing was irregular.  I was overtaken by the fear.  I turned back and – ever since – I have regretted it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get back there.  There may not be a chance for a “do-over” but if there is….I WILL go.  I WILL stand under the arch.  I WILL cross that precarious ledge on my hands and knees if I have to.  There will be no regrets next time.  
THAT is what makes me climb mountains, jump on ledges, and stand close the the edge. I want to experience life.  All of it!  I don’t want to see pictures and regret being too scared.
Salem, VA

Salem, VA

Finally, I think you sell yourself short when you say, “I could never”.  I think that’s a bunch of crap, but I hear it frequently.
“I could never find the time to eat right”
“I could never make the time to exercise”
“I could never spend the time taking care of myself”
“I could never be so daring”
“I could never do……that…..”
Hot air balloon (yup...afraid of heights!) Woodstock, VA

Hot air balloon (yup…afraid of heights!) Woodstock, VA

How does it make you feel when you say those words out loud?  
Does it empower you or make you feel less than?  
How is it that other people are doing it but you “can’t”?
Where is the thought coming from?
Is it left over from your childhood?  From a bad experience?  From something in your past?
What (or rather who – and you already know the answer if you’re honest) is limiting you NOW?
“I could never” is a thought.  It’s not a factual reality.
I guess maybe that’s how I am “so daring”.  I don’t think, “I could never”.
I think “I have never, but…”
[To be clear, there are, of course, some things outside of my realm of possibility.  At this point, I cannot be a professional MMA fighter (but I could train).  I cannot fly a plane (but I could take lessons).  I cannot be in the Olympics (but I can participate in the sports I love).  I’m talking about the every day things in our lives.  The things that many people are doing.  The things that you could do if you just gave yourself one tiny little bit of encouragement.]

“I could never” though is a story and it may be on perpetual repeat in your head.

In the woods, alone, outside Concord, NH

In the woods, alone, outside Concord, NH

What if you heard the thought though, and instead you asked, “why not?”
What if you asked, “Why do I think I can’t do it?  What would it take for me to accomplish this?”
What if you yelled back,
Oh ya?  Watch this!
Or
I haven’t done it yet but I am willing to learn, and give it a try.
You’ve done things in the past you didn’t think you could do.
We all have.
You’ve given yourself a chance to try.
Sometimes you’ve even surprised yourself.
How did THAT make you feel?
The typical answer is something along the lines of “strong” “amazing” “empowered”.
Let’s have more of that!!!!
  • Try something new this week.
  • One thing.
  • One thing that may make your heart beat a little faster.
  • One thing that might scare you just a little.  Do it any way.
And share that experience with me.  Please!!!
<3 <3

May 02

It’s Ok for a Super Hero to Scream, “Enough!”

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

Two different people asked me the same question today. “How do you make time for yourself? I’m struggling. It seems like somebody always needs something more (and more and more and more) from me.”

 
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Oh, I used to be super-woman. I worked more than 40 hours a week, while going to school, raising two children, was a brownie leader, volunteered with cub scouts, worked on promotions, won awards for being an over-achiever, and, and, and, and……… all at the same time. Trust me when I tell you that I know about trying to be all things to all people.
 
Multi-tasker extraordinaire.  Check.  
Perfectionist.  Check.  
 
Well, guess what?  It’s all bullshit.
And maybe some think that I should apologize for cursing but I’m not going to.
That’s the only way to say it.
I still struggle sometimes but MUCH less than I used to for three specific reasons.
==> 1. I have accepted personal responsibility for my actions and I really do let the little stuff go.  
==> 2. I establish priorities for myself.
==> 3. I set boundaries and not only do I stick to those but I insist others do too.
 
Responsibility
Personal Responsibility for my Actions:
I ate crap (because it was quick and easy). I never exercised (I was much too tired and busy). I gave, gave, gave until there was nothing left. I was frustrated, exhausted, and resentful. I felt like crap.  Actually, I felt like a victim and a martyr. I had to be the most amazing mother, the best wife, the hardest worker.  The best.  At everything.  
What I was the best at was lying to myself.
No one else was making me work all of those hours. I chose to. How could I possible get angry when they didn’t appreciate it?
No one else was making me put myself last. I chose to. How could I be upset when others acted the same way I always had, and expected me to put myself last?
There is no competition.  Every mother is doing the best she can do.  So too, each spouse, sister, friend.
And by doing everything all by myself, I was actually judging the people I loved most.  We don’t think of it this way, but that’s what it is.  If I’m “so” good that I don’t need to ask anyone for anything, what am I really thinking (deep down) about my family and friends who ask me for help?  They’re not as good as me?
Just think about that for 3 or 4 seconds.
 
