Category Archive: Nutrition Habits

Nov 05

Not Your Typical Weight Loss Program. That’s Not What you Want!

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.


I had a former client come to me this morning and ask, “Can you help me lose 20 pounds? As quickly as possible.”

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It’s a cycle with this gentleman, and he’s not unusual. Not at all.  In fact this is something I typically hear.

“Can you help me lose XX pounds?”

“Can you make it as quick as possible?”

Females say, frequently:  “I need help with my butt, thighs, tummy, and under the backs of my arms.”

And, as frequently, Males say:  “Help me lose this gut.”

These things are typical.  Common.

…and fraught with issues.



Can I work with this gentleman on eating better, and exercising?  Yes!!  Will that change his body composition?  Yes!!  Can I promise he’ll lose 20 pounds?  Nope…and that’s not a reasonable goal.

Plus, the truth is, he doesn’t want to lose “weight”, he wants to lose “fat”.  There’s a huge difference!!  If you want to lose weight, throw out the damn bathroom scale!  Presto.  Done.

If you want to lose fat, and change your body, learn to incorporate healthy nutrition and movement habits into your life – for life.



Why in the world would I say that?  



Because I know how little weight has to do with anything.  These two pictures are both of me.  There is 3 (exactly THREE) pounds difference between the two.  Yes, my pose is different BUT look at the difference in my legs.  Look at the leanness of my back and the curve of my waist.  Three pounds.



If I hadn’t taken photos, I would likely have been upset at, “only losing three pounds”.  You know that’s true!  Have you ever been upset for only losing a couple of pounds?  I don’t focus on the weight now – I focus on the changes.  How I look.  How I feel.  How my clothes fit.  How strong and capable I feel.



So, back to this morning.  This client’s cycle is pretty typical too.

  • He comes back every year. We work together.  He sees changes and feels great….so he stops.  Everything.  He stops exercising, he stops eating the way he knows his body likes, and he gains the weight back.  He has the all-or-nothing mentality that so many of us fall victim to.  He’s 100% on-plan or 100% off.  There is no in between; no moderation.
  • He wants the weight loss to be “as quick as possible”.  Losing 1-2 pounds a week is boring. Being consistent for several weeks but not seeing a loss at the end is disheartening. “Just” losing inches but not seeing the scale move can stop people in their tracks.  But that’s the way it works.


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The reality is, this guy doesn’t really want another, “quick fix”.  None of us do!  What we want is to get healthy and maintain a body that not only works well but that we’re comfortable in.

THAT’S a goal we can live with!  For life.

  • How much better would it be not to have to crash-diet once a year?
  • How much better would it be not to stress out about what we weigh, yet still take care of ourselves?


Yes, it’s possible….


Here’s the secret to that…


Are you ready?…


This is IT…


===>  Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are now!  <===


That sounds so boring.  So mundane.  But it works!  It’s not just something I say. It is something I believe, and something I’ve written about numerous times on this page.  {scroll through the blogs:  here are three of my favorites to get you started Waist or Waste, Do What you Can is not a License to Ignore Personal Responsibility and What are you Putting in your Mouth}


  • A nutrition plan (any plan) is only going to work if it’s something you’ll actually do. It will only work for the long-term if it’s something you’ll actually stick with.  Right?

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  • Exercise will only work if it’s something you’ll actually do. It will only keep you healthy if it’s something you’ll actually stick with.  Right?




There is no one-size-fits-all….not in clothing, not in nutrition, exercise, nor life.                                    We are individuals. What works for your friend may not work for you.




Fresh, organic, minimally processed food is always going to be the best. That’s a great goal, a fantastic goal, to work towards.

BUT…. Sometimes life gets in the way. We got busy. We ran out of time. We forgot. We didn’t feel like it. An emergency popped up.  That stuff happens to every single one of us!




Life is not neat and orderly.  It doesn’t go as we plan.  Life is messy, and disorganized, and crazy sometimes. To be honest, that’s exactly what I love about it!


Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are now.  Make the best choice from the choices available.


For example, it’s ideal if you’ve planned ahead and have eggs, protein waffles, over-night oats, egg white muffins, fruit, nuts, Greek yogurt and other delicious, healthy things in your refrigerator ready to go.

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BUT….  If your only option for breakfast is going through the McDonald’s drive through, pick the fruit and yogurt, or an egg (or egg/steak) McMuffin (vs biscuit). Discard the top half of the muffin, and ask if it can be grilled without extra butter. OR keep a protein bar in your purse/desk drawer for the times you’re running late.


It’s nice to have had the time and forethought to make your lunch ahead of time and bring it with you.

BUT….  If you didn’t do that and now the office is going out for lunch, pick something that contains protein and veggies.  Maybe that’s a salad, maybe not.  Choose something that is grilled instead of breaded and deep fried, limit the sauces and dressing you pour on top.

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It’s nice to get to the house and make a home-cooked, nutritious, dinner.  It’s ideal if you cut up some veggies, grilled a bowl of chicken, or cooked something in the crock pot on Sunday for the entire week.  Grabbing something vs cooking is definitely more likely to happen.

BUT…. Sometimes we’re tired.  There’s nothing in the cupboard.  We didn’t have time to go grocery shopping.  Cooking up some frozen veggies, instead of fresh, to go with your chicken is absolutely fine.  Have two or three restaurants that are on your way home, pre-programmed into your phone.  Call for take out – again, make the best choice you can.  a salad from Chipotle is going to beat pepperoni pizza for nutrition and satiety.  That’s just an example.  It doesn’t have to be salad and it can be pizza…..


I’m just asking that you think about it.

“What are your choices right now?  What would work?  What is the best choice from those things?” 


The same is true for exercise…..convenience, convenience, convenience!!!   I’ll save that discussion for another day.

Nov 04

Regular Person Regular Food Day 2

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.  





I got up and went straight to work this morning.  My husband makes coffee before he leaves so I had that, but no food for a while.  I was super hungry by the time I did eat.









