Category: Inspiration

“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!!


Yesterday This Was Your Future!!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.     

I was talking to my daughter-in-law the other day about her desire to travel. I explained to her that I never had a plan to do so much traveling myself!! I love it, but I had never been on a plane until I was 28 years old. Now I am on a plane two or more times a week. Not only have I traveled, literally, around the world but I’ve also lived overseas. As a small-town girl with more than my fair share of family “issues”, I could never – in my wildest dreams – have imagined the life I have now. I didn’t plan any of it.

The fact is; I’ve never had a plan. I’ve had a lot of dreams and plenty of short-term goals but that’s it. My husband would attest that this has frequently bothered me. I’ve always felt like I needed long-term goals. I needed to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was taught that we all needed both long and short-term SMART (specific, measurable, aligned to our personal mission, realistic, and time-based) goals and, more than once, I’ve been distraught about my lack of that very thing. My comment about me being lazy in this week’s blog was because I don’t have everything nailed down in an ironclad plan.

To be clear, this is not the same thing as a lack of ambition. It’s also not the same thing as the vision boards or massive to do lists I have created on numerous occasions. I’ve dabbled in Covey and enjoyed a multitude of strategic planning classes – but I never figured it out. I never created “THE” du, du, duh…..end-state goal. Of course there are things I hope to accomplish but I still don’t know what I want to be.

I guess the difference is that now I know I don’t have to choose just one. I am a jumbled mess of things and I can be any or all of them each day.

I had an epiphany when I was talking to Ash. Every single thing in my life has prepared me for where I am and what I’m doing right now. Plan be damned.

My childhood taught me to fight, and to stand up for others; to compartmentalize when necessary, to petition my mind and to become resilient. Dispatching at the MSP reinforced my “calm under pressure” mentality. Taekwondo taught me peace in the midst of adversity. My passion for health and fitness is now helping many other people, not just myself. Playing Tetris on all of those over-night shifts comes in very handy in storing luggage on the plane. I (sincerely) fight the urge to reposition people’s luggage on a daily basis. If I bought myself a flight attendant suit just so I could Tetris-ize luggage in the overhead bins, would that be weird? I joined Toastmasters in Alabama as a means to meet people at work. I had zero intent for a future in public speaking. I now use those skills on a daily basis.

My point is, you just never know. If you don’t have it figured out, it’s okay.  Do any of us?  Really?  I can count on one hand the number of people I personally know who became what they dreamed of being when they were children.

Even without a plan, somehow everything you have done has prepared you to be right where you are at this very moment.  Maybe we need to stop stressing out about the goal. Have aspirations – yes. Set personal goals – yes, but be perfectly happy with where we are now as we move towards wherever it is that we’rBe happye going.

This sign was hanging in the Durham, NC gym I used last week. I think it’s perfect!!! For physical transformations, and for life!!




Down for the Count: A knockout punch in favor of female body image!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Unless you follow Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), you might not know who Ronda Rousey is.  That said; the girl is making some noise in many areas so you might have heard of her regardless.

This is not about fighting, well not the kind you’re thinking of anyway, so if that’s not really your thing, please keep reading for just a second.

This is about fighting for a positive female body image.

Ronda is a 28 year old mixed martial artist. She is the first, and current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion as well as the last Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She smashed down the door, and is leading the way for Women’s MMA in the United States.  So far she’s been unbeatable.  Ronda was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo. That was at the Summer Olympics in Bejing in 2008.

People love her or hate her; there is no in-between.  She definitely evokes very strong emotions.

I applaud Ronda for this interview where she talks about posing in a bikini.

“I walk around at 135 for a couple hours a year JUST before a fight, after cutting weight. The way I look on the scale [for a fight] is not the way I look in real life.  It’s not realistic or healthy for me. I don’t want to do a photo shoot like that. I don’t want people to believe that’s how I really look.”

“I want to be able to take off my clothes right now and get in front of the camera.”   Just the way I am!! Not the way I look after I’ve “prepared”!!


Although you’d hear very few of them ever say it, the largest percentage of body builders, figure and bikini competitors, and models you see in magazines have “prepared”.  They have been air-brushed, photo shopped, and have cut weight for the shoot.  They don’t really look like that.

