Category: Inspiration

Foreboding Joy

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

Have you ever experienced foreboding joy?  You know, that sense when everything is going great, you had better watch out.  You can’t let yourself feel too happy.  You need to be prepared and on guard.  Things are too good.  Something bad is about to happen at any moment.

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I first heard the term in my on-going Brene Brown, Strong Rising, mindset course.  Twenty years prior to this class, I remember experiencing foreboding joy.  I didn’t know what it was called at the time.  We had left Maine for the first time and were living in Texas.  Brent was going to school, the kids were enrolled in day camp, and I had nothing to do for the first time in my life.  It was unsettling.  We had family game nights each evening.  We laughed, played, and simply enjoyed each other’s company.  We shared stories of cacti and scorpions.  We wore trash bags to a rodeo in the a thundershower.  We ate ice cream, frequently; watched small planes fly, and learned that running to the oil well you could see might mean you’d be running for ten miles.  Life was fantastic!!!


I worried, constantly.  Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.24.38 PM

I knew something bad was going to happen.  I didn’t know what or when but things were too good.  Something bad always happened.  I pushed the thoughts away until they started manifesting themselves as nightmares while I slept.

Over the years, I’ve really worked on eliminating this.  It does nothing for me – worry or not, what is going to  happen is going to happen.  By worrying when nothing was happening, I was not allowing myself to feel joy in the moment.  Little by little, I’ve gotten better but, sometimes I still have to consciously think about it.



This was the case as we headed to vacation.  This trip had been planned for a decade.  We were super excited!  We’ve both dove around 300 dives.  But….on the flight from Fiji to Guadalcanal, I thought, “I’m excited but also quite anxious.  I feel worried and nervous – not about anything in particular.  Just overall.”  I talked to Brent about it and he reassured me everything would be fine but said he felt the foreboding joy too.  Neither of us could quite put our finger on it.  It got worse for Brent through the first day of diving.  Once I got in the water, it got much better for me.  By day two, it was gone.


The trip was positively amazing and I’m so glad we didn’t spend any more time allowing worry to steal our happiness in the moment.

Travel Log:  Day  4  Guadalcanal


The van picked us up from the airport and our guide, Leonard, his teeth stained red from betel juice, gushed about his homeland.  The Solomon Islands is an island nation located in the southwest Pacific, 1,500 miles west of Fiji and 1,200 miles northeast of Australia.



Leonard shared bits and pieces of information as we drove from Honiara to the dive boat, and beamed as he told us how proud “everyone” was of their tiny rugby team making the World cup.  I noticed trash, the price of gas ($6.57 / liter) ramshackle buildings, and people, every where.  The city of Honiara did not seem like a place I would care to spend much time and it must have showed on my face because, again, Brent reassured me.  “I’m sure you’re wondering what I got you into.  Don’t worry.”


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I wasn’t worried but I WAS trying to take everything in!  This is a 3rd world country where people are merely trying to survive.  I wondered how many tribes lived here, what it was like during WWII, and what the people’s life expectancy is currently (the answer is 67).  It is important to note that as time went on, we were told by multiple people not to judge the SIs by Honiara.  It is not indicative of the small island villages.  After having visited several of the villages, myself, I whole-heartedly agree!


We arrived at the dock and were shuttled to the dive boat (mv Bilikiki – a 125 ft long ship with 24 ft beam and 10 ensuite cabins) where we met Chaba (originally from Hungary) and his wife Daniella (originally from Venezuela); dive masters and managers of the Bilikiki for the past four years.  There was just enough time to settle in and unpack before we left the harbor at 1830.


We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have been joined by:

Group photo

  • The original owner, Rick – who bought this sunken boat from the government years ago, and restored it, with no business plan and no aspirations to “get rich”.  He had never even heard of The Solomon Islands and was merely following his passion and dream “to scuba dive”.
  • The current owner, Sam – who, although he doesn’t have Rick’s incredible story, is carrying on his legacy for both a passion in diving and in helping the people of these islands.
  • Two couples from Denver – one of whom sold their house, put everything they own into a 10 x 10 storage unit and have been “homeless” living everywhere from Japan to England, Africa, to the US for the past five years – and loving it!
  • A 65 year old apple farmer and his wife – who started their business with a small vegetable stand beside the road and now employ close to 100 people in one of the biggest orchards in upstate NY.  Both jump out of helicopters to go skiing!  Dennis had only completed his open water certification before coming on this trip.  He was OVER-THE-MOON excited every single dive!!!  It made me very happy.
  • A 72 year old gentleman from Long Beach who takes two to three of these trips each year, and had amazing stories to share.
  • A mysterious guy from Phoenix, who never would answer the question “what do you do?”
  • A lady from the Australia prosecutor’s office who has been stationed on Guadalcanal since the Solomon’s civil war in the early 2000s.  She told us the most prevalent crimes are domestic violence and given the small population, per capita, murder.
  • A couple from Los Angeles and a young couple from Mexico.

