Thursday, May 30, 2013

For Only $19.99...

I am a marketer’s dream.  If an ad says it works, obviously it has to work…they wouldn’t lie…right? 

For only $19.99 I can look prettier/skinnier/younger/taller/fitter/more-Victoria’s-Secret-modelesque?  Just tell me who to write the check out to.  If you told me cat pee was the elixir to life, I’d buy a feline friend and start a drinkin’.  I’m not saying I’m proud of my gullibility; I’m just saying I, like most girls I know, am constantly trying to find the “secret” to looking prettier/skinnier/younger/taller/fitter/more-Victoria’s-Secret-modelesque and I am willing to try a few gimmicks on the way on the off-chance they just might be the miracle solution. 

After a long 22 years on this earth, searching and facing the disappointments of trial and error (did anyone else lose faith in humanity after Smooth Away didn’t actually leave your legs perfectly silky smooth and hair-less after the swipe of a magical pad?  I was depressed and hairy for weeks…), I think I have found a formula that actually works.  At the risk of sounding like one of those Paid Programmings on TV at 4 am, my solution will actually leave you looking prettier/skinnier/younger/fitter/more-Victoria’s-Secret-modelesque, not to mention feeling more energetic and healthier.  The catch?  Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as sending in a payment and immediately seeing results.  The benefit?  It works!  So, I’ll let you weigh the pros and cons…

The first step…stop counting calories!!  I don’t care that your pack of baby Oreos is only 100 calories (even though those little ones are just so cute)—you are putting crap into your body.  Counting calories serves no use if you are just going to meet your limit with over-processed, over-fatty, and over-sugary snacks and foods.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the sugary stuff (see “My Night with Ryan Gosling”) but you have to do it right and when you don’t do it right, you have to do it sparingly.  The second step is to stop starving yourself.  When you go more than 4 hours without eating, now I’m not a nutritionist but I'm going to say this in the most scientific way possible: your body freaks the f@#! out and wants to go HAM on the next edible thing you see (I also become a low-blood sugar bitch which is not a pretty sight…just ask any one of my ex-boyfriends).  You are killing your metabolism when you starve yourself, which means the “skinnier” part of my promise becomes a lot harder to attain.  Oddly enough, when you eat more often (and I’m not talking about baby Oreos), you rev up your metabolism, lose more weight, and are a nicer person.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right?  And it is, as long as you do it right.  The third and final step is to eat clean and strategically.  Let me explain this last point and I promise it’s a lot easier than you think. 

By eating clean, you’ll be putting whole ingredients like fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and lean meats into your body to use as fuel.  I like chips as much as the next girl, but it’s not going to keep me as full and it’s not going to keep me on my way to Victoria’s Secret model-dom.  It’s pretty simple: don’t eat s@#! (i.e. processed foods and junk food), if you don’t want to feel and look like s@#!.  By eating strategically, you will be eating 6 times a day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and of course, dessert.  Each time you eat you will strategically pick things that will fuel your body for your workout or until your next meal, namely, foods with protein and complex carbs (i.e. veggies, fruits, grains).  Maybe it sounds confusing now but I have provided a list of what I ate yesterday to give you an example.  Once you develop a pattern, it will become second nature.

Breakfast: Plain oatmeal made with water, with a dash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk for flavor, and a banana

Snack: Greek yogurt (after I workout, I go straight for a Greek yogurt cup with fruit i.e. Fage or Chobani)

Lunch: Egg whites, spinach, avocado (healthy fat, but still a fat so don’t go cray cray), and brown rice

Snack: Apple and low-fat string cheese (I always bring a snack with me on-the-go to avoid low-blood-sugar-bitch-Hannah…maybe you think it’s weird that I have food in my purse, but I think it’s weird that you’re hungry, so let’s call it even)

Dinner: Salmon, a TON of veggies, and a little bit of quinoa

Dessert: Raspberries with Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter pack (tastes like Nutella but with no guilt…so I can save my guilt for guilty pleasures like Princesses of Long Island)

I, without a doubt, eat more food than a majority of the people I know, but because what I’m eating is healthy and because I calculate how I spread it out during the day, it doesn’t matter.  And although it takes a little more thought than “acting in the next 30 seconds for yet another bonus hair bun-maker,” I promise it’s worth it. 

