Category: Lifestyle

Just Say, “No”. I Don’t Want to Take the Medicine.

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbe Hatch

Yes, I’m sharing my own personal medical results.  That’s my prerogative.  


I am not looking for advice, nor am I giving any.  This is my personal experience.  If it helps you, great.  If it’s just an interesting story (or rant) for you, great.  I have no ulterior motive or goal.  I’m not selling or trying to convince you to do anything – except maybe stand your ground in advocating for yourself.


I’ve spoken about my headaches, here, before.


They were the worst when, as a teenager, I first started menstruating.   I would lay in a dark room, curled into the fetal position for a day or two each month.  The headaches went away for years.  Now, they’re back with a vengeance.  They last three to five days. Sometimes longer.  They always come either just before or just after my period.  That made me believe they’re hormonal.   


I have all of the tell-tale signs of a 53-year-old woman entering the next stage of life.  I’m not menopausal but it’s coming.  My periods have changed.  I’m occasionally dizzy, anxious, irritable, and a little depressed.  I’ve had a few hot flashes and night sweats.  Brain fog is a real thing!!  It, insomnia, and the continual fatigue really suck.  I sometimes have a hard time remembering words (and sometimes really simple things like the name of the neighborhood where I live). The headaches are my most concerning symptom.  Not having the doctors listen to me is the most frustrating. The last three primary care providers I’ve had refused to send me for hormone testing.  One did test my iron levels…  Um.


I go to the doctors for my regular paps and mammograms – rarely for anything else.  That means, when I do go, there’s likely a real problem.


Frequently, the pain of the headaches causes vomiting.  I suck it up.  I travel like this.  I teach like this.  I live life like this.  I am not able to just stay in bed for 3-5 days, or more, a month. 


I’ve studied hormones and peri-menopause.  I’ve read everything I could get my hands on.  I’ve attended classes, seminars, a summit, and several webinars.  I’ve listened to numerous podcasts.  I am not the first person to go through this.  My primary care doctors have refused to refer me to an endocrinologist.  I’ve received multiple lectures about how “medicine is a practice, not a science” and “we’re not going to engage in quackery like hormone testing until all other options are exhausted.”  One doctor said, “I have issues too.  I don’t know what you expect us to do for you.”  One said, “I cannot refer you to an endocrinologist until you try all of the medications available, first.”  She gave me a prescription for Topamax.  


COMMON side effects of Topamax include:

  • tiredness,
  • drowsiness,
  • dizziness,
  • nervousness,
  • numbness or tingly feeling in the hands or feet,
  • coordination problems,
  • speech/language problems,
  • changes in vision,
  • sensory distortion,
  • confusion,
  • slowed thinking,
  • trouble concentrating or paying attention,
  • memory problems,


Do these sound like things I should voluntarily have more of?  I don’t think so.  They wanted me to take the pills every day.  I don’t have a headache every day.  I’ve refused to take the medication.  Some people who love me agreed with my decision.  Some people who love me, and have seen me deal with the headaches, suggested I try medication if there’s a chance it might work.  


I’m not against medicine when we know why we’re taking it and what it is supposed to do.  We have some amazing things available to us today.  I’m not a doctor and I have no interest in playing one.


Here’s what I wanted.  Data.  I wanted to know why I am getting the headaches – or at least, a likely cause.  I do not eat a lot of processed foods.  I have super low blood pressure (sometimes it doesn’t break 100).  I exercise 4-5 times a week.  I take care of myself.  I wanted information.



Yesterday, I paid out of my own pocket to have my hormones tested.  It was $199 but I had my answer within 45 minutes.  No surprises!  Many levels are far below optimal.  Armed with the information, now I can make a choice as to whether I’m going to just “ride it out” or do hormonal supplementation (bio identicals or synthetics), and to what degree.  Now I can consider my options based on facts – not just take medication after medication until I find something that takes my headaches away, regardless of what other things they may cause for side-effects.



Here’s the part that makes me angry.  I came from a very poor family.  My sisters and I didn’t just share a room – we shared a bed.  I was a single mom for several years after leaving a physically abusive marriage.  I am fortunate at this point in my life to be able to afford $200 out of pocket for hormone testing.  Years ago, I definitely could not have done that!!  Many of my friends still can’t.  Many women are left to merely take the pain medications their doctors generously prescribe in hoping for relief. 


It’s just wrong.  

