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What Season are You In?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch



This picture, like the audio file, has not been edited, touched up, or filtered. They’re both just me.

The way I look (after a 90 minute hot yoga class, anyway).

The things I think about.

I’m not crazy about the fact that the banner shows only my eyes, and the wrinkles around them but – unless I’m going to continually filter photos, or wear a mask (I am not), it is what it is.  I agree with Madonna in her 2016 Woman of the Year award acceptance speech at the Billboard Women in Music event:  Society acts like aging is a sin.

“The anti-aging market is estimated to be worth $191.7 Billion US Dollars, globally by 2019.”


Going through some old computer files today, I found both. I recorded the audio back in January 2016. Some people get their ideas in the shower – I get mine right after a good yoga class and/or while I’m driving. My intent, a year ago, was to write a blog about the fact that we move through seasons in our lives. I wanted to write it and I wanted it to be “well thought out” “brilliantly written” “researched” “perfect”.

So I did nothing for 11 months!


That’s the thing with perfection. It doesn’t exist and when we refuse to move until things are perfect, we end up doing nothing. Great reminder and life lesson right there!!


So, today, I’m saying screw it and publishing “as is”. Perfection doesn’t exist and because I wanted to “work on this”, I did nothing with it for almost a year.



The fact that I am not the same person in my 50s I was in my 20s makes sense of course!  We’re okay with that – except when we start talking about our physical selves.

The “but I used to….” statements can consume and depress us if we fail to realize we go through seasons in life.


“Before I had kids, I used to…..”

“Before I got married, I used to….”

“When I was in high school/college/my 20s, I used to…..”

“Before the surgery, I used to…”


But those things did happen.  We’re not in the same place any more.  Why do we spend so much time trying to “get back” to what we used to be?

I refuse to let my age (any age) give me a free pass to let myself go, but I do realize I can “only” be the best 40, or 50, or 80 year old that I can be – at no point will I return to 21.


We’re staring a new year in a few weeks.  I don’t make resolutions but a lot of people do.

I DO set goals.  Rather than even trying to go back, I prefer to focus on going forward.  “I got married.  I had kids.  I spent 20+ years working my ass off to be successful in my chosen career.  I did put others before myself.”  Okay.  So….


At THIS point, right now, with this background, these injuries, this life….

At THIS starting place, what do I want to change?  Where do I want to go from here?


If you are ready to go forward, I’d love to work with you.  I will start extensive business travel, again, in January and my competition clients will increase at that point too but this is super important.  I am going to take on a very limited number (only 10) of new clients to being working with me on January 1st.  If you’re interested in getting more details, please email me.

Thriving Throughout the Holidays

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


I wrote Part I of this blog on Monday.  It discussed why people worry about “Surviving the Holidays”, and some of the misinformation accompanying that madness from the diet industry.  You can find it here.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-5-42-04-amToday, in Part II, I’d like to give you my Top 10, plus 2 (I’m an over-achiever) ways you might thrive, rather than just survive this holiday season.


In no particular order:


  1. Get some exercise. Not as “punishment” for eating! Rather, because movement is good for your body and soul.  It makes you feel better and it helps digestion.


How do I do it?  I have, historically, done a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning – sometimes organized, sometimes with just my husband, sometimes alone.  It’s not a group that makes the turkey trot, it’s the trotting before the turkey J




  1. Drink some water. Yes, this one again! Here are ten quickie reasons from this article why we should drink water:  (1) If we don’t drink water, we will die…more quickly.  While this should be enough to convince you!!, here are the others.  (2) Various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon and bladder cancer. (3) Be less cranky:  dehydration can affect your mood.  (4) Hydration contributes to increased athletic performance.  (5) It helps you lose weight:  many times we’re actually thirsty when we think we’re hungry (6) Water helps decrease join pain. (7) It flushes out waste and bacteria. (8) Dehydration causes headaches. (9) It’s great for skin – the largest organ in our body!  And (10) It aids digestion.



How do I do it?  After my first cup of coffee, as I’m cooking and working around the house, water will be my drink of choice.  I’ll save the glass of wine for dinner.





  1. Have breakfast. “Saving your calories” for later may seem like a good idea, but it isn’t.  Skipping everything up to the “big meal” makes that meal even bigger!  You’ll be more hungry and therefore, more apt to overeat.



How do I do it? While I will limit snacks until our meal is served, I will have my normal protein and carb breakfast.





