Category: Fit for the Road

Making Work More Healthy

Debbie Hatch |  Family & F.I.T.

I travel a couple hundred days every year.  Occasionally on road trips but more typically by plane.


Yesterday I flew from DC to Los Angeles.  Many people ask how it’s possible to stay fit with so much travel.


Know what, though?  I don’t think it’s harder for me than it is for anyone else.


While my commute might look a little different than yours; while I might get on a plane rather than sit in a car in traffic; while I might work with different people every day in a different location, it’s still “just a Monday morning work day”.


The way I stay fit – and the way you do – is to make myself a priority.  I schedule workouts on my calendar just like I do appointments with my clients.  I keep that commitment.


I keep things as easy as possible.  I’m not interested in a short term “fix”.  I want to be healthy for the rest of my life.


We need to take care of ourselves in order to do good work.


  • I got to the airport early and walked two miles.  Could you add in some time to walk “at work”?  Before?  After?
  • I don’t sit until I’m on the plane.  Do you have the ability to stand up at work a little more than you do now?
  • I drank a bottle of water while waiting.  Adding more water is something we can (and should) all do.  Have a glass before breakfast.  Have one before coffee.  Have one with each meal.  Have one before bed.



I brought snacks and lunch in my bag, merely because I like to be in control of what I eat – vice being at the mercy of the airline.

I adore the fact that airports are offering more healthy choices. Reagan International has fruit – and even a washing station.


Does your work center offer healthy options?  If not, can you bring something in your purse or briefcase?




Lunch on the cross-country flight was a salad from Whole Foods Market, including turkey and egg whites to cover my protein requirements.  And…yup,  water.


I have a bottle before I board the flight, during every lay over, and on each flight.





Staying fit, no matter what your job or life commitments might be, is not complicated.  That’s not to say it’s easy.  But it is simple.


Some suggestions include:


  • Plan your meals for the week – at least some of them.
  • Shop on the weekend – and do some prep work so you’re ready to go on that Tuesday night when you get out of work late and life is crazy.
  • Keep fresh fruits and veggies in your fridge (for me, it’s the mini fridge but, again……otherwise, the same.)
  • Drink water.
  • Have some protein at every meal.
  • You definitely don’t need to live on salads but you should eat a few servings of veggies, every day.
  • Set time to get to the gym (or to walk, attend an exercise class, do yoga, dance, or whatever you like) 3-4 times a week.  Then keep that appointment.
  • Read your  labels and know what one serving is – many times it is not one whole container.
  • Stop eating when you’re full – you are under no obligation to eat everything on your plate.
  • Plan ahead and have some healthy choices in your desk, or for that marathon meeting.
  • Take the stairs vs the elevator.

Healthy employees are more productive too. It’s refreshing to see many work centers focusing a little more on employee health and wellness.


Can you think of any other ways you might make your workday a little more healthy?  I’d love to hear them.

All Bars are Not Created Equal

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch

Vending machine

I’ve seen vending machines that contain protein bars and drinks popping up in various gyms.
This is great from the perspective of convenience.
As is always the case though, it’s a good idea to read the label and be aware of what you’re consuming.


I bought both of these bars, to throw in my suitcase, the other day.  Both boast 20 grams of protein on the label.


At 2.47 ounces, the EAS bar is slightly larger but the 2.12 ounce Quest bar prominently advertises “Only 2 he sugar” and “Gluten fee” – buzz words in today’s market.



You don’t “need” either.  When I work with health & fitness clients, my plans always include this paragraph:


Protein bars should be used for the emergency “I’m running really late, starving, and don’t have a lot of options” moments but whole food is always best. Ditto protein powders. They’re an excellent way to get nutrients and add protein (especially post workout) but try to focus on food.


About these two bars.  The EAS is 280 calories with 11 grams of fat and 29 carbs, as well as 14 grams of sugar and 220 milligrams of sodium.  This Quest is 200 calories with 9 grams of fat, 21 carbs, 2 grams of sugar and 200 mg sodium.  For most of us, these would (or at the most, should) be meal replacements, not just a “snack” on the way out of the gym, to immediately be followed up with a full meal.

The currently very popular Oh Yeah! bars stand on level ground with the EAS and Quest:  about 20 grams of protein, 7-9 fat, and 21-24 carbs.  Let’s look at some of the others in these vending machines.  None are “bad” – I just want you to be aware of the differences.


