Category: Mindset Mostly

The Tide Goes Out: Emotional Mud Flats


Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


I LOVE (love, love,love) the water. Always have. I love to be near it, walk beside it, be in it, be under it. Even when we lived in Vegas, I would seek out the water. We spent days kayaking at Lake Mead, hiking to the Colorado River, and learning to SUP at Lake Las Vegas.

If I wrote my perfect day for you, it would look like this:

Wake up on the boat, just before sunrise. Wrap in a cozy blanket and go topside to grab a coffee and relax in my favorite chair while listening to sounds of the ocean and watching the sun slowly rise. After a nice breakfast, I’d don dive gear and submerge into my underwater paradise. I’d stay there as long as I could (luckily I only sip air and my dives can easily last a while), taking in the sites and reveling in the underwater beauty. Top side to lounge in the sun for a surface interval. Repeat. Yes, THAT would be a phenomenal day. That is how I would like to spend every one.

But to get back to the moral of my story…


My love of the water started at a young age, I suppose, but to me, it’s ALWAYS been there. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a small town in rural Maine so I ienhaled the salty air for much of my life.

Clams   Clams2


If you’ve been there, you know that the tide ranges can vary greatly between high and low tide.

If you haven’t been there, let me explain. There can be a difference of 9-11 feet depending on whether the tide is in or out. That’s in the southern part of the state and the difference can be up to 19 feet in the north. In fact, the Bay of Fundy, located on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine, is known for having the highest tidal range in the world: up to 50 feet!!!



This morning I was thinking about my range of emotions over just this past week. They have been as high and as low as the tide in Maine. Feelings and emotions are like that. They ebb and flow. For all of us.

Last week I was incredibly frustrated and overwhelmed.

I wrote to a group of girlfriends: “My schedule has gotten out of hand. I’m always busy, but lately I’ve been getting up at 5:30 every day. I have exactly 1 hour to myself to check email, FB, etc. Then I get dressed, drive to wherever my class for the day is and I’m in the classroom from 7:30 until 4:30 or 5 o’clock. After class I’ve been driving for a couple of hours to get to the new location, while trying to grab a workout here or there, write proposals, respond to clients, return phone calls, etc. In bed around 11 or 12 (sometimes later) just to get up and do it all again the next day. I’m tired and frustrated.”

They were positive and supported me.

That’s one thing that’s valuable when the tide goes out: someone else there to help you negotiate around the sink holes – or to help pull you out if you get stuck. These sink holes are not like the ones you see in Florida, swallowing homes; or Bowling Green last year gobbling up 8 corvettes.

DiggerNo. A sink-hole on the mud flats is a big soupy, super-soft mud that you can sink into.

Even if your support system is a “system of one”, call that person. Write to that person. Talk to that person, and be honest (with you and them) about what you’re feeling.

During low tide, you might find that you need to go slow. So, too, with low emotions.  Take things a little slower. Apply some self-compassion. But keep going because the tide is coming in. It always does. During that feeling of overwhelm, it can be difficult to remain positive. It can be difficult to remind yourself (AND believe) that things are going to work out.

When that emotional tide is out and you’re in the mire of mud flats, you need to keep trudging along. Put one heavy foot in front of the other…take a short break if you need to and, then….move the other foot.

The tide will eventually come in – it’s a cycle – it always does. With water and emotions.

My emotional tide has come in.  This morning I wrote: “I’ve been home for 36 hours and while I will get back on the road later this afternoon, these visits refresh me. At this moment, standing in my own kitchen as my husband and the mini schnauzer continue to sleep, I feel like I can conquer the world.”

I wish this feeling would last but it won’t. The tide comes in.  The tide goes out.

I’m not depressed about that and it doesn’t overshadow the feeling I have today.

I’m just going to take it in.

I’m enjoying the high tide.

“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!!


“You are Fat, Lazy, and None too Pretty.” The things we think it’s okay to say – but only to ourselves.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

If you told me I was fat, lazy, and not too pretty, we probably wouldn’t be friends for long. I would find you rude and inconsiderate. I would likely say that I don’t care about your opinion and I don’t need people like you in my life.