4 eggs whites with fresh salsa and turkey pepperoni.  Two slices of 40 calorie wheat bread smeared with a tbsp blueberry jam (the thing to be careful of with jam is serving size.  1 tbsp is a serving of this – that’s not very much and it’s far less than most people use).

Why do I only use egg whites in my omelet?  Egg yolks are not, “bad for you”, but, one egg yolk has around 55 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 210 mg of cholesterol, 8 mg of sodium, and 2.7 grams of protein.  I simply prefer to get my fat from other sources – there are so many things I like better than egg yolks, like Bailey’s, turkey pepperoni, cheese, and peanut butter.


Mid morning I had 1 cup of seedless green grapes.




Greens powder, 1 cup fresh spinach, 25 grams vanilla bean protein powder, banana, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk.

Why did I eat this before working out?  It’s a mix of protein and carbohydrates:  both are important in giving me ice creamthe energy to power through my weight training.


I also had some frozen yogurt and 3 hard boiled egg whites after my workout.  When I tell you, “there are no banned foods”, I sincerely mean that.

This froyo has probiotics, it’s fat free, and is “just” a carbohydrate.









3.5 oz Bay scallops with garlic and Italian dressing mixed with brussel sprouts plus 3/4 a small baked potato topped with a pinch of mozzarella.

Notice how most of my plate is filled with the protein and veggies?

Why would I eat white potato instead of sweet potato?  Contrary to popular belief, there is very little nutritional difference between the two.  A 3 oz russet is 78 calories and 18 carbs.  A 3 oz sweet potato is 73 and 17 carbs.  Surprised?

I eat both – tonight I opted for white.



Do you find these posts helpful at all?  Interesting?  A waste of your time?

Nov 03

One Regular Person’s Regular Day of Regular Eating Day 1

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
I received two separate phone calls this morning, asking about my diet and, more specifically, how they might begin to eat more healthy, too.  I was also recently reminded of how differently I tend to eat, compared to many people.  Not better.  Not more superiorly just differently.
Fact, is, I’ve been eating healthy for over 30 years now – not every day, not all the time, definitely not every meal, but pretty consistently..  I don’t think about it.  It’s not even that eating healthy is “second nature” to me.  It’s just something I do.
Pretty automatically for the most part.
That doesn’t mean I never eat processed foods.
It doesn’t mean I always eat organic, natural, from the earth, or anything even close to that.
In fact, it doesn’t mean “always” or “never” anything.

I’m just a regular person in a regular life eating regular food.

What may be different is merely some of the choices I make about my food.
Now that I have a break from traveling so much, I plan to get back to posting about mindset, nutrition (recipes/tips) and exercise!!!  To get started, and because of those phone calls, I want to show my diet over the next couple of days.  I will also explain why I’ve picked certain things.  Why?  Because I’d love it if you came to realize you can do this too!!  You really can.
==> Things to keep in mind
First:  I have no specific fitness goal right now.  I am not eating to gain but I am also not eating to lose.  I’d be happy to shed a little bit of this “extra” travel weight but I’m not actively chasing that goal.
Second:  This is merely how I am eating.  If you’re interested, fantastic!!  If you want or need help, please let me know.  But the reason for these posts is merely to show you … I am a “regular” person living a “regular” life eating “regular” food.  It does not have to be complicated nor super expensive.
Third:  I have no food allergies or limitations of any kind.  I am fortunate enough to be able eat whatever I want.  This is not a prescription nor a meal plan for any of you.
My personal priorities are protein, water, fruit & veggies but I eat from all food groups – including fats and carbohydrates.
MEAL 1   
Waffles: 15 grams protein powder, 3 egg whites, tsp cocoa nibs. Sometimes 1/4 cup oat flour (but not today).

Waffles: 15 grams protein powder, 3 egg whites, tsp cocoa nibs. Sometimes 1/4 cup oat flour (but not today).

Multi vitamin, extra iron, and Omega 3.
Pumpkin pie protein waffles topped with 1.5 tbsp peanut butter.  1 cup green grapes.
Coffee with 2 tbsp Bailey’s.  Yes, alcohol!!!!  Ah-va.  It’s 2 tablespoons and I like it, so…….
I will have one more coffee later today but that one will have unsweetened almond milk in it.
Why did i eat this?  Stating your day with a good serving of protein is critical.  It’s good for your body and it’s filling.  The Bailey’s and peanut butter are both fat.  The grapes are carbs.
Water.  Usually I drink my water plain, or with a little lemon squeezed in.  Today I felt like having some Mio.  I use one serving in a gallon of water.  That’s enough for me.  Yup, it’s processed.  Nope, I don’t care.
If the only way you can drink your water right now, is with flavoring in it, add some flavoring.
The point is “better” not “perfect” and water is always a better choice than other beverages.
  MEAL 2
Garlic, chipotle, tomato, chicken pizza

Garlic, chipotle, tomato, chicken pizza

I usually have to eat lunch out of my bag, at work.  Today I was home and took full advantage of the rare opportunity to cook.  I made myself a chicken pizza.
1/2 P28 protein flat bread onto which I put 1/2 tsp crushed garlic and 3 tsp chipotle vinaigrette (I love this stuff so always bring my extra home when I visit Chipotle Mexican Grill).  I topped that with 3 oz cubed, pre-cooked chicken (from my frig), some sundried tomato, and 14 grams mozzarella.  Brown in the toaster oven.
I do not deny myself treats but I do not eat them every single time they cross my mind either.  I only eat those things that I truly enjoy – not those that are just “so so”.  I keep these truffles in my freezer.  A serving is 3.  One satisfied my sweet tooth so that’s all I had.
People ask if I always measure my food.  I don’t always do anything (see the beginning of this blog) BUT, yes, I do sometimes measure my food.  How else do I know for sure how much I’m eating?  Relying on our mind’s ability to determine a “serving” is faulty at best.
Again, I’ve been doing this for a while so I do a fair job of eye-balling 3 ounces of chicken.  If you haven’t been doing it, measuring at first, can be a great way to start.  If you don’t care to weigh, you can always use your hands as a rough measure.
SNACK, PRE-WORKOUT…more protein & carbs

Vitamin C packet, 1 scoop Green Vibrance and 20 grams vanilla protein powder.