  1. Focus on the people, not just the food. Chances are that many of us will be with family and friends.  {Certainly not everyone.  If you’re experiencing the blues, clinical anxiety, or depression – which can all be magnified at this time of the year, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from a qualified mental health professional.}  Spend time having conversations, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company.


222015_1880275359124_5667102_nHow do I do it?  I love the interaction.  I’m the one who suggests a game or asks questions that might be pondered, and give us an opportunity to truly talk.  I’m leery of sitting out snacks during this time.  It’s super easy to eat the entire bowl of peanuts while talking, without even being aware of it.



  1. Fill your plate differently. Start with some type of protein, then add vegetables.  Starch comes last.

How do I do it?  I promise you, I AM going to have a little bit of everything that makes this holiday special to my palate.  I love cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie with – a fair amount of – whipped cream on top. I’m going to start, though, with turkey, carrots, and a little sweet potato.  In re-reading this, I noticed I’ve inadvertently typed “a little bit” and a “little”.  Exactly!!  Priorities first and then just a little bit of everything else.


  1. Stuffing is for the turkey: not you. There is no reason to eat until you are uncomfortable, and chopping on Tums to help with heartburn. You know how that feels and it’s not good.


How do I do it?  See #5, I will start with my turkey and veggies.  I’ll add a spoonful or two of everything else.  Once I’m finished with the plate, I’m going to sit my fork down and wait 10-15 minutes (see #4, I’ll be talking).  At the end of that time, IF I’m hungry, I will get some more.  I will not eat because, “If I miss this opportunity, I will not get mashed potatoes and gravy or those yeast rolls for a whole year…”   Plus, while the pie might have tasted absolutely fantastic on bites 1 – 3, bite 20 has lost some of the original appeal.  I’ll just stop.


  1. Clear the food away right after the meal. If it’s sitting out, you know you will pick. Not because you’re hungry but because it’s there.


  1. Move a little in the afternoon. I know how easy (and typical) it is to eat mountains of food, be too full to move, and crash on the couch in front of the television for the rest of the day. That’s all cool.  But, if you see #6, by not stuffing yourself, you will feel better.  Go for a walk.  Play a little soccer of football with the family.  Then turn on the game.




How do I do it?  This is a perfect time to chase my grandchildren around.  We could go for a walk, ride bikes, check out the playground, or throw rocks at the lake.  The possibilities are endless.  The fresh air is good for body, soul, and digestion too.







  1. Remember that this (one day) is the holiday. We have a tendency to stretch the holidays out and act as though the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is one continual holiday.  When we start eating as if the holiday starts on Saturday (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or even Wednesday), it will continue through Thursday night.  On Friday, there will be leftovers to take care of.  By then, we’ll be getting close to Christmas (Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or Festivus) – and then we’re getting close to New Year’s.  Oh, what to heck?  We might as well wait for January and start fresh at that point.  Sound familiar?


How do I do it?  I enjoy the family time, the meal, and special foods of the holiday.  I don’t turn it into a “season”.  That means Monday – Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I’ll eat my normal, nutritious food.  I won’t have pie until Thursday.  I will freeze some food on Friday rather than thinking I have to eat it all.



  1. Enjoy the food you do eat. Unless you have an impending physical competition, enjoy a piece of your grandmother’s pecan pie or Challah French toast.  Try your sister’s cornbread stuffing, latkes, mincemeat, or egg nog. Those of us fortunate enough to be able to celebrate, should be grateful for the opportunity.  Enjoy family, friends, and yes, food.




How do I do it?  I’ll be mindful of everything I put in my mouth.  I’ll savor each taste and texture. I’ll sit down, or at the very least stand in one place.





  1. Stop eating out of guilt. Just because somebody made this food, and it’s sitting there, doesn’t mean it’s your job to eat all the food!  We all have that pushy co-worker or family member. Don’t make a big deal of it.  Take a little piece of whatever they’re offering if you feel you must.  Have a bite or two but don’t feel like you’re required to eat it all.

How do I do it?  My mom is a pusher! Always has been.  She shows love by baking.  Somewhere along the line, I had to come to the realization that blaming her for the amount I was eating, was just an excuse.  She made the food.  I ate because I wanted to.

I’m just saying

  • Don’t have it just because somebody else is.
  • Don’t complain about your food choices.
  • Don’t play the “poor me, I can’t have that” card.
  • Don’t die-t!!
  • Make consistent nutritional choices for YOU – and own that decision.


  1. Control what you can control. You might not be able to change the crazy hectic schedule but you do have the choice of going back for that second plate of food, or not.  You choose whether you’re going to munch, even when no one else is around.  You can choose to go for a walk.