Establishing Priorities:Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 9.25.36 PM
I’m still busy.  I’m still running two (and a half) businesses. I’m still working more than 40 hours a week but I have stopped comparing my progress to anybody else’s.  I have stopped trying to “keep up with Jane” at the expense of putting myself dead last.  I have one life.  Even if I live into my 90s, it’s going to be a short one.  I choose now not to make myself miserable.  I choose to live my life, not just try to survive it.  And I really don’t care who likes who or thinks I’m not “working up to my potential”.  
I do some work but I also make some time for myself. Each Sunday, I make a list of one thing I will accomplish this week for each of my roles (I am a mother/wife; a friend; a business owner; a student, a trainer, etc). I include physical and personal enhancement goals. (I don’t get to the gym every day but I AM getting there 3-4 times a week. It’s non-negotiable. I can’t read every day but I am going to set a goal to have 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to read a little).
When I go to the gym and/or have my personal time, I put my phone on airplane mode. There are very few true emergencies and the fact is, if someone can’t reach me for 15 or 30 minutes, that is not going to make or break any situation that I can think of.
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I insist on at least a few hours, if I can’t fit in a whole day, of pure recreation.  I have a lot of work to do this week.  I worked all day yesterday.  Today I took the entire day off.  I went to Alcatraz.  I had a nice lunch.  I went to Sonoma.  Years ago, I would have felt guilty.  I would have felt like I “wasted” my day.
The truth is: when I take time to recharge, I work even harder when get back to work.
 
emptycup
Setting Boundaries:
I’ve stopped over-promising, and many other things.  Read this blog I wrote about my “To Don’t” list and implement a few things.  When a customer or client asks for something at 4 o’clock this afternoon, it doesn’t have to be done this second or before I go to bed. I now send responses like, “I received your message and will get the response to you asap but it probably will not be until this weekend.” When my family, friends, or clients ask me to do something for them, I let them know I will but I also let them know when “after my workout” “tomorrow when I’m not teaching” “this weekend”.  FullSizeRender[3]
And other people are okay with that.  We think they think we need to drop everything the second they ask for even something minor.  If they do, it’s because we have foster or created that expectation.  We have allowed it.    But…. I’ve found the unreasonable expectations are typically being placed by me, not by the the other person.
Try it.
This very moment, write down something you will do for relaxation this week AND something you will do for yourself every single day (that might be 30 minutes in the gym, a 20 minute walk, 15 minutes of reading…whatever you choose) and then do it.  Let me know how it goes.  Sincerely.

Apr 06

Let the Diving Begin: 1st full day in The Solomon Islands

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

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The Russell Islands are comprised of two small islands, and several islets, in the Central Province of Solomon Islands. They are located just over 29 miles northwest of Guadalcanal.  This was our first stop.

 

 

 

 

Travel Log:  Day  5  Russell Islands

 

IMG_7405The anchor dropped at 0109.  Man it was loud!  I had a tough time getting back to sleep and we finally just gave up at 0340 and got out of bed.  Upstairs I made coffee, journaled, and looked at dive books.  Brent studied the SI map which read, “there are 4,000 species of fish and 400 variety of coral here.  It is the amazon of the ocean not yet discovered by mainstream tourism.”

The first dive brief was scheduled for 0745.  Everyone on deck was dressed in 3-5 mm wetsuits, some with hoods and gloves.  They carried tons of stuff with them.  One of the divers even had the equivalent of a purse hooked to the front of her BC.  What to heck?  Brent and I showed up in our bathing suits.  We had nothing extra except the camera.  “Are you guys diving?”  Yes.  “Are you getting dressed?”  We are dressed.  “You’re going like that?”  Yes.  Why?

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What are you talking about? I’ll be fine without a wetsuit. Let me on the boat.

 

The water was 86 degrees at depth!!  Over the course of the week I had a couple of stings and scraps but I dove in a bikini (and nothing more) every single day.  It was perfect.  Comically we both recovered gear from the divers who carried so much.  I rescued one guys Go Pro when he jumped in and dropped it.  Brent found one of the divers’ knives at depth.  Simple.  Easy.  Utilitarian.  That’s us 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Dive #1:  Kovilok Bay.  88 feet for 58 minutes.  It was nice to be in the water but the dive itself was nothing to brag about.  This was a check dive where the dive masters could make sure everyone was comfortable under the water, and informally assess everyone’s level.