We didn't have a lot of groceries in the house so we headed to Chipotle for a salad.

We didn’t have a lot of groceries in the house (I just got home yesterday and Brent eats differently than I do, so we headed to Chipotle for a salad.  Lettuce, grilled onions & peppers, grilled chicken, tomato & corn salsa with half a vinaigrette dressing.  This meal provided protein, carbs, a little fat, and some veggies.



















I’ve never hidden the fact that my husband does not eat the same way I do.  We are adults.  I love fresh fruits and veggies.  The only green “stuff” he consumes is Mountain Dew.  I don’t judge him.  He doesn’t judge me.  We’ve been together for over 25 years.  We accept each other as individuals and do our own thing.

So….I had to go shopping.  Now I’m ready for tomorrow.



 Do you have any questions?  Let me know!  Ask.  Comment.  Send me a PMl.
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Oct 17

Why I ate Buttermilk Pancakes on Vacation

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


I’ve been on the road for 183 days, so far, this year.  Typically I fly in, teach, and fly home or directly on to another class.  I may travel further for my job than you do, and it might be a slightly different job, but it’s still just my job.  I’m not on vacation.


Two weeks ago, though, I had two classes scheduled in Hawaii.  My husband came with me and we added a few days of vacation before I went to work.  It was unusual and glorious!!  Let me know if you’re not tired of seeing pictures of sunrises, sunsets, hiking, and scuba diving.  I have plenty more I can share.


Like you, I ate a little differently on vacation, than I do on a regular work day.  Many people find weekends, vacation, and restaurants specifically challenging.  For that reason, I thought I’d share some of the choices I made while traveling.  It is possible to chill, enjoy vacation, and enjoy food without negating your health and fitness gains (or losses as the case may be).




On the plane.  I had these choices

(A) Quest bar and coffee or

(B) Pretzels, peanuts, or airline snack boxes.

Why did I choose the Quest?

The snack boxes are filled with fat, sodium, and sugar.  I’m not opposed to any of those things in moderation but travel can be dehydrating as it is.  We spent 10 hours in the air and another 4 hours in airports so movement was very limited all day.

I prefer “real food” to these bars but they work very well for travel.

It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about making the best choice from among the choices available.




This was actually dinner at the hotel.  ===>

I don’t believe certain foods should be reserved for certain times of the day.

Why did I choose this?

After flying all day, I craved fresh fruit and some vegetables (there was spinach and mushrooms in the omelet).  Egg whites are a great source for protein.  My husband had a chicken Caesar salad – he felt the same way I did about getting some veggies.




We were up at 3 on the first day of vacation (there was a 6 hour time change from DC) and after enjoying Greek yogurt and fruit while walking on the beach and watching the sunrise, we left for a day of hiking.

For lunch we split a turkey, bacon, avocado club and and sweet potato fries.

Why did we split the meal?

There was so much food on the plate that we both left the table full.  It made no sense to get two huge meals since we had no way to keep the leftovers.



Day 2 also began at 3 o’clock in the morning with breakfast on the beach for sunrise.  We had dive boat reservations at 10.  After two dives and some time on the boat, we headed to lunch.  We were hungry!!!!  Salt water, sun, and ocean breezes tend to have that affect on me.  I ordered a Denver egg-white omelet and buttermilk pancakes.  Brent ordered chocolate chip pancakes.  I ate the omelet and one pancake (I brought the other two with me for peanut butter foll-up snacks on subsequent days).

Why did we order pancakes?

Why not?  We were hungry.  Comfort food was beckoning.  Our dives totaled two hours, we planned a short afternoon hike, and another walk on the beach for sunset.  There was plenty of movement today!





What we didn’t order.  

Waffle & Pancake Blvd (where we ordered the delicious pancakes pictured above) had plenty of offerings we didn’t choose.


They had deep fried Oreos.  I’m not a huge fan of Oreos anyway so I certainly didn’t need them battered and fried.





If Oreos weren’t enough, they also had deep fried cheesecake.  They almost got me with this one!!



I decided I would eat my food before I made a decision about ordering dessert.  I couldn’t even finish my pancakes so, in the end, I didn’t need dessert.  (and I didn’t feel deprived….  I was full and hate that uncomfortable feeling of being stuffed).  I can deep fry cheesecake at ANY point in the future if I decide I want to.  It’s not going to disappear from the earth just because I didn’t eat it in Hawaii.


Each item in my health triad:  Mindset Mostly  *  Nutrition  *  Movement   was considered in my choices.

How much did I move in a given day?  The more exercise I had, the more hungry I would be and the more food I would eat.

Which choice would give me the protein and fresh fruit/veggies that I have set as a top priority for myself?  After that, which healthy fats and carbs would I like?

It’s always mindset mostly.

I can think, “I can’t have this or that”, “Oh my gosh, why can’t I have fried cheesecake?”, “I have to be good” and other things like that.  Such a mindset would leave me feeling deprived.  If I can’t have something – that is the one thing I want!!


I can think, “I can have anything I want on this menu.  I would like to make the best choice for my goals though.  First I’m going to select a protein, then I’ll select a healthy fat, and a carbohydrate.  I might have dessert but I’m going to eat my meal before I make that decision.”


Do you see the difference?  Do you think the different way of looking at things will help when you feel at the whim of the menu?  Try it the next time you go out.  Let me know how it goes.




Oct 04

3 Ways Perfection is Keeping us from our Goals & What we can to do About it

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T. 

If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 8 million times.  “Practice makes perfect”.