You can pick 1 or 2 things out of this list and set them as personal priorities for the day.  I would love it if you did!  I would love it even more if you’d share your experience with me.

This BS About Surviving the Holidays

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

The days are shorter.  There’s a nip in the air; although I have to say it seems warmer, everywhere I’ve been recently, than is typical.  The airports were packed yesterday.

It’s the week of Thanksgiving.  Already.


First, let me say this. Many people struggle through the holiday season.  Some are alone and feel isolated; some struggling with money, stress, relationships, or any other number of things.  Some people have lost family members, jobs, homes, or love in the past and the holidays can reopen those wounds.   This may result in a case of the blues, or clinical anxiety and depression.  Please don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from a qualified mental health professional if you’re struggling.  That’s not what this blog is about.


I want to talk specifically about the “Survive the Holidays” madness.  In fact, I have so much to say, I’m breaking this blog into two sections! 


Part I:  The Craziness Itself



If I had a dollar for each of the “survive the holidays diet”, “3-day ‘pre-detox'”, “wrap”, “cream”, “pill”, “powder”, and/or “shake” messages I’ve seen come across my FB feed, in the last couple of weeks, I would have enough to celebrate Thanksgiving on a dive boat in the South Pacific with several of my friends and family members.



I typed, “Survive the Holidays” into Google and netted 18,900,000 results (0.31seconds) and another 338,000 when I added “how to” before that phrase.   And a “pre-detox”?  WTH?  Yup, it turns out that really IS “a thing”. That garnered me 656,000 results.  Check it out on google but keep your money in your pocket.  Your liver, intestines, kidneys, and lymphatic system are your body’s natural detox organs.


But, I digress.  On to surviving the holidays…..


Why do we worry about it?


PARTY!!!  From now until after January 1st, there will be parties, at work and within our other social groups.  It has been proven that we eat more in groups.  Everyone else is eating.  We eat mindlessly – putting food into our mouths, washing it down with tasty beverages, all while we’re talking.  That plate of food is gone before we can even muse, “Yum.  Meatballs!  I need this recipe.”


FOOD!!!  There are tasty treats everywhere.  Pie.  Cookies.  Donuts.  Egg nog.  Mashed potato with gravy and sweets with marshmallows.  Fudge and chocolates.  Wine and spiced cider. Cake.  Stuff we only see at this time of the year, frequently made by people we love.


NO SUN!!!  The days are shorter so we feel less motivated to exercises when it’s dark as we get out of work. Oh my gosh, I’m really struggling with this one!! It’s starting to get cooler – adding that to the early darkness, we feel more like curling up on the couch than going to the gym.  It also leads to craving more warm and hearty foods.  We drink less water than when it’s warmer outside.


STRESS, ANYONE?  We are under more stress to get it “all” done.  We have our regular commitments and responsibilities but now we also need to find time to go shopping, make food for and attend the increased gatherings, and ensure we are actively carrying on family traditions.  Stress increases cortisol which can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure, and increase fat storage.

Recipe for disaster



Do we need to worry about it?


I was actually shocked to find that numerous studies, conducted since 2000, show:


Holiday weight gain actually averages 1-2 pounds vice the 5-7 we frequently see reported.  

That said, it’s not all great news.  Even though it’s only 1-2 pounds, we typically don’t shed that extra weight later.  Next year, it’s another 1-2 on top of this, and next year, and next year.  The other thing worth noting is that, while there’s less weight change than many report, there may be increases in body fat.

New Year to Thanksgiving

Asking the right questions:


I.  If studies show the average weight gain is 1-2 pounds, why do we hear higher numbers then?  


II.  A better question might be:  where are you hearing the higher numbers from?


Answer:  Marketing based on fear that YOU will gain 5-7 pounds and you “shouldn’t”.   You’re hearing this stuff from companies that have some type of weight loss or “health related” product to sell you.  Marketing 101.


III.  If you do gain a few pounds, is it a “disaster”?  Probably not.  Will you be thrilled?  Maybe not.  Can you mitigate it starting now though moderation?  Probably.  Can you change it later though consistent application of reasonable nutrition and exercise habits?  Probably so.


Calling it a d.i.s.a.s.t.e.r. might be a tiny bit melodramatic.    



The holidays are times when most of us get to see family and friends we don’t see all the time.  We take more time to relax, chat, talk, and laugh.  These are all fantastic things!

The holidays are not something we should try to “survive”.



