Category Archive: Inspiration

Oct 05

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.


Oct 03

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

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

In spite

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


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

1st Msg





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






My message #2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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


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


Msg 1002



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


I did not respond any further.




But her messages kept coming.  Last msg

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


2012 Message



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







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

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

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




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

I will not

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

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

What she said is an unsubstantiated and judgmental lie.

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

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

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





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

Well, that’s just too bad.

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


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





Sep 26

Earning that Pink Tutu

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

It started simply enough.  In February, my daughter-in-law sent me a link to the Diva 5K and said, “we should do this”.  Within a few minutes, I wrote back, “we are signed up”.

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Turns out she was only joking.

I wasn’t.  After 5 years, she should have known better 🙂



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Two weeks later, I asked her mother to join us.

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Ashleigh started training.  In July we found out she was pregnant so she ended up racing for two.  Seeing mother/daughter teams out there, in matching outfits, supporting and encouraging each other, was especially touching for her.  We heard moms say, “we can walk any time you want to, honey, but I think we should stick to our plan of intervals” and heard daughters say, “Ok.  I can do this!”  We saw one woman receive a video from her two-year old son.  He said, “run fast, mommy, you can do this”.  We watched that video propel her from walking to jogging.  It was awesome!

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Speaking of mothers and their children, it was that relationship that ultimately caused Jackie to agree to run, too.




Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 4.30.46 AM



Every Sunday she would call me, and text her walk/run time for the week.  She learned about wicking clothing, and bought her first pair of running shoes!!  She downloaded Endomondo (awesome app if you’re interested in tracking your progress/time) and started doing virtual 5Ks.  I frequently posted this stuff on Family & F.I.T. because I was so proud of her, but “Jackie” became “Diane”.

It was fun to see Ashleigh like those posts without knowing that it was her mom.





On Thursday afternoon, I picked up Ash from one airport while my husband picked up her mom and step-dad from another.  She knew absolutely nothing about it and the surprise on her face when she turned to go to the bathroom; running smack dab into them, was awesome!







The 5K was Friday evening.  Decked out in the tiara rings, charm bracelets, and headbands that Jackie bought each of us, we picked up our numbers and headed to the coral.

Start race

There were women, everywhere, dressed in pink tee shirts and tutus.  It was something to see!!

…it was also something to experience.  Life may be like a box of chocolates, but your first 5K is like life.

Lessons learned:

  • Agreeing to do something outside of your comfort zone is scary…
    • But if you push yourself, when accomplish your goal, it feels pretty amazing!
  • Talking about it.  Planning for it.  Dreaming about it are all nice…
    • But when the starting gun goes off, that’s when the real shit happens.  You have to start if you want to finish.
  • There may be hills that you don’t expect.  Some of them come at the worst possible time, and can seem insurmountable…
    • But if you just look down, focus on the small distance directly in front of you, and keep going, you WILL get to to the top of that hill!
  • Looking too far ahead can be over-whelming…   FullSizeRender
    • But if you put one foot in front of the other, you will get there.  Just take the next step, and then the next, and the next.
  • The road can be crowded.  People might try to push you, bump you, or get in your way.
    • Pick your own path and commit to it, Be aware that it might not be a straight line:  sometimes to have to go around in order to find your opening.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.  Your challenge is yours.  It’s an individual and personal thing.
    • Other people have different challenges.  That doesn’t mean they have it, nor that they are, better or worse than you.
  • The biggest battle is in your head.  There will be times when you feel like you want to give up and quit.
    • Keep your own cadence.  Focus on whatever keeps you going.  When you need it most, though, family, friends (and sometimes total strangers) are there to push, pull, or do whatever they can to help you. It’s okay to let them help you.
  • You might be a little messy at the end.  It doesn’t matter.
    • Straighten your crown, unbunch your tutu and be proud of the fact that you accomplished the goal you set for yourself.  You did it!!!


Sep 01

Nothing on my Face Except Life

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 2.18.36 PMDebbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Have you seen these posts on Facebook?  I’ve seen three of them in the past three days.  First, Kate Winslet, then Scarlett Johansson and this morning, Julia Roberts.  None of them were actually posted by the actresses mentioned.    It’s maddening!!  With algorithms determining what is and isn’t seen by readers of our FB pages, any traffic IS traffic. Good.  Bad.  Positive.  Negative.  It doesn’t matter.


