Category: Empowerment

Never Mind Your Jeans: Work Out for your Genes!

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
This is the second blog I’ve written about the Unleash Your Greatness Summit I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of weeks ago.  The first covered Bill Phillip’s talk which was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  This one discusses Michele Promaulavko’s presentation entitled “You Have Control Over your Genetic Destiny”.  
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Michele Promaulavko

Michele is an author, Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Health and has appeared on the Today show, CNN, Fox News, and The Tyra Banks Show.  She is a charismatic speaker and I love the topic of epigenetics so I found the presentation to be phenomenal.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this topic from Dr. Mike T. Nelson too, in my Mindset Performance Institute curriculum.  I can’t wait to share all of that with you!  When I attend training, it’s a win-win for both of us!  Sincerely.
Without getting too scientific, genetics is the study of hereditary traits:  it’s those things passed in DNA from parent to offspring.  Epigenetics is the study of how those genes respond to external input (for example, our diet, environment, physical exercise, etc).
 Epigenetics tells us that through lifestyle choices, we actually have a lot of control over our genetic destiny.  We do not have to be bystanders in our lives, or slaves to our DNA.  We can be active participants.
The really amazing fact is that by making changes in your life, not only do you have an impact on how your genes express themselves, but you influence which genes are passed to your future family members.
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I’m not making this up!  Changing your habits can, in fact, impact your children and their children!


This recent study shows that 3 months of exercise causes significant changes in the DNA found in sperm.  The DNA itself did not change but what was passed on to the offspring did!!  I just finished a class about understanding obesity, through the University of Edinburgh.  One lesson reported on several studies showing maternal nutrition has long lasting effects on offspring as well (for multiple generations)!


I don’t know about you, but I think if there was ever a reason to exercise,  the fact that we can impact future generations, should rank pretty close to the top of that list.


A fellow believer in holistic health (meaning that we are not a grouping of isolated body parts but; rather, that the body is a “system” with each piece affecting others), Michele talked about three specific areas we should focus on.


Weight Training


Strength training is one of the most overlooked aspects of health.  This is incredibly sad because it can provide so many benefits – to your body and brain.  Lean muscle burns more calories – even when you’re doing nothing.  Weight training impacts joint mobility, bone density, and body composition.  I am big believer that physical strength begets mental strength as well – it gives us confidence and makes us feel powerful.
Proper Nutrition

Food is all around us and we make choices every day.  We need to get a large number of those decisions correct, if we hope to have an impact.  The problem is, there is soooooooo much information, it’s like a fire hose coming at you and it is easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be an argument for every new diet going.


Here are two simple facts to keep in mind:


  1.  Lowering refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods:  increasing protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, is best.  (In today’s environment I always feel like I need to add a disclaimer – I’m not saying to ban that first group of items.  I’m saying to lower your consumption of them).
  2. Small changes  add up to big cummulative benefits!   Don’t worry about the next 3 months.  Make a healthier choice for this one meal.  Then work on the next, and then the next.


Stress Reduction


Mitigating stress is one of the most profound things you can do for your total body.  It enhances physical, emotional, and mental health.


There is little question that we’re over-stimulated these days.  More work, more school, more meetings, more activities, more electronic gadgets, more commitments…


As part of any wellness practice, you need to find a way to decompress.  Some examples include meditating, taking a bath, yoga, sharing a meal with friends, working out, getting a massage, taking a 5 minute break to walk outside.  Do some CNS breathing:  breathe in slowly for a count of four through your nose.  Hold for a count of 5-7 and let it out through your mouth for a longer count.  Do this 4-5 times.  Get off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.  Go to bed earlier – even if it’s just 10 minutes right now.  Add another 10 minutes later.


Find what works for you and then take the time to do “that”.  It’s not self-indulgent.  It’s self-care.


Check in with me once in a while and let me know what’s working for you so that I might share your tips with others.