Meeting people like this was icing on the cake.  I loved their passion; the stories of success for “just” following a personal dream; and the shared experiences.  I felt it ignite my own passion….for life.

Tomorrow, we dive.

Morning Cup of Coffee: Move Forward

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

Morning cup of coffee, with a side of mindset.

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks.  The crown jewel in my collection.  I have two :-)

The original Starbucks icon mug from the original Starbucks. The crown jewel in my collection. I have two 🙂











Stop trying to find something to worry about, or be unhappy about! I’m not preaching the, “Be happy, be positive, never think bad thoughts” mantra. I’m preaching the, “You’re specifically seeking out something you can be unhappy about, and you need to stop it” mantra.

Here’s an example. I had a gentleman in one of my classes not too long ago. He said, “You know, back in 1990, I made a choice to opt out of this program, and instead, go over to that one.” He asked, “Do you think that was a mistake? Did I mess up?”

My response was, “To be completely honest, it doesn’t matter. It was an irrevocable decision. You cannot go back to 1990 and change your mind, and you can’t do anything about the choice you made back then, today.”

He pressed, “But did I make a mistake?”

I continued to say, “It doesn’t matter. The decision was made. The die was cast. What if you did make a mistake? Can you go back and change it? Can you do anything today to change it? ”

“No, ……”

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I’m not kidding, it went all like this for most of the day. Not continually, but every time he talked to me, he started by asking this question. At one point he even said, “Since you’re not giving me an answer, that tells me I DID make a bad choice.”

I never said any such thing. He was creating a problem.

Now, I ask YOU, just like I did him.
Why are you obsessing about “this”?
Why do you want to know if you “messed up” at some point in the past?
You are here.
At this moment.
Make your decisions from here and look forward.

Your past brought you here, yes. Some bad decisions may have been made, yes. What of it?

He, and I would argue, you, want to know if you made a mistake solely so that you can beat yourself up over it. So you can feel “bad”. So you can be miserable because you “messed up”.

STOP it.

That is all <3

Enjoy your coffee. Enjoy your day – this day, this moment, this decision.

Morning Cup of Coffee: Saying, “No” to the Noise

Handcrafted by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin. Given to me as a gift.