Well, here’s the thing.  I think it’s a critically important message.  I think it needs to be said!  I think, if these actresses didn’t actually say it, they need to.

Beauty products alone (not counting surgery, supplements, and miscellaneous “miracle” fixes) are a multi-billion dollar industry. We’re always (females especially) trying to fix this, hide that, or change something else.

We may have done amazing things with our lives. Made incredible contributions. We may have changed others lives.  Hell, we may have given birth to new lives, yet we worry most about a new wrinkle, another grey hair, or the additional 5 pounds.

We buy into the perfect photos staring at us from magazine pages.11947556_1069913196360323_5088249956850635747_n

It’s not real.  I’ve met several of the girls in my magazines. They’re beautiful, yes, but they do NOT look the way they do inside the magazine.



To be completely honest, I’ve struggled (more…) with self-image as I’ve aged.

It’s hard.

It’s sometimes humbling

I want to be in the same shape and look the same as I did when I was a young woman. Yet, here’s the fact. I am not 23.  I am 51.  I have experienced so much.


I need to remind myself that it is LIFE reflected on this face. Nothing more and definitely nothing less!!!!


Aug 01

Why I Love Selfies.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


Some people (lots of people, actually) complain about selfies.

“What’s the point?” they ask.

“Only people stuck on themselves post selfies.” they say.

“Nobody wants to see you in a bathing suit.”  they posit.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.


Well, I personally LOVE selfies! I encourage all of my clients to take them.









Courtney 2

Courtney words 2


We’ve talked – how many times? – about the fact that your body can change without there being a change in the scale. Sure, that’s one measurement.


==> … but there’s so much that can affect it

How much water you drank yesterday, how much sodium you took in yesterday, where you are in your monthly cycle, etc. etc.


==> … and the scale doesn’t distinguish where the weight is coming from.

My hair weighs something, as do my boobs, my muscle, my body liquids, AND my fat.


Taping your measurements is another thing we can look at to monitor progress.







Alexi words




I also ask every one of my clients to take pictures as they start a program. NOT to make them feel badly about the state of their body but so they can actually see what they look like AND (more importantly) so that we can compare pictures as they go through time.







 Jen Collage




Courtney 4





Carol after









Carol words













Florence's words









Kristi collage


































Real Life

Jul 19

Tricking Yourself into Health: Commitment Devices

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.49.00 AM


Back in May, I wrote Part I of this series. It was focused on Temptation Bundling. To call it Part I isn’t entirely accurate.  These are two separate but similar subjects.  It’s a companion piece.  You didn’t have to read that blog before reading this one. Any order is fine.

Now, let me say that I have no judgment on either of these topics. I’ve used both with varying degrees of success. My intent is merely to expose you to the widest array of options. We are all different. I’m hoping to help you find the perfect solution for YOU. Whether it works for your neighbor, your best friend, or me is irrelevant.


The basic premise for both temptation bundling and commitment devices is that there are a lot of activities we “should” do. We should eat well, get routine physicals and the occasional prostate or mammogram scans. We should exercise, have dental examinations and take prescribed medications.

Should is a big word in this context! While we would like to do everything we “should”, there are a lot of ways we avoid these well-intentioned things.

Temptation bundling joins one thing you want to start doing with one thing you love to do. For example, Katie Milkman (a key researcher on the topic) says, “I’ve realized that if I only allow myself to watch my favorite TV shows while exercising at the gym, I stop wasting time sitting in front of the television, and I crave trips to the gym where I watch my show. I actually enjoy both my workout and my show more when they’re combined. I don’t feel guilty for just sitting and watching TV, and my time at the gym flies by.”

It’s the old adage of “killing two birds with one stone”.


Commitment devices may be the antithesis to temptation bundling. Rather than joining two positive actions, there is a self-imposed action for not doing the things you “should”.

To be clear, it’s not about punishment for guilt’s sake.