Be sure to check in for Part II tomorrow.

That will cover my top 12 suggestions for enjoying the holidays without just surviving them.

No, I’m Not a Jerk But Pay Attention Please

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


As I write this, I feel a strong need to defend myself.  I’m not posting this to be a jerk.

I’m not posting this because I’m judging my seat mate.

Truly.  I’m not.  I’m posting this because you’ve asked for my help.






I’ve said a million times – and I’ll say it again here – just to be clear:

==> I don’t care what you weigh.

==> I don’t care about the size of your pants (or skirt).

==> I don’t believe in diets.  I’ve tried them all.  They don’t work and the rebound of having been on a diet typically leaves a person heavier and more unhappier than they were to start with.




I’m posting this because I do care about the fact that it bothers you.

I’m posting this because we frequently wonder why we’re gaining weight (or inches).  We wonder why we can’t lose.

I’m posting this because we get frustrated and give up on ourselves.



Maybe all we need to do is pay a little more attention.

The word “mindful” has been over-used and over-rated.  We’ve learned to tune it out.

We need to tune it in.




We’re two and a half hours into a four and a half hour flight this morning.  My seatmate, so far, has had two Cokes, a couple packages of peanuts, some cheese crackers, and cookies.





Is she eating because she loves these things?

Is she eating because she’s really hungry?

I’ll be you $100 the answer to both questions is, “no”.


Yet, she’s consumed 600 calories, 26 grams of fat, 88 carbohydrates, and 755 mg sodium merely because the food is here.  Merely because there is someone walking down the aisle asking, “do you want a snack?”

Am I getting into her business?  Nope!

Am I telling her she shouldn’t eat these things?  Certainly not!



Who doesn’t like to take advantage of free snacks? …


… In truth, they don’t even have to be free.


We do the same thing at home.  I’m mean, we’ve all been there at some point haven’t we?  I have!!

We’ll eat the entire bag of chips, the whole box of cookies, all the crackers (NONE of these foods are bad!!!!) merely because they’re there.


We need to find a way to stop this.

We need to become more aware.

Oh, dare I say, “more mindful” if we truly desire change.

It’s hard!


It’s easier than we make it.



Eat your meals.  Try to cut back on snacks.

Drink some water.  Try to cut back on other things.

Incorporate a few more veggies into your day.  Try to cut back on starchy carbs if you don’t have a lot of activity scheduled.

Rather than eating directly out of the package, measure out one serving.  Try not to go back for seconds.

Eat when you’re hungry.  Try not to eat when you’re just upset, thirsty, or bored.



Let me know how I can help.

Was I a Grizzly Bear in a Previous Life?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


I went out to eat tonight. I was going to say “after a long day” but that’s not really true. It just seems like a long day because the sun was already setting when I walked out of the classroom.

I didn’t need to go out for dinner. There’s plenty of food in my room.  Good, healthy food.  I just didn’t feel like eating it.  Been there?  Done that?


These shorter days bother me – every single year. I’m a “sunny kind of person”! Without it, I’m tired. It feels like bedtime around 6 p.m.

Not joking. I was a grizzly bear in a former life. It's time to hibernate!

Not joking. I was a grizzly bear in a former life. It’s time to hibernate!


My motivation – for anything – really wanes.

Zero.  No, not even zero.  Negative 1,000 motivation.


It’s tougher to get to the gym consistently. It’s harder to finish anything (everything), and I start craving comfort foods. Ugh.


So, yup, I went to a local Italian (my fav!!) restaurant.

Add this seasonal change, a craving for comfort food, and the fact that a lot of people already struggle when they go out to eat – triple whammy.


“What should I eat when we go out?” is among the top 5 questions I get from people. It either makes us anxious


We go out to eat, over do it, and then feel guilty, or both.


First, you should never feel guilty about food.


It doesn’t change what you’ve already eaten. It only makes things worse.  Guilt can lead to binging and an all or nothing mindset.   You’ve eaten it.  Okay, so what.  Don’t make matters worse by thinking,”Well, if I’ve already eaten all of that…..might as well get the chocolate lava cake and a kailua and cream, too.  What difference does it make now?”

Please don’t.  Be done.  Move on.  No guilt.  No shame.


As for the anxiety you might feel before going out to eat, it can help to have a plan.

Here are three things that might make things a little easier.



Do you know what’s on the menu?  When I can (and it’s not always possible) I like to look at the menu on line and decide what I’m going to get before I walk into the restaurant.  This means there’s less of a chance I’m going to walk in the door and order whatever the next table is having.