Joes kick

Here’s the rub.

To get better at anything, even if you have some natural ability, yes, you have to practice.

Perfection, though, is an unattainable illusion.


In fact, practice makes us better, but perfect does not exist.  There are (at least) three ways perfection is keeping us from our goals; be they fat-loss or just about anything else.



Have you ever said…

Or, rather, how many times have you said…

  • “This is just not a good time, right now.
  • I’m super busy at work.
  • My husband/wife is gone.
  • I’m going to have to take care of the kids.
  • We’re having company next week.
  • I have that big project due at work.
  • Our vacation is already planned.
  • The holidays are approaching.
  • I’m too tired.
  • I’m too busy.
  • I don’t have enough money.
  • I don’t have the energy to even get started.”


Those things, and many more, may be very true.  We are experts at creating excuses!

Trust me, if I don’t want to do something, I can give you 50 reasons – right off the top of my head – for why I can’t.



They’re all perfectly justified and they allow me to not do anything, but also negate any personal responsibility I might have.

It’s not my fault….

….I have these VERY good reasons right here for why I just can’t.


There is no such thing as a “perfect time”.  Your life is never going to be calm.  Things aren’t going to “settle down”.  Your responsibilities are not going to go away.  I’ve been waiting for years, but that personal chef has not yet appeared in my kitchen, ready to whip up delectable healthy meals for me.  Damn it.

You are here


Waiting for the perfect time – because it doesn’t exist – leads to inaction.

We get so discouraged we just decide not to bother.


What can we do about it? 


This is your life.  This moment right here.  This day is your opportunity to take one step down the path you want to travel.


Not tomorrow.  Not next Monday.  Not New Year’s Day.  (Although there are plenty of psychological reasons we do this).


Here’s how I do it.  I have to be completely, and brutally, honest with myself.  I don’t believe every thought that comes into my head.  I say, both to myself, and others:

“I have a whole bunch of excuses for not doing ‘this’ today, but they are just that.


So I have a choice in this moment.

Either I can accept those excuses, knowing that I am letting myself down, and that I will not feel good about this decision later,




I can decide not to let this excuse keep me back this time.”

That’s it.  That’s all.  Accept or deny the excuse this one time.   And then the next time, and the time after that.  I’m not saying I will never accept the excuses.  I’m human.  So are you.

I’m just saying I am not accepting them today.



Hooray.  You’ve decided to slay one of those excuses that’s been holding you back.  You’re doing this thing!  You’re going for it!

On day 1, you expect to do everything, and to do every bit of it perfectly.

Sorry, honey.  It’s just not going to happen.  Sure, we might be able to pull it off for a week.  Maybe two.  But, then….you crash and burn.


To be perfectly clear, perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best.  It’s not about healthy achievement and growth.  Brene Brown, author, scholar, shame researcher, public speaker extraordinaire, describes it this way. “Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it is the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.”


I’ve read Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, several times.

Good IS the enemy of great.  It makes us complacent and stagnates growth when we just decide that “good enough” is all we’re after.


Perfect is the enemy of good.  It makes us feel over-whelmed.  If we don’t face the reality that we’re not perfect, one small mis-step demoralizes and demotivates us.  This is when one cookie turns into one dozen; when one day off from the gym turns into a month; and when doing your best leaves you feeling like you’re not good enough.


What can we do about it? 

Take the middle ground.


Good is the enemy of great.

Perfect is the enemy of good.


How about striving for great?

It’s right there in the middle.

It IS possible and you’re already part of the way to that goal!


Understand that every day is not going to be 100% perfect.  That’s ok.  That’s, in fact, reality.


When it comes to setting goals, and establishing habits, Precision Nutrition recommends that we under-promise and over-deliver. What one thing have you decided to do for yourself?  Ask yourself,

“On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I could do this every day for the next 30 days?”  If your If your gut reaction is anything other than “9” or “10”, find a way to make that promise smaller or easier.

For example, instead of, “I’m going to stop eating all sweets, cut carbohydrates during the day and not eat anything after 7 pm.  I’m also going to go to the gym for 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week”, why not pick one of these to start with:

  • “I’ll stop eating at each meal when I’m about 80% full.”
  • “I’ll eat what I’m eating now, but slightly less of it.”
  • “I’ll eat one (or one more) home-cooked meal each day.”
  • “I’ll eat one big salad a day.”
  • “I’ll add vegetables to at least one meal each day this week.”
  • “I’ll add protein to at least one (or two) meals each day this week.”
  • “I’ll add 20 minutes of exercise each day. It might be in the gym but it might just be dancing

around the house as soon as I get home from work.  It might be going for a walk or actively playing with the kids/dog.”

  • “I’ll get two solid workouts in per week, scheduled in my calendar, and go from there.”




Focus on changing just one habit each week – or even just one habit every couple of weeks.


Ugg.  That sounds so boring.  How can we possibly reach our goals without being hard-core?



That’s how it works!  The people I have seen make the biggest life changes, did it one habit at a time…bit by bit by bit.






We tend to think that we just need to workout for 12 weeks, 6 months, or “until summer’:  whatever timeframe seems “reasonable”.  At that point, we’ll be exactly where we had hoped to be. We will be done.


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I received a message a couple of weeks ago, from a young woman who has done amazing things with her body! For the first time, EVER, she felt comfortable enough to take a selfie in her bathing suit!!! I mean, AMAZING!!!!

The problem is that she’s worried about her weight on the scale. She’s NOT alone!!! I have been doing this for a (very) long time. I counsel other people. I know the scale isn’t what we should spend our time struggling with….but…I do it too!! I am the heaviest I have ever been. It shouldn’t bother me. My husband says, I look amazing and that I have more muscle than I’ve ever had. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m still wearing the same size clothes I’ve always worn. But….that damn number on the scale. It bother me too. I get it. I’m a woman. Just like many of you, I’ve had weight pushed at me all of my life. I think I should never see higher than a certain number when I get on the scale. Just like you do.