Only 1 Type of “Gobble Wobble” is Acceptable.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
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Many people will be celebrating with family & friends tomorrow.  Many people won’t.  I believe every one of us has an abundance of things to be thankful for.  Some have more than others.  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you won’t let food be a major cause of anxiety and stress.
Here are 6 tips for approaching the holiday – from a “diet” perspective.
1.  Start THANKSgiving with gratitude. 
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Think for just 5 minutes about what’s good in your life.  Reflect on those things.
2.  Have a conversation or two.  
If you’re, physically, lucky enough to spend time with people you care about – really SPEND time with them. Put the phone down for a few minutes. Shut off the computer for a while.
If you’re not able to be with the people you love, call them.
 3. Decide your food non-negotiables.
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For example: I will have pumpkin pie – “real” home-made pumpkin pie.  My daughter will have sweet potato casserole.  My husband will have mashed potato and gravy.
4.  Let some things go.
There are no rules for this holiday.  That means, there is no reason you need to have everything.
For example: i will not obsess over food but I will start filling my plate with turkey first, then veggies, and then a little stuffing. I will not eat a brown-n-serve roll or mashed potato and gravy merely because – for me – those things aren’t anything special. They add nothing to my enjoyment of the meal.
5.  If some is good, more isn’t necessarily better. 
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More isn’t better. Better is better.

After you finish your plate, wait a few minutes before you go back for seconds.  Think about it:  Do you really want more or are you going back for seconds just because that’s what you always do?  
This meal is not a competition to see who can eat the most.  There is no rule that forbids us from leaving the table until we are in a food coma.  Eat what you want but remember how uncomfortable that over-stuffed feeling is?   Not a lot of fun.  
Tomorrow is not the last day you are going to ever be able to eat. Pie, potato, rolls, dressing will all continue to exist in the world on Friday – and beyond.
6.  Don’t fall into the “you will need to repent for every morsel you eat” trap.
 No pennance
I have been seeing posts since Halloween, and today it was leveled-up to videos listing how many calories are in this or that type of food and how many calories you can burn by doing this or that type of exercise.  That stuff is complete BS!!!  You do not have to “earn” your meal and you don’t have to “pay a penance” for it, after the fact.

There should be no “gobble wobble” unless it is this kind.

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One day of enjoyment is not going to “ruin” you, just like one day of dieting is not going to make everything wonderful.  It’s just a day.  A day in your life.  A day to be thankful for.


Switching from Having a Full-Mind to Mind-fulness

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.IT.


A good friend recently shared this picture on my Facebook page.  I adore it!

I have spent a ton of time, over the past 12-18 months, working on mindset so I am very aware of the tremendous difference between having a full mind and being mindful.  That hasn’t always been the case.


I know, first-hand, how easy it is to get caught up in being busy, busy, busy…….


I have been a perfection-striving, over-achiever, my entire life.  I gave up weekends with my children, in order to work and focus on being promoted.

I “had to”. “People were relying on me.” “It was important”.

Those are the stories that ran in my head. Oh I used to tell myself, “My family is the most important thing to me!”

but….when it came right down to it, I certainly wasn’t acting that way.


It took getting a text from my teenage daughter that read, “Mom. I miss you. I haven’t seen you in an entire week” for me to reassess.



My mind was full…

I was busy and stressed out.


For the past decade, I have been running my own business and spending about 200 days a year on the road.  It’s easy to allow all the travel and commitments to take over my life.

As hard as I strive not to let that happen, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded that I still have some work to do!  This is my slow season.  I have been home for 10 days – the longest stretch I’ve not been on the road, since June or July.

Sure, I still have plenty of things to do.  I’ve been catching up on paperwork, governmental reports, and strategic planning. For the most part, though, my scheduled has been my own.  I have appointments but I set them.  I have responsibilities but I decide when to complete them throughout the day.




I have taken the time to add a walk into this schedule, every day.  I have been to two yoga classes (first time in three years!!).  I have taken time to be alone with my thoughts.  

It’s been almost magical.  


Just taking this time to clear my mind and be more aware has allowed me to feel so (so so so) much more relaxed, focused, centered, AND PRODUCTIVE.



That’s the part that surprises so many people.  How can I be more relaxed and, at the same time, more productive?

Rather than being busy, I’m spending time doing the things that are important.

The fact is, we can’t do everything.  There are 24 hours in the day.  We need to stop doing some things if we expect to find time to do the things that are important for us.  Recently, I’ve been saying, “no” more.


We all have commitments. There are things we have to do. Work and responsibilities exist. For all of us. But…

Considering what’s important, – what’s truly important – in this short life, and making that a priority can literally change your life. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s not a concept. It’s not something that only a few (weird) people can experience.

You might not have the ability to completely change your routine right now.  Building in some quiet time, though, even if it’s only a few minutes a day will provide tremendous benefits!


Start by trying to be aware.