If you don’t already know, cutting weight involves significantly decreasing carbohydrates, calories, sodium, and water for a few days or a week prior to a certain date (that could be weigh-in for a fight, or the competition date). It is an extreme method of losing weight very quickly.  It may also involve sitting in a sauna and/or taking hot baths as a way to drop as much weight as possible by sweating out all of the body’s sub-dermal water. There is an ambulance at every bodybuilding competition and never a shortage of people who have cramped up or passed out behind stage. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.


I have cut weight for a competition. I’ve helped my son do it for a fight and clients do it for competition as well as wrestling meets.

It’s not fun. It’s NOT healthy.

I have also had the self-induced headache for two days due to severe dehydration and brain fog for close to a week.  Super low carb intake was responsible for that.  As bad of a reputation as they’ve been given, your essential body systems – like brain functioning! – require carbohydrates!!!!

****** THIS is precisely why all of those 3-30 day detox “miracles” you see advertised cause people to “lose weight”.  They really do work.

****** They work just long enough for the after photo to be snapped.

****** One glass of water and 8 hours later, there is NO weight loss!!  There never was any fat loss!!

***** Ask to see the AFTER after pictures!!!!!!!!!!  Ask to look at the photos that were taken 2-5 days later. You’ll find ZERO long-lasting change.

Women in these magazines have been portrayed as the “perfect” for all of us.  How many young girls, adolescents, and women look at those pictures and believe that is what they are supposed to look like??? How many young boys, teens, and men look at those pictures and believe that is what women are supposed to look like???

I can tell you this: I did! I can tell you this: my daughter did! I can tell you this: many of the women I work with now:  did!

And I can tell you this, too: many people still believe they are “supposed” to look like that or they’re simply not good enough.

Ronda kicks some major booty (and breaks arms) in the ring but this is one fight she might need some help with!

I’m joining the fight – and you should too.

I want you to be happy with yourself. I want you to be able to walk on the beach, or run if you prefer; to play with your children and grandchildren; to be strong enough to take care of yourself. I want you to be healthy for a long time!!!  There is no perfect size, shape, or weight.  You most certainly don’t need to look like those ladies in your magazines.  Especially since most of them don’t even look that way.



By Debbie Hatch:   The Woman Behind Family & F.I.T.

From the very moment I decided to begin writing this, I have been struggling with it. My mind has been flooded with thoughts of what I wanted to (what I should, what I could) say. How much is too much?  This morning I know the answer is to just say something.  Just start…… I sat down and initially wrote 8 pages, clearing my head!!! What follows is my best attempt to unravel those thoughts although I sit here shaking almost uncontrollably.

The fact is, my strongest skill in emotional intelligence is empathy. I don’t typically talk about me. I don’t put myself “out there”. I reach to help other people. I want to hear their stories. For a very long time, I didn’t feel that I had anything worthwhile to share anyway. I am comfortable in the shadows. I am honest. I am not typically transparent. It scares me. A lot! But I honestly believe it’s time to take a deep breathe, to say what needs to be said, to differentiate between fact and fiction. My truth today is this: I have a family that loves me very much. I have supportive friends and many people that care about me. No matter what: those truths are absolute. I can count on my fingers the number of people that “actually” know me. That is, until today.

Although these things do not define me, they have served to mold me and I have made a promise to myself to be brutally, (uncomfortably) honest. Part of me feels like I should apologize. Part of me says I have apologized too many times. The fact remains. I have to be me. It’s all I have. If I’m going to help the people I so desperately want to help, they need to know who I really am. From the time I was 6 months old until I was 26, I was physically, sexually, and emotional beaten. I was told routinely that I brought such things upon myself; that they were my fault. Nothing I did was ever good enough. When the rage would start, I would do something to ensure I took the brunt of any beating so that others wouldn’t have to. My sister calls me her warrior. I endured home until I was 17 when I found out that I hadn’t been the only one molested. I wouldn’t save myself but to have put so much into saving others and then find that I had failed, was a crushing blow. Even in this, I hadn’t been good enough.

So, on that day, yes, it was on the day that I was slapped in the face with the truth…that I spoke my silence. No one knew. I had been a straight A student. My teachers and guidance counselors had aspirations for this studious, intelligent, hard-working young woman. One thing I had done well enough, was ensure I had kept the secret. I’ve heard people who have never experienced such things say, “I don’t understand how anyone would just put up with that…..”