5 Actionable Steps for New Year Goals

Family & FIT  |  Debbie Hatch

I’m a little late posting here.  I shared the information on Facebook back on December 31st.  It’s still – come one, we’re only 4 days into the new year – incredibly relevant.  I want to preserve it for the long term.  So…here goes.

It’s here. December 31st. That magical day when we all change our lives for the better!!

Only. Not really. 80-92% of all NYE resolutions fail by February!

I saw the most appropriate quote this morning. “Getting into shape isn’t something you, ‘do’, it’s how you live. Resolution people fail because they believe working out cancels out all the bad in their lives that led to getting out of shape.”

Just as medicine frequently only masks symptoms; forcing yourself to exercise only masks other issues.


STEP ONE: Address the root causes.

Why are you not taking care of yourself already? What are the triggers that cause you to eat the pint of ice cream and family size bag of chips while laying on your couch in front of the tv? Why aren’t you moving your body even though you know it makes you feel better?


Think about that. Honestly. Write down your thoughts.


STEP TWO: Add 20 minutes each day to your schedule. This is non-negotiable personal time. It’s only 20 minutes!

Set a timer first thing in the morning. Take 10 minutes to think about what you want your day to look like. Not just a to do list – but how you’d like to feel too. Write this down. In an old-fashioned paper notebook. Keep it with you.


STEP THREE: Follow through.

As we go through the day we make a series of decisions. What should I eat for lunch? Dinner? Should I have this treat? Can I fit in time for a walk? Etc. stop for 30 seconds prior to each decision and ask, “does this fit with my goals for the day?” If not, “what choice would?”


STEP FOUR: Review your progress daily.

Before you go to bed, set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down your thoughts about the day. What are you pleased about? Where did you not reach your goal and – this is important – how will you change that situation next time it comes up. It will come up again!! Plan for that.


STEP FIVE: Commit to doing this every single day for 30 days.

At that point, set aside a full 20-30 minutes to review what you’ve accomplished in the month. NOT where you failed but where you succeeded. Celebrate your wins.



I’d love it if you’d be willing to share your goals for the new year. Putting them in writing is an affirmation – it can help you achieve your goals.


False Assumptions and Rainbows


Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch

I’d like to talk for a minute about false assumptions and rainbows.  


FACTS:  I’m a personal trainer.  

               I’m certified in nutrition.

               I’m pretty good at what I’ll call “bull-dogging”

                             …setting goals and not letting go until I have accomplished them.  


Because of these things, many people assume I must exercise and “eat right” all the time.

  • These are both false assumptions. 


First of all, there is NO right or wrong way to eat!!  What people usually mean when they use those words is that I only eat “low fat, low sugar,  ‘healthy food like fruits and vegetables’.”



Here is the truth about my diet.


Everyday that I’m home {Every. Single. Day.} the first thing I do, when I get out of bed, is eat one frozen chocolate chip cookie and drink a cup of coffee.  I put a splash of Bailey’s in that coffee.  Every. Single. Day.  I’ve been doing this for seven or eight years.  If you want proof of these statements, I can provide references! 


Here are three further facts you need to be aware of though:


(1) It’s only “every day I’m home”, and I’m only home two or three mornings a week.  I spend a lot of time on the road for business.

(2) I don’t have Bailey’s with a little coffee.  I have coffee with a little Bailey’s.  It’s a regular sized cookie – not 3 cookies made into one.  I don’t eat cookies all day.  I don’t stuff my body with fat, sugar, and things like that all day.

(3) I always follow-up my cookie and coffee with a high protein meal (pretty typically either protein waffles/pancakes or an egg white omelet).


Here is the truth about my exercise.



I’m prepping for my first ever powerlifting meet right now.  I work out 4 days a week, normally for 30-45 minutes each time.  I spend that entire time lifting weights. 






I do not get on the stair stepper, elliptical, bicycle, nor treadmill and gut out an hour of cardio.  Ever.  Not because “cardio is bad” no more than “food is bad”.  Not because cardio doesn’t serve a purpose.  Cardio IS good for our heart, lungs, and circulatory system.  I do very occasionally add in a short run, some rowing, go to a class, or do a video both because I like to, and because they’re good for me.   Most of my cardio comes from walking, sprinting, or hiking – because I enjoy those things and – another fact – if I don’t like it, I’m not going to do it.  The same is true for you… 


Hours of cardio is what many people believe is required in order for them to lose weight.  

  • That’s a false assumption.  