It’s bullshit. But, there it is.

It’s not “just” inches.  That’s amazing!!!!!  WE need to try not to worry about some random number.  How do we feel? How do we look?



Further, let me ask you this. Do you want to be healthy just for 12 weeks, 6 months, or the summer?

I hope not.

I think we would like to be fit and healthy for life.

If that’s the case, we need to take care of ourselves for life.


That doesn’t mean “be on a diet” for life.  It doesn’t mean “killing it in the gym, every day” for life.  It means, implementing (boring, routine) healthy habits for nutrition and exercise, for life.

For real life, which is not a sprint or a “12-week program”.


Let that sink in for just one second, because it may change the entire way you behave from this point forward.

Healthy habits are for life.

So, what if we focused on incorporating health and nutrition into our (messy, crazy, wonderful) lives, as they are, instead of trying to cram our lives into some “program”?



Sep 21

Lessons Learned by Breaking my Bowl at Breakfast

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Some of my friends say that I can find a relatable lesson in almost anything.  I’m beginning to believe they might be right.  We’ll blame it on far, far too many years of conducting root cause analysis in the office but I think it’s a good skill to have.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.23.23 AM

Yes, this happened. But, why?


So here’s what happened.  After dropping the kids at school this morning, and grabbing a coffee on my way home, I was really looking forward to breakfast.  Especially because I had to get my coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts and it’s quite low on my preference list.

#1 Cappuccino IN Italy

#2 Bailey’s & coffee made by my son or my husband 😉

#3 Custom-crafted cappuccino in a decent US coffee shop

#4 Lavazza

#5 Starbucks

#6 Dunkin

#7 Gas station coffee

Yes, I might have a “problem” with coffee.  Do you see how easily, I got distracted and off track just mentioning the word?  But, anyway.  Dunkin’ will work.




That said, my cup also had a Patriots’ logo on it.
I’m a Seahawks fan, so, umm, ya….




I digress.



With all of the (additional) recent travel, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed protein pancakes so I whipped up a batch

These were the pancakes I envisioned.... not the pancakes I ended up with.

These were the pancakes I envisioned…. not the pancakes I ended up with.

(egg whites, dark cocoa, and red velvet cake protein powder – that’s it).

– I reached over the stove for the olive oil, sprayed the pan, and reached up to put the spray away.

– It didn’t slide all the way into its slot, fell out of the cupboard,

– Hit the pan handle which

– Caused the pan to fly across the counter and

– Hit the glass bowl containing my pancake mixture, causing

– It to crash to the floor and break into a million pieces.

– There was pancake mixture and broken glass, everywhere.




My first thoughts, in order (and happening within seconds of each other) were:

(a) Crap!! That was my last bit of red velvet protein powder – it’s my favorite for pancakes/waffles.

(b) Is there any way that I can scoop this up from the floor and still make the pancake I was soooooo looking forward to?  Yes, that’s gross. No, I didn’t do it but YES, that did go through my mind!!!

(c) Well, this was a series of unfortunate events.


I really DID think that (again, see my initial sentence about root cause analysis – in several of my past jobs, I couldn’t just say “this happened”, I had to say “here is the likely reason that this happened.”) and I said those words, verbatim, to my daughter this morning.  “Well, this was a series of unfortunate events.”    

One thing didn’t “go wrong”.  My pancakes didn’t just end up on the floor.  Everything actually began with me not taking the extra half a second to get the olive oil back into the slot.

In fact, then, I created the problem.

This didn’t “happen to me”.  The world is not conspiring against me.  I didn’t have “bad luck”.  This did not happen because “it’s one of those days” or “it is definitely Monday.”  This happened because I was in a rush (which saved me nothing, by the way).



Plan B…and there it was.  My breakfast on the floor.

I took the time to clean up the mess first because it forced me to slow down a little bit.

I didn’t have any more of that protein powder but I did have more cocoa and a couple more eggs.  My daughter had some vegan protein powder in her cupboard.  That stuff is okay to drink but it’s too thin to make decent pancakes. Oh well.  It’s all I had.

I mixed up another batch of not-so-great pancakes.  Topped them with a little peanut butter.



My point is that lessons don’t come just from large, paradigm-altering, life-shattering events.  Lessons can come in the tiny little inconveniences that happen every day.

Stay calm

You can choose to allow those things to ruin your day OR you can choose to


RE-EVALUATE (What caused this problem)


MAKE A PLAN (It happened.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  What can I do at this point to move forward?)


EXECUTE THE PLAN EVEN IF IT’S NOT PERFECT  These pancakes were not anywhere close to what the original pancakes would have been like). I concur with James C. Collins that good is the enemy of great – and we should not settle – but perfection is the enemy of good.  The fact is that some days, good has to be good enough.

Do what you can, when you can, with what you have available to you.