LarabarLaraBars are much smaller; only 60 – 75% of the others.  Heavily advertised with all of the marketable terms:  “Kosher.  Vegan.  Non-GMO.  Soy-Free.  Dairy Free.  Gluten Free.”

If these things are important or necessary to you (and for some, they are), that’s great.  For most of us, though, these are not actually requirements but merely words that we think make the product “healthy” or “better for us”.


These small bars have about the same amount of calories and carbs but they have 10 grams of fat and only 4 grams of protein.  Again, let me emphasize the fact that I’m not saying they’re “bad” but they most certainly are also NOT protein bars.


Cliff Bars are another popular choice and I’ve seen these in several locations.

Clif Bar

One bar equals 240 calories with only 3.5 grams of fat but only 9 grams of protein, a whopping 45 grams of carbohydrates and 3 different types of added sugar.  Call it an energy bar, please, not a protein bar.


Tiger’s Milk was one of the first protein bars, first introduced in the 60s, but it’s still hanging around.  At half the size of my Quest bar, it contains 145 calories with 8 grams of fat, and only 6 of protein.  High fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient; followed by peanut butter and then corn syrup.  There are numerous bars with twice the protein and better ingredients and taste.


Make whole food your priority.  Keep the bars for your “emergency stash” – like your suitcase, purse, or desk drawer.  Please read your labels, and let me know if you have any questions or need help.






How I Lost Weight While Eating Chocolate Macadamia Nuts

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


This is me “just fit” but not competing.

I believe there are four levels of fitness.




Fit, and



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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s No Peanut Butter on the Airplane

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
Do you Timehop? I love the program and its little daily memory joggers of times gone past. Like this one:
I travel – a LOT.  As I stated in the original post, I have had very few issues with TSA:  domestically or internationally.  When I posted this original status, I was deep in the middle of prepping for an NPC figure competition.
Air travel + competition prep = some pretty ridiculous stories.
In all seriousness, though, if you are flying for the holidays, knowing how to pack your carry on for a quick and easy trip through the TSA security line, can limit stress and aggravation.  
Firearms, knives (even small jackknives), box cutters, swords, scissors, baseball bats, screwdrivers, hockey sticks, hammers, axes, cattle prods and the like are forbidden in carry on luggage.
I don’t think anyone will find this list surprising.
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What makes me raise my eyebrows is knowing there is a factual reason why each item was specifically written onto the list.  I mean, seriously, I’m not even allowed to bring my ice pick on the plane!  What to heck?  Doesn’t everybody travel with an ice pick?
You can, though, carry food through security, if you would like to.
Let me stop here for one moment.  Why would you bring food with you, anyway?
NOT because you can’t eat food purchased at the airport but because…
– Sometimes flights are delayed (especially during busy holiday seasons, and/or when there is a chance of foul weather),
– Sometimes you don’t actually have enough time between one flight and the next, to grab something. 
– Airport food can be expensive, and choices limited,
– Airline cookies, crackers, or pretzels aren’t the best way to fuel your body, 
– You want to have more control over what you eat vs being at the airline/airport’s mercy, 
– You have dietary restrictions, or
– Maybe because you have a competition coming up in the very near future and you are limiting what you eat.
The only thing, other than weapons listed above, that are limited, are liquids, gels, aerosols,
creams, or pastes.  Each traveler is authorized only one quart-sized bag of these times.  Each item inside the bag is limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).
That means, food is fine (I routinely carry protein bars, protein powder – along with an empty shaker which I can fill with water inside the airport, tuna packets, fresh fruit, and nuts) but no yogurt, peanut butter, pre-made protein shakes, jelly, hummus, or items of like consistency.
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Here is the official TSA food list.


As deep as my peanut butter addiction runs, there’s absolutely nothing on this list I can’t live without for a period of time (PS it’s easy enough to have nuts, instead of nut butter).  That said, if I simply must have these items, I do have options.

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I can bring individual serving sizes.  In fact, a number of companies (like Minimus) sell nothing but travel-sized items.






I can buy items, at the airport once I have cleared security.  Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.40.14 PM  Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.42.07 PM



If you’re planning a trip, during the holidays or after, domestic or international, and you want some suggestions for what you can and cannot carry on the plane, shoot me an e-mail.  I’d be happy to help.