Diet and exercise are both critical components of losing weight – AND staying healthy.


Sleep and stress reduction have a lot to do with it too!  Increasing muscle mass is an excellent way to lose fat and reshape the body.



So what does the rainbow have to do with any of this? 


I snapped a photo of the rainbow over my back yard, this morning.  It was only there for a couple minutes, but long enough for me to see it.  Long enough for me to sit on the porch sipping the coffee and eating the cookie my husband made for me, and enjoy its presence. 


It was there long enough for me to think, “I might only come home for weekends but, I’m so glad I DO get to come home for the weekends – to enjoy this place and these things.”   It was there long enough for me to consider the fact that so many people make false assumptions about my “healthy life” and to realize that I wanted to (once again…) share the truth.  The only reason I wrote the blog is because of the rainbow.  Is it waxing poetic to say, “I’ll consider it a little bit of gold”? 


Strangers Aren’t the Ones we Need to Fear Most

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch
If you have been or are currently in a domestic violence situation, this message comes with a trigger warning.
Other than that…
I am not going to sugar-coat this.
I am not going to try to word it tactfully.
I am not going to apologize if this upsets you. It should!
It upsets me, too. A LOT.
I grew up in a home where, more than once, I went to bed thinking my mother might be dead before morning. She’s had multiple broken bones and countless injuries over the past 45 years. I have multiple friends who have been in abusive relationships. I’ve been the recipient of domestic violence myself, numerous times. In my experience, it is not strangers that I’ve needed to be fearful of.
I also worked as a dispatcher for the State Police. So…I’m not surprised at this headline. “Most female homicide victims are killed by husbands or other intimate partners.”
I am; however, shocked, incredibly sad, and very angry at this stated fact:
“A report out Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that homicide is the FIFTH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR WOMEN AGES 18 TO 44. In 2015 alone, 3,519 women and girls were killed. More than half of these killings were perpetrated by current or former boyfriends, husbands or other intimate partners.”
It’s incredibly difficult to do.  I know that.  Women stay for a variety of reasons.  I know that, too.  But…get help.  Please.  It doesn’t get better.

People who Workout Frequently are Still Just People

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

The recent move to Nebraska is #19 for me.  I have an affinity for that number (Ka) so that’s cool.  We’ll have at least one, maybe two, more moves before we settle into a “forever home”.  There have been a lot of transitions for this small town, Maine girl, over the years.  I don’t complain – although there have been some assignments that initially concerned or scared me; one time when I hid from my husband so he wouldn’t see my cry at the news; three times when he watched me cry because we were leaving people I loved and I just couldn’t hide it; and some places I don’t care to ever return to.


For the most part, though, this is just a normal part of life for military families and it’s been pretty amazing.  I view every move as a big adventure. In talking to some of my friends this week, we don’t know whether we love it or hate it.  To be honest, for  me it’s a constant melding of both…




There are new places to explore. New things to do.  New people to meet.  It keeps me from getting into much of a rut because nothing stays the same (except family – that’s the one constant, and SO very important).



You, and every single thing you own (material things of financial value but most importantly, those things that have only great emotional value – the clothes you brought your babies home from the hospital in; their kindergarten drawings and homemade Christmas ornaments, etc) have to safely make your way across the country, or the globe.  There are new things and places to learn.  We need to find a new vet, new doctor, new dentist, new hairdresser, bank, grocery store, insurance carrier, and so much more.


  • IT’S SAD

We’re always saying, “see you later” (which is goodbye a large percentage of the time although none of us like to put it that way) constantly. Either you, or your friends are moving.  I’ve left my sisters (which hurt) and both of my children (which hurt even more).  I have honed an ability to disconnect from people and places.  Good and bad.  It can be hard to make friends. The situation sometimes hurts people because I don’t always cry when I say goodbye.  This transitory lifestyle has an up-side though.


We have friends all over the world.  We really do have a second (military) family.  We have the ability to not see people for years, yet fall into easy, comfortable conversation the next time we do talk.  It keeps me appreciative of things and relationships when I have them.  I know, for sure, everything in life is temporary.  Many people never realize this until it’s almost too late.




This reflective mood has been brought on by the fact that today I will go to a new gym.  My realtor gave me a month’s free membership to a local barbell club.  Perfect!  I’m excited but also super anxious. As much time as I spend in the weight room, and as long as I’ve been going to the gym, I’m comfortable in that environment.


