Category Archive: Nutrition Habits

Mar 30

Stop Torturing Yourself with All This Food Porn

Family & F.I.T.  |  Debbie Hatch


A friend sent me the recipe for these Bailey’s pudding cups, several weeks ago and challenged me to “fix it”.  This happens frequently.

The request usually means, “lower the fat, sugar, and calories please.”

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And, I usually do it.  I’ve “fixed” a few recipes in my day, and I made these Bailey pudding cups too.  Mine weren’t as pretty – for sure!

The difference is 773 fewer calories. 47 fewer carbs, 73 less grams of fat, and 3 less of protein; and my recipe is below.






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===> Here’s what I believe.
I believe in nutrition for life. I believe in eating from all of the food groups. MOSTLY unprocessed whole foods. Protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats (e.g. nuts, avocado) with treats occasionally mixed in. I don’t believe we should feel guilty about what we eat: and I don’t believe that food should be used as a reward (“hooray, I exercised today, now I can eat cake”) NOR as a punishment (“I haven’t been exercising, now I have to eat a plain green salad”).

I don’t believe in die-ts. I’ve tried them all!!!! Low fat, low carb, pure paleo, grapefruit diet, skim milk diet, and my favorite (the Suzy Q, nicotine and caffeine diet). I lost weight on every one of them. I also got sick on a couple. NONE of them allowed me to achieve sustainable weight lose. NONE of them made me healthier.

Are Suzy Q's "bad"? No. Do Suzy Q's provide sound high-quality nutrition? NO!

Are Suzy Q’s “bad”? No. Do Suzy Q’s provide sound high-quality nutrition? NO!


===> Here’s what I want you to know about the recipes I “fix”.
I want you to know that we can change recipes to make them more macro friendly. Even little changes (for example, using Oreo thins [100 calories, 19 cabs, 2 fat] instead of 5 Oreos [267 calories, 42 carbs, 12 fat] like the original recipe calls for; or switching from full fat whipping cream [555 calories, 59 fat] to lite whipped cream [40 calories, 2 fat].) That’s easy – those little swaps are awesome and you can make a huge change by just implementing such seemingly small things into your recipes and daily nutritional habits.


Here’s where I feel I’m not adequately making my point.


===> You really need to understand this, too.
I believe in focusing on what you’re trying to do (lose fat, gain weight, gain muscle, become more fit, get stronger, decrease your medication, become more mobile) and eating accordingly. If you want a 1,143 calorie dessert…. have it, because making a lower calorie version (for most people) won’t satiate the craving anyway. Don’t stress about it. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty about it.

But (and this is a big one!) you must also be willing to accept responsibility for your choice.  The fact is, we CANNOT routinely have a dessert that takes up 75% of our daily calorie allowance and expect to be successful at reaching our goals. We just can’t. That’s not realistic and it’s not possible.


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If you’re susceptible to cravings because you see 1,000 new recipes in your FB/Instagram feed every day, try decreasing the temptation.





  • Do away with the trigger.
  • Stop torturing yourself.
  • Unlike some of those pages.


You are doing nothing but making yourself miserable by looking at these things and thinking, “Oh. I would love to have that!!!! But, I can’t.  Trust me, I get it.  I sooooooo get it.  When I was competing regularly, the food porn on my Pinterest was excessive.  There were so many things I “couldn’t have” that all I did was look at pictures of food, look at recipes, and dream about the things that I wanted.  I was miserable.  Seriously, what does seeing those posts every day do for you?  Other than make you want that food……..

Most food photos don’t come with a warning label, but should!

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Pinterest and Google are going to be right there. When you’re actually getting ready to make something, or in the mood to try a new recipe, go look for one THEN.






Before you salivate over every delicious recipe that comes across your field of vision (there are a LOT!!!!!!!!!! Again, trust me, I know.), spend ten minutes thinking.

  • Think about your goals.
  • Think about WHY you set those goals for yourself and what you’re really trying to accomplish.
  • Think about all of the things you can have; the things you can do; and the things you are going to be able to enjoy once you accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
  • Think about whether you really want the dessert OR (and this is the much more likely answer) whether it is something you’re thinking about because you just saw a picture of it flash by?