  • Aware of how you really feel,
  • Aware of yourself and your environment,
  • Aware of what you say is important – what you’re treating as important – and considering whether those things are aligned or disconnected.


Here’s one thing I’ve heard recently that helps me do this.  I listened to a podcast several months ago. I don’t remember who it was but they suggested not asking, “if I were to die in a week, what would I do between now and then” but rather,

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Harsh? Maybe! But, also, very true.


“if the person you love most, in the entire world, were to be diagnosed as terminally ill, today, what things would you do differently? What things would you give up to be with them? What things would you still find the time to do?”

THAT is definitely a quick way to assess what’s important!

That would have caused me to make a number of decision differently.

Mindfulness is Not “Just a Positive Attitude”

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.IT. 

I had no forethought to make this video last Sunday morning.

I didn’t plan it.

I don’t like myself on video.

I don’t have makeup on.

I haven’t had coffee or breakfast.

I brushed my teeth but, nope, I didn’t even brush my hair.

There are 99 reasons why I shouldn’t post this.


But there is one reason I felt compelled to tape.  There is one reason I fought my typical urge to analyze this before I hit post.  There is one reason I just did it…..

I have something to say

, and this….

This is me.




I’d love your thoughts.  Do you practice mindfulness?  Do you feel your emotions – whatever they happen to be.  Acknowledge them, and build in a few seconds to decide how to react?


Why in the World do I Take Military PT Tests Voluntarily?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.



Two weeks ago I volunteered to take the Army physical fitness test.  It’s not the first time.  I’ve taken the Air Force test several times as well.  Last year I rucked 26.2 miles with my favorite soldier; both of us carrying packs weighing over 50 pounds.


Am I a masochist?  Which the dictionary defines as “Someone who obtains pleasure from suffering mental or physical pain, punishment or humiliation.”  Am I trying to prove something?  Why do I like taking PT tests and running military obstacle courses when most of the people I know who are actually in the military hate those things?  Why in the world would I voluntarily walk 26 miles through the dessert, carrying a big heavy backpack.



Ah.  That is the key.  That little word right there.

  • I am voluntarily choosing to do these things.  Just as easily, I could choose to quit if I want.
  • Nobody told me I “have to”.
  • My military family and friends are required to do these things.  They must, and if they choose to quit, there will be heavy consequences including a whole host of mandatory programs and retesting.


Do you see the difference?


This is true for everything.  We hate to be told what to do.  We hate to be limited.  We hate mandates.  We inherently rebel against these things.

Why would trying to make health and fitness changes be any different?  How many times have you, “gone on a diet” and been told (or told yourself), “you CAN’T have that” or “you can ONLY eat this”?    You “have to.”

What happened?

What typically happens is that we obsess over the things we’re not “supposed” to have.  I normally only have carrot cake two or three times a year.  I love it but I don’t keep it in the house and I don’t bake it so that’s just typically the way it works out.  It rarely crosses my mind.  If you told me this afternoon that I could not have carrot cake.  I would want nothing but carrot cake.  I would think about it all the time.

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When you look at this picture, what are you thinking about?


I know this for a fact.  When we lived on Okinawa, there were no granny smith apples on the island.  None.  After a while, it seemed like every commercial that came on television, every show, and every magazine I received in the mail, contained granny smith apples.  They were sitting in a bowl on the table, somebody was eating one, or they were somewhere in the frame.  I obsessed about those green apples.  They were everywhere – except my grocery stores.  All I wanted was a granny smith.  Some months later, we flew to Guam for a week and I ate 3 or 4 apples a day.  Every single day.


What does this mean in the health and fitness arena then?


It means YOU have to choose to make a change.

You have to be the one to decide to forgo this or that.

You have to be the one to decide to make time for exercise.

You can’t – you won’t – do it just because you’re told you have to.  Even if the person telling you to do it is your doctor, your spouse, your mother, or one of your children.

YOU have to determine why you want to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, have your annual health screenings, and the like.  You.

None of it works if you’re not ready to make a change.

Mindset might not be sexy (I mean, I think it is but that’s just me) but it’s absolutely critical!!!


Mindset Mostly

5 Things Scuba Diving can Teach YOU about Health & Fitness

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T. 

My passion is teaching and coaching.  Always has been.


Yelm, Washington


Formally I have taught scuba diving, basket weaving, public speaking, fitness (personal training), nutritional habits, planning for retirement, conflict resolution, scrapbooking, customer service, leadership, supervisory skills, and human resources.  Informally much, much more.  It really gets me excited when a person I’m working with “gets it”.  When the light bulb comes on and they’ve truly learned something!!!!