It’s still not easy though.  People who work out frequently are still just regular people.  It’s a new place.  New environment.  New people.  I’m a private individual for the most part so none of this really thrills me.  Will I fit in?  Will this be a good fit for me?  Will I feel intimidated or make a fool of myself?


I want to go – but I don’t.  Know what I mean? 


I will. 


We’re busy and in the middle of a cross-country move.  It would be easy to say, “I can’t” and at least partially convince myself that’s really true.  But I’d only every partially believe it.  So I will get dressed.  I will make the drive.  I will take a deep breath and walk inside.  I will do my workout.  It will all be okay…it’s just a little uncomfortable.


Places don’t become home…

People don’t become friends…

Situations don’t become comfortable…

Unless we put ourselves out there.

What Do You Do When Life is Insane?

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


Things are about to get (more) insane around here.
My kids and grandchildren are all traveling to my house over the next 36 hours. We’ll have 6 adults and 5 kids. It will be loud and chaotic. It will be crazy. It will be amazing. I’ll be knee deep in babies and I’ll be loving it. We’re going to have so much fun.
They will all be here for a week.  #mycrewe
The same day they leave, I’m leaving. We all have a 6 am flight. I’ll be on the road for business for 2 straight weeks, holding a TSP webinar, and also indulging in an annual girls’ weekend between those commitments with 3 of my very best friends. #vegasgirls
I have to catch a red-eye home at the end of that trip, to have a closing on our new house. We will then have 3 days during which the packers will be here; everything will be boxed up, we’ll have our final home inspection, wrap up things in DC and hop in the truck and drive from here to Nebraska.
There will be a little stress.  #thisislife 
I’ll handle it by remaining steadfast in my commitments to myself.
==> I WILL WORKOUT. If I don’t make it to the gym, I’ll run, play on the playground with the babies, dance, or do something with my exercise bands.
==> I WILL FIND SOME TIME TO WRITE every day – even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes before I get out of bed.
….because if you only work on your goals when life is uncomplicated and not stressful, you’re never going to work on your goals.

Don’t Follow “All of the Rules”

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch 

3 Simple Tips to Break Free



I received an email a few days ago from a woman desperate for help.  She’s continued to gain weight and is incredibly frustrated.  She feels trapped.  It occurred to me that the response I sent her might also be of value to other people so I want to share that here.



If I were to give you a bit of free, personal advice, my top 3 tips would be these:




A little bit every single day.

Outside is best, and as we move toward spring hopefully that will get easier.

Both literally and figuratively, baby steps ARE still steps.  Small changes tend to be more sustainable over

the long term.




Don’t try to be perfect.  Don’t go on a crazy strict diet.  Don’t detox.  Don’t try to live on salad.  Don’t start exercising 3-4 hours a day.


Pick ONE thing to change for the next two weeks.

Drink more water.  Eat more vegetables.  Make one meal a day “perfect”.


Focus on dinner since that’s where you said you have the most problems. You “don’t like to cook but like a hot meal”. Me too!!!  But you have to get comfortable cooking a little bit.


How about throwing something in the crockpot before you go to work?


How about cooking on Sunday afternoon? I grill a huge package of chicken, scramble up some ground turkey, and steam veggies on Sunday afternoon. I put all of these in individual containers and throw them in the frig. Then, in the evening, I just pop one in the microwave.
Pick a few local places to pick up food on the way home. I love Chipotle (salad with black beans, fajita veggies, chicken, mild and corn salsa is what I order 99% of the time), Panera (just about anything although I normally pick an apple vs bagette) or Applebee’s (shrimp and steak with potatoes and veggies).




Protein (e.g. meet, egg white, protein powder) with every single one of them

Some carbs (veggies mostly, but also fruit and grains) with every one – and

Healthy fat (olive oil, nuts) with at least two.


Scatter in snacks, treats, and the things you love.  Making them “off limits” does nothing but make you want them more.  You are not going to go through the rest of your life never again eating chocolate cake (or…..)



I might also suggest you pick up a copy of one or both of these books:





Both are written by people I’ve personally met, and trust: they’re reasonable, habit based, solutions.

Hope some of this helps. I’m here if you need anything.


What’s Your Nutritional Plan?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.  

Between posting my dive photo for #GGSFlawless, yesterday, and a question asked in one of the forums I follow.

“What nutrition plan does everybody follow?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about nutritional habits.


I’ve written down everything I eat for as long as I can remember. I have food journals dating back 30 years. No joke!!