Handcrafted by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin. Given to me as a gift.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know how much I love my coffee?  I started drinking it when I was a teen:  at that point with half a cup of cream and a couple of sugars.  No wonder I liked it, right?  When I worked as a 911 dispatcher on the midnight shift, we drank coffee by the pot – not the cup!  Over the years, I’ve cut back.  It’s now typically two a day with just a little bit of cream (or a hint of Bailey’s) and no sugar.  Now I love strong coffee.
 But….this post isn’t really about my love of coffee.  
I have a huge Starbucks icon (that’s the only kind I like) mug collection but, I don’t collect just generic cups.  Well, let me correct that, too. I didn’t collect anything but my icons.  Recently several friends (and even clients) have given me special cups that mean a great deal to me, so it does appear that I AM collecting cups.  
But…this post isn’t really about my collection of coffee cups.  
It’s about my first cup of coffee each day.  It’s about sharing that cup of coffee with you.  
For a very long time, I’ve gotten up in the morning and reserved the first 20-30 minutes just for me. That’s my quiet time – time to prepare and plan for the day. To set my intention.  Time to sit and actually enjoy my coffee. I will get up at 430 or 5 JUST to have this time instead of jumping out of bed and running around like a crazy (crazier?).
Each day, I want to talk to you as I drink my coffee; to share how I’m starting the day. Sometimes they’ll be short conversations. Sometimes a little longer. Sometimes a post I saw, a picture, or maybe something from a class I’m taking.  Sometimes a blog I wrote.  They won’t be perfect.  It is my first cup of coffee!!  You don’t have to drink coffee to be here, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t 🙂
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Today’s cup was given to me by one of my biggest customers, The US Forest Service. It was handmade by Sunset Hill Stoneware in Wisconsin.
Today’s musings were triggered when my friend Paul shared this link of the US Women’s gymnastics team
“Amazing” doesn’t begin to describe these ladies. Wow.
While phenomenal, I’m not just interested in their physical abilities though.  It’s the mindset required for building a champion that fascinates me. The dedication to meeting a goal they’ve set for themselves. The hours (and hours, and hours) that go into getting better at “this”, accomplishing “this”, becoming the best at “this” – no matter what. And the absolute determination to say, “no”, unapologetically, to the outside noises in order to say, “yes” to their passion.
How amazing would life be if WE did this?  If we trained to “gold medal in life”!!!
If we refused to accept the limits placed on us – by ourselves!!!!!!  If we refused to stay small just because it’s comfortable.  Although I would argue that it really isn’t comfortable at all – it’s just habit.  It’s routine.  We let change scare us even though we hate where we are.  For example, I stayed in the classroom over lunch, a few months ago.  One of the men in my class stayed too and we started chatting.  He told me how much he hated his job.  He hates his co-workers and his boss.  He hates his house.  He hates getting up in the morning.  He’s under so much stress that he feels it is “killing him”.  He, literally, feels like he is going to die because of these things.
I told him what anybody else would have.  “You need to do something about it.  You can’t live like that.  You need to change something.”
BUT that’s very easy to say.  The problem with all of the “rah rah – just do it” “think positively” “you got this” and “don’t let anything hold you back” campaigns is that they stop there.  They tell you to just change something……
How to hell does that even happen?
Change can be incredibly intimidating, daunting, and difficult.  We feel trapped.  We feel we have not choice.  We’re not living life – we’re at the mercy of it.  We hate it but we feel like there’s nothing we can do about it.
That’s not true, but I know the feeling very well.  Contrary to the campaigns, there IS something very real holding you back.
You.  Me.  Us.
We can’t just decide to be different tomorrow.  Just like these gymnasts didn’t wake up one morning and run into the Olympic arena.  They had to work their asses off for the privilege to even be there – to even be given an opportunity to try!!!!
We have to start where we are.  That’s not just a saying.  It’s a fact!  Every one of these ladies have progressed to where they are today – they didn’t start there.
But we have to be willing to start.
Listen, we ALL have responsibilities.  We all have things we must do.  But is driving ourselves to an early grave, being stressed every single day, and hating every moment of life really the way you want to live?
It doesn’t have to be that way.  I’ve changed my life.  I’m still doing it.  I’ve seen other people do it.  I’m helping some do it right now.  Are our lives “perfect”?  Hell, no.  But they are pretty damn amazing.
This is it.  No dress rehearsal.  No do over.
We can’t change everything in one day.  We can’t “magically” wake up tomorrow and have everything be exactly as we envision it in our dreams, but we can…….we absolutely, positively, CAN do one thing – take one step at a time – that will change our lives.

Starting New Year’s on January 1st or 4th?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

It’s here.  January 1st.

The day that holds so many dreams, hopes, and wishes.  The day thousands of people believe they will wake up and “just” be a different person.  Although, you might have noticed that this year is a little different.  With the 1st falling on a Friday, I’ve heard countless people say they are just going to wait until Monday to start fresh.

Realistic goals should be something we’re looking forward to achieving.

If we have to wait until Monday, “so that we can enjoy the weekend” what does that say about the goals we’re setting?

  • That we’re dreading them?
  • That we don’t look forward to starting our journey to whatever it is we think we “have to do”?
  • That these goals do NOT fit into our lifestyle.  Not today – and not Monday either.

How successful can we hope to be with that mindset?
What if we first determine why we’d love to reach our goal?
Why we really want to do this – whatever it may be?  Yes, that again.  I know I sound like a broken record.  That’s because it’s important!!  It’s the most important piece.  You know how to do this – you’re not doing it because you haven’t determined it to be more important than all the other things you’d rather be doing.


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As I was out and about yesterday, I heard people say, “they would quit smoking” “exercise more” “do yoga every day” “get married (even though he’s not yet dating)” “lose 60 pounds” “become less dramatic” “enjoy life more” and “stop yelling at the kids”.