There have been countless such moments but one that I specifically want to share in this post.

I want to talk about scuba diving.  Yes, under-water Jacque-Cousteau-esque scuba diving and, yes, your health and fitness.  Give me just a minute to make my point.

I should probably start by telling you that several of my friends claim I have an ability to relate any topic back to whatever I’m talking about at the time.  I suppose that’s true but it’s just because I see lessons in everything.  I love to learn even more than I love to teach – and the way I do that is by linking things together; by picking out whatever it is about “this thing” that relates to something I already know and building from there.


Sea turtle dive, Oahu

Here’s the story.  As a Dive Master (think assistant instructor) working with a class off the coast of Destin, Florida, I was assigned the most skiddish, most nervous person for some additional one-on-one.  This was her first open water (not in the swimming pool) dive.  She was petrified!  Worried about going under water.  Worried about “what if this” and “what if that”.  She thought she wanted to do this but now she wasn’t so sure.

With some gentle coaxing, a firm hold on her shoulders and a directive “look at my eyes…nothing else”, we started to slowly descend.  I could feel her start to calm down.  She looked at nothing but my face.  Before she knew it, she was on the bottom.  We settled for a second and then she turned around.  I could see the excitement on her face.  She was “there”.  She had done it!  Before long, she was swimming beside me waving her hands excitedly and pointing to this fish; wanting me to see that plant.  It was all so new.  It was so amazing.  She could barely control herself and more than once she tried to talk through her regulator.

I LOVE this stuff!!!!  I’m excited (again) just sharing the story with you!

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 times a million.


Okay.  Cool story but what relevance could this possibly have to health and fitness?

Five different things that I can immediately think of – and likely much more if I were to give it any amount of thought.


I.  While the “big picture” definitely has its place, taking in too much all at once can be overwhelming.


Drift dive, Palau

Changing your entire way of eating, going from zero to six days a week of exercise, quitting all caffeine and becoming a calmer person is just too much change at one time.  In fact, we’ll see this very scenario play out en mass in just a few short weeks.  People expect to wake up on 1 January as completely changed individuals – renewed, refreshed, and perfect.  No vices whatsoever.  Focused merely on peace, health, fitness, and happiness.

Having goals is admirable and wanting to improve yourself is fantastic!  There are proven reasons for why so many of us like to change on dates like New Year’s.  But nothing magical is going to happen during the night on 31 December while we sleep.  We shouldn’t expect to wake up on 1 January, a completely different person.  Narrowing our view and focusing on only one change at a time will work better.


II.  There is value is having a support system. Whether it is a friend, a family member, or a coach who’s been there, done that.


Deep dive, Chuuk


Having someone to hold you accountable, push you a little bit, but also support you and be there to bolster your resolve can be a total game changer.

It doesn’t have to be forever but it sure is nice to have someone there when you’re first getting started.



III.  Focus on what you’re trying TO do; not the thing you’re trying to stop doing. 


Okinawa, Japan



I didn’t tell my dive student to stop worrying, stop thinking about what was going to happen or stop anything.  I told her to put her regulator in, to look at me, to let the air out of her BC, to start to descend.

One step at a time.  One new thing to DO.  The stop-doing stuff just happens on it’s own as we focus on something new.




IV. It’s important to celebrate the little steps toward your major accomplishments.


Somewhere in the Pacific

The girl I was working with wasn’t certified at the end of our dive. She still had to complete another dive, and take her written test.  There’s no guarantee that she’ll be completely comfortable in the water every dive after this.  But…she thoroughly enjoyed THIS dive.  She wasn’t worried about the next one, or her test.  She didn’t think about the past or the future.  She was thoroughly excited about what she was doing in the present.  This moment.  Now.  She was happy.  (So was I!!)


V. Plan your dive. Dive your plan.

This is a safety provision every diver learns in one of his/her first classes.  By developing a plan before the dive, you know how deep you can go, how long you can stay there and whether you’re going to need to complete a safety stop or not.  You don’t have to make things up as you go.  Diving your plan means staying within the parameters you’ve set:  doing what you said you were going to do.  Keeping to your goals.

Whatever your goal is – above or below the surface, make a (logical, realistic) plan and then stick to that plan.  It’s absolutely okay (maybe even necessary) to make minor adjustments as you go along but you don’t just throw out the plan and create a brand new one, in the middle of your dive.