Putting on the Miles: Not the Pounds. Mitigating Holiday Travel.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

By the time the sun came up, we had driven from DC to Harrisburg, PA

By the time the sun came up, we had driven from DC to Harrisburg, PA


Like many other people, my husband and I are traveling to see family for the upcoming holiday.  We were up at 3 o’clock this morning, and left the house by 4:30.  I spend a lot of time on the road, but today my ride was a Ford F-150 rather than the more typical Boeing 737.  Pros and cons.  Pro: I’m not limited to what will fit into a carry-on. Con: it’s going to be a 12-hour trip (maybe more depending on traffic and because we’re towing a trailer).


Staying healthy on the road can seem a formidable task for those not accustomed to it. We have a tendency to relax, eat whatever is available, not drink as much water as we typically would, and exercise considerable less.  Holiday travel is especially challenging because we take on the mentality of, “I’ll be eating a lot on Thursday anyway.  What difference does it make?”


Here’s the problem with that type of thinking.  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.  Ah, to heck with it, we might as well wait for January and start fresh at that point.  Right?


The holidays themselves aren’t the problem.  Unless you have an impending physical competition, enjoy a piece of your grandmother’s pecan pie or Challah French toast.  Try some of your sister’s cornbread stuffing, latkes, mincemeat, or potted cheese.  Those of us fortunate enough to be able to celebrate, should be grateful for the opportunity.  Enjoy family, friends, and yes, food.


Thanksgiving is on Thursday though.  Today is only Saturday.  If I were to start celebrating today and go through the start of the new year – what began as three days of celebration would have become two full months.


Many convenience stores are offering a wider array of options.

Many convenience stores are offering a wider array of options.


I had this in the back of my mind this morning. I also know that my husband doesn’t like to stop for anything except gas and potty breaks.  Both at the same time:  we stop for gas, go to the restroom, and also grab something to eat from the gas station or travel plaza.  Occasionally there’s a Subway or McDonalds but otherwise it’s convenience store food or whatever I brought with me.


I prefer to plan for my own success and I like options.  I know that eating nutritious food makes me feel better (more alert, less bloated, and just “lighter” overall).  Adding more salt and fat than I’m used to can upset my stomach.  Who wants that while traveling?

Lemon protein waffles with fresh raspberries & a coffee to go.

Lemon protein waffles with fresh raspberries & a coffee to go.



I started my morning, as I always do, with protein, carbohydrates, and some fat.  I also packed a small cooler with almonds, apples, ground turkey, sweet peppers, squash, salmon packets, hard-boiled eggs, protein powder, Quest bars, and water.




Mid-morning I had a Greek yogurt and water.




I also had a coffee at Starbucks.


Lattes and frappaccchinos can carry a huge wallop of calories, fat, and sugar.


I just get a tall coffee, with a shot of Christmas blend espresso and 1 pump of sugar free hazelnut.

I just get a tall coffee, with a shot of Christmas blend espresso and 1 pump of sugar free hazelnut.




How Often Should We Eat?  This is one of those questions that everybody has an opinion on. Some think we should eat 3 meals a day; some think 6; some advocate only 2. I think it requires a bit of personal experimentation. There are foods you like that I don’t.  There is a way of eating you may prefer and I might not. I do best with 4-5 small meals spaced throughout the day.










For lunch, my husband decided to stop at McDonald’s.  I contemplated getting something there as well (fish or chicken sandwich, scrambled eggs, or a salad) but nothing particularly appealed to me so I had spinach, squash, chicken, and cranberries from the cooler.






How Could I be a Health Coach and “Allow” my Husband to Eat This Way?  Some people act as though my husband should eat and exercise the way that I do.  We’re different people.  We like different things – from hobbies to food.  My husband is a grown man. He makes his choices and I make mine. That’s the way it always has to be with adults.


I know it doesn’t always seem like it.  I have many female clients tell me, “I’d like to watch what I eat but, my husband expects me to eat with him. He expects me to have what he’s having.”


That’s an excuse.


That might seem harsh but I’m not one to sugar-coat.  We might not want to hear it, but…


That’s an excuse.


We are responsible for our own decisions.  I’m not saying make two options at every meal. I’m just saying we can decide – from whatever has been prepared – what and how much to put on our own plate. We can decide whether we want to snack or not.