===>  Herein is the very reason why so many resolutions fail.

They’re not realistic.

They’re huge!

We think we can change everything all at once.

These are more like dreams for a perfect world, a perfect situation, a perfect life, than goals we actually want to work towards.

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We are not different people this morning.  The cigarettes are still there, and they’re still addictive.  I quit 15 years ago and still, occasionally, feel like I want one. If we didn’t have time, over the past 12 months, to get to the gym or do yoga, it’s unlikely we will “just find the time” starting today.  The girl who told me she would be less dramatic is still dramatic – that’s her personality, and she can be fun to hang out with, because of that.  The kids didn’t likely wake up this morning, little angels sporting shiny halos who will never frustrate you.

The fact is, I woke up the very same person I was at 1215 this morning when I crawled into bed.  So did you.  So did everybody else.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that wanting to improve yourself is wrong.  Far from it.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t set goals.  I’m not even saying that today’s not a good day to get started.  Humans have plenty of hard-wired reasons for being so fond of January 1st, and Mondays.  Here’s a blog I’ve written about that.



What I’m saying is:  life is messy, it’s busy, it’s complicated.  It’s not perfect.  We get pulled in a hundred different directions.  We have to set goals, with small steps that are actually attainable in our lives as they are.




===>  We need to be prepared with Plan B…and C, D, E, N, and R.  We need to have a plan, ahead of time, for the “what ifs”.

What I’m saying is:  getting healthy, getting fit, losing fat and/or weight (the #1 New Year’s Resolution) isn’t easy.

===> But all of those things are simple, if we don’t over-complicated it, AND if we apply a little patience. 

Its not easy     It is simple

It’s not “sexy”.  It’s not “hard-core”.  It’s not new.  It doesn’t promise miracle results.  There’s no secret.  People don’t believe it can be this simple…..but here’s the entire plan.



If you’re going into this change, already dreading it and feeling like you’re going to have to “go without”, you are going to fail.  Period.  You can’t muscle yourself through a major change with willpower alone.  Figure out your why!!!!  For example:  Instead of, “I’m fat and I need to go on a diet” – – “It took me a long time of not taking care of myself to get to this place in my life.  That’s okay. I’ve been busy.  I’ve had a lot going on.  I’m going to show myself the same compassion I would a good friend in this situation, but I deserve better than this.  I want to eat better and exercise because I love being able to walk along the beach without being out of breathe.  I love feeling more confident, and I always do when I’m taking better care of myself.  I know that when I eat like crap, I feel like crap.  No matter how many times I’ve thought the comfort food would make me feel better, it never has.  Not once.  I really want to try something new.  I don’t have to; I want to do this!!”


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Pick the right goal.  When we pick something like “lose XX pounds”, that becomes the focus no matter how unhealthy we are in getting there.  I lost a bunch of weight by going on a cigarette, coffee, and Suzy Q (chocolate, cream-filled cake) diet when I was young and foolish. I went on a grapefruit only diet; a skim milk only diet, and a “drink vinegar before every meal” diet. I lost weight.  Not one of those things was sustainable over the long term.  Not one of them made me any more healthy.  I felt like crap. It didn’t matter. My priority was to lose weight.  It isn’t any more.  My priority switched to, “Eat better so that I feel better.  Exercise so that I move better – and with less pain.  Take care of myself so that I age better.  All of these things will likely lead to fat loss but that’s not my primary goal anymore.  How I feel is much more important than what I weigh.”



Don’t.  Please, please, please, don’t go on some crazy starvation diet today, or think you need to live on salad and water.  Pick one thing at a time to focus on.  Try to cut your soda in half the first week. Then in half again the next, and the next, until you either stop drinking it all together or you have it once in a while as a treat. Decrease the sugar in your coffee a little bit at a time. Stop getting that venti frappuccino (you know who you are…..) every day and get just the grande this week; go for the tall next. Two years ago I changed from lattes to an American or red eye with 1 shot of sugar-free hazelnut and just a splash of milk.  I might have a latte a couple times a year.  It’s not that I stop myself from having them, but merely that I don’t crave them anymore, like I used to.