Dec 11

Is Mindset just a Bunch of Touchy Feely Crap?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
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Do you ever wonder why my triad is
Mindset Mostly * Nutritional Habits * Movement
in that order?
Do you brush it off and think, bah, this is all that “touchy feely crap.”
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That might work for other people, but….
– I want a program!
– I need someone to kick my butt – or I need to get with the program and kick my own.
– I just need to get serious.
– I need more willpower.
– Diet and exercise are where it’s at – not mindset.
I want to share three separate messages with you, that I have received over the past 5 days, to illustrate why I will always believe mindset is the most important piece – for all of us.  
1. This guy is an over-the-road trucker.
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Not a lot of time to do anything but sit, and drive. The traditional “just eat better” and/or “just get to the gym a few times a week” doesn’t cut it with this lifestyle. It’s not reasonable.  It’s not going to work.  It’s not something he’s going to do.
I prescribe to “do what you can, when you can, with what you have.”
Under that precept, he carries a kettle bell in his truck and had been using it consistently until some old aches and pains started coming back with the cold weather.  
With the pain, the cold, and the early darkness, he stopped exercising.  He got depressed and frustrated.  Because of that, he stopped eating the way he had been.  That made him more depressed and frustrated.  He gained back several of the pounds he had lost.
—   Sound familiar?   —
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that winter is coming.  It is getting dark.  It is getting cold.  We have no control over those things.  We do have aches and pains – they are worse in the winter.  We have no control over that.  BUT we can control the way we eat.  We can control our nutritional choices.  We can do what is within our sphere of influence for this one meal, this one choice, on this one day.  We can try to add in some movement (no matter how limited) each day.
2. This girl is a figure competitor.  
Her diet and exercise is a little more “serious” than a typical healthy person’s.  She is routinely on point with both!  Last weekend, though, she sent me a message apologizing.  She had gone to a friends wedding and had too much to eat and drink.  She was horrified at “messing up” and asked if she needed to do extra exercise rather than taking a day of rest as her program prescribed.    

You may not be a competitor but what about eating something you “shouldn’t” have and then feeling guilty?

—   Sound familiar?   —
Here’s my story:  At one point when I was preparing for a competition, I had to drive several hours late at night.  I was tired and kept nodding off.  I stopped at a gas station, went for a short walk, grabbed a coffee, and ate half (yes, only half) an apple to try to wake up.  The next day, when I told my coach what I had done, and why.  Her response was, “Apples are NOT on your program!!  You might as well have eaten an entire apple pie!”
I felt like crap!
As you can imagine, from that experience, this topic is emotionally charged for me.
I will never make a client feel the way that coach made me feel.  Sadly, the fact is, I don’t have to.  We do it to ourselves.
We all, competitor or not, beat ourselves up when we fail to meet our goals.  That’s a complete waste of time – it fixes nothing, but we do it.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that she had a great time with friends and made some life-long memories.  That is nothing to feel guilty about.  That is nothing she now has to “pay for” by torturing herself with extra exercise or fewer calories.
No regrets, no guilt, no extra exercise, no decreased calories.  Today is a different day:  we’re moving forward, not back.
3. This is a young woman who has been in a gain weight / lose weight, diet / give up, spiral for several years.  
She’s “just” a regular person.  She has a job and a boyfriend.  She goes back and forth between eating well and exercising to eating like crap and giving up.  There’s no in between.
To be clear, when she speaks of binging here – it’s not a clinical, eating disorder, type of binging.  That would require professional help:  it is outside my practice and I care enough about my clients to refer them out when that’s the best answer for them.
No, what she’s talking about here, is going into the break room at work and, instead of having 2 cookies and being satisfied, having 3 or 4 cookies, a cupcake and 4 pieces of candy.
—   Sound familiar?   —
Especially at this time of the year.  There are the food pushers “you have to try one of these” and an abundant supply of goodies – everywhere.  We eat just because it’s there.
Pick.  Pick.  Pick.
We talked – only about mindset!  About the fact that there is always food available, and there’s always going to be food available.  That it’s okay to have some of the special treats we love but that we don’t need to eat one of everything on the table.  We don’t really need to eat everything that someone else is trying to push our way.  Rather than saying, “I can’t.  I’m on a diet.” – which you know is always followed by the, “Come on.  It’s the holidays.  One piece of fudge is not going to kill you.”  comments.  How about saying, “I’ve had so many yummy things already, I’m trying to pace myself.  I might try that later.  Thanks!”  What if, instead of walking into the break room, when you take a break, you get up and just go for a short walk?  Get some water?  Do something else…..
AND for every day that you are able to meet your goal, celebrate.  Celebrate!!  Every single day.  Every single decision.
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To be sure, these are very different people.  Different genders.  Different ages.  Different goals.  Different situations.  Yet they share the same obstacle.
None of these individuals is struggling because they don’t know what to do.  None of them
has a lack of knowledge about nutrition, exercise, or health.  Their struggle, is actually with mindset.  The “I’m not worth it; it’s not worth it; I always fail anyway, why bother; it’s harder for me than anybody else; I’m missing out; I messed up; I’m a failure……” mindset.
Here’s another example of that.
One of the ladies I’ve worked with in my private group has made tremendous progress in losing fat/weight, and getting more fit.  She was named her gym’s “member of the month”.  When I congratulated her, instead of being excited, she said, “It’s hard for me to see myself this way.  In my head, I’ll always just be the fat kid.”
Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Exactly.
We have to talk – about mindset!  Helping people change habits is a short-term answer.  If we don’t amend  what’s driving us, we can’t make lasting change.   Until we are able to look inward, truly acknowledge our internal story, face the reality that it is not that we need to do something new – but that we need to let go of something,  those old actions, behaviors and beliefs return.  Every time.
Think of it this way.  If you plant a seed in cement, even if you water it, you give it shade and sunlight; and you provide optimum care, it won’t grow.  The soil simply isn’t conductive to growth!  That soil is our mindset.  Until we change that, nothing else is going to change.
Mindset IS the most important part.  That’s always been true.  It will always be true.