We can decide to say, “No. I’m not really hungry right now. You go ahead and have some ice cream. I don’t think I’m going to have any.”  It’s hard because the truth is we really want the ice cream. If we don’t have any but he does, we feel like we’re missing out. Oh my gosh, what if he eats all the ice cream and there’s none left? (The answer, of course, is that we can buy some more tomorrow – or, heck, even later today).


Blaming my husband for having ice cream and therefore “making me have it too” is much easier.  Eating a Big Mac with fries and then saying, “I wouldn’t have gone to McDonald’s but that’s what my husband chose, so…” takes the responsibility away from myself.


To be clear, I’m not villainizing ice cream – or McDonald’s.

If you want it, have it.


I’m 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.




As the sun sat, we were still on the road but had made it to Maine.


Dinner was a quick stop at Panera.

fuji chicken apple salad with dressing on the side, apple, and a glass of water.

fuji chicken apple salad with dressing on the side, apple, and a glass of water.

Why I ate Buttermilk Pancakes on Vacation

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


I’ve been on the road for 183 days, so far, this year.  Typically I fly in, teach, and fly home or directly on to another class.  I may travel further for my job than you do, and it might be a slightly different job, but it’s still just my job.  I’m not on vacation.


Two weeks ago, though, I had two classes scheduled in Hawaii.  My husband came with me and we added a few days of vacation before I went to work.  It was unusual and glorious!!  Let me know if you’re not tired of seeing pictures of sunrises, sunsets, hiking, and scuba diving.  I have plenty more I can share.


Like you, I ate a little differently on vacation, than I do on a regular work day.  Many people find weekends, vacation, and restaurants specifically challenging.  For that reason, I thought I’d share some of the choices I made while traveling.  It is possible to chill, enjoy vacation, and enjoy food without negating your health and fitness gains (or losses as the case may be).




On the plane.  I had these choices

(A) Quest bar and coffee or

(B) Pretzels, peanuts, or airline snack boxes.

Why did I choose the Quest?

The snack boxes are filled with fat, sodium, and sugar.  I’m not opposed to any of those things in moderation but travel can be dehydrating as it is.  We spent 10 hours in the air and another 4 hours in airports so movement was very limited all day.

I prefer “real food” to these bars but they work very well for travel.

It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about making the best choice from among the choices available.




This was actually dinner at the hotel.  ===>

I don’t believe certain foods should be reserved for certain times of the day.

Why did I choose this?

After flying all day, I craved fresh fruit and some vegetables (there was spinach and mushrooms in the omelet).  Egg whites are a great source for protein.  My husband had a chicken Caesar salad – he felt the same way I did about getting some veggies.




We were up at 3 on the first day of vacation (there was a 6 hour time change from DC) and after enjoying Greek yogurt and fruit while walking on the beach and watching the sunrise, we left for a day of hiking.

For lunch we split a turkey, bacon, avocado club and and sweet potato fries.

Why did we split the meal?

There was so much food on the plate that we both left the table full.  It made no sense to get two huge meals since we had no way to keep the leftovers.



Day 2 also began at 3 o’clock in the morning with breakfast on the beach for sunrise.  We had dive boat reservations at 10.  After two dives and some time on the boat, we headed to lunch.  We were hungry!!!!  Salt water, sun, and ocean breezes tend to have that affect on me.  I ordered a Denver egg-white omelet and buttermilk pancakes.  Brent ordered chocolate chip pancakes.  I ate the omelet and one pancake (I brought the other two with me for peanut butter foll-up snacks on subsequent days).

Why did we order pancakes?

Why not?  We were hungry.  Comfort food was beckoning.  Our dives totaled two hours, we planned a short afternoon hike, and another walk on the beach for sunset.  There was plenty of movement today!





What we didn’t order.  

Waffle & Pancake Blvd (where we ordered the delicious pancakes pictured above) had plenty of offerings we didn’t choose.


They had deep fried Oreos.  I’m not a huge fan of Oreos anyway so I certainly didn’t need them battered and fried.





If Oreos weren’t enough, they also had deep fried cheesecake.  They almost got me with this one!!



I decided I would eat my food before I made a decision about ordering dessert.  I couldn’t even finish my pancakes so, in the end, I didn’t need dessert.  (and I didn’t feel deprived….  I was full and hate that uncomfortable feeling of being stuffed).  I can deep fry cheesecake at ANY point in the future if I decide I want to.  It’s not going to disappear from the earth just because I didn’t eat it in Hawaii.