 

 

Dive #2:  Leru Cut.  92 feet for 52 minutes.  This was beautiful.  After the cut, there was a nice wall.  It’s positively amazing just how sharply the coral falls in the deep blue!  Rick says it’s thousands of feet deep here.  Lots of sea fans with a light current.  Some Christmas tree and soft corals but the highlite was large schools of barracuda and jack.

If you’d like the full effect, here’s a link to the above video.

 

Dive #3:  Custom Cave.  66 feet for 69 minutes.  Brent had a headache and sat this one out so I dove by myself after following Rick through the cave.  The sun streaking down from above, casting shadows in the water, was beautiful.  Great coral growth with TONS of fish!  I loved the schools of silver sides – who are there one minute and then turn and seem to disappear, the next.  As I began to swim up for my safety stop, I saw 3 very large bump head wrasse.

Dive #4:  Mirror Pond.  69 feet for 32 minutes.  We swam under the island and came up inside a cave pond.  Brent and I were the last to surface and were, consequently, the furthest back.  I spotted a salt water crocodile on top of the rocks.  (We didn’t personally get video or pictures but this link will show you a nice video of what they look like).  He was 6-8 feet long and only the two of us saw it.  We were told that if we saw one in the water to stay submerged.  They can’t see as well underwater as they can topside.  I was also cautioned not to come up outside of certain areas (where our tenders would drive the crocodiles off) during night dives.

Later, Sam told me the crocs don’t grow very large because, “they have occasionally bitten a local spearfisherman, and/or children.  The locals kill them.”  Makes sense!

After the pond, we swam through some positively phenomenal coral gardens and along another steep wall.  Schools of jacks and the other fish.  Barracuda, parrot fish, pancake triggers, and carpet anemones.  Everything was perfect until we got to a corner of the wall.  The current REALLY picked up – without warning.  It was so strong that I had grabbed onto a piece of coral and was still being ripped away.  Brent decided we should surface.  While we were the first back to the boat, shortly other divers started to come up.  Not only had they been caught in the current (the strongest that Sam, the Bilikiki owner, has seen here) but several were also caught in a downdraft.  That means you’re being sucked down – one lady went from 10 to 29 feet in the time it took her to take one breathe.  Not fun.

 

IMG_7440

After the last two dives, locals paddled out in hand-hewn canoes to sell us fresh fruit (pineapples, mango, watermelon) and vegetables (endive, green beans, greens and egg plant).  Once at our boat, the men dropped the women off in our dive boats so that they could complete the trading.

 

IMG_7456  In the meantime, the men and many of the children paddled back a little ways.  THAT was amazing to see and it led to some great conversations as well.  June (a 68 year old woman who was here with her husband – she snorkeled but doesn’t dive) and I talked about how little we really need to live and enjoy life.  We talked about the locals and the fact that with their boats, families, very little money, and some food, they are happy.  I won’t say it was life changing but it was most certainly life enhancing.  The irony is how much money we (how much people DO) paid to get back to basics.

 

Everyone opted out of the night dive.

Mar 30

Stop Torturing Yourself with All This Food Porn

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

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A friend sent me the recipe for these Bailey’s pudding cups, several weeks ago and challenged me to “fix it”.  This happens frequently.

The request usually means, “lower the fat, sugar, and calories please.”

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And, I usually do it.  I’ve “fixed” a few recipes in my day, and I made these Bailey pudding cups too.  Mine weren’t as pretty – for sure!

The difference is 773 fewer calories. 47 fewer carbs, 73 less grams of fat, and 3 less of protein; and my recipe is below.

BUT…………

BUT……………..

BUT…………………

 

I NEED TO CLARIFY A FEW THINGS!

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===> Here’s what I believe.
I believe in nutrition for life. I believe in eating from all of the food groups. MOSTLY unprocessed whole foods. Protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats (e.g. nuts, avocado) with treats occasionally mixed in. I don’t believe we should feel guilty about what we eat: and I don’t believe that food should be used as a reward (“hooray, I exercised today, now I can eat cake”) NOR as a punishment (“I haven’t been exercising, now I have to eat a plain green salad”).

I don’t believe in die-ts. I’ve tried them all!!!! Low fat, low carb, pure paleo, grapefruit diet, skim milk diet, and my favorite (the Suzy Q, nicotine and caffeine diet). I lost weight on every one of them. I also got sick on a couple. NONE of them allowed me to achieve sustainable weight lose. NONE of them made me healthier.