Can you set one or two specific goals for yourself before you go?  Stick to those goals and let the rest of the evening just happen.

This is not an exhaustive list but some examples might include:



  • I’m going to start with a salad.
  • As soon as I sit down, I’m going to ask the waitress not to bring the bread basket.
  • I’m going to start by drinking a large glass of water.
  • I’m going to order mixed vegetables instead of a potato covered in sour cream, or French Fries.
  • I’m going to get an appetizer (or two) as my meal.
  • I’m going to make sure I get some protein.  If I can choose something that isn’t breaded or deep fried, that would be best.
  • I’m going to get that pie I love so much but I’m going to share it with the person who’s going with me.
  • I’m going to only have one glass of wine.
  • I’m going to focus on the conversation and not just the food.
  • I’m going to eat slowly and stop when I start to feel satisfied rather than waiting until I feel full (or stuffed).



Are you comfortable determining how much you’re going to eat rather than feeling like you need to eat everything the restaurant puts on your plate?  Servings, and plates, are frequently larger when we go out to eat.




What rules did I have tonight?  I wanted to get some vegetables and protein.  I didn’t want fried or battered food.  I’d never been here before and didn’t look at the menu before arriving.



I ordered the unstuffed mushrooms for an appetizer.  Crabmeat and shrimp mixed with some cream cheese, garlic, green onions, and mushrooms, topped with a light cracker crust.  I ate half of it and asked the waitress to box the other half.  I didn’t have bread.  I did have a glass of water.  I didn’t worry about the cream cheese or cracker crumbs.  Who cares.  Those weren’t in my rules for tonight.



For my entree I ordered grilled chicken and mushrooms.  It was cooked in a wine reduction (didn’t worry about it).  I had a choice of soup or salad.  I picked salad with balsamic dressing on the side.  I had a choice of baked potato, garlic mashed, french fries or broccoli.  I picked broccoli.  The plate of food was very large and easily two servings – so I put half on my smaller plate (from the appetizer) and sat the other half off to one side for the waitress to box up.


All Usually Leads to Nothing

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch


Ever notice how “All or Nothing” most typically leads to nothing?


There are very few things in life that should be looked at in absolute terms.

Always.  Never.  100% or Nothing.




There are some, of course.

When I was helping supervisors write job performance standards, it was okay not to let the Pharmacist kill, through the improper filling of prescriptions, “no more than one” person per quarter. We didn’t ask the Pilot to “crash only a few planes” each year.  Doctors were expected to remove the correct body part EVERY single time.


So, sure, some things have to be absolute.

But very few.


NOT HAPPINESS… … …  screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-10-28-40-pm


In fact, the more we polarize our thinking, the more likely we are to become depressed.  To quote Paul Martin from his 1998 book, “The Sickening Mind:  Brain, Behaviour, Immunity and Disease”, “For a healthy emotional life, it’s not more extreme happiness we need, but more balanced emotions.”


Not all or nothing, but something in the middle. 


AND MOST CERTAINLY NOT OUR DIETS OR EXERCISE!. screen-shot-2015-07-12-at-6-35-29-pm


Unfortunately, many of us view them with this mindset. You know what I’m talking about:

  • If I can’t get to the gym every day this week.  I might as well not go at all.
  • I can’t spend a full 30-40 minutes working out today.  Why bother working out at all then?  What’s the point?
  • Ugh.  I ate donuts in the office this morning.  My diet is screwed.  Might as well start again tomorrow.  Or better yet, why not next Monday?


Health and fitness are NOT all or nothing propositions.


Success is found somewhere in the middle!!


  • I had salad and cannoli last week.
  • I drank a lot of water and two glasses of wine.
  • I ate meat, veggies, AND bread.
  • This past month, there were days I went to the gym and lifted heavy for an hour, days I dragged myself in and did the bare minimum for 15-20 minutes, days I took self-defense classes, days I did yoga, days I did bodyweight exercises in my hotel room, or went for a jog, and days I sat on my ass because I was just exhausted.


It’s what we do – over time – that matters.

Consistency is key. 


Doesn’t matter what you do, or for how long.  Do something.  Where you are with what you have available, at this point and in this place.

How Do I Juggle Chainsaws? How Can You?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch 

Gettin' down to business

Gettin’ down to business


This week I am studying for my Virginia State Health, Life & Annuity Certification. It’s a pretty big deal, has cost me a lot of money and I really want to pass.  The test is Friday morning.