Each item in my health triad:  Mindset Mostly  *  Nutrition  *  Movement   was considered in my choices.

How much did I move in a given day?  The more exercise I had, the more hungry I would be and the more food I would eat.

Which choice would give me the protein and fresh fruit/veggies that I have set as a top priority for myself?  After that, which healthy fats and carbs would I like?

It’s always mindset mostly.

I can think, “I can’t have this or that”, “Oh my gosh, why can’t I have fried cheesecake?”, “I have to be good” and other things like that.  Such a mindset would leave me feeling deprived.  If I can’t have something – that is the one thing I want!!


I can think, “I can have anything I want on this menu.  I would like to make the best choice for my goals though.  First I’m going to select a protein, then I’ll select a healthy fat, and a carbohydrate.  I might have dessert but I’m going to eat my meal before I make that decision.”


Do you see the difference?  Do you think the different way of looking at things will help when you feel at the whim of the menu?  Try it the next time you go out.  Let me know how it goes.




Secrets for Surviving Extreme Travel

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

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I spent 11 hours on a plane yesterday.  There were two layovers and one mechanical issue that caused us to return to the gate and change planes.  We left Honolulu at 8 p.m. Friday and didn’t land in D.C. until 6 p.m. Saturday.

A few weeks ago, I flew 5 hours from Los Angeles to Atlanta where I was to catch my connection to Charlotte, NC.  That flight was scheduled for 36 minutes.  Due to lightening; however, we circled the airport for a break in the weather, landed, and sat on the tarmac for over three hours before ground crew was allowed outside.


I’ve slept in multiple airports:  a time or two in a chair, a few times on the floor (under a chair or on top of my 1934373_1187468439384_708150_nluggage), and once on a table in a food court in Lisbon, Portugal.  I’ve slept in the Yotel at Heathrow a couple of times and a sleeping berth in the United Red Carpet Club, Istanbul, Turkey.

There have been more than a few delays, flight cancellations, and challenges.  Volcanoes, ice/snow, and hurricanes/typhoons have impacted my travel.

I get tired of the travel.  I get tired of being surrounded by people, yet being completely alone.  I get tired of hotels and restaurant meals.  I get tired of having only enough time to do laundry, and repack, between trips.

I long to be the person who says, “I can only sleep in my own bed” and/or, “it’s so nice to be home.”

Alas.  That just is not my life right now.


My story is not that unusual. According to the CDC, 5.1 million Americans traveled overseas on business last year.  That number has been increasing consistently on an annual basis. In a 2013 Entrepreneur magazine article, Bruce Schoenfeld coined this as, “extreme travel”.  He wrote, “I couldn’t handle extreme travel for more than a few months at a time. It takes a toll. It frays connections with friends and family and shoves all other projects so far out of mind that I don’t even remember to feel guilty about avoiding them.”

Amen!!  Oh my gosh.  Amen!!

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There are a lot of little secrets and life lessons I’ve gleaned from this past decade of extreme travel.



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We can’t do anything about aircraft issues, airport delays, or the weather.

No one can.  No, not even the airline employee at the counter.

Yesterday I saw many people get very frustrated, become belligerent and rude.  People were cutting in front of each other and pushing to get off the plane.  Such behavior does nothing except escalate problems.

The airline is aware of the delay and knows that everyone wants/needs to get to their final location.  They’re working on it, trust me.

Remaining pleasant and patient not only makes you feel more positive and calm, but it may also mean customer service (and other customers) treats you better!  I have actually been given a stand-by seat, on two different occasions, because I was not rude to the people trying to help me.  TSA and airline personnel are just trying to do their jobs – like the rest of us.



After flying all day, or working all day and then flying well into the evening, it’s easy to feel fatigued and just want to crash on the sofa.  There is not only the stress of travel, but also work-related stress.  E-mails and voice messages need to be returned.  Reports and proposals need to be completed.  Books need to be edited/ordered, and travel arrangements for future trips need to be done.

To minimize the negative stress effects, it’s critical to eat well and exercise regularly.  I love trying local fare but I do my best to avoid the free cookies, vending machines, hotel bar, and manager’s receptions.

There are a lot of people, and a lot of germs, on airplanes.  Fatigue and sleep deprivation during travel can also weaken the immune system, making you even more susceptible.  Staying hydrated helps.  I bring a water bottle to the airport with me and I am required to drink one bottle before boarding and at least one bottle on each flight.  I also take an Emergen-C each morning, and wash my hands between/after every flight.