Are Suzy Q's "bad"? No. Do Suzy Q's provide sound high-quality nutrition? NO!

Are Suzy Q’s “bad”? No. Do Suzy Q’s provide sound high-quality nutrition? NO!

 

===> Here’s what I want you to know about the recipes I “fix”.
I want you to know that we can change recipes to make them more macro friendly. Even little changes (for example, using Oreo thins [100 calories, 19 cabs, 2 fat] instead of 5 Oreos [267 calories, 42 carbs, 12 fat] like the original recipe calls for; or switching from full fat whipping cream [555 calories, 59 fat] to lite whipped cream [40 calories, 2 fat].) That’s easy – those little swaps are awesome and you can make a huge change by just implementing such seemingly small things into your recipes and daily nutritional habits.

———-

Here’s where I feel I’m not adequately making my point.

———-

===> You really need to understand this, too.
I believe in focusing on what you’re trying to do (lose fat, gain weight, gain muscle, become more fit, get stronger, decrease your medication, become more mobile) and eating accordingly. If you want a 1,143 calorie dessert…. have it, because making a lower calorie version (for most people) won’t satiate the craving anyway. Don’t stress about it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty about it.

But (and this is a big one!) you must also be willing to accept responsibility for your choice.  The fact is, we CANNOT routinely have a dessert that takes up 75% of our daily calorie allowance and expect to be successful at reaching our goals. We just can’t. That’s not realistic and it’s not possible.

 

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If you’re susceptible to cravings because you see 1,000 new recipes in your FB/Instagram feed every day, try decreasing the temptation.

 

 

 

 

  • Do away with the trigger.
  • Stop torturing yourself.
  • Unlike some of those pages.

 

You are doing nothing but making yourself miserable by looking at these things and thinking, “Oh. I would love to have that!!!! But, I can’t.  Trust me, I get it.  I sooooooo get it.  When I was competing regularly, the food porn on my Pinterest was excessive.  There were so many things I “couldn’t have” that all I did was look at pictures of food, look at recipes, and dream about the things that I wanted.  I was miserable.  Seriously, what does seeing those posts every day do for you?  Other than make you want that food……..

Most food photos don’t come with a warning label, but should!

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Pinterest and Google are going to be right there. When you’re actually getting ready to make something, or in the mood to try a new recipe, go look for one THEN.

 

 

 

 

 

Before you salivate over every delicious recipe that comes across your field of vision (there are a LOT!!!!!!!!!! Again, trust me, I know.), spend ten minutes thinking.

  • Think about your goals.
  • Think about WHY you set those goals for yourself and what you’re really trying to accomplish.
  • Think about all of the things you can have; the things you can do; and the things you are going to be able to enjoy once you accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
  • Think about whether you really want the dessert OR (and this is the much more likely answer) whether it is something you’re thinking about because you just saw a picture of it flash by?

Feb 29

Morning Cup of Coffee: Monday is About GSD

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & FIT

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This is my mug for Monday.

– I have a ton to do before my flight at 1700 this afternoon.
– Flying today.
– Teaching tomorrow.
– Conducting webinars Wednesday and Thursday.
– Prepping for a 3-week international trip without Internet.

 

 

Monday’s can be like this. Right? A little overwhelming. It’s super easy to get thrown around from one thing to another if we don’t have a plan.

 

You can drive the day, or the day can drive you.

That’s easy to fix. Get a plan!!   Here’s how.

First thing this morning – right after coffee –

  1. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish this week. Keep that list by your computer so as you think of things, you can add them.  You don’t need to stress about the list. You’re not going to accomplish it all at once. Bit by bit. Step by step. Just like everything else.
  2. Prioritize the list – actually write down numbers.
  3. Turn off the cellular service on your phone (you will still receive phone calls and texts that don’t contain photos).  Log out of email, and ANY/ALL computer programs and apps that you’re not using in task #1.
  4. Set a timer for 45 minutes and get to work.

When the timer goes off, stretch, take a short walk, close your eyes or whatever, for 10 minutes and then switch to a new activity for 45 minutes.

Every two hours, check and respond to emails for 15-30 minutes. Set a timer! The time goes by quickly.

Email is NOT an emergency! No, not even “business” e-mail. Neither are most phone calls. We just act like they are.