Rather, I’m talking about the fact that you’ve decided you really want to change. You want to do something differently but you’re finding it difficult to implement your plan. It’s not that you lack will power. It’s that you are a human being.

No joke.

Behavioral economists can show, conclusively, that we have a hard time working toward “the future”. It’s always easier to say, “I’ll start tomorrow….and tomorrow…and tomorrow.” Tomorrow’s goals are frequently overtaken by today’s reality.

Psychologists have also proven that we have a problem following through on our intentions even when we’ve identified exactly what we want in the future. It’s not like, “You know, I really thought I wanted to get in shape but it turns out I just really wanted to sit in front of the television and eat a king-sized bag of chips every night.”

Even in hindsight, you regret not doing what you said you wanted to do. THIS is punishment for guilt’s sake.


What temptation bundling and commitment devices do, is move the consequence closer to action (or non-action as the case may be). They help bring tomorrow closer to today. Economist Jodi Beggs writes “Commitment devices are a way to overcome the discrepancy between an individual’s short-term and long-term preferences.”


Here are some creative ways are people holding themselves accountable with commitment devices.

– – Signing up for classes when, in theory you could just draw/run/paint/workout, whatever on your own but, without the commitment of the class you won’t. This definitely was a big one for me when I started exercising after a long break. I went to a 9 o’clock boot-camp class. I met some amazing people, and before long I was going to the class as much to see those folks, as I was to exercise.  It didn’t matter if I was tired or busy.  I was going!

– – Freedom ( allows you to pre-set how long you’d like to focus on projects, and it blocks access to the Internet for that amount of time. I spend far too much time online if I don’t use a commitment device. For me, it’s self-denial and an alarm clock. When I have work to get done (writing contracts or blogs, updating handbooks or making travel arrangements) I refuse to even open Facebook or my e-mail. “A quick check” frequently turns into hours before I know it. They are time sucks for sure! So, I set an alarm for an hour or two and just work. Only once the alarm goes off, do I allow myself social media access.

– – Using MasterCard’s inControl credit card that shuts off once a pre-set limit is reached.

– – Using NOTXT n’ Drive software which turns off texting capabilities when your car is moving.

— Beeminder ( allows you to pledge money that you will follow a quantifiable goal and then tracks your progress against your promised progress. If you go off track twice, you have to pay the amount of money you previously pledged.

– – Preventing drunk-dialing with apps like “Don’t Dial” and “The Bad Decision Blocker”. These are real!! You either set the block for certain time frames, after certain hours, or you set it as you go out for the evening.

– – Think Geek ( proposed a solution for over-sleeping by creating an alarm clock into which you would enter your credit card number. The clock would donate money to your most-hated cause if you hit the snooze button.



Are there any commitment devices you use to keep yourself on track?

Does temptation bundling or a commitment device work best for you?

Jul 18

How to Be a Girl & That Downstairs Equipment.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


Kelsea with her dad & sister

As I wrote in this blog initially, I’ve never considered myself a “feminist”. Stories like Kelsea’s are the reason the title seems more and more appropriate, though, as time goes on.

Kelsea is going to be 23 in August. She is amazing, intelligent, strong, caring, competent, and proficient at mixed martial arts. She and her husband own, and teach at, the School of the Living Arts in Yelm, Washington.  We worked out together a few months ago and she shared this story with me while we were in the gym. I think it helps to prove my point that body shaming is alive and well.  It also shows, extremely well, how you can do whatever your choose regardless.


A lot of people think it’s only those who are larger that get picked on but that’s simply not true. People judge you if they consider you “too fat”, “too skinny”, “too plain”, “too tall”, “too short”, “too anything” that is outside of their pre-determined ideal. People judge you if you don’t pursue the goals they deem as “acceptable” for you.


Here’s Kelsea’s story in her own words.

“Growing up with my dad, and being a martial artist, I realized at a young age that I wasn’t like other girls.

I didn’t identify with any of the girls at my school because my lifestyle was so different. While they were having sleep overs and trying out for cheerleading teams together, I was lifting weights and competing in international tournaments in Canada.

Working out meant that, as time went on, I started to look different than the other girls too. Some people criticized me for my petite frame and prominent muscles. I began to weigh more than the other girls, even though I was much smaller in stature. It took a huge toll on my self-confidence and esteem. I came home sad and confused quite often.