Drink water!!! If you can’t do it plain at first, put some Crystal Light or Mio in it and work to taper that off as you go through time. I hear some people now, “Oh, the chemicals. How could you even recommend that horrible stuff?” I’m recommending that you make the changes you will actually make to begin with. If you’re not going to drink water unless it has some flavor in it right now, mix in some damn flavor. Do what works for you.


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Same thing with the sweets/treats. I have a HORRIBLE sweet tooth and I love to bake – a bad combination. I have a special meal once a week.  There are no “forbidden” foods; not “good or bad”.  When you identify foods in that way you, you want nothing but the things you’re “not supposed to have”.  I eat a bite of this or that treat throughout the week.  I share a dessert with my husband.  I have a little bit of whatever I’m craving BUT only a little bit.  And I know myself.  There are some things that act as trigger foods for me.  If I have raspberry turnovers in the house, I cannot just have a bite and be done.  So they’re not in my house.  I still have them occasionally but I buy one at a time.  I buy individual servings of chips or chocolate when I get the urge – not the large bag just because “it costs less”.

I remind myself that I am in control. “I can have anything I want but I can’t have everything right now if I intend to meet my goals.” When I do have a special treat, I savor it. I sit and eat it. I don’t play on my computer, talk on my phone, or do anything except enjoy the taste, smell, texture, and flavor of my food.

Go grocery shopping.  Prep as much as you can on the weekend so that you have something ready to go when you walk in from work, ravenous and ready to eat a half gallon of ice cream with a spoon, because you’re hangry.  Cook extra, when you make a meal, so you have some to put in the fridge.



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Once you start to feel better (and you will), add in some exercise. Something you like.  Something you’ll actually do.


Some people like to walk, others run.  Some people like to lift weights, others dance.  I don’t care what it is.  Something.  For 15 minutes (or as long as are able to, if that’s too much).  Build from there.

The important thing is to do something, not try to do everything.


Have you identified some goals you would like to accomplish?  I’d love to hear about them if you’d care to share.

A Morning of Service and Why I Do It.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.



Saturday was the annual Wreaths Across America event.  The crowd may have been larger than normal, here in DC, (I saw 70,000 reported as the “official number”) as it was warmer than years past, with just a little fog hanging in the air.


The organization lists its mission as, “Remember, Honor, Teach.”  It is solely responsible for coordinating wreath laying ceremonies at Veterans’ cemeteries, not only in all 50 States but internationally as well.  Sadly, not every grave (not even every stone at Arlington – although you may see that reported, and I used to think that was the case too) gets a wreathe, and not every cemetery has volunteers.

Photo by Fox 26, Houston

Photo by Fox 26, Houston



But, what a huge undertaking!  And one that couldn’t be accomplished without thousands of volunteers!  Individual wreath sponsors, corporate donors, professional truck drivers, police escorts, people to lay the wreaths, and people to help pick them up once the holidays have passed.


This is my 4th year volunteering with the organization.  To see the pictures, videos, and news stories is one thing.  To be there and participate:  at any cemetery, big or small, is something different altogether.  I do this because it’s something I believe in.  That we should honor and remember the men and women who died for our country:  who served, and continue to serve, to keep us safe.  What a small price that I should pay for such a huge sacrifice.


It’s personal for me.

When your child has to have their blood type written on their pack, things get real.

When your child has to write their blood type on their pack, it tends to change your perspective.



My husband has served in the US military (USMC/USAF) for more than 20 years.  My son has more than a decade in the Army National Guard.  My daughter in law was in the Army.  My daughter was in the Air Force, and the Air Force Reserve.  Countless friends and other family members have also served.






The wreaths are from Maine – as am I.  Smelling the balsam and handling the wreaths bring back fond memories.  The escort, at Arlington, includes Maine State Police – where I worked as a dispatcher for almost 10 years.  Many of the truckers are from Maine – my husband and I know people involved in the process from the start:  we like to be at the finish to help complete the task.



Two years of volunteering specifically stick out in my memory.


Veterans Cemetary Boulder City, Nevada

Veterans’ Cemetary
Boulder City, Nevada


My first year was in Boulder City, Nevada.  I laid wreaths with a friend whose brother, a Marine, was killed in Iraq; and a friend whose husband, a Soldier, was deployed at the time.  To be with those women, in that place, at that time was incredibly emotional.