Two Roads Diverged

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.  

When I recited The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, at a high school oratory competition, I had no idea how much of an impact the poem would actually have upon my entire life.


Road 2

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,



Road 1
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The first stanza reminds me, continually, that all of life is about choices.
  • I choose what time to get up in the morning.
  • I choose whether to start my day with gratitude and intention or to wait for things to “just happen” to me.
  • I choose whether to have breakfast, and what to eat.
  • I choose whether to exercise or not.
  • I choose to pack a lunch or be left at the mercy of “what’s available” when I’m hungry.
  • I choose to leave for work on time, or to spend a little more time somewhere else and be forced to fight traffic.
  • I choose to stop for coffee or not.
  • I choose to say “good morning” and smile at people as we start our day, or to ignore them and stay in my own head.
  • I choose my reaction to the weather, and the traffic, and the supervisor who comes in with demands the second I arrive at my desk.
  • I choose to check e-mail, and Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest – or I choose to get right to work.
  • I choose whether to take a few breaks through the day, and remain productive, or to feel chained to the desk getting more lethargic as the hours pass.
  • I choose to go to the gym or not.
  • I choose to go straight home or not.
  • I choose what to have for dinner.
  • I choose to interact with family and friends, or to veg in front of the television until it’s time for bed.
  • I choose when to go to bed.
  • I choose what to do for a job.
  • I choose whether to stay in a relationship.
  • I choose who to have for friends.
  • I choose who to share my deepest secrets with – and who not to.
  • I choose to learn, or not.
  • I choose to better myself, or not.
  • I choose to be happy, or not.  To be positive or not.


I must also choose to accept responsibility for these actions, and this is the part we don’t like.  This is where the big deal mindset shift happens.  This is where I can’t blame somebody else – anybody else; I can’t blame the situation; I can’t blame the weather, or the day, or the supervisor, my spouse, or, or, or……..

I must choose to accept responsibility for my own actions and any repercussions that come from those actions.

I am in charge and I choose to act like it.






The third stanza reminds me that time is of the essence.  The time to make the decision is now and while I may have full intention to come back, to later make a different decision……..

Tomorrow.  Next Monday.  Next month.  The first of the year.  Once I finish the degree.                                            Once I get the promotion.  After the kids get older.  When I have more money.

…….rarely does that ever happen.  “Knowing how way leads on to way, I doubt if I should ever come back.”

Red tree


I asked this in my Facebook post this morning.  I’m asking it again here.  Now.

“Where will you choose to put yourself today?  What will you choose to make yourself available to?”





Just Do It or Give Up. You Choose.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

Putting yourself “out there” is scary!!

For all of us.  Not just me.  Not just you.  The “experts” too!!

Life is shortThinking about sitting right where you are and waiting for your life to start – at some point, some day….

Realizing that life is actually passing you by, is scary!!  Scarier!!

I am my own  worst enemy and I’m really good at feeding that insecurity monster, questioning my own abilities, not feeling quite good enough. Ever.  That little voice in my head is a B*&^%!!!!  She doesn’t like me to dream too big.  She doesn’t like me to get too confident.  She doesn’t want me to live up to my full potential.  She wants to keep me, and my goals, my dreams and my life….small.  Do you have one of these internal trolls?


That story I have on perpetual replay in my head will stop me from doing ANYTHING if I listen to it.  The narrator of that story is a liar.  I listen to her but I call her out on her untruths too.  Frequently.


Here’s what that looks like.  I remember the first time I gave a speech – in the 7th grade – wearing my classmate Sharon’s puffy vest with a tube of chapstick in the pocket because she told me if I kept my hands in my pockets and concentrated on taking the cap off and on, it would help with my nerves. It did help!!

From there, I entered a couple of oratory competitions. Think that seems kind of weird for a person who’s scared of public speaking?


Well, if you’ve known me more than 5 minutes, you also know that I push myself out of the comfort zone constantly. I don’t like being uncomfortable so I make myself do these things until I’m no longer “as” scared.  I believe – with my whole heart – that FEAR is (quite typically) false events appearing real.  The stories I’ve written in my head about what’s going to happen have always…without exception to this point….been worse than reality.  So, yes, I entered several speech competitions specifically because I hated public speaking.