I will be traveling 22 out of 30 days in November.  I have course books to mail, slides to update, and a few more travel arrangements to complete. I also have two client consultations set for this week, need to finish my monthly financial report, follow-up on several invoices and finalize my business video series prep.



As an HR specialist who has studied organizational leadership and change management for years, a former supervisor, current business owner, mom/grandmother and fitness enthusiast, I have studied the affects and management of stress for quite some time; both formally and informally.  I like to think I have a good handle on it.  
I am human though, so of course there are days and whole periods of time when I struggle.


Last week two different people asked me, “how do you personally handle stress?” I’d like to take 5 minutes as I enjoy my coffee and reflect, on this Mindset Monday, to share what I told them.

This is me

            This is me


First, I take responsibility for some (maybe even much) of my stress.  I have a tendency to over-extended myself.  I know that and I’m working on it constantly.  As a recovering perfectionist, I frequently deal with a lack of self-confidence and, as a result, I volunteer for more than I should.  I take on a lot of responsibility.  I want to fix things (everything for everybody).  The resulting stress can feel like I’m juggling too many chainsaws and I’m going to drop one or more, at any time.  I used to feel that would be disastrous (hence why they’re chainsaws and not just balls) – like that would be the end of the world.



I’ve come to realize that’s just a story. It’s not really true.  I may still juggle chainsaws but I can limit the number, and if I drop one, I know life will likely go on.  I’ve made a ton of mistakes.  I’ve dropped some things unintentionally and made a conscious decision to drop others.  The world has not ended…..




                                I frequently make “Not To Do” lists.


The way I’ve learned to juggle chainsaws is to:


===>     ASSESS:  


Both feelings and goals.   Every morning I sit with a cup of coffee for 20-30 minutes. Before I look at social media or e-mail (those have a way of stealing hours from me before I even realize what’s happening) I reflect on my intentions for the day.  Things don’t always go as planned but I determine my 1-2 (no more) goals I would like to accomplish.  I write them down.  I then spend time thinking about all of the wonderful things I am grateful for today. I jot them down.


Some would call it meditation – I call it contemplation.


There’s no judgment here.  Telling myself I shouldn’t feel this way, that I’m being ridiculous, or even “it’s just a story” does nothing to make me move from that place.  Rather, I think, “Okay.  I’m feeling stressed right now.  Why?  What’s going on?  Are these thoughts valid or am I making a big deal out of something that really isn’t that big of a deal?  Is it really going to be the end of the world?”

This assessment can take some of the pressure off, and ground me in reality.


===> ACCEPT Personal Responsibility:


I accept the fact that I tend to disconnect from people and procrastinate when I’m stressed because it’s hard to focus.  I know putting things off only increases the pressure, but it can sometimes seem difficult to get started until I see that looming deadline.


I find it helpful to write down all of the things I have on my plate…in no particular order, just as the tasks and commitments come to mind.  From there I prioritize and focus on only one thing at a time.

  • This IS really important and it needs to be done before that.
  • This is something I’d like to do but it won’t make a difference in decreasing my stress.  I can do that later but it is not important today.


===> Mandate ACTION: 

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-8-55-18-amI set the alarm on my phone or the stove for 30 minutes or an hour.  I completely shut down e-mail, all social media, and I put my phone on do not disturb.  I work for the specified amount of time.  Then I might set the alarm again and focus on something else for 30-60 minutes and so on.

I DO build breaks, time for stretching/walking and my workouts into the day even (especially) if I’m super busy and/or stressed because I know that investment of time pays large dividends in energy and focus.


===>  ACKNOWLEDGE Success


Each evening, I think about everything that has happened over the day.  No matter how “good” or “bad” the day has been, I write down at least 1-2 things that made me happy (e.g. were “good) about the day.  I acknowledge areas I want to work on improving.  Not that they were “bad” but, “here’s something I can do better.”


Sometimes we get so focused on reaching a big goal that we forget to notice the smaller goals we’ve met along the way. If we remember to celebrate every small step we’ve taken, toward the bigger goal, we bolster our feeling of success, our confidence that we CAN “do this”, and our resolve to keep going.


If you find any of these tips helpful, please let me know.  In the meantime, I’m getting off the computer and down to work.  – Cheers.

3 Tips to Make Success a Little More Likely

Family & F.I.T. | Debbie Hatch


As my husband and our mini schnauzer slept “in” this morning, I got up early to make a coffee and reflect on the past week. There were three lessons that I was reminded of and I’d like to share them with you.  Three things I think are applicable to all of us and in most (although I’d venture to even say all) situations.