Here’s the problem: I have said every single one of those things to myself. Multiple times. And you know what else? I’d like to say that the words were uttered a long time ago before I knew better, but that would be a lie. Just yesterday I told my husband that I’m lazy. This past week I told myself I was getting fat and that I’m out of shape. While getting prepared for my last figure show (June 2014), I told the make-up artist, “I’m not one of the prettiest girls, just do the best you can to make me look good on stage.” I’ve told myself I’m not fast enough, strong enough, good enough: I don’t have enough muscle and I have too many stretch marks…for YEARS.

To quote Jill Coleman of JillFit Physiques, “The actual mental, subjective side of the equation (how you feel about your body) has very little to do with the objective measurements (how your body looks). I’ve seen women at 10% bodyfat who hate their bodies and women at 30% who love every inch. The negative self-talk can act as a distraction from the real issue, which is finding a solution and simply showing up in your life every day and doing your best.”

Are the things I say about myself true? Well, let me put it this way. If I met a person who ran 3 businesses, traveled 200 days a year, still got to the gym 4-5 times a week, and helped people when ever she had a spare 10 seconds, I probably wouldn’t think she was lazy. If I told you my closet is full of clothes from high school, and that I can still fit into them, you would likely tell me to go shopping but you wouldn’t think I’m fat.

Why do I allow myself to talk this way, then?

No, I am not shredded. No, I don’t look like I could walk on stage tomorrow. AM I walking on stage tomorrow? No!! So why does it bother me? I say these things because it’s competition season. I have friends and clients competing within the next 6 weeks and I have a touch of the bug. I say these things because I am human.

You say those things to yourself too. Every one of you do at some point, and we need to stop!

I received a text from a client this morning. It read, “I have gained 3 pounds in the last two weeks and I’m frustrated. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to and my body is doing nothing.” Here’s the truth: this girl has already lost over 90 pounds!! Her body has done a lot! She’s accomplished amazing things. None of that makes her feel better. The sad fact is that I get messages frequently from people who have “only lost 3 pounds”. They’re not thrilled with such a small number: they wanted to lose more. Yet, we gain 3 pounds and it’s depressing – if not the end of the world. I’m not exempting myself from this. I get it. I’ve done it too. I do it.

The fact is that no one is truly exempt.

Have you seen this video by Dove?

You might be pretty good at being kind to yourself but we all have those “days” (or weeks, or months, or lives…..) Even Molly Galbrath, fitness professional and kick-ass creator of Girls Gone Strong, wrote this week: “EVERYONE, even fit pros, and even fit pros who love themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin, still have feelings like this on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong with these feelings. It’s what you do with them that counts. Are you letting them rule your life, or are you taking a moment to figure out where they are coming from, and then reacting accordingly?”

I’m working on the later. In that vein, I did an experiment last week. I asked several of my friends to tell me one thing they like about me and one thing they like about themselves. I saw two interesting things. First, not one person said they like me because I have a small waist or curvy shoulders – although a couple of people noted my physical and mental strength. One person wrote, “I like that you never let me beat you when we run together. You make me work.” That made me smile.

No one said they like me because of what I weigh or the size of my pants. This didn’t surprise me but I think it’s a relevant point we should try to remember. Instead, they said things like:

  • You’re such a positive person. I love your heart.
  • You have great perseverance and dedication to accomplish whatever you decide you want to do.
  • You take ownership and responsibility for everything you do.
  • I respect your desire to help others. So much of what you do both in regards to fitness and outside of that is because you want to help. You do fitness group after fitness group and offer advice daily, something you could probably make a decent living off, yet you do so much of it for free and your simple desire to help.
  • I like that you are honest. You tell me like it is. That you are willing to help people get healthy and that you are an inspiration to others!
  • You genuinely make me feel special and loved.

The other thing of interest in my survey – the MOST interesting thing – was the number of people who either didn’t tell me something they liked about themselves. 23% (almost a full quarter) of the people I surveyed said they couldn’t think of anything at the moment. What’s up with that? A throwback to, “if you have nothing to say…..”? I supposed it’s one iota better than the negative trash talk.