Personally, I think Happy Healthy Hannah is a lot catchier than low-blood-sugar, always counting calories, filling her body with processed foods Hannah…but that could just be me.  When you eat right, you’re healthier.  When you’re healthier, you’re happier.  And when you’re happier and healthier, you’re hotter.  No gimmicks.  No catches.  No bait-and-switch.  The only side effects you may encounter are more self-confidence, more compliments, and more attention from the lifeguard at station 15.  So while you’re deciding…I’m going to go pretend to drown.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Night with Ryan Gosling

Life without dessert is not worth living.  Maybe you don’t know me well enough yet and you just think I’m being hyperbolic—I am not.  I will never understand those people who tell me “I’m not really a sweets’ person.”  I think that is un-American and can only assume you probably like clubbing baby seals too.  But that’s just my own humble opinion.

No night is complete without something sweet.  And although I truly believe that brownies are God’s gift to earth, eating a pan of that chocolaty gooey goodness each evening will make my butt the size of the earth.  Now I’m all about a lil junk in the trunk, but you’ve got to draw a line somewhere.  To avoid a caboose á la Nicki Minaj, I try to find ways to trick myself into believing I’m indulging.  My newest sneaky obsession is my Ginger-Honey Greek Yogurt recipe—it tastes like ice cream but with more protein, less sugar, and fewer calories, which means less guilt.  Plus, ginger is an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory (AKA wards off cancer, helps with muscle soreness after a tough workout, and helps with bloating…PMS anyone?).  You really can’t ask for more out of a late-night treat…except I guess if Ryan Gosling could magically appear and spoon feed it to me…a girl can dream right? 

Now while I fantasize about Ryan (yes, we’re on a first name basis) and I cuddling up over a Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster, try out my recipe and fool yourself into believing you’re spoiling yourself too.  Because everyone likes baby seals, right? 

Ginger-Honey Greek Yogurt:

At only 200 calories (!!!), this nom-worthy treat only takes about 2 minutes to make so when your craving hits, you can spring into action before you succumb to that stash of candy you “hid” from yourself.

1 cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Almond Butter
2 tsp Honey
3/4  tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients into a small bowl and mix very well.  Top with your favorite organic fruit and/or berries, turn on Sex and the City, and enjoy the best part of every day (and your smaller backside!).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Whip Your Hair

You know that really awkward girl in the gym, who is clearly in her own world, jamming out to the latest Demi Lovato song blasting through her headphones?  Maybe she’s mouthing the words a bit or has a little head bob going?  Yeah…well that girl is me.  Guilty as charged. 

But guess what.  I love being that girl.  Because when I’m into my music, I'm into my workout.  And when I’m into my workout, I see results.  So I’m gonna let my freak love-of-former-Disney-star-music flag fly and hopefully, you will too.  To help you rock out while working out, each week I will post what’s on my pump-up playlist (singing and head-bobbing is optional).

So in the words of Selena Gomez: “When you’re ready come and get it…”

I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)- Calvin Harris
Single For Tonight (feat. Flo Rida & Jamie Drastik)- DJ Suss One
We Own It (Fast & Furious)- 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa
Come and Get It (DJ M3 Mixshow Extended Remix)- Selena Gomez
Run This Town/ Posthumus Zone (Medley)- JAY Z, Rihanna & E.S. Posthumus