They could just stop at, “I don’t understand.”

They don’t.

They can’t.

Unless you’ve been in that situation, you don’t understand. And that’s okay. There’s no reason to apologize.

That was my normal. That was just life. I didn’t know anything different. You should know this. Things were not horrible every day. That’s another thing people don’t understand. There are happy times. There are days, or weeks, or perhaps even months when things are more like a “regular” normal. I can tell you that one thing I didn’t understand on that day, was the ramifications of my voice. I did not understand what was going to happen when I spoke. Oh, and there were ramifications. Unending phone calls begging me to stop, to “not air dirty laundry”, although the reins were no longer within my grasp. The thing had taken on a life of its own. At that moment, on that day, I would have made it go away if I had the ability. I was completely alone and I was lost. Police questioning and grand jury. Foster homes and death threats. My sisters were taken away from me by rules that didn’t seem to take into account how very much we needed each other, especially during those moments. On that day, speaking up did not seem like a positive thing and I would have taken it back if I could.

My counselor told me I had little chance for a successful life. I would likely follow in the footsteps of those before and although I might not abuse, I would likely lose any and all control once I was free. I might not graduate from high school. I might not develop goals. She warned that I might have a predisposition to getting myself into abusive relationships. Know what? I set out to prove her right. I partied until I passed out. More than once. I would disappear for days at a time. I did dangerous things and took ridiculous chances. I didn’t care about anybody or anything. Least of all myself. I was alone. Physically and emotionally.

I did graduate from high school and went on to college for one semester. That wasn’t about studying for me. It was about partying, as much as I could whenever I could. It was about trying to ease the pain. Trying to figure out who I was outside of that place. A year of my life disappeared in a heartbeat. So at 18 I married a man I had “dated” exactly two months. Judge if you will. I have. None-the-less. That was my normal. In reality, my abuser was about to be released and I was terrified. I didn’t want to be alone. It was “typical”. My counselor had told me this might happen. Turns out he was an alcoholic and physically abusive. Who could have seen that coming? He told me it was my fault. He told me I wasn’t good enough. I kinda believed him. I put up with his bullshit until one night he threatened to hit my sister. I wouldn’t save myself but I was going to save her. I left with a police escort, my two babies and only the clothes on our backs. I moved into low income housing. I collected welfare and food stamps. I didn’t sleep at night because I was so scared. I truly didn’t feel like I was good enough – for anything. I even contemplated suicide several times. It was my children’s faces that stopped me from doing that. It was those faces that kept me somewhat sane. I wouldn’t save myself but I was damn sure going to save them.

…and save them, I did.

On the outside, I went back to college and completed my Master’s program. I created and manage an international human resources consulting company that has been in business for a decade, and is successful enough to have acquired a subsidiary. I have been married for over 20 years to an amazing man. To say that I came with some baggage is a slight understatement. He loves me in spite of it. We’ve been around the world together! On the inside, I am happy and healthy. Two biological children, the daughter my son gifted me, and four grandchildren who love without condition. I’ve worked very hard to get to a place where I feel that I AM good enough.

Most days I believe it.

Before and afterThis isn’t where my story ends nor is it my whole story but it’s enough of that piece to share for one day. I’m exhausted. I want nothing from you. Merely that you know how I came to be and why I care so passionately about helping others. I vividly remember laying on a grassy hill when I was 12 or 13, dreaming with my eyes open, that everything would be okay. I could not, in my wildest dreams, have ever imagined it would be this amazing.

Today I speak that silence again. Today I am fully aware that, while they will certainly not be as substantial, there will again be ramifications. And…I think I’m okay with that. I don’t know why I’m compelled to talk at this moment, but I do know why I have to talk. If I can provide strength to even one person; if I can provide one drop of courage; if I can be the warrior at the front of someone else’s charge, I have to.

Please know that no matter what your struggle may be today – and we all have one – if you focus on accepting what you cannot change but change what you cannot accept (if not now, when you’re stronger; if not for yourself, for those who love you) you will be okay.  I want you to imagine the possibilities.  You need to dream with your eyes open!


An Incredible Organization on a Mission to help others Speak their Silence