Here’s your call to action:

  • Let’s put ourselves in our friend’s shoes.
  • Let’s try to see ourselves through their eyes.
  • Let’s try to treat ourselves as positively as we treat them.
  • List 3 things you love about yourself. Don’t over analyze. Don’t think, “That makes me sound like I’m bragging”.

If you’re not at a point where you’re willing to say this out loud on Facebook or in a blog comment, send me a personal message. I’d love to hear your input!!

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.


Stressed Spelled Backwards is DESSERTS. 5 Strategies for Dealing with Emotional Eating.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


We all have “those” days. Things don’t go as planned. You’re running from the very moment you wake up until late that night when you finally fall into bed, exhausted and stressed. The day has been a blur. You accomplished nothing you planned. Thank goodness for those quad Starbucks triple mocha cappuccinos or you probably wouldn’t have made it through!

These are the days you seek comfort wherever you can find it. Many times that comes in the form of chocolate, cookies, or four helpings of pasta with a loaf of bread for a side, washed down with one or two bottles of wine. We try to drown out our emotions with food and beverage.

I know it’s not just me who seeks to fix my problems by sticking my head inside a half-gallon of butter pecan ice cream. What’s your comfort food?

Nobody craves a piece of tilapia and asparagus at the end of one of these days – I can promise you that! Well, unless it’s asparagus hidden under a pound of melted cheddar cheese and sprinkled with bacon, anyway.

I am an emotional eater. To be honest, I was raised that way. My mother thought food was the answer to everything. Sad? Here’s a sugary treat to make you feel better. Happy? Let’s get something yummy to help us celebrate. Made the honor roll? We get to go to McDonald’s for breakfast tomorrow. Angry? Let’s get something to eat and take some time to calm down. We can talk over a plate-sized cinnamon bun. I remember her cooking an entire loaf of bread as French toast and having a competition to see how many slices I could eat. She helped me gain 63 pounds when I was pregnant with an 8 pound baby because, “this is the one time when you can eat anything you want and you don’t have to worry about whether you’re gaining weight”.  It actually goes back even further than that though. When I miss my grandmother, I automatically crave the coconut macaroons, Dunkin Donuts, and Baskin Robbins ice cream she used to bring me.

Actually it can go one of two ways. I surveyed some of my friends and clients the other day. It seems like about 90% DO eat when they’re stressed. The other 10% do not eat – anything – when they’re stressed. Clearly, neither of these extremes is ideal.

What can we do about it?

The stress isn’t going to go away. Our lives are not magically going to be rainbows and sparkling tiaras from this point forward as long as we will it. People we love pass away. Relationships we want to work out, end. Things we wanted to do, we can’t. Things don’t always go our way. We don’t get that promotion. We have too much to do. We get in arguments and have disagreements. It’s the human condition.

We need to prepare ourselves to be ready to deal with these difficulties in a better way. We need to plan how we’re going to handle the next crisis when it comes. We need to think about it now before we are IN the situation.

5 Strategies to help with Emotional Eating
  1. Start by trying to take your mind off food.

 Rather than walking into your house, grabbing the first sugary, fatty, salty thing you can find; crumbling onto the couch and stuffing it into your face, take just a few minutes.

 Have a glass or two of water. DO something. I know you don’t feel like going to the gym. That’s okay. Just go for a short walk. Call a friend while you’re walking, or listen to music (an audiobook or short podcast). Look at your to-do list and resolve to get one or two quick things checked off. Crank your music and dance around for 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t sit down. Don’t get on the computer. Move for a few minutes and get your blood circulating. I know it’s hard at first – especially if something has happened and you’re depressed, sad, or angry. You owe this few minutes to yourself though. AND this will make you feel better than food will.


  1. Face the emotion.

 We’re taught by our parents, teachers, and even in the workplace, that there are “good” (joy, happiness, pleasure) and “bad” (anger, fear, jealousy) emotions. We’re continually told (and/or we tell ourselves) that we need to suppress “negative” emotions. Don’t be angry. Don’t be sad. Don’t be depressed. Be happy. Be calm.

 In fact, every emotion serves a purpose! Emotions themselves are not “bad”. It is how we choose to act upon or respond – or even worse, NOT respond – to our emotions that may cause problems.