I competed in Figure for a number of years and started counting macros – a whole new level of “writing stuff down”.

I did that (to the extreme) for about 5 years. There was good that came of it too. I can eyeball one serving of “this” and 3 ounces of chicken, like nobody’s business. Seriously, one of the reasons I start my clients out counting macros is because most of us have no idea how much (or little) we’re actually eating and we don’t know how much one serving is. Tracking gets you familiar with both.



For the last two – it was Thanksgiving at my son’s house two years ago that I decided not to count my food – I’ve done very little counting or recording.


I still worry about it sometimes.

“Oh my gosh…how many calories have I eaten today?”

“Is my protein on point?”

“How long can I get away without writing stuff down?”


BUT – – I am in the best shape of my life.
Not counting.

Protein Waffles (egg whites& protein powder)        topped with Greek yogurt and fruit.


There ARE certain things I do.

1. I make sure I have some protein with every meal.


2. I have a salad at least once a day (all the veggies, no cheese and typically little to no dressing).
3. I drink lots of water.


4. Before I eat, I check in.  I ask myself, “Are you really hungry? Would you sit down and eat fish and veggies right now?” OR “Are you just in a mood to munch? Do you just want that candy because it’s sitting here?” If I wouldn’t eat the fish, but I would eat the carrot cake, I’m probably not really hungry……

5. I no longer (I was raised this way… was a hard habit to break) feel like I need to clean my plate. I stop when I’m full – not when the plate is empty.

Keep it simple.

Was 2016 (Really) “The Worst Year Ever?”

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


This is not a blog about politics.  It is not about socio/economic affairs.  It is not a debate.  This blog is about resiliency, reality, and mindset.


Let me ask you this:  What does your FB feed look like right now?

Mine is (has been for the past two weeks) filled with statements and memes about how horrible 2016 has been. That’s not how I usually handle things.  To each his/her own – there’s no judgement even in this, but

I prefer to review what good came of the past year (for me personally, professionally, and our world).  I prefer to make a plan for moving forward rather than staying mired in the past.  Acknowledge that stuff.  Feel it.  Work through it.  Don’t get stuck there.


I’ve been pushed to my limit for the “2016 was the worst year ever!” stuff so I spent a little time doing research this morning.

Turns out that 2016 may not have been “the worst year ever!”  It may not even have been the worst year in recent history.  Some really scary, bad stuff happened!  Absolutely.  I am not minimizing that in any way.  Before we lose all perspective, though, let’s do a quick history review of our recent past.  Not the past 50 years, just the 15 before this one.  Not all of the events, just a few of the quickest-to-grab highlights.  These are in no particular order and I’m making no judgment as to whether these are more/less important than other things that have happened.


Do you remember:


– The US 2000 Presidential Election? 

So contentious and tight that it went all the way to the Supreme Court! The term “hanging chads” became a national punchline as Florida seemed to have difficulty counting hand-punched ballots. This was the first time in our history that the SCOTUS had to settle a presidential election.


– Terrorist attacks of 2001?

2,996 people died immediately, 6,000 more were wounded. That doesn’t include residual deaths from breathing noxious chemicals of burning materials.

– The wars in Iraq/Afghanistan? (2002/2003 – today)

Official numbers for civilian deaths Iraq over a 13-year period stand between 168,905 and 188,152.  Total violent deaths including combatants 251,000.  We’re still fighting.  68 died last week.  149,000 people died/were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan over this period.


– The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake?

The 3rd largest quake ever recorded on a seismograph.  280,000 people died within a few hours, in more than 10 countries hit by surging waves; 200,000 in Sumatra alone.


– Hurricane Katrina in 2005?

1,836 people killed.  Rescue efforts led to a national conversation about race, poverty, and the efficacy of bureaucratic aid. The storm also destroyed $108 billion worth of property, making it the costliest hurricane in American history.


– Virginia Tech Shooting, 2007?

Second-deadliest school massacre in American history.  32 people killed and 23 others wounded.


– The Market Meltdown of 2008?

This wasn’t about physical casualty but it put a few things in perspective for us. We were going backwards!  The median U.S. household income in 2000 was $52,500. In 2008, it was $50,303. In 2000, 11.3% of Americans were living below the poverty line. By 2008, that figure was 13.2%.  I’m well aware that we need to be careful reporting such statistics – they have been changed several times, and are frequently massaged by whomever is doing the reporting.  No question, though that our financial institutions, auto manufacturers and housing industries all but failed.  We had government bailouts.