Dec 08

In Support of 30-Day Challenges

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.


I was thrilled to see one of my favorite power lifting coaches talk, positively, about a 30-day challenge he recently had several clients complete.

Many people (especially those in the fitness industry) say the 30 day challenges don’t work and are a waste of time,…


I’ve done blogging challenges – that not only got me to write every day for 30 days, but got me in the habit of finding time to write.  I’ve done exercise challenges, nutrition challenges, gratitude, journaling, and study challenges.  I once joined a Las Vegas boot camp for 30 days – that turned into 1 year!!  …and started me down the path of becoming the most healthy I have every been.


I’ve also personally run several of these challenges in the past and seen

(a) amazing short-term results but also

(b) sustainable results over the long-term

Courtney 2

  • I can think of at least half a dozen people immediately (without actually sitting down to think) who lost weight/fat and have kept it off (so far) for over 12-24 months.
  • I can think of three who received better ratings on their health insurance and are saving money this year as a direct result of a 30-day challenge they did last year.
  • I can think of 10 people (again, without even thinking) who have helped their family members make sustainable changes because of a 30-day challenge they personally participated in.


As with everything else, there ARE caveats though.  30 days is not the “end all” “magic” answer.


You need to know, going in, that:



1. HEALTH IS NOT FOR 30 DAYS.  (not for 12 weeks, for the summer, or until a person reaches a certain age).

Health is for life. For that reason, I don’t believe in extreme challenges. Just say, “NO” to starvation diets; de-toxes; wraps, pills or powders; exercising for hours a day; eliminating food groups, etc.

Those things are a huge waste of time, and money.  In fact, they can have the opposite affect of what you’re hoping for.  With these types of challenges – where things change only for the a certain number of days, people have a tendency to binge the day before they start.  You know….to “get ready”.

They do the 21-30 days un-sustainable, miserable, program and on day 22 or 31, everything is “back to normal”.  These programs can, and many times, do lead to yo-yo dieting.



A 30-day challenge can be a fantastic way to learn, and try out, new things,  They can provide different ways of looking at nutrition/exercise that can be implemented and sustained well after the challenge is over, but the change should be incremental.

Forget about health for a second, and look at organizational change.  I have my degree in change management and leadership.  I can’t walk into an organization on day one and say, “Okay, starting tomorrow, you’re doing this but no longer that.  We’re changing this and this and this.”  Presto.

Um.  No.

I’d start first by talking to the people.  “What change would YOU like to see?”  “What’s the end goal?  What are we trying to achieve?”  We don’t rush though this step.

THEN  “What one thing can we easily change now that will move us in the direction we hope to go?”  ………………..

Let’s do that first.

Do Something

THEN review.  “Is that working?”  If so, it’s critical we celebrate the change – no matter how small.  If it’s not working, “Should we try something else?”  We look at objective measurements here, not feelings.

THEN “What one thing can we easily change now that will move us – more – in the direction we hope to go?

And so on, and so on, and so on; building upon the small changes made previously.


You may not have thought about it in this manner, but the body is also a system – just like the organization is!!  Change one thing and it impacts others.  Start exercising like mad, and you’re going to be hungry!  Start eating some ridiculously low number of calories, and you’re going to feel sluggish.  You are going to binge.  The question is not if, but when.

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3. Mindset Matters Most.

Nothing will change, externally, until you’re ready to make a change, internally.  You have to want to make the change.  Once you have that, 30-days in a challenge group, where individuals receive support, and start to see results can be just enough to bolster self-confidence and resolve.

Reasonable changes also show people that neither the nutrition nor exercise have to be crazy over-the-top.

When people do a 30-day challenge and learn new concepts, those things cannot be unlearned. Even if they are not consistently put into practice, people think more about them.  The communities built within these short-term challenges can be just the extra motivation people need to get started.


Have you tried a short-term challenge?  What was your opinion of it?  What did you learn?

Nov 26

Never Mind Your Jeans: Work Out for your Genes!

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
This is the second blog I’ve written about the Unleash Your Greatness Summit I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of weeks ago.  The first covered Bill Phillip’s talk which was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  This one discusses Michele Promaulavko’s presentation entitled “You Have Control Over your Genetic Destiny”.  
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Michele Promaulavko

Michele is an author, Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Health and has appeared on the Today show, CNN, Fox News, and The Tyra Banks Show.  She is a charismatic speaker and I love the topic of epigenetics so I found the presentation to be phenomenal.
I’ve been hearing a lot about this topic from Dr. Mike T. Nelson too, in my Mindset Performance Institute curriculum.  I can’t wait to share all of that with you!  When I attend training, it’s a win-win for both of us!  Sincerely.
Without getting too scientific, genetics is the study of hereditary traits:  it’s those things passed in DNA from parent to offspring.  Epigenetics is the study of how those genes respond to external input (for example, our diet, environment, physical exercise, etc).
 Epigenetics tells us that through lifestyle choices, we actually have a lot of control over our genetic destiny.  We do not have to be bystanders in our lives, or slaves to our DNA.  We can be active participants.
The really amazing fact is that by making changes in your life, not only do you have an impact on how your genes express themselves, but you influence which genes are passed to your future family members.
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I’m not making this up!  Changing your habits can, in fact, impact your children and their children!