 Think about the emotion without the food. Ask yourself questions like these:

  •  How do I feel right now? Be specific. Name the emotion. “I feel angry, sad, frustrated, belittled, depressed, over-worked, under-appreciated, unloved, stressed……”
  •  What led to this feeling? Was it a specific situation? Is that an on-going situation or something that just happened this once? Was it a specific person? Was it that you responded poorly because you said something you didn’t really mean or you didn’t listen? Did you take on too much?
  •  Can you / what can you do to fix the problem? Not the emotion but the cause of your sadness, anger, frustration, etc. Can you do anything about THAT? What? Could you talk to the person, could you explain your feelings, could you decide to take a few things off your too full to do list? Could you ask someone for help? Do you just have to deal with it?
  • If you can’t do anything about it, because things do sometimes happen TO us that are outside of our control, how can you deal with it? Can you think of some way to positively handle the situation if you can’t change it? Would it help to talk to someone? Would it help to write your thoughts down? Would it help to clear your head by finding something to do for a few minutes? Could you allow yourself 5 or 10, or 15 minutes to cry, to scream, to melt-down? AND then take a few minutes to just breath.

 You might think I’m weird but I’m going to be completely honest. Don’t knock it until you try it once or twice. I take 5 minutes to just sit or lay down. I close my eyes and I take a deep breathe in. As I slowly exhale, I imagine that the breathe (instead of “just” being exhaled) is being pushed throughout my body. I can feel it going to my lungs, then to my stomach, my arms, my legs. It takes up all of the space inside my body so as it is expanding, it pushes all of the negative energy out – through my shoulders, my finger tips, my toes.   This does not take my problems away but it does typically calm me enough so that I can re-center again. I can think more clearly, and I can have a fresh approach.


  1. Eat intentionally.

IF you’ve tried to get it off your mind but you find that you really, really want the chips (or whatever “it” is for you), have them. If you’re an emotional eater, you should NOT keep these things in your house. That makes it much too easy for you. Instead, make the foods you want to limit as inconvenient as possible. At the very least, put these things on the very top shelf of your pantry so you have to expend the effort of dragging out a chair to get to them. I bury stuff in the bottom of my freezer. Unless it’s been a really, really bad day, I’m not going to take the time of digging all the frozen food out just to get to the Thin Mint cookies.

 Better yet, if this stuff is not in your house, you’ll have to drive to the store. On these days, once you’re in, you’re not likely going to feel like going back out. When you DO go to the store, buy one individual serving size of what you’re craving. Don’t give yourself that BS story about how the larger bag is the better deal, it’s more economical and you’ll save a lot of money by buying the King-sized. That is true but here’s what you need to remember – it’s not a better deal unless you eat the entire thing. You can either waste your money buying the smaller bag OR you can put the extra chips on your waist. One or the other. Waste or waist.  You choose.


  1. Be mindful of how much you’re eating.

 If you come into the house, grab that large bag of chips, plop onto the couch, pull out your 

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 2.58.19 AMiPad or turn on the television, that bag is going to be gone and you won’t even remember putting your hand to your mouth. That doesn’t even count the can of dip you cleaned out with these chips, either. If you’re eating – because of stress, emotion, or just because you’re eating – be mindful of how much you’re eating. Don’t carry the bag to the couch. If you don’t have an individual serving, get out one serving in a bowl. When it’s gone, it’s gone and you’ll notice it. Even if you go back for a second helping, there’s no denying it – you’ll KNOW what you’re doing and you’ll have to decide whether you really want to have more or not.


  1. Please remind yourself that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

 I know it might not feel like it at that very moment. Life seems so difficult and you feel like crap. Who to hell cares? YOU will! Even if you don’t right this moment, you will later. You have been through difficult times before. You have been stressed. You have survived. Can you tell me of one time when food or alcohol fixed any of your problems? Personally, I can tell you how many times they’ve helped me. Zero! Not even once. A loaf of fresh sourdough bread slathered in butter, and a six pack of Guinness is not going to make anything better this time either.

 If you over-consume, you end up feeling guilty and sluggish. You’ll feel like you let yourself down. You’ll be disappointed, sad, angry, AND you still have the original issue/stress. If you don’t eat, you will feel exhausted and “disconnected”. It’s hard to concentrate on anything and you become even more emotional when you don’t have food in your body. AND you still have the original issue/stress.