Fit in movement when and where you can:  on and off the plane.  Let’s face it, airplane seats aren’t known for their ergonomics or comfort.  The normal airplane seat forces your neck and head forward.  Trying to sleep means tilting your head either way back or way forward.  And we all know what hours being hunched over a laptop feels like.  Sitting in a cramped position for hours can cause stiffness, spasms, cramps, and put you at risk for blood clots.  On longer flights, I wear compression hose.  No lie!  I also stretch on the airplane. My chiropractor recommends standing periodically.  I do not sit down at the airport – I spend enough time doing that on the plane.  I run in neighborhood parks, lift in the hotel fitness center, utilize residential playgrounds, watch exercise DVDs and travel with both a jump rope and fitness bands.



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Travel across time zones interferes with the body’s circadian rhythm (our biological clock). This, in turn, negatively affects our quality of sleep.  Unlike traveling for leisure, where there is time to adjust to jet lag, arriving at my work location well after midnight, and being in the classroom no later than 7:30, means I have to hit the road running.

Go “all in” with the new time zone.  I do not say, “at home, it’s this time or that time.”  I merely say, “okay, it’s this time.” whatever it happens to be in my locale.

Try to stick to normal morning routines and habits.  I get up at the same time no matter whether at home or on the road.  Eat breakfast about the same time.  Go to the gym about the same time.




One of my mantras is “Mindset Mostly”.

I repeat it to myself frequently.  It means mindset is mostly what affects my situation and outcome.

Mindset mostly means regardless of my frustration, “I just nod whenever someone tells me how envious they are that I get to travel to so many interesting places, realizing they don’t understand the costs and challenges involved.”

It means I run the new Marriott commercial over and over in my head:  “Some people have to travel for work.  Some people get to travel for work.”

Mindset mostly means I am grateful for the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, and the experiences I’ve had.

It means, regardless of the challenges, I sincerely enjoy every single sunrise I am lucky enough to see from the air.

What are we Missing by Being Bystanders in Life?

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


I added the picture above, merely so that you could have something to look at.


The post is actually about this video:

Sleeping on the beach


I shot this at 0345 on the beach in Waimanalo, Hawaii.  I know it’s dark.  In fact, it’s black….you can see nothing, and that’s my point.


Some things you can’t see

You can only feel

Some things you can’t share

You have to experience them for yourself


So simple.

Yet, potentially life altering.


If you have never slept on the beach, with a warm ocean breeze caressing your body, and the sounds of waves crashing just a short distance away, I strongly recommend you do.

Add it to your list.

Make the time to do it.


My first experiences of this magnitude were on Okinawa, Japan from 1995-1998.  My children were young.  The 4 of us would pile into our tiny 3-cylnder Subaru Domingo and head for the northern reaches of the island.

We, and occasionally a Japanese family or two were the only humans out there.

We would roast marshmallows.  Sit around the camp fire, enjoy each other’s company, scuba dive once it was dark, play in tide pools, and sleep on the beach. We would get up super early, walk, and watch the sun rise.  They are some of my favorite life-memories.  And, I like to think, some of my children’s treasured times as well.



So, too, this morning.  There are a lot of people staying in cabins and condos along the beach.  Brent and I were the only two taking time to watch the sun rise.  I don’t care that we were alone:  I, actually prefer it.


I wonder, though, if the people who are tucked away, inside their beds realize what they are missing.


I wonder if they’ve ever taken the time to experience the day, literally, bursting into being.







It was so incredible that we couldn’t “just” watch.

Please don’t be a bystander in life….




The ocean (quite easily) convinced us to join her…

What an amazing start to an amazing day, in the rest of our lives.




Post script:  I’m not “lucky” and neither of us were born into privileged families.  We have made a series of decisions that put us here – on this beach – on this morning – enjoying its splendor.  I’m not here on vacation.  I’m here for work…but it is these moments of shared solitude that make life worth living.


Travel Tips: Road-Tripping & Fitness-Focused Suitcase edition

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T. 


My niece, in London, with me. Road-tripping the country!!


The people in my local bars may not know my name, but the folks at the rental car agency do.

It’s nice to walk in on Monday and have someone say, “Ms. Hatch!!!!! How are you today?” In fact, one day the attendant handed me a rose and said, “I saw your name on the list this morning and wanted to brighten your day. How amazing is that?