This recent study shows that 3 months of exercise causes significant changes in the DNA found in sperm.  The DNA itself did not change but what was passed on to the offspring did!!  I just finished a class about understanding obesity, through the University of Edinburgh.  One lesson reported on several studies showing maternal nutrition has long lasting effects on offspring as well (for multiple generations)!


I don’t know about you, but I think if there was ever a reason to exercise,  the fact that we can impact future generations, should rank pretty close to the top of that list.


A fellow believer in holistic health (meaning that we are not a grouping of isolated body parts but; rather, that the body is a “system” with each piece affecting others), Michele talked about three specific areas we should focus on.


Weight Training


Strength training is one of the most overlooked aspects of health.  This is incredibly sad because it can provide so many benefits – to your body and brain.  Lean muscle burns more calories – even when you’re doing nothing.  Weight training impacts joint mobility, bone density, and body composition.  I am big believer that physical strength begets mental strength as well – it gives us confidence and makes us feel powerful.
Proper Nutrition

Food is all around us and we make choices every day.  We need to get a large number of those decisions correct, if we hope to have an impact.  The problem is, there is soooooooo much information, it’s like a fire hose coming at you and it is easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be an argument for every new diet going.


Here are two simple facts to keep in mind:


  1.  Lowering refined carbohydrates, sugar, and processed foods:  increasing protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, is best.  (In today’s environment I always feel like I need to add a disclaimer – I’m not saying to ban that first group of items.  I’m saying to lower your consumption of them).
  2. Small changes  add up to big cummulative benefits!   Don’t worry about the next 3 months.  Make a healthier choice for this one meal.  Then work on the next, and then the next.


Stress Reduction


Mitigating stress is one of the most profound things you can do for your total body.  It enhances physical, emotional, and mental health.


There is little question that we’re over-stimulated these days.  More work, more school, more meetings, more activities, more electronic gadgets, more commitments…


As part of any wellness practice, you need to find a way to decompress.  Some examples include meditating, taking a bath, yoga, sharing a meal with friends, working out, getting a massage, taking a 5 minute break to walk outside.  Do some CNS breathing:  breathe in slowly for a count of four through your nose.  Hold for a count of 5-7 and let it out through your mouth for a longer count.  Do this 4-5 times.  Get off your electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.  Go to bed earlier – even if it’s just 10 minutes right now.  Add another 10 minutes later.


Find what works for you and then take the time to do “that”.  It’s not self-indulgent.  It’s self-care.


Check in with me once in a while and let me know what’s working for you so that I might share your tips with others.


Nov 25

Only 1 Type of “Gobble Wobble” is Acceptable.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
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Many people will be celebrating with family & friends tomorrow.  Many people won’t.  I believe every one of us has an abundance of things to be thankful for.  Some have more than others.  Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you won’t let food be a major cause of anxiety and stress.
Here are 6 tips for approaching the holiday – from a “diet” perspective.
1.  Start THANKSgiving with gratitude. 
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Think for just 5 minutes about what’s good in your life.  Reflect on those things.
2.  Have a conversation or two.  
If you’re, physically, lucky enough to spend time with people you care about – really SPEND time with them. Put the phone down for a few minutes. Shut off the computer for a while.
If you’re not able to be with the people you love, call them.
 3. Decide your food non-negotiables.
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For example: I will have pumpkin pie – “real” home-made pumpkin pie.  My daughter will have sweet potato casserole.  My husband will have mashed potato and gravy.
4.  Let some things go.
There are no rules for this holiday.  That means, there is no reason you need to have everything.
For example: i will not obsess over food but I will start filling my plate with turkey first, then veggies, and then a little stuffing. I will not eat a brown-n-serve roll or mashed potato and gravy merely because – for me – those things aren’t anything special. They add nothing to my enjoyment of the meal.
5.  If some is good, more isn’t necessarily better. 
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More isn’t better. Better is better.

After you finish your plate, wait a few minutes before you go back for seconds.  Think about it:  Do you really want more or are you going back for seconds just because that’s what you always do?  
This meal is not a competition to see who can eat the most.  There is no rule that forbids us from leaving the table until we are in a food coma.  Eat what you want but remember how uncomfortable that over-stuffed feeling is?   Not a lot of fun.  
Tomorrow is not the last day you are going to ever be able to eat. Pie, potato, rolls, dressing will all continue to exist in the world on Friday – and beyond.
6.  Don’t fall into the “you will need to repent for every morsel you eat” trap.
 No pennance
I have been seeing posts since Halloween, and today it was leveled-up to videos listing how many calories are in this or that type of food and how many calories you can burn by doing this or that type of exercise.  That stuff is complete BS!!!  You do not have to “earn” your meal and you don’t have to “pay a penance” for it, after the fact.