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dumbbell Blonde Routine

Time is fleeting…Time flies…The clock is ticking…So little time…

Let’s be real.  There’s a reason there are so many phrases about how important (and minimal) time is…I mean, after all, time is money.  I don’t like to waste time.  I don’t have time to go to the gym to do an exercise for every single muscle.  So as a constituent of Generation Y, I like to multi-task.  For example, right now I'm writing this post, Snap Chatting a picture of myself writing this post, catching up on last week’s Real Housewives of Orange County (team Tamra!), and chowing down on my post-workout go-to lunch (egg whites, spinach, avocado, brown rice, and Sriracha nom nom nom).  My workouts are no different—I want to target as many muscles as possible, in as little time as possible.  That is why I made up the Dumbbell Blonde Routine.  It is a multi-tasker’s dream.  In about 37 minutes, you’ll hit all of your major muscles in less time than it takes Vicky Gunvalson to come up with a new reason to call Gretchen “stupid” again (let’s come up with a new comeback, Vic).

I recommend doing the Dumbbell Blonde Routine 2-3 days a week.  This routine is different from most stationary programs in that you perform each exercise for a minute, doing as many reps as you can within that 60 seconds before moving onto the next exercise.  Relax for 15 seconds between exercises and rest for 2 minutes when you complete all 10.  Then repeat twice for a total of 3 times.  I recommend starting with 3-5lb dumbbells, especially if you’re new to weight training, and slowly moving up to heavier weights.  Start with a set you are comfortable with—it should be difficult but I don’t want you to hurt yourself!  So the time is NOW, get to it and let me know how it goes!

1.     Prisoner’s squat (AKA you will take no prisoners when it comes to how toned your butt and abs will be with this move)
 Start with your legs slightly wider than hip’s width apart, feet facing forward, holding a single dumbbell at chest’s height.  Beginning to squat, bring your elbows to meet your knees.  Be sure to push your booty back and not to let your knees move in front of your toes.  Return to standing and repeat.
2.     Mountain climbers (AKA cardio, abs, and arms in one move? Sign me up!)
Start in plank position, with your arms directly below your shoulders, using your core strength to keep your body straight through your heels.  Bring your right knee forward until it’s under your chest.  Lift your hips and quickly switch your legs to bring your left knee forward under your chest.  Switch the right knee forward and repeat.  Keep your weight evenly distributed and your abs engaged.  Think horizontal running man.
3.     Forward lunges with alternating bicep curls and hammer curls (AKA a twist on a classic move that will make your arms more Cameron Diaz in Charlie’s Angels and less Grammy at bingo night)
Start standing with a dumbbell in each hand.  Step your right foot forward into a forward lunge, making sure your knee does not go beyond your toes.  Simultaneously, with your arms straight down and palms facing forward, bend your arms to bring the dumbbells to your shoulders in a curl (as shown on the left).  As you return to standing, bring your right foot back to start position, lower your arms slowly down to your sides.  Next, step your left foot forward into a lunge, this time curling your arms with your palms facing in for a hammer curl (as shown on the right).  Return to your start position and repeat.
4.     Plank with row (AKA challenging…but well worth the benefits you will see to your obliques)
Start in plank position, with your hands holding dumbbells directly below your shoulders, using your core strength to keep your body straight through your heels.  Pull your right arm up to chest height, sending your elbow straight up.  Be sure to keep your hips level.  Lower down to start position and repeat on the left side. 
5.     Dumbbell clam closes (AKA I couldn’t think of a good name for this exercise but it flattens and tones your tummy so good, people will say, “hot CLAM look at those abs!”)
Lay on your back, making sure to keep your lower back in contact with the floor.  Hold one dumbbell between your hands, behind your head.  Keeping your neck on the floor and your arms and legs straight, lift the dumbbell overhead while lifting your legs to meet your hands at your midsection (as shown).  Lower both simultaneously to about 6 inches off the ground and repeat.  Try not to let your arms or legs touch the ground for the remainder of the exercise.   
6.     T-Pushups with dumbbells (AKA adios love handles!)
Start in plank position, with your hands holding dumbbells directly below your shoulders, using your core strength to keep your body straight through your heels.  Bend your elbows, keeping them tight into your chest and lower yourself down into a low push-up position (as shown).  Be sure not to let your booty sink down OR let it push up too much (control dat thang!).  As you push yourself back up to plank position, lift your right arm up in the air, simultaneously turning your body to the right and stacking your feet into a side plank (as shown).  Hold for a few seconds and return to start.  Repeat on the left side.
7.     Lunge jumps (AKA fat-torching plyometrics…’nuff said)
Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward.  Use your strength and momentum to jump up, switch your legs in the air.  Land softly, with your left foot forward in a lunge.  Jump switch back to the right side and repeat.
8.     One-leg deadlifts with dumbbell (AKA the back of your legs will be cottage cheese-free in your daisy dukes)
Start standing, holding one dumbbell in your right hand.  Keeping your back straight, begin to bend from your hips.  Lower your right arm down to the floor, while simultaneously lifting your left leg straight back (as shown).  Be sure to keep your right leg straight and to keep your back and left leg almost perpendicular to your right leg.  As you rise back up to standing, keep your left leg slightly above the ground.  Repeat, staying on the right side for 30 seconds until you switch to repeat on the left leg.
9.     Curtsy lunge with side rows (AKA another multi-tasking dream of an exercise)
Start standing holding a dumbbell in each hand.  Bending your right leg into a single leg squat, bring your left leg behind into a curtsy.  Simultaneously, using your tricep strength, bring your elbows up to shoulder height, keeping your arms bent (as shown).  Return to your start position and repeat on the left.
10. Spiderman planks (AKA abs on abs on abs)
Start in a forearm plank (as shown in the top picture), using your core strength to keep your body straight through your heels.  Lift your right leg a few inches off of the ground and bring your right knee to your right elbow.  Hold for a few seconds and return to your start position.  Repeat on the left side.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dumbbell Blonde