– Back to Back Earthquakes in Haiti in 2010?

The first earthquake measured 7.0.  A second, measuring 6.1 occurred a week later.  At least (reported numbers vary) 46,000 people died although the death toll may have been as high as 110,000.

– Hurricane Sandy, 2012?

87 fatalities occurred in the US. At least 126 additional fatalities occurred in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

This was also the year of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings where we saw 6 year old children and their teachers/caretakers killed.  I remember exactly where I was and how hopeless I felt when I heard this news.


– Boko Haram abduction in 2014?

276 Nigerian girls were abducted from a boarding school in the northeastern town of Chibok.  Here’s something you might not know.  Despite a “very aggressive” #bringbackourgirls Twitter campaign, as of May 2016, 218 of these girls are still in captivity.  The world has simply forgotten about them and moved on. It’s what we do.


Let’s not forget the Ferguson riots that spread over a four-month period of time.


There were 355 tornadoes throughout the Midwest and Southeastern US.

The worst being in Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL.  606 people died.


– Paris Attacks of 2015?

130 people killed and almost 500 injured.


“Peaceful protestors” (title provided by news agencies, not myself) lit 144 vehicles and 15 structures on fire in Baltimore, MD. 2,000 National Guard activated, 500 additional law enforcement officers from Maryland and as many as 5,000 from around the mid-Atlantic region responded.


Frightening stuff happens in our world.  Catastrophe’s – both created by man and nature.  We should care about this stuff.  We should not give up.  We should not tear ourselves apart, and/or burn our cities down in an outcry that “this is the worst…. ever.”


Guess what else….

People got married (both of my kids and numerous friends, within this 15 year period:  my daughter, in 2016).
– People were born (every one of my 5 grandchildren:  one grandson in 2016).
– Friends came through illnesses and injury (Rebeca and Linda in 2016)..
– Friends & family worked through significant life events (almost every one I know in 2016).
– People got jobs and promotions.  My company grew; both in size and number of customers – in 2016.
– Kids started, and finished, school.

A lot of good stuff happened every single year. Significant stuff.


I am very much looking forward to 2017.


Thriving Throughout the Holidays

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


I wrote Part I of this blog on Monday.  It discussed why people worry about “Surviving the Holidays”, and some of the misinformation accompanying that madness from the diet industry.  You can find it here.

screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-5-42-04-amToday, in Part II, I’d like to give you my Top 10, plus 2 (I’m an over-achiever) ways you might thrive, rather than just survive this holiday season.


In no particular order:


  1. Get some exercise. Not as “punishment” for eating! Rather, because movement is good for your body and soul.  It makes you feel better and it helps digestion.


How do I do it?  I have, historically, done a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning – sometimes organized, sometimes with just my husband, sometimes alone.  It’s not a group that makes the turkey trot, it’s the trotting before the turkey J




  1. Drink some water. Yes, this one again! Here are ten quickie reasons from this article why we should drink water:  (1) If we don’t drink water, we will die…more quickly.  While this should be enough to convince you!!, here are the others.  (2) Various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon and bladder cancer. (3) Be less cranky:  dehydration can affect your mood.  (4) Hydration contributes to increased athletic performance.  (5) It helps you lose weight:  many times we’re actually thirsty when we think we’re hungry (6) Water helps decrease join pain. (7) It flushes out waste and bacteria. (8) Dehydration causes headaches. (9) It’s great for skin – the largest organ in our body!  And (10) It aids digestion.



How do I do it?  After my first cup of coffee, as I’m cooking and working around the house, water will be my drink of choice.  I’ll save the glass of wine for dinner.





  1. Have breakfast. “Saving your calories” for later may seem like a good idea, but it isn’t.  Skipping everything up to the “big meal” makes that meal even bigger!  You’ll be more hungry and therefore, more apt to overeat.



How do I do it? While I will limit snacks until our meal is served, I will have my normal protein and carb breakfast.





  1. Focus on the people, not just the food. Chances are that many of us will be with family and friends.  {Certainly not everyone.  If you’re experiencing the blues, clinical anxiety, or depression – which can all be magnified at this time of the year, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from a qualified mental health professional.}  Spend time having conversations, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company.