There should be no “gobble wobble” unless it is this kind.

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One day of enjoyment is not going to “ruin” you, just like one day of dieting is not going to make everything wonderful.  It’s just a day.  A day in your life.  A day to be thankful for.


Nov 24

There’s No Peanut Butter on the Airplane

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
Do you Timehop? I love the program and its little daily memory joggers of times gone past. Like this one:
I travel – a LOT.  As I stated in the original post, I have had very few issues with TSA:  domestically or internationally.  When I posted this original status, I was deep in the middle of prepping for an NPC figure competition.
Air travel + competition prep = some pretty ridiculous stories.
In all seriousness, though, if you are flying for the holidays, knowing how to pack your carry on for a quick and easy trip through the TSA security line, can limit stress and aggravation.  
Firearms, knives (even small jackknives), box cutters, swords, scissors, baseball bats, screwdrivers, hockey sticks, hammers, axes, cattle prods and the like are forbidden in carry on luggage.
I don’t think anyone will find this list surprising.
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What makes me raise my eyebrows is knowing there is a factual reason why each item was specifically written onto the list.  I mean, seriously, I’m not even allowed to bring my ice pick on the plane!  What to heck?  Doesn’t everybody travel with an ice pick?
You can, though, carry food through security, if you would like to.
Let me stop here for one moment.  Why would you bring food with you, anyway?
NOT because you can’t eat food purchased at the airport but because…
– Sometimes flights are delayed (especially during busy holiday seasons, and/or when there is a chance of foul weather),
– Sometimes you don’t actually have enough time between one flight and the next, to grab something. 
– Airport food can be expensive, and choices limited,
– Airline cookies, crackers, or pretzels aren’t the best way to fuel your body, 
– You want to have more control over what you eat vs being at the airline/airport’s mercy, 
– You have dietary restrictions, or
– Maybe because you have a competition coming up in the very near future and you are limiting what you eat.
The only thing, other than weapons listed above, that are limited, are liquids, gels, aerosols,
creams, or pastes.  Each traveler is authorized only one quart-sized bag of these times.  Each item inside the bag is limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).
That means, food is fine (I routinely carry protein bars, protein powder – along with an empty shaker which I can fill with water inside the airport, tuna packets, fresh fruit, and nuts) but no yogurt, peanut butter, pre-made protein shakes, jelly, hummus, or items of like consistency.
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Here is the official TSA food list.


As deep as my peanut butter addiction runs, there’s absolutely nothing on this list I can’t live without for a period of time (PS it’s easy enough to have nuts, instead of nut butter).  That said, if I simply must have these items, I do have options.

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I can bring individual serving sizes.  In fact, a number of companies (like Minimus) sell nothing but travel-sized items.






I can buy items, at the airport once I have cleared security.  Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.40.14 PM  Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 4.42.07 PM



If you’re planning a trip, during the holidays or after, domestic or international, and you want some suggestions for what you can and cannot carry on the plane, shoot me an e-mail.  I’d be happy to help.


Nov 22

I Hate Diets because They Begin and End

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I love learning even more than I love teaching.  As such, I’m constantly reading, studying, and going to any variety of seminars/classes.  Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend the Unleash Your Greatness Summit.  It was awesome!  
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Bill Phillips, the Editor of Men’s Health Magazine (the largest men’s magazine in the world) did a presentation entitled, “The Power of Just Doing ‘Something’ Every Day.”  His talk was focused on how to simplify taking care of our bodies.  
I adore two specific things he said.
1. “I would love to be able to tell all of you that I go to the gym every day and that I am the fittest person you’ll ever meet. The reality, though, is that I have two kids in travel soccer, an 80 hour a week job, and it’s just not realistic.  I do what I can. The best workout is the one you enjoy doing and the one you’re actually going to do.”
That means:
If you like working out in the gym with a trainer – do that.
If you like walking, or jogging, or running – do that.
If you like to dance – do that.
If you like playing basketball – do that.
If you like follow along videos on your TV – do that.
If you like biking – do that.
When we talk about health….h.e.a.l.t.h.  It’s for life.  We make it so much more complicated than it has to be.  Do something every day.
Personal example:  My niece called me crying the first day she went to the gym and got on an elliptical. She was completely frustrated because she could only do it for two minutes. I talked to her and got her to stop crying. “It’s not that you can only do two minutes. It’s that you CAN do two minutes. Do two minutes today, two more minutes tomorrow, and maybe three the next day.”
She now does cardio 20 minutes three times a week and has lost over 80 pounds.  One step at a time. One minute at a time.
Start where you are right now and build from there.
2. “I hate diets because they begin and end. You can’t be on a diet for your entire life. You need to find a way to apply moderation to your nutrition. You have to have a mindset change in order to change your life, and you have to realize this is FOR life!!!
The only thing he didn’t say was, “I got this quote from Debbie Hatch” because he certainly could have!!!  So much…..YES!!