…and, I gave a speech at my high school graduation – without a vest and without chapstick. 🙂











From those meager beginnings, I have been public speaking “formally” for 11 years. It’s my full time job.  I created a business based on it.


It actually makes me laugh when I think about it.  I mean, I had horrible anxiety speaking in front of that 7th grade class, and now I do it 3-5 days a week.  Oh, my first few months were, AGAIN,  incredibly scary. I stayed up all night, studying. I’d teach until 4; sweating, stammering, and stuttering.  Back in the hotel, I’d sleep for 3 hours and repeat.  It was NOT a lot of fun. I was exhausted.  I was continually stressed.  I apologized when I started class that “the material isn’t overly exciting and I’m not a trained instructor.”

Wow!  Talk about throwing yourself under the bus!!  I would NEVER have said that about anyone else!  With friends like that (inside my own head) I certainly don’t need enemies!!


It was ONLY when I got to a point and said,

This is bullshit and it can’t continue. I know what I’m talking about. I have a choice here.  Just do it or give up. One or the other.

that things started to get better.


One morning (no doubt I was likely sleep deprived and not thinking too logically) I literally just threw my notes in the garbage on my way out of the hotel (so that I would have no option to retrieve them when I got to the classroom) and decided to “wing it”.

Holy crap!!!!! I was nervous starting the day but I was far, far less nervous than I had been before.


I’ve been winging it ever since. Considering I travel and present about 200 days a year (197 last year) it seems to be working.


When I started my own company, I was scared.  Really scared.  I gave up a steady salary for the “possibility” that I might have work.  I didn’t know what to charge.  I didn’t know how to get customers.  I didn’t really know how to teach.  I was uncomfortable.  So I made myself do it.  I studied.  I practiced.  I got better.  I have an excellent reputation and customers now ask for me by name.  I’m very proud of that.  It was a lot of hard work.


Please don’t misunderstand, though.  There are still (plenty of) days when I question my abilities. Days when I wonder if I’m doing a good job. Days when I wonder if I’m “really” the expert. My students think so. My clients think so. On a good day, I think so….. but there are lots of times I feel like a charlatan.  I haven’t “arrived”.  I don’t think anybody ever really does.  That’s a story we tell ourselves when we look at other people because we only see the outside.  We don’t know how they’re feeling.


There are days when I want to quit.

Fact is:  I can.  Anytime I choose to.

So far though, a good pep talk ending with

You have a choice here.  Just do it, or give up. One or the other.”

…has kept me going.


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This isn’t some cute little illustration. It’s not a motivational statement. It’s the truth. Oh my gosh, it’s the truth.


Fear can stop you.  Fear can keep you small.


Fear can motivated you.  It can push you.


There’s one thing I know for sure.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  There’s no “do-over”.  Once this day…this moment…is gone, it’s gone.  Forever.

Maybe, it’s time to stop living small, even though it’s scary.

It’s time to stop waiting for your life to begin, even though it’s scary.

It’s time to stop just dreaming….no, that’s not even it.  Many of us never find the courage to EVEN dream, much less work toward those dreams.

It’s time to wake up.

It’s time to live.

It’s time to do something….something you want to do….something you’ve dreamt about….something that makes you feel alive….something….anything.


No one can do this for you.  It is your life.  Yours alone…and until you look at the narrator face, to face, call him/her a liar and truly, truly, know that you deserve better than this, you will feel stuck.



I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, a few months ago.  It is an absolutely amazing book!!!!  I loved it so much that I bought a copy for each of my children, my sisters, and my husband.


Brene harkened back to a speech Teddy Roosevelt gave in 1910. I frequently repeat this to myself.

In the arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

First you make the choice, and then the choice makes you

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.



It was an interesting day.

One that has left me a little reflective, and sitting outside at Starbucks, penning my thoughts.

Here’s what led me to this place and time.  I taught a Federal benefits class today from 7:30 – 3.  97% of my students were women, ranging in age from 40 – 66.  They asked relevant questions and the class was very engaging for all of us:  my favorite.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

At 3, I dismissed the class and half of the ladies came up front to talk to me.

Nothing out of the ordinary.



They didn’t want to talk about benefits or the class I had just conducted.  They wanted to talk about my body and threw out all kinds of comments / questions.  “How many hours a day do you work out?”  “You must work out like crazy!”  “How much do you eat?”  “Do you eat carbs?”  “How do you keep your arms looking like that?”  “Are you a personal trainer?”