My paperwork is always done and waiting.

Now if I could just get them in the habit of having my coffee in a to-go cup, I’d have it made!!




Although I travel hundreds of days each year, most people don’t. That’s a good, and bad, thing – depending on how you look at it. Regardless, I wanted to take the opportunity of sharing a few of my travel tips this afternoon.

These tips are for a road trip.

The series will include future installments for air travel, hotel workouts, awesome fitness apps, and how to be creative in finding places to workout while traveling.


Picking the Rental Car

I can select any car on the lot that I like. Things I (and you might want to) consider include:


  • Ease and quickness of picking up the car. Signing up (for free) for a loyalty program is definitely worth it! Many times that means rather than waiting in line at the counter, you merely find your assigned spot posted on the board – you walk to your car, and you’re outta there.  I am enrolled with five different programs.


  • Good gas mileage. This is key for me personally. I see no need to get an intermediate car. My business associates may disagree. My friend who is over 6’2” definitely isn’t interested in a compact car. My associate who lives for sports, views her satellite radio as the premier requirement.


  • Full tank of gas. Yes, they are all supposed to be full but that’s not always the case. You do have tIMG_6843o check! On at least three occasions (once overseas where petrol was $8 / gallon) I’ve been given a rental car with less than a full tank. Just ask them to fill the car, or give you a different one, before you leave the lot.

 I may, or may not, pay for the ability to bring the car back with less than a full tank. It depends on how much driving I’m going to be doing and how much time I have between dropping the car and getting back to the airport after class. Contrary to popular belief, paying for them to fill the tank (provided you’ve used the entire tank – – I mean, I literally cruise in on fumes!) is not any more expensive, and sometimes it’s less expensive, than filling it at a local station.

Speaking of that, be aware the last gas station(s) before the rental car lot IS going to typically be more expensive than any station you might find that’s out a few miles.



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  • USB audio port for my books and podcasts. No, not every car has one, as odd as that might sound. I read voraciously when I’m driving. I have an Audible gold subscription. It’s amazing!!!!






This route does require tolls.

This route does require tolls.

  • Toll pass box. This can be handy and I never travel throughout the Northeast without one. My personal EZ pass is preloaded with my credit card information but, if I don’t have that with me, for some reason, I rent a car with one.


Who has spare cash for – or wants to waste time – the stop and go lines?







  • Key fob with automatic entry and audible alarm button. Again, you might think this is standard but that’s not always the case. I travel alone 99% of the time so these safety features are important to me.  I will not accept a car that “just” has a standard key and nothing else.


Packing a Fitness-Focused Suit Case

Even with as much as I travel, I still print a list, every single time. It’s the little things you’ll forget without a list: like your under garments. Trust me.

Things that always go into my bag include:

  • My iPad, pre-loaded with more audiobooks and podcasts than I could ever listen to on one trip!  But…what if I don’t have wifi for new downloads?  I like to be prepared.


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  • Gym Membership. I love to lift and have memberships to a couple of different gyms. Anytime Fitness is my favorite because I can get into any club, anywhere, at any time, with my key fob. That said, most gyms offer a per day fee even if you’re not a member. Personally, spending $8 – $10 for a workout provides more enjoyment than say, taking myself to the movies. That may or may not be true for you.






  • Workout Bands. I frequently travel to remote areas so, even though I have my gym fob, there isn’t always a
    Versatile. Compact. Full-body workout in a bag!

    Versatile. Compact. Full-body workout in a bag!

    gym close by. I can use my workout bands to supplement the hotel gym, or even in my room.


    My favorite bands are by Fitgevity. They store in a small travel bag and these things stay in the front pocket of my suitcase!

Kate is a friend of mine and she’s offered a 15% discount to my e-Family on individual loop bands as well as the loop band set.  Thank you, girl!!!!

Just type “FAMFIT15” during check out.

There are several exercise suggestions on the Fitgevity website.  Here are a few I did just yesterday.  The bands help (a TON) with pull-ups.  You just put one foot, or in my case your knee) into the band.  It helps with the concentric part of the movement (the pull UP portion) but not too much.

Fitgevity Resistance Band Workout



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  • Snacks.  Chips, cookies, and granola bars aren’t “forbidden” but they also don’t provide the energy or nutrition I need to be a healthy and fit roadwarrior. Rather, I bring packets of tuna, protein powder, water, fruit, Quest bars and yes, chicken breast. RX Bars are yummy too. Have you tried these?