Personal example:  There have been numerous times when I’ve been physically (typically because of my crazy travel schedule) unable to work out.  Yet, being mindful of my nutrition has actually caused me to maintain, if not to lose fat.  Even though I wasn’t exercising.  More than a few of my clients have experienced the same results.

Exercise is important for a ton of reasons!

Reasons to lift

…but, increased physical activity alone has an incredibly small impact on obesity prevalence.

Nov 21

Putting on the Miles: Not the Pounds. Mitigating Holiday Travel.

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

By the time the sun came up, we had driven from DC to Harrisburg, PA

By the time the sun came up, we had driven from DC to Harrisburg, PA


Like many other people, my husband and I are traveling to see family for the upcoming holiday.  We were up at 3 o’clock this morning, and left the house by 4:30.  I spend a lot of time on the road, but today my ride was a Ford F-150 rather than the more typical Boeing 737.  Pros and cons.  Pro: I’m not limited to what will fit into a carry-on. Con: it’s going to be a 12-hour trip (maybe more depending on traffic and because we’re towing a trailer).


Staying healthy on the road can seem a formidable task for those not accustomed to it. We have a tendency to relax, eat whatever is available, not drink as much water as we typically would, and exercise considerable less.  Holiday travel is especially challenging because we take on the mentality of, “I’ll be eating a lot on Thursday anyway.  What difference does it make?”


Here’s the problem with that type of thinking.  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.  Ah, to heck with it, we might as well wait for January and start fresh at that point.  Right?


The holidays themselves aren’t the problem.  Unless you have an impending physical competition, enjoy a piece of your grandmother’s pecan pie or Challah French toast.  Try some of your sister’s cornbread stuffing, latkes, mincemeat, or potted cheese.  Those of us fortunate enough to be able to celebrate, should be grateful for the opportunity.  Enjoy family, friends, and yes, food.


Thanksgiving is on Thursday though.  Today is only Saturday.  If I were to start celebrating today and go through the start of the new year – what began as three days of celebration would have become two full months.


Many convenience stores are offering a wider array of options.

Many convenience stores are offering a wider array of options.


I had this in the back of my mind this morning. I also know that my husband doesn’t like to stop for anything except gas and potty breaks.  Both at the same time:  we stop for gas, go to the restroom, and also grab something to eat from the gas station or travel plaza.  Occasionally there’s a Subway or McDonalds but otherwise it’s convenience store food or whatever I brought with me.


I prefer to plan for my own success and I like options.  I know that eating nutritious food makes me feel better (more alert, less bloated, and just “lighter” overall).  Adding more salt and fat than I’m used to can upset my stomach.  Who wants that while traveling?

Lemon protein waffles with fresh raspberries & a coffee to go.

Lemon protein waffles with fresh raspberries & a coffee to go.



I started my morning, as I always do, with protein, carbohydrates, and some fat.  I also packed a small cooler with almonds, apples, ground turkey, sweet peppers, squash, salmon packets, hard-boiled eggs, protein powder, Quest bars, and water.




Mid-morning I had a Greek yogurt and water.




I also had a coffee at Starbucks.


Lattes and frappaccchinos can carry a huge wallop of calories, fat, and sugar.


I just get a tall coffee, with a shot of Christmas blend espresso and 1 pump of sugar free hazelnut.

I just get a tall coffee, with a shot of Christmas blend espresso and 1 pump of sugar free hazelnut.




How Often Should We Eat?  This is one of those questions that everybody has an opinion on. Some think we should eat 3 meals a day; some think 6; some advocate only 2. I think it requires a bit of personal experimentation. There are foods you like that I don’t.  There is a way of eating you may prefer and I might not. I do best with 4-5 small meals spaced throughout the day.










For lunch, my husband decided to stop at McDonald’s.  I contemplated getting something there as well (fish or chicken sandwich, scrambled eggs, or a salad) but nothing particularly appealed to me so I had spinach, squash, chicken, and cranberries from the cooler.






How Could I be a Health Coach and “Allow” my Husband to Eat This Way?  Some people act as though my husband should eat and exercise the way that I do.  We’re different people.  We like different things – from hobbies to food.  My husband is a grown man. He makes his choices and I make mine. That’s the way it always has to be with adults.


I know it doesn’t always seem like it.  I have many female clients tell me, “I’d like to watch what I eat but, my husband expects me to eat with him. He expects me to have what he’s having.”


That’s an excuse.


That might seem harsh but I’m not one to sugar-coat.  We might not want to hear it, but…


That’s an excuse.


We are responsible for our own decisions.  I’m not saying make two options at every meal. I’m just saying we can decide – from whatever has been prepared – what and how much to put on our own plate. We can decide whether we want to snack or not.


We can decide to say, “No. I’m not really hungry right now. You go ahead and have some ice cream. I don’t think I’m going to have any.”  It’s hard because the truth is we really want the ice cream. If we don’t have any but he does, we feel like we’re missing out. Oh my gosh, what if he eats all the ice cream and there’s none left? (The answer, of course, is that we can buy some more tomorrow – or, heck, even later today).