222015_1880275359124_5667102_nHow do I do it?  I love the interaction.  I’m the one who suggests a game or asks questions that might be pondered, and give us an opportunity to truly talk.  I’m leery of sitting out snacks during this time.  It’s super easy to eat the entire bowl of peanuts while talking, without even being aware of it.



  1. Fill your plate differently. Start with some type of protein, then add vegetables.  Starch comes last.

How do I do it?  I promise you, I AM going to have a little bit of everything that makes this holiday special to my palate.  I love cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie with – a fair amount of – whipped cream on top. I’m going to start, though, with turkey, carrots, and a little sweet potato.  In re-reading this, I noticed I’ve inadvertently typed “a little bit” and a “little”.  Exactly!!  Priorities first and then just a little bit of everything else.


  1. Stuffing is for the turkey: not you. There is no reason to eat until you are uncomfortable, and chopping on Tums to help with heartburn. You know how that feels and it’s not good.


How do I do it?  See #5, I will start with my turkey and veggies.  I’ll add a spoonful or two of everything else.  Once I’m finished with the plate, I’m going to sit my fork down and wait 10-15 minutes (see #4, I’ll be talking).  At the end of that time, IF I’m hungry, I will get some more.  I will not eat because, “If I miss this opportunity, I will not get mashed potatoes and gravy or those yeast rolls for a whole year…”   Plus, while the pie might have tasted absolutely fantastic on bites 1 – 3, bite 20 has lost some of the original appeal.  I’ll just stop.


  1. Clear the food away right after the meal. If it’s sitting out, you know you will pick. Not because you’re hungry but because it’s there.


  1. Move a little in the afternoon. I know how easy (and typical) it is to eat mountains of food, be too full to move, and crash on the couch in front of the television for the rest of the day. That’s all cool.  But, if you see #6, by not stuffing yourself, you will feel better.  Go for a walk.  Play a little soccer of football with the family.  Then turn on the game.




How do I do it?  This is a perfect time to chase my grandchildren around.  We could go for a walk, ride bikes, check out the playground, or throw rocks at the lake.  The possibilities are endless.  The fresh air is good for body, soul, and digestion too.







  1. Remember that this (one day) is the holiday. We have a tendency to stretch the holidays out and act as though the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is one continual holiday.  When we start eating as if the holiday starts on Saturday (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or even Wednesday), it will continue through Thursday night.  On Friday, there will be leftovers to take care of.  By then, we’ll be getting close to Christmas (Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or Festivus) – and then we’re getting close to New Year’s.  Oh, what to heck?  We might as well wait for January and start fresh at that point.  Sound familiar?


How do I do it?  I enjoy the family time, the meal, and special foods of the holiday.  I don’t turn it into a “season”.  That means Monday – Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I’ll eat my normal, nutritious food.  I won’t have pie until Thursday.  I will freeze some food on Friday rather than thinking I have to eat it all.



  1. Enjoy the food you do eat. Unless you have an impending physical competition, enjoy a piece of your grandmother’s pecan pie or Challah French toast.  Try your sister’s cornbread stuffing, latkes, mincemeat, or egg nog. Those of us fortunate enough to be able to celebrate, should be grateful for the opportunity.  Enjoy family, friends, and yes, food.




How do I do it?  I’ll be mindful of everything I put in my mouth.  I’ll savor each taste and texture. I’ll sit down, or at the very least stand in one place.





  1. Stop eating out of guilt. Just because somebody made this food, and it’s sitting there, doesn’t mean it’s your job to eat all the food!  We all have that pushy co-worker or family member. Don’t make a big deal of it.  Take a little piece of whatever they’re offering if you feel you must.  Have a bite or two but don’t feel like you’re required to eat it all.

How do I do it?  My mom is a pusher! Always has been.  She shows love by baking.  Somewhere along the line, I had to come to the realization that blaming her for the amount I was eating, was just an excuse.  She made the food.  I ate because I wanted to.

I’m just saying

  • Don’t have it just because somebody else is.
  • Don’t complain about your food choices.
  • Don’t play the “poor me, I can’t have that” card.
  • Don’t die-t!!
  • Make consistent nutritional choices for YOU – and own that decision.


  1. Control what you can control. You might not be able to change the crazy hectic schedule but you do have the choice of going back for that second plate of food, or not.  You choose whether you’re going to munch, even when no one else is around.  You can choose to go for a walk.


You can pick 1 or 2 things out of this list and set them as personal priorities for the day.  I would love it if you did!  I would love it even more if you’d share your experience with me.