  • Monochromatic clothing. The more individual pieces I can mix and match – the better AND the fewer pairs of shoes I need to carry! For a week’s traveling, I bring one (an absolute max of two) pair of shoes, a pair of flip flops and I wear my sneakers.  No, you don’t really need an entire suitcase for your shoes, ladies!!


  • My RoadID. Again, this is a piece of safety equipment for me. It contains my blood type, my name, address, Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.44.16 PMand two points of contact for emergencies. I wear this to the gym and every time I go out running or walking.  My grandson also bought me this bracelet for running/walking after dark.  It lights up with movement.





About those Doubletree Cookies

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.
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I really try to focus on an abundance mindset in all areas of my life.  And, I have to tell you, it can be difficult!  It’s essentially that I will get everything I’m supposed to get, regardless of how much other people get.  I struggle more in remembering this for my business and personal life than I do in eating but that’s likely because I’ve worked on a healthy eating mindset for a lot longer.  The rest will come….I know it.
I know it, because I can clearly remember that I didn’t always have this mindset when it came to eating either.
It’s remembering that the wine, or cookies, or beer, or pasta, or whatever it is that you love, will be there tomorrow…and the day after that…and the day after that.
We don’t have to have it today just because it crossed our mind.
Now, even though it’s easier for me now, there are still plenty of times I struggle.  Last week for example.  I stayed at the Doubletree my first night in California.  I LOVE their cookies.  You know the ones.  Those giant, chocolatey and nutty delicious cookies.  They’re warm.  They’re welcoming.  They’re free when you check in.  I want one!!
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The second night, I moved to a different part of the city and checked in at the Hilton.  They always leave Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies in my room. They’re right there on the bed when I walk in.
These cookies do not cross my mind on a normal day.  I never think about them until I walk into the hotel.  Then, I want all the cookies!!!  My desire is triggered by seeing them.  It’s easy for me to justify them because
(a) they are my reward for a tough day of traveling and
(b) they are right there in front of my face, attacking my senses.
Why would I refuse?  I should have a cookie.  My default behavior used to be to eat the cookies.   My reward was a nice little sugar rush and a warm feeling in my tummy, because…I love cookies.
It’s typically late when I check into the hotel, and I’ve spent the entire day sitting on my butt.  The last thing my body needs before going to bed is a cookie.
I travel a lot.  This is where business travelers can pack on the pounds:  there’s the free hotel breakfast buffet; a quick lunch (if not out of the vending machine or fast-food, maybe a catered working lunch – croissant sandwich, small salad – if you’re lucky – and dessert); dinner out (alone or with a client: either way, you’re exhausted from the day and are looking for comfort food) or at the free hotel evening reception, maybe a couple of drinks in the hotel bar, and the cookies.  It adds up.
I’m in a hotel hundreds of nights each year.
Just focusing on the cookies, never mind everything else.  If I eat a cookie (314 calories, 17 grams of fat and 39 grams of carbohydrates for the Doubletree or 230, 13, 26 in the Milanos) each night I’m on the road (4 nights a week), that’s 1,256 extra calories per week.  5,024 calories extra per month, and 60,288 calories each year that I travel.
On nothing but a cookie!!!!!!  …a cookie to which most people would say, “what’s the big deal?”
You can easily see the problem!  It’s a big friggin’ deal!!!!!
With an abundance mindset, I remind myself that I can have a cookie any time I want but not every time I want.
There will be another hotel and more cookies tomorrow.  I know that!  It’s still not easy and I’m not yet at a point where I can actually “trust” myself with the cookies so I’ve had to change my default behavior.  Now, when I check in and they start to hand me a cookie or ask if I want one, I have to say, “no thank you”.  Don’t even accept the cookie.
When I get to my room, I have to get rid of the Milano cookies and – I’m just going to be completely open and honest here – throwing them in the trash does NOT work.  I will, in a moment of weakness, dig that package out of the trash and eat them.  I’m not proud to say this but, the fact is, I’ve done it more than once.  So, now, I open the package and flush them down the toilet.  …as soon as I walk into the room.
The trigger is there.
My behavior has changed.
My reward has changed.  Now instead of feeling guilty; I feel empowered.  I make the choice to either eat or get rid of the cookies.  I’m not eating them out of habit.