Blaming my husband for having ice cream and therefore “making me have it too” is much easier.  Eating a Big Mac with fries and then saying, “I wouldn’t have gone to McDonald’s but that’s what my husband chose, so…” takes the responsibility away from myself.


To be clear, I’m not villainizing ice cream – or McDonald’s.

If you want it, have it.


I’m 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.




As the sun sat, we were still on the road but had made it to Maine.


Dinner was a quick stop at Panera.

fuji chicken apple salad with dressing on the side, apple, and a glass of water.

fuji chicken apple salad with dressing on the side, apple, and a glass of water.

Nov 13

Let the “Survive the Holidays” diet craziness begin…

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

We’re just shy of two weeks from Thanksgiving.

If I had a dollar for each of the “survive the holidays diet”, “3-day ‘pre-detox'”, “wrap”, “cream”, “pill”, “powder”, and/or “shake” messages I’ve seen come across my FB feed, in the last couple of weeks, I would have enough to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Caribbean.  …with several of my friends and family members.

I typed, “Survive the Holidays” into Google and netted 28,500,000 results in less than 45 seconds!!

And a “pre-detox”?  WTH?  Yup, it turns out that really IS “a thing” – I saw it a few times yesterday, AND received an e-mail besides.



Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 11.08.34 AM

First, let me be clear.  Many people DO struggle through the holiday season.  It’s not a happy time for everyone.  Some people are alone and feel isolated.  Some are struggling with money, stress, relationships, or any other unless number of things.  Some people have lost family members, jobs, homes, or love in the past and the holidays can reopen those wounds, regardless of how much scar tissue has accumulated on top.   This may result in a case of the blues, or clinical anxiety and depression.  Please don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance from a qualified mental health professional if you’re struggling.  That’s not what this blog is about.


I want to talk specifically about the “Survive the Holidays” DIET craziness.  Now, it too, began with a basis in fact.


  • There are holiday parties, both at work and within our other social groups.  It has been proven that we eat more in groups.  Everyone else is eating.  We eat mindlessly – putting food into our mouths, washing it down with tasty beverages, while we’re talking.  That plate of food is gone before we can even muse, “yum.  Meatballs!  I need this recipe.”
  • There are tasty treats everywhere.  Pie.  Cookies.  Donuts.  Egg nog.  Mashed potato with gravy and sweets with marshmallows.  Fudge and chocolates.  Hot chocolate (with marshmallows and whipped cream).  Cake.
  • The days are shorter so we feel less motivated to exercises when it’s dark as we get out of work.
  • It’s starting to get cooler – adding that to the early darkness, we feel more like curling up on the couch than going to the gym.  It also leads to craving more warm and hearty foods.  We drink less water.
  • We are under more stress to get it “all” done.  We have our regular commitments and responsibilities but now we also need to find time to go shopping, make food for and attend the increased gatherings, and ensure we are actively carrying on family traditions.  Stress increases cortisol which can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure, and increase fat storage.

Recipe for disaster






Here’s one thing you might be surprised to find.  Numerous studies, conducted since 2000, show that:


Holiday weight gain actually averages 1-2 pounds vice the 5-7 we frequently see reported.  


That said, it’s not all great news.  Even though it’s only 1-2 pounds, we typically don’t shed that extra weight later.  Next year, it’s another 1-2 on top of this, and next year, and next year.  The other thing worth noting is that, while there’s less weight change than many report, there may be increases in body fat.


Here’s a question:  if studies show the average weight gain is 1-2 pounds, why do we hear higher numbers then?  Here’s a better question:  where are you hearing the higher numbers from?

Answer:  Marketing based on fear that YOU will gain 5-7 pounds and you “shouldn’t”.   You’re hearing this stuff from companies that have some type of weight loss or “health related” product to sell you.  Marketing 101.

Here’s another question:  if you do gain a few pounds, is it a “disaster”?  Probably not.  Will you be thrilled?  Maybe not.  Can you mitigate it now though moderation?  Probably.  Can you change it later though consistent application of reasonable nutrition and exercise habits?  Probably so.

Calling it a d.i.s.a.s.t.e.r. might be a tiny bit melodramatic.    


The holidays are times when most of us get to see family and friends we don’t see all the time.  We take more time to relax, chat, talk, and laugh.  They come once a year.  Holidays are not something we should try to “survive”.

  • Should we eat every single morsel of food we see?
  • Do we need to eat everything somebody offers us?  Do we need to have one of everything at the office party even though much of it really isn’t that tasty?
  • Should we eat as if Thanksgiving (insert your favorite holiday) is the last day food will exist on the earth?
  • Should we drink the entire bottle of rum vs just putting a little bit in our drink?

Probably not the best ideas.