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It made me feel great.  Not just the compliments although, I’m not gonna lie, yes, those were awesome!!

It made me feel great because they wanted to hear about getting fit, and I love talking about ithat!!


We all sat back down and I spent 45 minutes answering questions about nutrition and exercise.  THIS is my passion so you know I would have been happy to talk for another 4 hours!!  It was amazing!!





They had a counter to most of the things I told them.  A reason for not “being able” to do these things.  Here are three examples.



QUESTION:  “How many hours a day do you work out?”

ANSWER:  I don’t work out for hours!  I tried that a couple of years ago.  Let’s just say, all that (excessive) working out, didn’t work out.  My body may have looked good.  My life was a disaster.  I was an emotional wreck.  My relationships were in turmoil.  I was unhappy.

I travel a LOT, and I spend all day in the classroom.  I work out 3, maybe (if I can fit it into my schedule) 4 times a week for a maximum of 45 minutes, but frequently much less.

COUNTER:  Oh.  I don’t have that kind of time.

ANSWER:  None of us think we have that kind of time.  Use what you have.  Fit in something.  Walk (this office is surrounded by landscaped trails) before work, during lunch, or before you go sit in traffic and head home.

COUNTER:  “I always plan to but I just never find the time….”



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QUESTION:  “When you workout, do you use the elliptical or the treadmill?”  and “What can I do about this hanging skin under my arm” (aka the tricep muscle – many women, as they age, notice changes in this area, primarily due to a lack of use).

ANSWER:  Neither usually.  First, there are no “rules” for exercise.  To begin, find something you enjoy and do that.  Whatever it is.  Personally, I do occasionally run on the treadmill but I prefer to lift weights.  That’s the best way for us to lose fat because it allows us to build muscle which increases metabolism.  Weights are so important, ladies!  To help hedge osteoporosis, to burn calories, to lose fat, to gain or maintain muscle – to “fix” those triceps that you asked about, to be mobile and independent for as long as possible, throughout our entire lives.

COUNTER:  “I’ve heard a lot of people say that weight training is good for me.  Maybe someday I’ll try it…..”



QUESTION;  “Do you starve yourself?  Do you do a no-carb diet?”

ANSWER:  NO!!!!  I like to eat much too much to starve myself and that approach doesn’t work.  Have you ever tried to stick to a strict diet?  Did it work?  That kind of restriction frequently leads to binging and over-eating later.  Carbs give us energy.  I need them to stand up here and teach all day.  I eat carbs but I’m a little choosy about how many I eat.  For example, I ordered a philly cheesesteak sandwich and a small salad (containing spinach, mushrooms, carrots, banana peppers, beets, cucumbers, and half a cup of pasta noodles).  I didn’t eat the roll that my chicken came in – not because it was a carbohydrate, but because it was nothing special.  It was like a plain hotdog bun and it didn’t add anything to my enjoyment of the meal.  So, I didn’t eat it.  I did eat the pasta.  We get to choose.  Just because someone in the cafeteria decided this meat should go on this bread – doesn’t mean I have to agree.  I put the meat on top of my salad.

We just have to think about what we’re eating and be mindful about our diet – not stress out about it.

COUNTER:  “That makes sense but it seems far too simple, and I like to drink wine.”


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ANSWER:  It is simple.  It’s not always easy, though.

You can drink wine.  I’m not a “wine person” but I drink Bailey’s in my coffee and a lot of my friends drink wine.

COUNTER:  “Ah, but probably not a bottle or two every night……”



That is probably true…..




Here’s the thing:  LIFE IS A SERIES OF CHOICES.  

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This statement doesn’t just apply to nutrition and exercise.

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LIFE IS A SERIES OF CHOICES.  Every single day.  Every single time.  With every single thing.

You have a choice.  You are in charge.  You are the only one who can be.  You have to take responsibility for those choices and you, you alone, have to live with the consequences of those choices.


If you want to reach a goal.  If you want to change something – anything – it IS going to require you to make some different choices.




Doing nothing is a choice too.  It’s a choice to remain what where you are with what you have.

Mindset Mostly * Nutrition * Movement

With Friends Like This…. An Open Letter to my Hater(s)

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

In spite

I am not editing this.  I am not censoring this.  It is raw.  It is emotional.  It makes me angry, but it also needs to be said.