I started to dislike my body. The training served me well in my sport but I began to hate the way it made me look. I developed eating issues. I wore very baggy clothes. I became even less social. I wanted nothing more than to fade into the background. All around, I was a wreck.

On one hand, I had my father pushing me to become a better martial artist. On the other hand, I had everyone at school teasing me about being different.


Kelsea took 1st in forms and weapons. Denielle took 1st in forms and 2nd in weapons. <3

The biggest problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to be. All I knew was that girls were not supposed to have bigger muscles than the boys and they were not supposed to be able to literally beat them up. I knew I didn’t fit in.


By the end of middle school, it was more than I could take. I broke down in tears and told my dad I didn’t want to be a girl anymore. I was tired of being made fun of and it seemed the root of all my problems stemmed from me being a female. Because I was a girl I had become an outcast: for both my looks and my interests.

All I wanted was to be accepted for who I was and what I did. The easiest way for that to happen would be if I was a boy.

My dad looked at me, unsympathetically, and said, “What? You want a penis?”

At first I was in shock. I yelled back at him, “Of course not!”

How could he think that? Didn’t he understand my struggle?

I wanted to be a boy just so it would be ok for me to keep living my life as I wanted. I knew I would be happier and more accepted.

My dad just looked at me for a second.


Then he explained that the ONLY difference between a boy and me was that downstairs equipment. He told me that I could do anything I wanted regardless of how others treated me. What they thought of my body shape, my sport, or my personality shouldn’t have anything to do with how I thought of myself.


At the time, those words were not very comforting but over time I began implementing them. I had been the one limiting me. I had put restrictions on myself and it took me a long time to undo that mindset.


Eventually, though, I began to love my time in the gym because it would make me better on the mat. I no longer felt like I was missing out when I was training instead of going to dances. That was my choice.


Kelsea at 19

Kelsea at 19

I continued with martial arts and lifting weights through high school and college.  I no longer wore baggy clothes to hide my body. I started to feel pride. I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. I was a girl. I was a girl who enjoyed lifting weights, being active, and practicing martial arts. And this suited me just fine. I began to enjoy being me.

As I got older, my dad’s words became the words I lived by. They are the words I repeated to myself each time I felt self-doubt.

I am no longer embarrassed or ashamed of my body. I understand that I am a unique individual and there is no one exactly like me. I am no longer constrained by gender roles or stereotypes.


  • Being a girl doesn’t mean I have to conform to what I thought society wanted me to be. That’s society’s issue, not mine.
  • Being a girl doesn’t mean I have to accept different limits or more restrictions.
  • Being a girl doesn’t take anything away from me. It makes me stronger. I’ve learned how to overcome obstacles that not everyone comes across.
  • Being a girl does not mean I have to be weak and submissive. I can be as strong as I like.


In fact, it doesn’t matter what your gender, age, shape, or experience is. A positive mindset is the first step to accomplishing whatever you set out to do. Then, make it happen.  You are enough! Don’t undermine yourself based on someone else’s views or thoughts. You don’t have to agree with them, and you certainly don’t have conform to their ideas of what you should be.  Live your life as you see fit. Be you.  Do what makes you happy.”

Jul 06

Monday Mindset. Our Favorite Day to Make Changes.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



It’s Monday.

It’s Monday following a holiday.

It’s Monday following a holiday where many people spent time at the beach.


That trifecta might have led you to wake up this morning determined to “get back on track”, to “drink more water”, to “exercise more and eat better”. Well, good for you!! You’ve picked a perfect day to start.


Let me be clear. I could spend some time explaining there is no “track”. Health is a lifestyle and it should be routine. Taking care of yourself should be business as usual. It should be something you do on Saturday as well as Monday. That’s not my point with this post though.


My intention isn’t even to tell you, “Monday is not a better day than any other day to start whatever it is you’re starting.” Sure, that’s been the recent movement, and I do believe it. So long as you’re determined to make a change, you can be successful no matter whether you start on Wednesday or Friday, on the 1st of the month or the 18th.