 We think comfort food is going to comfort us. For me personally, once that last bite is on its way to my stomach….I feel no comfort. I need to either keep eating or realize that my problems are not going to dissolve into a piece of Hershey’s death by chocolate cake.

You are in control

GET OFF THE CRAZY TRAIN! Stop this diet & exercise insanity.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

I’ve received a few e-mails over the last couple of days that I feel I need to address publicly.

There are a billion “nutritional programs” out there.

MOST of them will work if they cause you to change your normal eating habits; cause you to (a) eat fewer processed foods and/or (b) eat fewer calories than you’re burning. Some of these “miracles” will also trash your metabolism over the long term, make it harder for you to maintain your weight-loss, lead to yo-yo dieting, binging and any host of problems.

I lost a bunch of weight by going on a cigarette, coffee, and Suzy Q (chocolate, cream-filled cake) diet when I was young and foolish. I went on a grapefruit only diet; a skim milk only diet, and a “drink vinegar before every meal” diet. I’ve done high fat, low/no carbs, Paleo, Atkins, Beverly Hills, IIFYM, and everything in between.  I lost weight on every one of them……..temporarily!!

I’ve also done the exercise insanity! At one point, I would only sleep 2 or 3 hours a night because I had to be in the gym doing cardio for an hour before work. I lifted weights for an hour and did 30-45 more minutes of cardio in the evening after work. Six days a week.

I felt like crap. It didn’t matter. My priority was to lose weight.  I would get off the plane at 10 or 11 o’clock at night and not go to bed until after I had worked out. If my flight was at 6 or 7 a.m., I had already spent at least an hour in the gym before I headed to the airport.   I maintained memberships to three different gyms so I could be sure to find a place to work out no matter where I was.

My body fat was so low that I did not have a period for over a year. My energy was so low that more than once my husband found me sleeping in our home gym, on the foam roller where I had been trying to ease some of my soreness and I had fallen asleep. My emotions were so messed up that I would cry at the drop of a hat. I was grouchy. My relationships sucked: if they took time away from my workouts, I simply couldn’t fit them in my life.

Does any of this sound healthy over the long term to you?

 …. Before you say, “no”, remember that I DID lose weight.

This is the very thing that some people want me to suggest to them now. People want me to tell them to eat 1,000 calories a day. People want me to write super low calorie and super low carb plans for them. I WILL NOT DO IT.

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You do NOT need to change your nutrition every week because 

  • There is a “new” program out
  • You haven’t lost any weight in the last week
  • Your best friend (or some celebrity) lost 20 pounds on this new program
  • You saw some shiny new program in a magazine
  • You watched an infomercial
  • You’re bored
  • You saw something on Dr. Oz
  • or you’re impatient and expect to lose 15 pounds in the next few days.

You do NOT need to change your exercise program every week. Your muscles do not perform better if you “confuse” them.

STOP THE CRAZINESS of this exercise and nutrition A.D.D.!!!!! Please. I am begging you.

You lose weight – you get healthy – you get fit, by applying common sense and consistency. Nothing less than that!!

PS you might also have to apply just a little bit of patience.


Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

I originally wrote some of these thoughts as a FB post months ago. They’re important! They’re relevant! Please indulge me for a few minutes and let me restate what needs to be said.

I love health and fitness. I don’t think anybody’s surprised by that statement. What you might not know though, is that I think there are levels of health.

Competition is a step beyond fitness; fitness is a step beyond healthy; healthy is a step – a huge one – beyond where many people are today and that’s sad.

I want to start with the two extremes.

First, while it’s not popular to say this out loud today, many people have allowed themselves to become (or to remain) unhealthy and unconditioned. Considering obesity rates have more than doubled in both adults and children since the 1970s (National Center for Health Statistics, 2009), and that more than two-thirds of US adults are overweight or obese (Ogden, 2014), the numbers make my point. Do I care what anyone weighs? Not one bit! Do I try to change anyone? Never! Do I believe in body shaming? Absolutely not! Do I think we all need to weigh a certain amount, be a certain size, or fit a mold of what we “should” be? Hell, no!