  • We can (and I do) make modifications to our recipes to lower fat, sodium, carbs, calories, gluten, sugar, or whatever.  But do we need to make  low calorie, no carb, zero fat, paleo, organic pumpkin pie that even my neighborhood raccoon wouldn’t eat from the trash?
  • Do we need to measure every  morsel of food we put into our mouths; do a pre-detox three days out; spend all day (and night) Friday in the gym “working off” our meal AND eat one meal a day for the two weeks following the holiday?

Hell, NO!!!!!

New Year to Thanksgiving


How will I survive the holidays?

Like I survive every other day, except with a more full heart, and a few more people around me.  Gobbler

  1.  I will get some exercise (I have, historically, done a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning.  I don’t “have to”.  I “like to”.  I find it fun.  I take family with me so we can enjoy it, and each other’s company.  It’s more than just the food.)
  2. I will make sure I drink some water throughout the day.  As I’m cooking and working around the house, that will be my drink of choice.
  3. I will have my normal protein and carb breakfast (rather than “saving those calories” for later).
  4. I will focus on the people around me and enjoying limited time with them.
  5. I will fill my plate first with some type of protein, then with vegetables, and then with starch.  I am, though, going to have a little bit of everything that makes this holiday special to my palate.  (For me personally, this will mean brazil nuts, cuties, turkey, cranberry, sweet potato, squash, a roll AND pumpkin pie with – a fair amount of – whipped cream.)
  6. I will stop eating before I fill myself to the point of being uncomfortable.
  7. I will clear the food and put it away, once we are done eating.  If it’s sitting out, I will pick…and I don’t need to. I’m not depriving myself but I’m also not hungry.  I’m eating “just because”.
  8. I will get a little more movement in, in the afternoon.  This is when I chase my grandchildren around, we go for a walk, play soccer, or make our way to the playground.
  9. I won’t act as though Thanksgiving to New Year’s is one continual holiday.  On most days, I will make mostly reasonable choices for my meals.
  10. When I’m eating, I will take the time to enjoy my food.  I will sit with it, or at the very least stand in one place.  I won’t mingle while munching because I know myself and that turns into way more munching than anything else.


What’s your plan for surviving the holidays?



Nov 06

Final Day Regular Person Regular Food

 Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
This will be my last (3rd) in the Regular Person Regular Day Regular Food series, and it’s actually a two-for-one encompassing yesterday and part of today.  I hope you’ve found them somewhat helpful.  I’d love your feedback.
I’ve had a headache and not much of an appitite.
Two things of note.  
  • The headaches are pretty typical right now.  They are caused by fluctuations in hormones during my monthly cycle.  One of the fun benefits of being over 50 and starting peri-menopause.  I’m not “sick”.  This will last for a couple of days and it’s just a fact of life right now.
  • Even though I didn’t particularly feel like eating, I ate.  Sometimes our bodies are on track and sometimes they’re not.  I don’t eat every time I feel like I want to:  I don’t fail to eat every time I’m not “really” hungry.

MEAL 1 yesterday


Protein pancake sandwich. 

15 grams vanilla protein powder, 10 grams oat flour, 2 egg whites, a little baking powder, splash of almond milk and 1/2 tsp glucomannan.

1 tbsp peanut butter
1/3 banana, cut into slices

Coffee, omega 3, vitamin D, iron and 2 multis.






I was super excited to finally get back to hot yoga yesterday – even with a headache (again, please remember, I’m not “sick”).   I started doing this 6 years ago but haven’t been since we left Vegas, so it’s been a couple of years.  Whoa!!  Time goes by much too quickly!!  It’s a 90 minute class.  It’s 90-105 degrees in the room.

I have scoliosis.  The heat, stretches, and flexibility feel great.




Today, I left home early and had breakfast in-transit.  Trutein pumpkin pie protein powder in almond milk, strawberries and coffee.  It definitely doesn’t have to be fancy.

    My personal priorities are protein, carbs, and coffee to start my day.


MEAL 2  Chicken salad and small, grilled pita.
Spinach, Tomato, Cucumbers, Chicken, Olives

Spinach, Tomato, Cucumbers, Chicken, Olives

Is salad always the best option?  
Absolutely not!!  If I add a ton of cheese, eggs, dressing, and croutons, my salad can actually have more calories and fat than what is frequently considered “unhealthy”.
Let me be clear here:  I do NOT believe there is “good” and “bad” food.  I think we can eat whatever we choose, BUT I also think we need to be mindful.  There’s a lot of misinformation out there.  Like, “salad is always healthy.”
To make my point, let’s look at the nutritional content of Chilli’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad and a Whopper.
Are you surprised?

Sweet peppers with Skinny Cow cheese wedges

and…MEAL 3

Tilapia with buffalo panko baked with beets and greens.

The empty spot on my plate was for quinoa.
Have you tried it?  If not…why not?  I cook it just like rice and, in fact, it was in the rice cooker which I forgot to turn on.  Oops.
rice cooker
Quinoa was done about 10 minutes after I finished my tilapia.
What’s so great about quinoa? (By the way, it’s pronounced “Keen-wa”)
 Other than being incredibly versatile, 1 cup contains 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, manganese, magnesium, folate, and iron.  It’s also gluten free.

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