There is absolutely nothing “magical” about Monday.




This little thing called, “human nature”.


You see, human nature is suspect to what behavioral scientists call, “the fresh start effect”. Ever wonder why so many people resolve to start exercising, eat better, quit smoking, or otherwise make major changes, on the 1st of January? We like aligning our new beginnings. We like to start things on Monday, on our birthday, the start of a new season or month, and as we start a new year. In, The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior, by Milkman, Dai and Riis conclusively shows that Google searches for the term, “diet” as well as gym visits and commitment to pursue goals all increase following the start of a new week, month, year, semester, birthday, or holiday.


Why? The scientists believe we like to have clear lines. If I start my diet on Monday, everything that happened prior to Monday, before this week started, doesn’t matter. I have a clean slate with the start of the new week.


Does it have to be this way? No.  Could you be successful if you start the journey toward your new goals, on Wednesday? Of course.


If you employ habit-based, incremental change, rather than trying to change every single thing you do and every single thing you eat in one day [You know that doesn’t work. You’ve tried it how many times before?] you can be successful regardless of when you start. Habit-based, incremental change, works!


That said; if our human nature causes us to like to start things on Monday, start on Monday! Use human nature to your benefit vice fighting against it.


“In fresh start moments, people feel more distant from their past failures,” says Katy Milkman, one of the lead researches in this work. “With the downward pull of failures behind us, it’s much easier to move forward.”  (Note:  under the heading of sources at the bottom of this blog, the second link is to a 3:31 minute video of Katy personally explaining this research.  Check it out!!!  Let me know what you think of the research).


Fact is:  it’s Monday.

You do have a clean slate. Even your biology likes it!  Use that to your advantage.


Whatever happened this weekend, happened. Whatever you did on the holiday is done. You cannot go back and change even one thing.  No guilt.  No worry.  No regrets.

Let it go


It’s Monday.  Perfect day for a fresh start.


The choices you make today determine the quality of your life tomorrow, and all the days there after.



I do have a 4 year old little girl in my life so, yes, I am going to pull out some Elsa.  If you’re as fortunate as I and you have heard this 8 million 452 thousand times, you’re probably singing.  Ya.  Sorry for that.




Apr 07

This is me. No make-up. No cover-up. No pretense. Just me.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Bear with me. Read the whole thing please….. this is from my heart.

This piece was originally written as a Facebook post on the day the photo was taken: a few days after my 50th birthday in June, 2014.


“This is my favorite picture from my photo shoot because it actually shows my hard work. This photo may offend some (in the current anti-fitspo sentiment) and if so, I apologize. That’s not my intent. I am not looking for comments nor compliments. I am comfortable enough in my own skin to no longer require external input, so please don’t feel that you “need” to say anything.

Sincerely, I hesitated to post this but; ultimately I am for a couple of reasons.

First, because I am a figure competitor, this IS me. I haven’t always looked this way.  I worked hard to get to this point.  I’m fully clothed (even wearing more than you’ve seen in my stage photos). My husband and family support me. Many of my friends also participate in this hobby (I love my fitness girls the best – you ladies rock!!!!).

There are three things I want to specifically point out in hopes that I might be able to help SOMEBODY.

(1) This was taken a week after my 50th birthday. It does not matter how old you are.

(2) I am 15 (Fifteen) pounds heavier in this photo than I was at my last competition over a year ago. The scale is a liar!!!   Weight does not matter!!  No, I don’t think I need to lose 15 pounds. If this photo makes a difference to even one person who drives themselves crazy weighing every day, I will be thrilled!!

(3) Several of my friends [and family too] don’t care for the “hard” muscular female body that I appreciate so much…’s not for everybody. Strangers make comments. People sometimes look at me oddly. I wear long sleeves when I teach. Close friends treat me like I’m a freak when I’m in show-prep. It’s all okay. Sincerely. I CHOOSE this lifestyle.

But what I wanted you (my friends and family) to see is that I [we] don’t always appear “overly” muscular. All of the pictures were taken on the very same day and yet my body is different in every one of them. Hard in the first one. Very soft in several of the others.