Aug 09

About those Doubletree Cookies

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.
Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 11.08.07 PM
I really try to focus on an abundance mindset in all areas of my life.  And, I have to tell you, it can be difficult!  It’s essentially that I will get everything I’m supposed to get, regardless of how much other people get.  I struggle more in remembering this for my business and personal life than I do in eating but that’s likely because I’ve worked on a healthy eating mindset for a lot longer.  The rest will come….I know it.
I know it, because I can clearly remember that I didn’t always have this mindset when it came to eating either.
It’s remembering that the wine, or cookies, or beer, or pasta, or whatever it is that you love, will be there tomorrow…and the day after that…and the day after that.
We don’t have to have it today just because it crossed our mind.
Now, even though it’s easier for me now, there are still plenty of times I struggle.  Last week for example.  I stayed at the Doubletree my first night in California.  I LOVE their cookies.  You know the ones.  Those giant, chocolatey and nutty delicious cookies.  They’re warm.  They’re welcoming.  They’re free when you check in.  I want one!!
 Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 11.08.40 PM
The second night, I moved to a different part of the city and checked in at the Hilton.  They always leave Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies in my room. They’re right there on the bed when I walk in.
These cookies do not cross my mind on a normal day.  I never think about them until I walk into the hotel.  Then, I want all the cookies!!!  My desire is triggered by seeing them.  It’s easy for me to justify them because
(a) they are my reward for a tough day of traveling and
(b) they are right there in front of my face, attacking my senses.
Why would I refuse?  I should have a cookie.  My default behavior used to be to eat the cookies.   My reward was a nice little sugar rush and a warm feeling in my tummy, because…I love cookies.
It’s typically late when I check into the hotel, and I’ve spent the entire day sitting on my butt.  The last thing my body needs before going to bed is a cookie.
I travel a lot.  This is where business travelers can pack on the pounds:  there’s the free hotel breakfast buffet; a quick lunch (if not out of the vending machine or fast-food, maybe a catered working lunch – croissant sandwich, small salad – if you’re lucky – and dessert); dinner out (alone or with a client: either way, you’re exhausted from the day and are looking for comfort food) or at the free hotel evening reception, maybe a couple of drinks in the hotel bar, and the cookies.  It adds up.
I’m in a hotel hundreds of nights each year.
Just focusing on the cookies, never mind everything else.  If I eat a cookie (314 calories, 17 grams of fat and 39 grams of carbohydrates for the Doubletree or 230, 13, 26 in the Milanos) each night I’m on the road (4 nights a week), that’s 1,256 extra calories per week.  5,024 calories extra per month, and 60,288 calories each year that I travel.
On nothing but a cookie!!!!!!  …a cookie to which most people would say, “what’s the big deal?”
You can easily see the problem!  It’s a big friggin’ deal!!!!!
With an abundance mindset, I remind myself that I can have a cookie any time I want but not every time I want.
There will be another hotel and more cookies tomorrow.  I know that!  It’s still not easy and I’m not yet at a point where I can actually “trust” myself with the cookies so I’ve had to change my default behavior.  Now, when I check in and they start to hand me a cookie or ask if I want one, I have to say, “no thank you”.  Don’t even accept the cookie.
When I get to my room, I have to get rid of the Milano cookies and – I’m just going to be completely open and honest here – throwing them in the trash does NOT work.  I will, in a moment of weakness, dig that package out of the trash and eat them.  I’m not proud to say this but, the fact is, I’ve done it more than once.  So, now, I open the package and flush them down the toilet.  …as soon as I walk into the room.
The trigger is there.
My behavior has changed.
My reward has changed.  Now instead of feeling guilty; I feel empowered.  I make the choice to either eat or get rid of the cookies.  I’m not eating them out of habit.

Jul 31

Making the Choice: Groceries or Rent? Logical tips for doing both!

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



If I had $1 for every time someone told me, “it’s too expensive to eat healthy”, I would do all of my shopping in organic-only, no-packaging, fresh food markets! That would be awesome! The reality, though, is that we live in the real world. We need to pay rent, or the mortgage; clothe ourselves and our children, pay utility bills, car payments, insurances, daycare, etc., etc., etc.

The idealists among us like to say, “It’s also expensive to be sick. You need to eat well regardless of the cost. Invest in your health.” That’s an awesome thought and the people saying that, truly do mean well. Obviously, I agree with the sentiment. The problem is, if you have a limited budget with which to feed yourself and your family, it’s not so cut and dried. You can’t just invest in your health at the expense of everything else or you’ll be eating your good food under a bridge somewhere.

The problem is that soda is cheaper than water, canned ravioli is less expensive than any healthy alternative, and I can buy a whole package of Little Debbie Snack Cakes or one piece of fruit. The problem is that while healthy foods are advertised as “only $4 per serving for all of this wonderfulness” when you multiply $4 by 4 members of your family – that’s $16 per meal. If you eat three times a day, that’s $48 a day.

Sure: that’s cheaper than going out to eat for every meal but who can afford this?

A CNN Money Study done in 2014 reported “Americans’ median income is still 4.8% lower than it was at the start of the Recession in December 2007, and 5.9% below its January 2000 level.” Sentier Research shows that the average median American household for 2014 was $53,891 (and had grown to $54,510 by February 2015). That’s with many households being dual-income!

Before you throw in the towel and start munching on that 99-cent box of powdered sugar donuts, there is hope! Here are a few tips, and several resources, for how to not only pay your bills but also put some healthy food on the table.

General Tips

• One of the best ways to enjoy the most delicious (and inexpensive) fruit and veggies is to buy them in their seasonal peak. I stock up during the summer/fall. Cut up the fruit (sometimes I blanch the vegetables – depending on what they are) and either put it into sealed pouches or zip lock freezer baggies.

• Here’s a cool chart from showing what’s in season when.


Whether you plan to freeze or not, buying in season is always let expensive.

  • It’s frequently cheaper to buy frozen fruits and veggies. Make sure you look at the list of ingredients – you don’t want sauces, butter, or a bunch of extra ingredients.
  • Plant a garden if you can. It’s fun – especially for the kids – and you can’t get any more organic than that! I have rhubarb, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers growing in my small back yard. I’m going to have to start canning or giving some of the food away:  even this small space is producing more than I can eat!
  • Cooking at home is a lot less expensive than eating out.
  • Some people save money by clipping coupons, and I tip my hat to them!! My niece, Erica, is a coupon queen, but tbh, coupon clipping is just something I’ve never been good at. Even when I do have coupons, I never remember to bring them to the store with me so they usually sit at the house until they expire and then I throw them out.