To be honest, too, the smaller cemetery was nice.  It had a little less pomp and circumstance:  more work merely for the sake of remembering and less for the accolades or newspaper photos as we sometimes see in DC.  A few friends texted us asking that we specifically seek out their family member’s stones.  We stayed until the last wreath was laid.


Veterans Cemetery Arlington, VA

Veterans’ Cemetery
Arlington, VA

My first year at Arlington was also memorable.  Wow!  There were so many people!  I checked in, on Facebook, and almost immediately received a text from my young nephew.  He had graduated from one of our military academies a few years prior, and was serving in the Army.  He wrote, “What section are you in?  I know a guy who’s there.”


I didn’t think too much about it.  My son deployed to Iraq when he was 18/19 – for the first time.  My husband has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  My daughter was in Afghanistan.  One way I kept my sanity while they were gone, is by denying the danger.  Not consciously blocking it out but, subconsciously, refusing to remember that people were fighting and dying.  That probably sounds ridiculous – and maybe it is – but that’s how my brain decided to get me through….


So, when I received my nephew’s text, I just thought he meant he knew someone who was also laying wreaths.

That’s not what he meant.




One of the men he went to college with was IN this cemetery.  Permanently.  My children know people who will never leave here; as does my husband.  It was overwhelming.  That truth.  That honest realization.  I immediately broke down in tears.  It’s making me cry now.

I laid a wreath on Lt Williamson’s grave – both that year and the next.  I didn’t get to the Lt’s stone this year.  Not yet.  I will go there when we pick up wreaths.  My nephew shared it with his family who could not be in Virginia.  It meant a great deal to them.

THAT is my biggest reason for providing this service.  That is why I lay wreaths even though the cemetery is packed with people, and it can become quite a “commercial event”.  That is why I will come back and help pick wreaths up:  an event that is attended by far, far fewer people, and not covered in the news.  Regardless of how cold it may be; regardless of whether the sun is shining, it’s snowing, or rain is falling.  I do it, because it makes a difference – to them, but also to me.

When you Lose 130 Pounds, More than Your Body Changes

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I’ve been reading a bit about Jade Socoby over the past couple of days.  Muscle & Strength and Girls Gone Strong have both written about her and I think you’ll find her as inspiring as I do.  
Jade Socoby

Jade Socoby

Jade hails from Maine and this girl has lost 130 pounds over the last 2.5 years.  More than her body has changed though – and you know those are the things I focus on.
Here’s what I love about the interview with Girls Gone Strong.  
1.  What are you most grateful for?  
“I am grateful for the family I have in my life and the friends that stuck by me even when I stopped drinking every weekend.”
This is huge!  I can tell you, it is one reason many people don’t change their own lives.  I, personally, lost several friends when I started competing.  Several of my clients have struggled with a lack of support from family and friends.  
  • Friends (and sometimes family too) don’t understand why you want to stop partying and start taking care of course.  “If you’re not going to be fun any more, I don’t know if we can hang out.”  


  • Friends (and sometimes family too) seem to be the ones encouraging us to give up on such goals, in fact!  


Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 7.09.59 PMI think there are a couple of reasons for this.  First, it can make people uncomfortable.  If we’re doing what they “want” or “know” they should also be doing, it can be hard not to feel guilty.

Second, though, many times when we’re making these changes to work on ourselves, we complain. “Ugh. I have to go to the gym again today.” “You’re so lucky. I can’t eat that pizza…or cake…or whatever” Our family and friends don’t want to see us miserable. If you’re so unhappy, they wonder, “why do it at all?”


No one is "making you" do this. You're making a choice. Stop complaining about it. Good for you!!!!!! You've made a great choice.

No one is “making you” do this. You’re making a choice. Stop complaining about it. Good for you!!!!!! You’ve made a great choice.

This is (another reason) why mindset is so critically important!
YOU have to be ready to make any change for YOU.
It won’t work, if you’re trying to do it for anybody else.
…and, if you’ve made a decision to do this for yourself, stop complaining.   
2.  What is the biggest thing you’ve noticed since you’ve changed your body?  
“My biggest accomplishment (as a side effect of lifting) was overcoming my social anxiety. When I was 320 pounds, I wouldn’t even leave my apartment unless I absolutely had to. Being seen in public mortified me because of how embarrassed I was about how i looked and who I was. Now I love meeting new people and staying busy.”
You have to like yourself right now, right where you are, exactly as you are – even if there are some things you want to change.
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Caring about yourself though, making changes, and becoming more of you (more confident, more healthy, more fit) makes a huge difference in how you feel in the world.
And what I adore about the Muscle & Strength interview.
3.  What advice would you give someone looking to make their own transformation?  