Nelson_064 edited Nelson_010


People used to make fun of my big legs and I’ve been told more than once that they’re “manly”. Well, I kind of like um!!!

Yup. This is me. No make up. No hair-do. No pretense. No cover-up.  Just me. and I kind of like it.

Apr 03

“Do What you Can” is Not a License to Ignore Personal Responsibility!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

One of my favorite taglines is “Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available.” It’s quite clear to me and I know exactly what I mean by that statement. I had lunch with a friend yesterday, though, and we talked about it. It never dawned on me that people might have a completely different understanding than the one I intended.

This is one reason why it’s important to be open to receiving others’ input. This is also the reason I adore friends that don’t just agree with everything I say. Our perception is frequently different than that of others and I value discussions about these differences! I LOVE the ah-ha moments when I can say, “oh my gosh! I never even looked at it that way before!!” I learn in those moments, my mind is expanded, and it’s fantastic to see things from a different angle.

So when I say, “Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available”, what do I mean? Do I mean eat whatever you feel like whenever you want? Do I mean, don’t worry about exercising if you don’t feel like? Do I mean, cut yourself some slack, serious slack: don’t hold yourself accountable for anything, and just be happy with your non-action?

Sure, as long as you understand that doing what you’ve always done is going to give you the results you’ve always gotten, and you’ll need to be happy with that.

If you are comfortable right where you are now (and there is ZERO judgment if this is where you are. Cool!) – you don’t need to worry about changing anything. Be happy!!! Truly. But be aware that you have no right to complain about not meeting your goals. My husband likes Mountain Dew and potato chips. Am I going to consume those things? No. Do I judge him if he does? Nope. I’ve had people tell me that they “can’t believe I let him do that.” WTH? He’s a grown man, he makes his own choices but I do make him accept responsibility for those choices. He does not get to complain to me about gaining weight or feeling sluggish.

If you want to make changes, whatever those changes are (lose weight, gain weight, add muscle, get faster, get stronger, get healthier, potentially decrease medication, feel better, etc.) you are gong to need to change things!!!

  • Increase/decrease the amount you’re eating,
  • Get stronger by exercising, and
  • Improve the quality of the food you’re eating OR
  • Stop complaining. Stop saying you “should”


There are three things I ACTUALLY mean when I say, “Do what you can”

1.  Accept yourself as being human. Stop beating yourself up over having a less than perfect day BUT keep working on making improvements.

Here are a couple of examples. First, many clients come to me struggling to tame the soda sugar monster. Do what you can where you are right now means: decrease your soda by 25% the first week, and by another 25% the second. Keep doing this. Switch from regular to diet. Is it “good” for you? No. Does it have sodium and chemicals in it? Yup. It’s not about perfection. It’s about improvement. Drink a glass of water before each soda you have.

Don’t like water? Yes, it’s okay to put in a little Mio or similar flavoring for a while. Use less next week and less the week after. I’d prefer you drink plain water but if you’re only going to drink water with flavoring in it, drink flavored water.

Can’t seem to break the habit of having a bag of chips after work every day? Buy one individual bag on your way home in the evening – don’t keep them in your house, and don’t buy the super king-sized bag because it’s “a better deal”. Remember my waste or waist philosophy? Try sweet potato, bean, baked chips or pretzels one time. Have chips only 3-4 times this week instead of 5, and reduce that by 1 again next week. If it’s crunchy you’re looking for, try a healthy cereal (measure out one serving – don’t eat the entire box. In that case, you might as well have had your chips). If it’s salty you’re looking for, have a few salted nuts or make some baked pita chips.

Baked Pita Chips

Preheat oven to 375. Cut each pita into quarters and then cut each quarter in half to make 8 triangles.  Place them on a cookie sheet or baking stone and spray lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a little salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, or cinnamon. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp, turning once.


2.  Deal with your limitations by finding a way to work within them.

Look, we all have limitations. We’re all busy and we have lives beyond just diet and exercise. Deal with it. Do what you can with what you have.

Can’t afford to buy organic vegetables? Then buy the bagged greens or frozen veggies (no extra sauce or butter). Can’t afford grass-fed, high quality meat? Buy bagged frozen chicken and tell the “purists” to shut up.