Be Aware that you Pay for Convenience…

  • rollingpinMy sister buys turkey and grinds it herself. In my local grocery store yesterday, 93% ground turkey was $5.99 per pound. Turkey cutlets were $3.89 per pound. If I’m okay with chicken instead, boneless breasts were $3.19 per pound and buy one, get one.
  • Speaking of chicken, I used to buy whole chicken and then cut it up myself. I did not find that I saved enough to justify the work. There was so much waste and, evidently, I’m not an efficient butcher.
  • Sure it might be more convenient to buy individual serving sizes but it’s also a lot more expensive. For example, two individual servings of brown rice are $2.39. I can buy a 14 oz box of brown rice, with 8 servings, for $2.79. I buy larger bags/boxes of rice, pasta, and quinoa. Having said this, be aware that too much is, well, too much. I bought a huge turkey ham a while ago because it was a fantastic value! Problem is, that Brent and I ate turkey ham in every single thing I cooked from breakfast through dinner for about a week. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve felt like buying even a slice of turkey ham!
  • As for slices, remember those are individual servings too. Everything you buy that is “more” prepared, is going to cost more.


and Sometimes the Convenience is Worth it.

SambraThe water at my house is loaded with chlorine, disinfectants, and many other things (Water Report). It’s definitely not something I’m going to drink. I also travel a lot, so bottled water is much more convenient. At home I have several glass and metal containers that I refill with water. On the road, since I don’t check luggage, plastic bottles just work better. I buy one on Monday when I fly out and I reuse that bottle until Thursday or Friday when I return home. Rather than buy individual bottles of water, I fill this one up either from a gallon jug or drinking fountain. Aren’t there concerns about drinking from plastic? Yes. As with everything else though, I just do the best I can. I’m not going to have access to pure mountain spring water all the time, and I will not check a bag just so I can carry a metal drinking water container.

  • If I am getting something just for myself and/or I have a limited time to eat it, the convenience may be worth thespices price. For example, I’m traveling and I want some almond butter with breakfast but I’m only going to be on the road for a couple of days. Since peanut butter is not allowed in my carry-on, it makes sense for me to go somewhere like Whole Foods and grind only enough for a couple of days. That’s cheaper than buying a big jar, and I hate throwing food out!! Win-win. Many times I will shop from the bulk bins here: great for flours, spices, beans, grains, and nuts.


Look at the Big Picture Cost.

  • Make as much as you can from raw ingredients. For example, I buy bagged beans and throw them in the crockpot for a few hours vice buying canned beans. My friend, Karen, does this too. I make my own lemonade, pancakes (with flour, baking soda/powder, etc., not from a mix), spice mixes, and other things.
  • What I mean by “look at the big picture cost” is, while it may be more expensive to buy ingredients – let’s use lasagna as an example – the amount of servings you get are also greater. This freezes well and is much healthier than the freezer section stuff you’ll find.


Shop Early When you Can:  



When I worked at a grocery store, one of the very first things we did in the morning was mark-down day old products and go through the fresh produce. If you can go to the store in the morning, you may find discounted fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. My sister, Florence, saves a ton of money this way!




 Check out Store Brands:

  • It’s super important to learn how to read labels, and to look at the list of ingredients in everything you buy. Many times, though, the store brand is just as good (in flavor, quality, and nutrition) as pricey options.
  • There is a Dollar Tree in the same parking lot as my local grocery store. Stopping in there first has saved me some money: I’ve found Bob’s Red Mill flours and a host of other name brand products. Even if I don’t buy groceries here, I can find the cleaners, soap powder, and other household items I use which, ultimately, leaves more money for groceries.
  • Big club stores like BJs, Costco, and Sam’s may save you some money. The downside is that you’ll need to pay for a membership and typically need to buy really large sizes. That’s great for dividing up and putting in the freezer if you have room; not everybody does.


Store your Food Correctly: 

  • One of my pet peeves is throwing out food so whatever I’m not going to eat right away, I need to store so that it stays fresh. Freezer bags are important; as is trying to remove as much air as possible before you seal the bag.Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 4.58.39 AM
  • Storing your greens in a container with paper towel on the bottom, and on top, keeps them fresh for up to ten days!  Several people are doing this but, most recently it was my friend Nicole who reminded me of it.
  • Once raw meat is un-thawed, it should not be refrozen but it is absolutely okay to refreeze after it’s been cooked.
  • Here are ideas to keep food fresh longer. AND


Jul 25

Getting More Than You Bargained For at the Buffet?

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 5.38.34 PM


Wow!! My friend, and mentor, Jill Coleman just hit me over the head with something. She said:

“One thing that I think gets missed a lot in the health/fat loss/physique discussion is quality of life. We tend to ask, ‘What will work?’ instead of first considering, ‘What will I enjoy?’ And contrary to what you might think, ‘what you enjoy’ is probably not stuffing yourself and eating to your heart’s desire.“

Oh my gosh! Right? So right!!



Every single one of the “diets” out there WILL work if they result in you taking in fewer calories than you burn.

The question should not be – which nutrition plan should you follow.

The question should be – which way of eating is conducive to your lifestyle?

Which exercise program are you actually going to do because you enjoy it?


…and, while we may think it’s freedom to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, in whatever quantity we want, that’s simply not true!

Do you remember how crappy you feel when you overeat?


I certainly do!!

I used to do that every time my family went to a buffet. I literally could NOT walk out of a Golden Coral without feelingScreen Shot 2015-07-25 at 5.37.50 PM sick. I never intended to start out that way. I always began with a salad. Always. Then I just wanted a l
ittle of this, a little of that, a little more of something else, and I couldn’t possibly leave without getting dessert – plus, it was just a little. A little piece of carrot cake and a little sliver of chocolate cake, and some ice cream, and maybe a cheesecake square… I wasn’t hungry. Far, far from it. But I HAD to have dessert because it was there.

I’m not exaggerating! Either of my kids, or my husband, could confirm this behavior to you.



What to hell? Why? If all of that food is available, we think we need to:

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 6.06.37 PM


For some reason, we feel like we need to, “get our money’s worth”. If we don’t stuff ourselves, we feel like it, “wasn’t worth it.”


It took me a long time, and a lot of hard work, to get out of that mindset. I stopped going to buffets for a very long time!!