Mindset Matters

“Get in the right mentality. If you’re not mentally ready, you may not make it. I’ve quit more times than I could count because I wasn’t mentally ready for the change.  You’re going to have bad days and you’re going to get off track. Don’t get discouraged and just keep pushing. We all have bad days, we’ve all gone off our nutrition plan. It’s not the end of the world, just pick right back up.”  


Mindset Matters Most.

You have to want to do this for you.

Until you determine what is holding you back and how to deal with that, you are not going to make sustainable change.  Until your reason for wanting to do something is bigger than your reason for not wanting to, you are not going to make sustainable change.

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“Stop weighing yourself every day. The scale can in fact be your enemy. My weight goes up and I have to take my lifting belt in a notch. Go by how you look, feel and how things fit!”

“Don’t be intimidated being the only, or one of a few, females in the weight area.”  




 It can be scary walking into the gym for the first time and, definitely, walking into the weight room.  I know. Jade knows.  Any woman who’s ever entered that “hallowed, testosterone infused domain” knows.  
Here are a couple of things to remember as you get started.
Strength is not only for males.

Strength is not only for males.

A. Other people are not really looking at you. It might seem like it, but they are there to get their own workout done. Yes, they may glance in your general direction. Who cares.  PS You’re looking at them too – are you judging?  
B. You are there for YOU.  Do what you came to do and don’t let anyone else deter you from it.
C. Have a plan going in. Walking into the gym, standing there looking around and trying to figure out what to heck to do, is uncomfortable – for everybody!!!!! I don’t like it either, and I’ve been doing this for a while. Make/get/print a plan before you walk through the door and then follow your plan.
D. It does get easier. Keep going.

I Hate Diets because They Begin and End

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I love learning even more than I love teaching.  As such, I’m constantly reading, studying, and going to any variety of seminars/classes.  Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Unleash Your Greatness Summit.  It was awesome!  
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Bill Phillips, the Editor of Men’s Health Magazine (the largest men’s magazine in the world) did a presentation entitled, “The Power of Just Doing ‘Something’ Every Day.”  His talk was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  
I adore two specific things he said.
1. “I would love to be able to tell all of you that I go to the gym every day and that I am the fittest person you’ll ever meet. The reality, though, is that I have two kids in travel soccer, an 80 hour a week job, and it’s just not realistic.  I do what I can. The best workout is the one you enjoy doing and the one you’re actually going to do.”
That means:
If you like working out in the gym with a trainer – do that.
If you like walking, or jogging, or running – do that.
If you like to dance – do that.
If you like playing basketball – do that.
If you like follow along videos on your TV – do that.
If you like biking – do that.
When we talk about health….h.e.a.l.t.h.  It’s for life.  We make it so much more complicated than it has to be.  Do something every day.
Personal example:  My niece called me crying the first day she went to the gym and got on an elliptical. She was completely frustrated because she could only do it for two minutes. I talked to her and got her to stop crying. “It’s not that you can only do two minutes. It’s that you CAN do two minutes. Do two minutes today, two more minutes tomorrow, and maybe three the next day.”
She now does cardio 20 minutes three times a week and has lost over 80 pounds.  One step at a time. One minute at a time.
Start where you are right now and build from there.
2. “I hate diets because they begin and end. You can’t be on a diet for your entire life. You need to find a way to apply moderation to your nutrition. You have to have a mindset change in order to change your life, and you have to realize this is FOR life!!!
The only thing he didn’t say was, “I got this quote from Debbie Hatch” because he certainly could have!!!  So much…..YES!!

Personal example:  There have been numerous times when I’ve been physically (typically because of my crazy travel schedule) unable to work out.  Yet, being mindful of my nutrition has actually caused me to maintain, if not to lose fat.  Even though I wasn’t exercising.  More than a few of my clients have experienced the same results.

Exercise is important for a ton of reasons!

Reasons to lift

…but, increased physical activity alone has an incredibly small impact on obesity prevalence.

What Aren’t You Appreciating Right Now?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

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I’m in a bit of a reflective mood today brought on by a self-inflicted injury.  Let me give you the back story first and explain the significance of those words for me.