You have no time to cook breakfast, or dinner? You either have to make the time by getting up a little earlier or doing a better job of preparing quick things. I make a dozen protein pancakes on Sunday and throw them in the freezer. I can toss them in the toaster oven in the morning, spread on a little peanut butter (or not) and, worst-case scenario I can eat them as I’m dashing out the door to the airport.

Have a protein shake with almond milk, kale or spinach, protein powder and maybe some fruit. That takes a minute to prepare.

I have lots of 15 minute or less recipes on my Family & Fit FB page. The crockpot can be a lifesaver during busy weeks. Again, on Sunday, my husband grills a giant package of chicken and I cut up some veggies. They’re always in the fridge. Do I want to eat that every day? No. But if it’s been one of those days, dinner is already prepared.  FullSizeRender

The kids take up all of your time in the evening and you can’t cook a healthy meal?Have them help you! I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t love to be in the kitchen. My grandchildren have their own recipe box and one of Hayden’s favorite things to do is search Pinterest for things we can make.  One of his favorites is:

Fish & “Chips”

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet, or line with foil.  Place 2 cups crips rice cereal into a gallon ziplock bag and crush coursely (this is his favorite part and likely why he picks the recipe).  Put this into a large, deep bowl.  Beat 1 e.g. and 1 tbsp water in a separate bowl. Cut 1 pound of cod, haddock, or other firm white fish, into pieces (3-4″ long and 2″ wide).  Season the fish with 1 tsp Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Dip into egg; drain.  Place in cereal and turn to coat all sides. Place on cookie sheet.  Place cut veggies (zucchini and carrots) on same sheet – drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasoning. Bake 20-25 minutes.  


What if you don’t even have the time or energy for any of this? My friend, Brooke Kalanack, recommends having a few local restaurants programmed into your cell. Places where you know you can get a healthy decent meal (protein and veggies – not a Sonic hotdog and giant shake). If all you can do is call in a pick-up or delivery order, that’s fine. …and then don’t worry about whether the food was cooked in organic oil or not. It’s about making better choices. It’s not about obsession and perfection.

Can’t get to the gym? Do some bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, etc.) at home. Throw in an exercise video. Chase your kids around the house. Go for a walk. Dance. Can’t do any of that just yet? Do a chair workout: stretch and move every part of your body a little bit. Hold onto your counter and do some small leg lifts or squats. If this is all you can do today, do it. That’s fantastic.


3.  Show yourself some grace and compassion. Rather than obsessing over the end goal, be happy with who you are while you’re working on who you want to become.

My goal is to teach people about health and fitness for their entire lives…..not until they weigh a certain amount; it’s been 8-12 weeks; or any other specific date. Stop the negative trash talk ( If you ate something that wasn’t part of your plan, instead of feeling horrible and putting yourself down, move on. Don’t let that turn into a 3-day binge. Can you do this every day and expect to meet your goals? Nope. But if you make improvements over time, you will eventually get there. Last week you “messed up” 5 times? Okay. Next week, try to get that down to 4. That’s an improvement!

I celebrate holidays and special events with my family. I do eat cake, cookies, chocolate, etc. I am not going to Maine without having a raspberry cream turnover. I go out to eat with friends when I get a chance to do that. I thorough enjoy everything about these experiences. I don’t feel guilty. I don’t try to kill myself with extra cardio….and I don’t want you to either.

Do I eat something “special” every day? No. Does that make me feel deprived and like I should be “enjoying my life?” Absolutely not!! I very much enjoy being fit and healthy! I am a grown woman. I am not a victim. I make my own choices. I can eat whatever I want whenever I want. BUT if I want to reach certain personal goals I’ve set, I have to take action complimentary to those goals.

I have a perfect story about this tip. My sister was at a business meeting a while ago. The company had brought in some coffee and several plates of super large cookies. A co-worker had eaten one or two and said, “don’t tell my trainer that I did this.” I LOVE my sister’s response: “I have lost 50 pounds and I didn’t do that by lying to my trainer, or myself, about what I was putting in my mouth.” Amen!!!!

Do whatever you want, but accept the consequences too. You are a grown up!! Own your actions.

 Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available!!


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