I do think we need to take that hard look, though, and be honest with ourselves. We need to face the factual reality that many of us don’t take care of ourselves – especially as we get older (and by that I mean from 18 to 25 and 30 to 40…..I don’t mean “old”….whatever to heck that means anyway). The numbers back me up there too.

This table shows the percentage of people diagnosed with highChronic conditions blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes from age 18 to age 90.  

Is health going to decline as part of the normal aging process? Yes. I’m not going to be as healthy at 100 as I was at 18. Does that mean I should just let myself go, become increasingly sedentary, and stop taking care of myself at 30, or 40, or 50, or 80? I’m not going to!

Please understand that “unhealthy” doesn’t always mean “overweight” though. Been there. Done that. I have always been relatively thin but there was a time when I was not taking care of myself. I was living on nicotine, caffeine, and sugar. I wasn’t working out but I was definitely stressing out. I wasn’t healthy. Doesn’t matter what I weighed.

On the other extreme end of the spectrum, you find elite athletes and competitors. Here, too, I have something unpopular to say. A lot of people talk about competition as if it is a negative. “We shouldn’t compete against one another.” Well, I can tell you this: I am my biggest competition. I am always trying to be better, run faster; lift heavier, to do more than I’ve done before. I compete with myself all the time. I get a kick out of being on stage and competing against other people too, though. There, I said it out loud. Yes, if you hop on the treadmill or the rower beside me at the gym, I am going to race you. It’s a fact. I don’t feel guilty about it. Join me in the race and we will be fast friends! (Pun intended.) In my favorite 5K, another racer and myself sprinted to the finish line – competing with one another until the very end. It was fun. Had she not been there, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard. She’d likely say the same.

If we back off of the extremes, most people want to be somewhere in the middle. These are the people I want to work with!! In fact, last year I was provided an opportunity to learn to coach figure and bikini athletes with a prestigious team in Las Vegas. I turned it down. I like to compete and it’s fun to play a part in getting a competitor to walk onto stage for the very first time. I work with some competitors. I like it. The difference is that I LOVE helping people get healthy.


And it’s not helping people lose that I strive for (though dropping weight, if that’s what the person is striving for; losing inches, decreasing medication and blood pressure are all very cool).

It’s helping people gain: confidence, self-esteem, knowledge, and health.

Moving from wanting to be healthy to being healthy is a huge step. Actually, it’s a bunch of little steps covering a huge distance! First you need to be tired of living at the unhealthy level. (Let’s face it, it’s exhausting and frustrating anyway! You hate it there.) You have to want to make a change; you have to want to learn and then apply the things you learn. You have to begin making changes incrementally and consistently. It requires work. The journey is absolutely worth the investment! When you feel healthy, when you are healthy, that carries into every aspect of your life.

The fact is that getting healthy is NOT easy but it is simple.

That means that as you start to eat healthier, there will be times you’re hungry – and that’s okay. There will be days when you’re not hungry but you need to eat anyway. There will be days you won’t feel like doing what you know you need to do.Its not easy


To get healthy you need to be conscious of your nutrition (it’s not a diet) and you need to get your body moving!!

It is simple



If you’re looking for a quick fix, or a miracle weight loss secret, that’s it. Re-read the previous few lines and don’t bother going through the rest of the blog.

Truly! That’s it!

  • You don’t need a bunch of supplements or pills.
  • No special gadgets, videos, and not even a gym membership.  [I use all 3 because I want to, not because I need to. Each adds something different].
  • You don’t need protein shakes or meal replacements.  [I use these because they are a convenient way to fuel my body when I’m traveling, teaching, or super busy. They’re also an easy way to add protein to my client’s programs since most Americans are seriously deficient in protein intake, but, again, they’re not required and whole foods are always best].
  • You don’t need a program, or another useless diet plan.  [I write programs for folks and work with clients but I prefer to teach people how to do things for themselves! I am most proud when they don’t “need” me anymore. That’s the teacher in me I suppose. You need to learn how to eat, not what to eat].
  • You don’t need a coach or nutrition or fitness expert to get started moving in the right direction! [A trainer can be awesome, especially if you’re just starting out; you’re not sure what to do and you’re not comfortable yet working out by yourself. Trainers are amazing people [most of them…but that’s a different rant]. I am one and I have several as personal friends but you CAN do this on your own].