We don’t need instantaneous alerts when someone else posts a Twitter update, Periscope broadcast, FB post nor Snapchat. That’s someone else doing something – this is about you (and me!) getting something done. The social realm will exist without us for a few hours while we focus. I promise.

Truthfully, unless you’re managing an active chat room or call center, responding to email every couple of hours and checking social media only periodically is sufficient.

We frequently have all these programs open. Things are popping up on the screen, things are “dinging” at us – there are so many distractions, and it’s nearly impossible to concentrate. We fall into the “this will be quick” trap, and get off course.

I’m drinking this coffee, putting my head and getting to work.

PS
A quick 15 minute metabolic workout is on MY list of priorities. It’s not an “only if I find the time” item, for me.  What’s your personal #1 tip for getting stuff done?

❤️

Feb 08

How I Lost Weight While Eating Chocolate Macadamia Nuts

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

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This is me “just fit” but not competing.

I believe there are four levels of fitness.

 

Unconditioned

Healthy

Fit, and

Competitor  

 

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Most of us, including myself, are thrilled to live at levels 2 or 3.  No one wants to be unconditioned, in pain all the time, and immobile.  Few care to do what is required in order to compete.  I, personally, like competing.  It’s fun.  I love the ladies I’ve met while competing – several have become life-long friends.  I love the atmosphere and the prep.  

But…competition is not my real life.  It’s not how I want to live forever.  
It’s a hobby.  
Excessive exercise and dieting is not fun!  Neither is something anyone wants to do for the long term.  Sometimes you’re in the groove and you stay up with both.  Sometimes life happens, and you can’t seem to stick to either.
We forget that.
  • Today, I talked to two different friends (one is a competitor, one is not) who are doing two-a-days (that means two, separate work-out sessions in one day) because they “don’t like the way they look” and/or they’re “trying to compensate for poor nutrition with extra exercise.”  

 

  • Today, I talked to one of my clients (a competitor) who wants to know why she’s NOT doing double cardio sessions every day when “everybody else is” and another who is going to work with a different coach because I am “not giving her enough to do” and she really thinks she “needs fat burners in order to be successful”.  

 

  • Today, I talked to my niece who “can only get to the gym 2-3 times a week” so she doesn’t “know how she can possibly lose weight.”
 
It is impossible to out-train bad nutrition, which is why exercise is not my first or even my second priority.  I focus on mindset mostly, then nutrition, and then movement.  That movement may be in a gym but it doesn’t have to be.  It needs to be something you’re going to enjoy enough to actually do.
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Here’s what I’m talking about.
This is my real life:
 
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I just (Friday night) got home from three weeks on the road.  I typically try to get to the gym while I’m traveling, but these weeks were unique.  I was with friends in Vegas, friends in California, and on the beach in Hawaii so…..I had many, much more important, things to do than to stress about getting to the gym.
 

I hung out with friends. We met for meals. We hiked. We talked. We played cards. We walked.  We snacked. I had wine, popcorn,

Notice half the red velvet cake is gone - before I got my lunch. I took the other half home with me.

Notice half the red velvet cake is gone – before I got my lunch. I took the other half home with me.

pancakes, frozen yogurt, lots of coffee and good chocolate.  I went to my favorite restaurant – and ate dessert before lunch!  I didn’t diet but I wasn’t far from my normal either (choosing protein for each meal, eating until only 80% full, having a salad every day, and filling up on fresh fruits / veggies).  I drank water every day.

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This is a lifestyle, remember?
Those little treats exist. I enjoyed them. I didn’t gorge myself to the point of being uncomfortable.  There’s simply no reason to.  I did gorge on talks, laughs, and hugs though.  It was amazing!
 
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When it comes to diet, in fact, I ate a chocolate covered macadamia nut before breakfast (while coffee was brewing) every day that I was in Hawaii. Only one, but every single day.  I drank shots on the beach one night, to celebrate several business ventures.  
I went to the gym once in California and once on my last night in Hawaii.  
That’s exactly two times in three weeks.  
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But, I walked. A lot. On the beach.  Between 4 and 11 miles each day, in fact. I went scuba diving, kayaking, and boogie boarding.  I did a few sets of push-ups in my room.   That was it for exercise.  No weight training.  No hard-core cardio.  Just movement.  
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And, you know what?
Not that weight matters – it really doesn’t – but, I returned home 4 pounds less than when I left.
Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available.  Health & fitness are for life:  they’re not “programs” designed to make you as miserable as possible.  Rather – they needn’t be.
<3

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