I Will Not Conform! I Refuse to Fit into Your Little Box!

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.13.36 PMDebbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

This could easily turn into a rant! It’s something I’m quite passionate about but I’m going to try to get my point across logically and with slightly less emotion than I feel.  I am tired of the “holier-than-thou” attitude – from all sides of the fitness industry and it’s hard to be quiet.Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.48.00 PM


The “pure” body image camp advocates loving our bodies no matter what shape we are, no matter what we weigh, and no matter what level of fitness we choose.

I love this.  It motivates me to show self-compassion and acceptance.

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The “pure” fitspo camp advocates pushing ourselves to extreme levels by doing everything necessary to get as ripped and shredded as possible. [If you’re not familiar with the word, it’s short for fitsporation – a cross between fitness and inspiration. It’s the photos and intended to be motivating phrases like “never give up”, “strong is the new skinny”, or “what’s your excuse?”].

I love this.  It motivates me to work harder.




I refuse to cram myself into one of those little boxes. I have covered up both muscle and fat, because I was uncomfortable with each of them, and because people have commented about both at various times.

For me, it’s never been either or!  

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I love to compete and I carry more muscle than some people think a woman should!

I give 100% to my workouts, especially when I’m getting ready for a show. I do, “leave it all on the gym floor” and I personally have a sweatshirt that says, “Suck it up Buttercup”. The fitspo people love this about me. Many focused on body image, though, say this attitude is “too extreme”. They feel that by me heralding such slogans, I am shaming others into either working out like I do, or feeling like crap because they don’t. This is BS and, to be honest, it sounds a little judgmental to me.

Take Planet Fitness as an example. Yes, I’m bringing that up again. The “no judgment zone” is incredibly judgmental of people like me. Lunk alarms? Too much muscle is not welcome? Ummm…….

Bodybuilding and fitness competitions are not for everybody and that’s okay. There’s no judgment in that statement. Guess what? Running marathons, bull-riding, competitive volleyball, wine-tasting, sport fishing, distilling whiskey, playing guitar, barrel racing, knitting, and MMA are not for everybody either. I have friends who excel at each of those things!

I have no desire to do them myself and I don’t feel pressured to have to just because my friends are.

  • I don’t judge people who exercise hard and I don’t judge people who don’t.
  • I certainly do not feel that pushing myself to/beyond my limits in an effort to improve, takes anything away from people who have no interest in doing such things.


…but I am also okay with my imperfections, and carrying more weight than some people think I should.

There are days, and weeks, and months when I take a break. I work hard and have a life outside of the gym. Sometimes those other things require my full attention.

I love what my body can do – not just the way it looks. I have stretch marks. I have scars. And, yes (gasp) I have cellulite. Big friggin deal. Who doesn’t? I drink Bailey’s in my coffee every morning that I’m home (which isn’t often) and I like chocolate chip cookies. The body image movement is proud of me but fitspo thinks I “don’t have enough dedication”, and I’m “letting myself go”. Some think I’m trying to shame those who workout and measure everything they eat because they are “too extreme”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • I don’t judge other people for what they weigh, eat (or don’t eat), nor for how they exercise (or don’t).
  • I certainly do not feel that accepting myself for who I am – in addition to a body, not doing two-a-day marathon cardio sessions, or not staying at my “ideal” (whatever to heck that means) weight takes anything away from people who have no interest in doing such things.

We’re back to the topic we discussed a few weeks ago: either you’re on a diet or you’re not. Either you’re exercising or you’re not. Either you’re eating only tilapia and asparagus or you’re enjoying pasta and cookies without any limits. Either you’re shredded with a body fat so low you stop menstruating or you love every single thing about your body’s current state and set no personal goals at all.

Don’t both ends of the spectrum seem kind of extreme?

Don’t most of us actually live somewhere in the middle?

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Can’t you eat healthier but also enjoy occasional treats? Can’t you exercise more than you are right now but not spend 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week in the gym? Can’t you desire to lose weight or become stronger without body shaming?

The answer is a resounding HELL, YES!!!!

I am a grandmother, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a military spouse, a friend, a teacher, public speaker, business owner, and coach. I love to scuba dive, ride motorcycles, hike, camp, workout, scrapbook, shoot, teach, cook, and help people get healthy as well as fit – among many, MANY other things.




I am an emotional/stress eater. My mother fed me to celebrate and to lament. Those lessons, and my dependence on food in every situation, are deeply engrained.

  • But I also like to compete so there are times I buckle down and focus on high protein, higher healthy fat, and lower (not NO) carbs.

I have never had a food “disorder”.

  • But I have binged. I have never purged but I have definitely chewed up food and spit it into the garbage can vice swallowing it. And…yes, I believe that happens more often than anyone might be willing to admit.

I do not believe in gimmicks and hard-core diets that eliminate entire food groups.

  • But I do not believe I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and still accomplish my goals.


I have friends who compete and friends who don’t.

I have friends who have lost 100 pounds and friends who want to lose 100 pounds, or more.

I have friends who are now able to squat and deadlift more than their body weight and I have a friend who is proud because she increased from 3-pound dumbbells to 5-pounders this week.

I have friends who are finally kicking their soda habit to the curb and friends who have no desire to do that.

I have friends who exercise every single day for 30-45 minutes (or more) and I have friends who have just started walking 5 minutes a day.

I have friends who are training for their first 5K and friends who recently completed their first marathon.

I adore and support every single one of them in pursuit of their personal goals.


My world is not just black and white. There’s a LOT of grey….and yellow, blue, red, purple, and multi-colored starbursts! We come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We have different skin, hair, and eye color. We are different heights, with different passions, different goals.

We do not accept people putting us into boxes in any other areas of our lives. Why are we seemingly demanding it with health and fitness?

I refuse to choose body image OR fitspo. I choose both. I will work on loving everything about me – my body, and everything else – but I will still push myself to do more tomorrow than I can do today.

I eat tilapia AND cookies.


1 comment

    • anonymous on June 2, 2020 at 02:46
    • Reply

    That “fit in or fuck off” mentality is bullshit. If anyone says that phrase to me, I’d exclaim, “No, fuck you for tryin’ to make me fit in! Instead of me conforming to you, you conform to me!” In other words I’d turn the tables on those who try to bully into fitting in. After all, bullies should give into their victims by being their slaves.

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