 I don’t believe in miracles or quick fixes.

Being healthy is not something you want to do for 6 or 12 weeks.

Health is for LIFE.

 Start with your nutrition.

  • Take baby steps if you need to. Try to cut your soda in half the first week. Then in half again the next, and the next, until you either stop drinking it all together or you have it once in a while as a treat. I drink a Diet Dr. Pepper once every couple of weeks.
  • Decrease the sugar in your coffee a little bit at a time. Stop getting that venti frappuccino (you know who you are…..) and get just the grande this week; go for the tall next.
  • Drink water!!! If you can’t do it plain at first, put some Crystal Light or Mio in it and work to taper that off as you go through time. I hear some people now, “Oh, the chemicals. How could you even recommend that horrible stuff?” I’m recommending that you make the changes you will actually make to begin with. If you’re not going to drink water unless it has some flavor in it right now, mix in some damn flavor. Fruit infused water is also something you might want to try! Yum. Check out for ideas.
  • Same thing with the sweets/treats. Trust me. I have a HORRIBLE sweet tooth and I love to bake – a bad combination. So, one day a week I’ll have a special meal. Gasp!! It might be going to the restaurant, Bailey’s in my coffee, carrot cake, or whatever. Throughout the week when I’m not eating that stuff, instead of acting like a victim “Whoa is me. I can’t have a treat, I’m dieting”…..I remind myself that I am in control. “I can have anything I want but I can’t have everything right now if I intend to meet my goals.” When I do have a special treat, I savor it. I sit and eat it. I don’t play on my computer, talk on my phone, or do anything except enjoy the taste, smell, texture, and flavor of my food. I don’t feel guilty about it and I don’t try to compensate by doing extra cardio to “negate the calories” I just ate. That’s ridiculous!!! I also bake treats but try to find ways to make them healthier (applesauce vs oil; ground oats instead of white flour; using egg whites, adding protein powder, etc).  
  • Eat enough food! Crash diets don’t work and you are not going to be healthy eating one salad or a piece of fruit all day. We’ll talk about protein, carbs, and healthy fats next time.

Try these things first. Once you start to feel better (and you will), add in some exercise. Begin going for a walk every day. Build from there.

The important thing is to do something.


This is a formal call to action: Do one positive thing for yourself this week.

Every Road Won’t Get you Where you Want to Go!

Boy traveler exploring route mapDebbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

I love Alice in Wonderland, and think there are tremendous lessons to be gleaned from Lewis Carroll’s books and poems. I’m not sure I agree with his, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” sentiment though.

If I don’t know where I want to go, I’m likely to just wander aimlessly, or maybe even sit on the path going no where at all. I turn around or get rerouted at even the slightest rough spot. Worse yet, I blaze a path through those brambles to find that I’ve arrived far from where I might like to be. There are times to wander! There are times to just sit on the path, build a fire and roast marshmallows. There are also times, though, when I need to figure out where I’m going and how to get there. I prefer some kind of loose plan, a compass and maybe even a rough map to get me from here to there. I prefer to drive. I’m not a passenger kind of girl.

So where are you going? The first thing you need to do is determine your destination. Are you where you want to be at this moment? Are you where you dreamed you’d be? Is there something you want to change or certain goals you want to accomplish? Write them down, even if they seem lofty and unattainable at this moment. If they don’t challenge you, if they don’t scare you a little bit, they aren’t big enough!

Next, anchor your goals to the reasons you want to achieve them. With the popularity of leadership models like Six Sigma and Lean, “identifying your why” has become quite popular. Frankly, I think it’s a little over-used. “What’s your why?” confuses many people. It’s so nebulous. What does that even mean? These programs originated as forms of root cause analysis. Each advocates asking yourself “why” 5 times, both as a means to identify the reason an issue occurred in the first place, and as a means to brainstorm solutions. Outside of their manufacturing origins, it goes something like this. A new client says to me, “I want to lose weight.” Why? “Because I don’t feel good about myself right now. This is the heaviest I’ve ever been.” Why? “Because I’ve let myself go.” Why? “Because I’ve been so busy with work and taking care of the kids.” Why? At this point I’m typically met with a good deal of frustration. “What do you mean, why? Because they are my family and I love them. They rely on me for a lot of things. So do my co-workers. My boss expects me to get everything finished. If I don’t personally do these things, they won’t get done. There’s not enough time in the day.”