(1) WHEREVER YOU ARE, SHOW UP COMPLETELY.  screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-10-40-14-am-2

It’s hard!


We always have a million things running through our heads.  Where we need to be next, the project we’re working on, how we’re going to deal with xyz, a previous conversation (or disagreement) we had, that deadline, this thing I forgot to do, etc, etc, etc.


It’s hard!



I try my best to set all of that aside when I’m with someone else, or engaged in an activity. As odd as it might sound, I actually have to remind myself sometimes by saying (in my head), “That is not where you are right now. That is not what you’re doing.  You’re here….be here.”


Here are a couple of small examples:





– – When I’m In the Gym I put my phone on airplane mode.  I deserve 30-45 minutes to focus
on myself.   So do you!  Any emergency that might take place is still going to be there 30-45 minutes from now.  I’m not a First Responder, Law Enforcement, or a Firefighter.  This works for me.  If you simply can’t be out of contact for any period of time, at least set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” and identify only those few people whose messages and calls you want to come in, even when on this setting.






– – When I’m playing with my grandchildren, I try to spend considerably less time on my phone and/or laptop.  I’m running a company and also have several online clients.  I do need to look at my devices. That’s a reality.  I look at them far less, though, than I look at, and play with, the kids.  They are the priority in that moment.  I want them to know that.  I look at them when they tell me stories.  I ask them questions so they know I’m listening.




Yup, that sometimes means I’m not returning business emails or doing proposals/contracts until they’re napping, using the potty, or have gone to bed in the evening.




It’s hard!


You are not expected to know everything right away, and the absolute fact is you don’t!  In psychology, If you like the nerdy science behind the concept, read this…..  Maslow’s four stages of competence model relates four progressions.

Stage 1:  Unconscious Incompetence.  You don’t know what you don’t know.

Stage 2:  Conscious Incompetence.  You now are aware of the existence and the relevance of the new skill.  Now you know what you don’t know.

Stage 3:  Consciously Competent.  You can do the new skill or whatever but it requires conscious and deliberate thought to do it.

Stage 4:  Unconscious Competence.  This is where the skill has become so practiced that it enters the unconscious part of the brain.  It’s now “second nature”.




If you’re not really into the science, but just want the concept, let me come back to a more “everyday approach”.  When it comes to building a strong foundation, ditching the ego and taking things one step at a time is critical.


It’s hard!




From an aesthetic perspective, if your goal is to lose 50 pounds (using weight as an example is not my favorite but this is a goal many people set, so it makes complete sense to talk about it), that’s not going to happen overnight.  It’s not going to happen in a week, or four.


Focus on one thing you can do today.


It’s unrealistic for me to set a goal of “lose 5 pounds next week”.  I can control my actions but not how my body is going to actually respond to the things I do.



Rather, I CAN set a goal to

“Eat a serving of vegetables at two meals each day”

“Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day”

“Walk 30-45 minutes each day”

“Take a fitness/yoga class” or

“Lift weights twice a week”


Do you see these difference?  These are actionable steps I do have control over.



Don’t skip steps.  This is not a race. There is no due date.  These are healthy habits we want to develop for your entire life.


(3) CELEBRATE ALL OF THE VICTORIES: It doesn’t matter how small you think they are.


It’s hard!


We want what we want right now and when we don’t hit our goals, we become frustrated,depressed, and just give up.  Why bother?


Using the examples from above:

– – You didn’t eat vegetables at two meals each day but you ate them at 6 different meals last week.  If you don’t normally eat vegetables, that’s a victory!

– – You didn’t drink 6-8 glasses of water each day but you did consistently drink 4.  If that’s an increase from what you normally do, that’s a victory!  What you perceive to be little things, when applied incrementally and consistently, add up.



BOTTOM LINE:  The more fully we show up, the more we practice, the more time we take building a solid foundation of habits through steps of progression, the more likely we are to be successful.


I Am Power(Ful)

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


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.


==> I’m not ashamed.


==> 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.





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.



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.

I Have No Will to Fight

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch



I saw a meme in my FB feed yesterday.  While I fully understand what they are trying to say, I disagree with the basic premise, so I’ve made some edits.


Yes, I have some scars.

Who doesn’t?


Yes, I’ve been through some things.

Who hasn’t?