I’ve been saying these words:  “it was self-inflicted”, since my children were little.  While they were never really fans of hearing it, personal responsibility was something I wanted to instill at a very young age.   Nobody – myself include – wants to hear, “it was self-inflicted”.  Those words are similar to giving advice.  Very easy to say to other people.  Much more difficult to accept for yourself.

Calling something “self-inflicted” doesn’t negate the injury but it…um…mitigates a bit of its drama, let’s say.

  • You didn’t “get hurt”.  You hurt yourself.
  • You’re not “sick”.  You made yourself ill by drinking/eating too much.
  • This didn’t “happen to you”.  You caused this to happen, by…
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Speaking of drama. None of these were “disasters”. But you get the idea.

Seem cruel and uncaring?  Far from it.  They received any care (and love) they needed.  But they didn’t get to distance themselves from the responsibility for what happened.  My point was merely, if you were directly responsible for the injury, the illness, or whatever, you have the ability to avoid this in the future.  …and we’d talk about how.

Since yesterday I have been accepting personal responsibility for a self-inflicted injury.  It was dumb, and I don’t like hearing those words.  But…


Wednesday evening I was feeling completely unmotivated and lazy.  I didn’t want to go to the gym.  There was no real reason for me not to go, and deep down I did want to get a workout in, I just didn’t feel like it at that particular moment.  I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Normally once I get started, everything falls into place, though.  Many times I find my motivation was just waiting for me to show up at the gym.

So I got dressed and went to the gym.

My first two exercises were deadlifts (for time) and box jumps.  I completed my first four sets of the two exercises, superset one after the other.  I was feeling strong, pulling good weight, and started to get into my groove.  Yes!

Then, I got lazy.  On rep #3 of the fifth set, I rushed.  I didn’t think about my form.  I picked up the weight without first stabilizing my core, stood up fast, and wanted to immediately drop the weight to the floor.  It hurt!!


It was one of those times like when you lock your keys in your car.  You know immediately – sometimes before the door has even closed all the way – but it’s too late to do anything about it.


It was just like that.


I didn’t get hurt because “deadlifts are dangerous”, because “doing exercise for time is crazy”, or anything else.  I got hurt because I wasn’t paying attention and I know better!  It was self-inflicted.  There was no serious damage but the muscles in my lower back began to tighten and spasm, immediately.  Getting into bed was difficult and putting pants on when you can’t pick up one leg while stabilizing on the other, really sucks.  I spent most of yesterday trying to get comfortable in my chair.  Today is better and by tomorrow I’ll be almost back to normal.

Know what I’ve been thinking about for these last two days?  How much I want to exercise. Two days ago, I didn’t want to exercise; and for the past two days, all I’ve thought about is wanting to be able to exercise.  It’s just like the carrot cake and granny smith apples I wrote about on Tuesday.

We have a real tendency of not appreciating what we have when we have it.

  • I had a functional movement screen done two weeks ago.  The trainer said, “you move very well”.  I never thought anything about it.  Yesterday I missed not being able to move well!
  • When our kids were little, my husband and I occasionally grumbled about all of the sports, clubs, and extra curricular activities.  We never had time to do anything but play taxi.  Man, I miss those days!!
  • When my son was in basic training, I just wanted him to be done.  I wanted that trial to be over.  Shortly after he finished, he headed to Iraq for a year.  Wow.  I wanted him back at basic training!


I’m aware of these tendencies and I really do try to mitigate them to the greatest extent possible.  When we lived in Montana, we snowmobiled every weekend we could – because we knew it wouldn’t always be an option.  It was a personal rule!  When we lived in Florida, the last time, I told my husband we “had to” go to the beach every weekend I was not traveling.  That was a new rule because the first time we lived in Florida I worked far too much and visited the beach far too little.  This time, I didn’t care what the weather was like.  We went in the rain, the sun, and wrapped in sweatshirts when it was windy and cold but we went.  Every weekend.

Here’s the tough question for you.

What are you doing today that you’re not appreciating enough?  Your children won’t always be home.  The people you love won’t always be there.  How many things do you find a nuisance today but you would miss tomorrow if/when they’re gone?  What if you couldn’t work out ever again?  What if you lost your job?

Think for one moment about how truly fortunate you are.  THESE are the good old days.


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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?


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?”