Valid points.

Well, maybe. As a recovering perfectionist, if I were honest, I’d have to tell you that I put a lot of that pressure on myself. No one else expects me to get all of these things done. I expect me to get all of these things done. I have actually received two different performance evaluations (from two different people, in two very different jobs) over the years, where supervisors wrote that I pushed myself too hard, and established unrealistically high expectations. Now, if you were honest, who is actually setting those expectations for you?

So, they MAY be valid points.

For that reason, I prefer to substitute, “what if” for that last “why”. What if the laundry doesn’t get folded tonight? What if there is something left in your in-box at the end of the day? What if you eat leftovers for dinner? What if you allowed yourself 30 – 60 minutes a day of personal time? If you can’t do that, what if you involved your family in your goals? Or, what if you change nothing at all and continue doing what you’re doing? What will the result be? Then, and only then, I ask the final “why”? Why don’t you overcome a few of those obstacles and objectives and go after what you want?

Spend some time thinking about these last few things. When times get hard, and they will at some point, reflecting on these thoughts brings you back to your focus. They create the topography for your map! They will help to justify your opportunity costs. What’s that? Just the terminology given to the fact that you have to choose where to spend your moments. Contrary to all the hype about “doing it all”, the reality is that if you’re doing A, you can’t do B. There are 24 hours in the day.

Thinking about the journey, looking at the map, and developing a great plan, does nothing to move you forward though. I heard someone once say that plans without action are just dreams. So I’m asking you, do you truly want to make a change? Not, “does someone want this for you”, or “should you change?” But…do you truly want to make a change?

If the answer is yes, take a deep breath and start planning your trip. When you’re going cross-country, you don’t just hop in the car and teleport to your destination (wouldn’t that be awesome!!). First you might have to have the oil changed, get air in the tires, and top off the tank. You have to navigate the roads between here and there. You have to stop for gas, endure traffic (slowdowns and maybe even standstills), and go around detours. There are potential consequences for going too fast. Every one of those things can happen on your personal journey too.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.22.53 AMDon’t get too overwhelmed. You need a road map at this point, not a globe! Find the “you are here” X and expand the circle ever so slightly around that point. Plan your route only to the next major intersection. I do this when I run. I pick something I can see in the distance and I run to that. Once I get there, I pick something else and run to that. (Please note that this works well unless you are trying to run in Texas! That oilrig you can see might actually be ten miles away from where you are! Don’t ask how I came to learn that!). The point is, break each objective into smaller goals. You don’t drive from DC to Seattle without a few pit stops. Remember, too, you can’t control traffic or weather on your trip. You also cannot control the earth’s gravitational pull so don’t say you want to gain or lose XYZ pounds.

  • You can decide to walk three or four days this week. If you’ve been walking, you can decide to throw in a few periods of jogging. If you’ve been jogging, you can pick up your pace.
  • You can cut your soda consumption in half (or even just by a quarter if you need to).
  • You can buy an individual serving of the food you’re craving, instead of the family size.
  • You can forego dessert with two or three of your meals this week.
  • You can lift weights, or lift heavier, a couple of times.
  • You can include more vegetables with one or two meals every single day.
  • You can decide to drink at least two glasses of water every day, and build from there.
  • You can decide to go out to eat fewer times.
  • You can decide to add more protein to at least one meal every day.
  • You can bring your lunch three or four days this week.
  • You can park further from entrances and walk just a little bit each time you get out of the car.

You can achieve your goals, health related or otherwise. What you need to do is SOMETHING. Anything. Not everything, and most certainly not everything all at once. Start at your beginning. Your call to action is this: Identify the one thing you could commit to start doing today that, if you do it consistently, will get you closer to your goal.

Do that one thing. Get used to it. Get comfortable with it. Make it a habit. Next week, the week after, or – heck – a month from now, pick one more new thing to start working on.  Enjoy the ride, but get on the road!! …and, bring your map.

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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