Bad things have happened.  That’s true.  But, you know what, so so so many good things have happened too!  As I look back, it’s the times I was stressed, angry, and “disconnected”  – the times I made myself miserable, the times when I made myself feel like a victim – that I regret the most.  My life was difficult but no more difficult than anyone else’s.  I had problems.  Every single one of us does and those we endure are no less but also no more than those other people endure.  This is the human condition.




I can honestly say, “I don’t wake up every day ‘with a will to fight’.”  Even when I was being physically,emotionally, and sexually abused, I didn’t wake up every day “willing to fight”.


I woke up.  I wake up…with a tremendous will to “simply” live.  To enjoy this day.  To know that no matter what happens, no matter what anybody else thinks of me, I am doing the best I can.


But…..and this is incredibly important!!!!

But….to also remember that everyone else is ALSO doing the best they can.





Bad news: You’re not getting it! Good news: Neither is anybody else.

There is no competition for “the best parent” – you do it your way.  I do it mine.  We may be different.  We ARE different.  So are our children.  You might be more patient than me.  Okay.  I might be better at handling conflict than you.  Okay.  You provide different, more, or better things to your children.  So what.  I might provide more/better than you.  We are not in a competition.

==> I’m doing the best I can.  So are you. 

To quote Mark Mason (see information about his book at the bottom of this post) “Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations.  ‘Be happier.  Be healthier.  Be the best, better than the rest.  Be smarter, richer, sexier, more productive…  We waste life chasing a mirage of perfection and satisfaction. Our society, today, through the wonders of consumer culture and, ‘hey look my life is cooler than yours’ social media has bred a culture that believes having negative experiences like fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, etc is totally not okay.”


Things aren’t always positive.  We aren’t always happy.  Life is not just full of butterflies and rainbows.  And that’s okay.  Things go wrong.  People upset us.  Accidents happen.  “Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems.”



There is no competition for “the best spouse” and, I can also tell you there is no perfect one.  We do it our way.  Sometimes the problem is not the other person but, rather, our own expectations of what they “should” be like.  My husband didn’t think to pre-position my car at the airport yesterday so I had to call Uber.  He didn’t think to leave me a love note on the counter.  But he DID make sure I had coffee and Bailey’s in the kitchen.  He did call to see if I’d made it home safely.  He did come home as soon as he could.  There are plenty of things I haven’t “thought to do” for him.

==> He’s doing the best he can.  So am I.





Know what?  There is no competition for “the best body” either.  You don’t have to be the same size or shape as your sister, best friend, or that latest most popular celebrity.  Even when I WAS on stage – doing figure competitions – there was no clear cut “winner”.  Some judges want more muscle; some want less.  Some judges want the women to be more lean; some don’t want them “too lean”.  This can change from judge to judge and day to day.  I tell my clients that are competing to be her very best when she walks up there:  to be proud of what she has accomplished, vs how she stacks up to others.  I stopped pinning up pictures of other women, on my gym bulletin board, for motivation and started pinning up pictures of myself.

THIS is the only person I want to look like. THIS is my competition - and my inspiration.

THIS is the only person I want to look like. THIS is my competition – and also my inspiration.

Some days I love working out – other days I want to sit home and stuff my face with cheesecake (no lie!).

==> I’m doing the best I can.  So are you.


No, I don’t believe we need to wake up every day and fight.  We need to get comfortable with ourselves.  Stop fighting to “be this” to “do this” to “provide the best of everything” to “appear to be the best…..whatever it is.”


This is life.  Period.

There’s no do-over.

We have “good” days (e.g. easy, pleasant and care free) and crappy ones.  But we are alive.  We are!!!  Life slips from our grasp a little more every day.  That’s not philosophy – that’s a fact.


Another favorite quote from Mark Manson,  “We worry about what people are saying about us, whether our socks match or not, what color our birthday balloon is.  As we get older, with the benefit of experience and having seen so much time slip by, we begin to realize these things don’t really matter.  Those people whose opinions were so important to us in the past, are no longer in our lives.  Happiness is a form of action.  It’s an activity.  Not something that is passively bestowed upon you.  It doesn’t magically appear when you finally have enough money to add another room onto the house. You don’t find it waiting for you in a job, in a place, an idea, or a book. You don’t find it at all.  Happiness is a constant work in progress.”


I read (Audible) an amazing book last week while I was driving back and forth to work.  If you’re easily offended by cursing, try to let that go for just a little while because there’s a lot of it here – and it’s not something you want to listen to (without earphones) if your kids are around.

It’s excellent.  Excellent!!!!  My version is cluttered with multiple bookmarks.  If you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.