“MY FAMILY DESERVED MORE THAN I WAS GIVING THEM.” — Joe Hatcher
Health and fitness are important to Joe (39) and Dorothy (29) Hatcher. Both Nashville natives, Joe and Dorothy grew up in Dickson and that’s where they make their home with their two energetic little girls, Anna (5) and Abigail (1).
Joe, a communications technician for the Department of Defense at Fort Campbell where he handles telephone service for the U.S. Army, began the journey to better health four years ago.
“I was very overweight and in poor health. I felt bad most of the time — physically and mentally drained and fatigued,” Joe says. “I had been a smoker for 20 years,” he adds.
Kicking his smoking habit was the first big step into Joe’s new health goals. “I quit smoking first, then decided it was time to do something else to improve my health,” he says. That “something else” was losing 44 pounds and running his first half marathon. Last year, he completed his first full marathon.
“I made my decision based on my family. They deserved more out of me than I was giving them,” Joe says. “I’m now training for my first triathlon at the end of June.”
Dorothy’s also gotten into a healthier lifestyle, which began with getting back to her pre-baby weight. “I gained a lot of weight between pregnancies,” she says. After Abigail’s birth, Dorothy got her pre-baby body back by doing 5K events and walking with friends.
Both Joe and Dorothy are oriented toward their children’s health. “One of the biggest things for me is for my children — modeling a healthy lifestyle and instilling good habits in them,” Joe says. “As much as I loved my dad, that was an area he failed in; he passed away because of poor health choices,” he adds.
Joe and Dorothy want to inspire the community to better fitness, too. “I want to expose avenues to motivate people, encourage them and pass along some of the things I’ve learned so far past the point of losing weight,” Joe says. One of those arenas is a focus on nutrition, and Joe says one of his long-term goals is becoming licensed as a physical trainer.
Dorothy aims to focus on making fitness fun. “We’re going to talk to the trainer and start classes at the Y … maybe classes like dance aerobics … things that are fun, because I’m NOT going to run on a treadmill,” Dorothy says, laughing emphatically. “I’m just not. That’s lame, and that’s just me! I have no desire for machines. I want to do things that are fun and that I can involve the kids in like running around the zoo once a week or other active, fun outings,” she adds.
Getting started with a healthy lifestyle is no walk in the park for some. For Joe, the hardest obstacle in getting started was sticking to the commitment. “It’s easy to make the commitment as many do every January, but you have to find the reason for it to be so important to yourself and to your loved ones that you want to stick with it,” he says. “The big challenge with small children is time. You really have to consider what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”
“I’m a stay-at-home mom,” Dorothy says. “So there’s been no day care to drop them off at if I want to go to the gym or a class. The great thing about having the Y membership is the kid’s Y-Play area,” she adds.
For Joe, the key to good health is maintaining balance, and that includes mental fitness. “We need balance in our lives. You don’t have to hit the gym every day as long as you’re being active. What you take into your body — what you’re eating, watching, listening to — all goes together,” he says.