It was one week ago today.  I had spent the day showing some family members around DC.  We enjoyed dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant in Georgetown.  I posted a picture of my daughter-in-law and I having cannoli and moscato for our appetizer.  On the ride home, I read the first PM – it contained the picture of Ashleigh and I at dinner.

1st Msg





To say that the message surprised me is a complete understatement!!  Yet, I crafted a tactful and well thought out response.






My message #2

My childhood sucked.  It sucked.  I was emotionally, sexually, and physically abused.  That’s no longer a secret.

My first blog, ever, was written about this. That was hard to write!!  It was harder to share!!  I was shaking and crying when I hit post that day.  But – I did post it.  I have talked about it.  I learned, in years of counseling, to journal my thoughts, as a means to get them out – and then deal with them.

My sisters were there.  They are the reason I stood up.

My husband and my children know.  It’s hard for them.

The people who truly care about me, know. They’ve been a tremendous source of support and love for me over the years.

In addition to the things going on at home, I was a loner in school.  Unable to participate in any after school activities, or hang out with friends, I was not popular.  I was the last person to be chosen in gym class – not actually chosen, but going to the team who had’t made the last choice.  Yes, that was me!  The Big Bang Theory makes nerds seem cool.  It definitely wasn’t cool!!  Many people called me, “Bucky Beaver”.  A few called me names that weren’t so kind.  I’ve been pushed down stairs and had rocks thrown at me, while at school.

At 17, I told my story to teachers, police officers, counselors, and the Grand Jury.  That was just a tiny bit traumatic.  I’ve spent time “dealing with my shit.”


Here’s what you need to remember though.  That was the START of my life!!  That is not my life.


Yes, I have excelled.  Professionally, personally, educationally, and emotionally.

My passion, all along, has been to help others and I’ve done that too!!  I am doing that.  I don’t do that by lamenting over what happened to me.  I don’t do that by living in the past.


We all have a past – every single one of us.  My shit might have been different than yours, but we all have shit.


My past is what happened to me.  It is not who I am.


Msg 1002



I thought my message might be enough to get her to reconsider what she had said, but that wasn’t the case.  In fact, it just seemed to add fuel to some fire I wasn’t even aware was burning.


I did not respond any further.




But her messages kept coming.  Last msg

I did not unfriend her on Facebook either but, by morrning – I’m sure, angry that I refused to engage further, she had unfriended me.


2012 Message



This person has not seen me in over 30 years!  She has not spoken a single word to me in 3 years, and at that point, she was acting like a friend.







I’m confused about what even started this series of messages.  It was a picture of me eating cannoli.  It had nothing to do with exercise – yet, that’s what she hung her argument on.  There was a time (when I was competing a few years ago) that I did 2-3 hours of exercise every day.  That hasn’t been the case in years.

….and, whether I exercise or not.  How much I exercise.  Why I exercise.  What time of the day I exercise, is  nobody’s business except my own.

I am a grown woman and I do not need to provide justification to anyone – except, potentially the one man who has shared my life for the past 25 years.  He’s not asking for an explanation.




I’ve gone back and forth, over the past week, about whether I would share this story or not.  Clearly, my final decision WAS to share.  Here’s why:

I will not

These are my sisters hands. They know who I am; and I know them.

No excuse, in my opinion, no matter what this other person might be going through, would justify such unprovoked cruelty.

What she said is an unsubstantiated and judgmental lie.

I was bullied for much of my life and it was successful because, like a “good” victim, I kept my mouth shut.

I am no longer a victim.  I am no longer a scared little girl.

I am a strong, passionate, caring, kick-ass, capable woman.  I will no longer keep secrets for bullies.  They have little power unless we give it to them.





Even in my life story, people have asked me, “Not to talk about it.  Not to bring it up.”  Why?  “Because it’s almost ‘too real’.  It’s uncomfortable for people to hear about.”

Well, that’s just too bad.

It’s a real story.  I am a real person.  A super quick Google search this morning, showed that more than half of ALL sexual assaults happen to children 17 and under, the median age of victims is 9 (I was 10) and 30% of victims never tell a soul.  I am special but I am (sadly) not that unique.


I have worked, and worked, and worked, to finally get to a place where I felt like I am good enough.  That’s only been the last couple of years – I have shared that journey with you, and held many of your hands as you’ve traveled your path.  I will not let anyone – friend, or someone who has no idea what I’ve been through over my life – tell me that I am not good enough to help other people.  I will never, again, accept that I am not good enough to be me.  Unapologetically me.  Scars and all.