Whether I stuff myself, and get sick, or I eat enough to satiate myself, I got my money’s worth!! I don’t need to set some record in eating a week’s groceries in one sitting!!!



– and I did then but this does take conscious effort

– I KNOW that I don’t need all of that food.


I don’t like feeling stuffed.

I don’t like heartburn.

I don’t like being uncomfortable and bloated.


Eating like that is not fun.

It’s not what I want to do.


….and if I don’t eat chocolate cake today because I ate hickory bourbon chicken and I’m really not hungry, I can have it tomorrow if I want, or the next day, or the day after that.


Here’s a story I shared with Jill. This happened just last night and shows how far I’ve come in my journey to embrace moderation. Last night my husband and I went to Panera Bread for dinner. He got home late and the restaurants around here fill up quickly on Friday nights. This is close to home and we both like it. I ordered a strawberry poppy seed chicken salad (not because I “had to” but because I truly love that salad!). I also ordered a piece of carrot cake since yesterday was our wedding anniversary (and I love carrot cake). I ate half of it. My husband asked if I was going to eat the rest (he doesn’t like it so we weren’t sharing). I said, “No. I’ve had enough.” I wrapped up the cake and brought it home.


Today I saw it in the refrigerator. There is absolutely NO reason that I need to eat that cake. We’re not celebrating. I’m not punishing myself and I have zero guilt about eating cake yesterday.

The entire piece of cake was 99 cents and yet I felt a pang of guilt as I threw it in the trash. That’s ridiculous!!! If I had eaten it, since I’m not really in the mood for carrot cake today, it would have been purely out of guilt. That would have been MORE ridiculous!!


Likely, if I were to drive to Panera right now, I could buy another slice. Carrot cake still exists in the world.  I’m sure of it!!!!

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 6.09.35 PM

Jul 24

Baking Substitutions to Lower Fat & Calories without Impacting Taste

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.



In my blog Getting Healthy is SimpleI mentioned that I frequently make substitutions when I bake.  I’m always looking for creative ways to lower fat and calories without impacting taste. Here are some of the things I do.



Sugar performs many important roles in baking. It provides moisture and tenderness, liquefies as it bakes, increases the shelf-life of finished products, caramelizes at high temperatures, and, of course, adds sweetness. Refined sugar helps cookies spread during baking, allowing their crisp texture. Because of these critical functions, bakers can’t simply replace sugar with a different sweetener.

Honestly, many of the sugar substitutes out there are worse than using regular sugar! There is a ton of debate about which one is better, what their health concerns are, etc. Stevia seems to be the best artificial option because it’s like 200 times sweeter than sugar so you only need a tiny bit. It doesn’t impact insulin and doesn’t have a lot of the concerns of Splenda. Who knows.

For these reasons, many times, rather than substituting sugar, I merely decrease the amount of sugar being used. I’ve found that I can use 2/3 or 1/2 the sugar in most recipes and still end up with plenty of sweetness without affecting the quality of the product.

Brown sugar is not healthier either – it’s just white sugar with molasses added!

You can substitute honey or fresh maple syrup. Don’t try to do it by volume though: 1 cup of honey does not equal 1 cup of sugar. Instead, weigh it. 100 grams of honey does equal 100 grams of sugar.

Coconut sugar and sucanat are good substitutes.


Oil and/or Butter

For stovetop cooking, using 1 tbsp olive, coconut, or safflower oil mixed with broth works perfectly.

When baking, I typically substitute fruit.

¾ cup unsweetened applesauce and ¼ cup fruit puree (pumpkin, carrot, or banana typically) replaces 1 cup of oil.

If you are using applesauce in a recipe that requires all-purpose flour you will often get better results if you use whole wheat pastry flour instead.

Mashed avocado (use half of the amount of butter called for). This does make baked goods softer and chewier.

Canola or coconut oil

Greek yogurt (use half of the butter called for, replace half with plain yogurt)

Be aware that fat increases flavor so when you’re cooking with less fat, be sure to add some spices (1 tsp is normally sufficient) for enhancement. Cinnamon (and derivatives) and extracts (less is more with those!) work well for almost everything I’m making.


White Flour

Almond, barley, or oat flour is great for sweet items, like cookies, muffins, and cake. If you are using these gluten free flours, it’s a good idea to add 2 ½ tsp baking powder per cup of flour to keep a good consistency.Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 7.25.49 AM

Brown rice flour for pie crust, breads, crackers, pizza crust. It’s more grainy and allows things to get crispy.

Quinoa flour is gluten free, too, and works well in pancakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. It also adds protein.

Buckwheat flour works well in pancakes, waffles, and pasta as does corn meal.

Garbanzo flour makes an ideal substitute for crepes, flat bread, muffins and breads. It also adds protein.

Speaking of protein, many times I will substitute ½, or more, of the flour with protein powder. Egg protein is my favorite with a blend being a close second. Whey can make things a little waxy and casein has a weird consistency.

When experimenting with whole-grain and bean flours, do so in stages. If a recipe calls for a cup of white flour, try a quarter-cup of a whole-grain flour and three-quarters cup white. Next time, increase the amount of whole-grain flour by a bit, ensuring it still suits your palate.



No eggs no problem


I love eggs and they are a great source of protein, as well as healthy fat. If I don’t want/need the fat, 2 eggs whites is substituted for 1 whole egg.

Unfortunately, many people are allergic to them. Here are some options for substitution.

¼ cup silken tofu. Process in a blender until completely smooth and creamy.

1/3 cup applesauce OR ¼ cup applesauce + 1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup yogurt

1 tbsp ground flax seeds +3 tbsp water

3 tbsp pureed fruit


Above all, have fun with it!!!

I have been known to want to substitute something in a recipe; just open my refrigerator or cupboard and ask, “What is the right consistency? What would work without changing the flavor?” Some of my experiments work. Some of them definitely don’t.


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