I’m like every other girl—I want to be the Frankenstein’s monster of perfect bodies.  Let me explain.  Gimme Gwen Stefani’s abs, arms like Mrs. Obama’s, and top it off with my girl Beyonce’s bootylicious behind…if you could make me 5’9” and blonde, I guess I wouldn't complain either.  But that’s beside the point.  We all want it, but where we need to go to get our dream physique is scarier than any Hollywood portrayal of Frankenstein’s dark lair.  That flawlessly firm and toned fusion of bodies you so desire, requires you to enter the depths of a place few women choose to travel—the weight room.  Cue dramatic movie music.

Now before you go into your “But I don’t want to bulk up,” b.s. that every girl seems to have rehearsed down to a T, hear me out.  Do you honestly believe that your 30-45 minute trot on the elliptical while reading the latest issue of Star is going to get you your dream bikini bod?  You and I both know that’s not going to happen.  Cardio is great and important to maintaining a great physique, but weights are what are going to take you to that next level.  So before you flip to another page of yet another story about the (spoiler alert!) Bachelorette break-up, get your a** into the weight room!

Yes, the room is filled with mainly dudes.  Yes, there are some scary machines that I’m not entirely convinced are solely used for bodybuilding (get yo freak on).  And yes, that large hairy man in the tank top is actually making that much noise with each lift.  But when you finally put on that bikini you’ve been dying to debut, (you know, the one with the Brazilian cut in the back) I promise you it will be worth putting up with Mr. I’m-pretending-to-whipe-sweat-off-my-face-but-really-just-checking-out-my-abs.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not suggesting you jump straight into the cage and start squatting hundys.  Start small.  Pick up some dumbbells.  Get comfortable with the equipment.  Weights will change your body and get you that much closer to becoming the coveted Frankenstein’s monster (minus the bolts in your neck).

For those of you already BFFs with the weight room, stay tuned for a workout that will blow your mind…and that pooch right off your tummy.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


You know those tabloid pictures of celebrities coming out of the gym looking chic, toned, and sweat-less?  Their hair is in a perfect pony and when asked how they stay looking so hot, they reply, “I don’t do much—everything in moderation.”  Well…I call bulls*$@!.  Staying fit is hard work and anyone who says otherwise is flat out lying.  And that “moderation” stuff…I’m sure that works for some people, but sometimes I like to push myself to the limit, going balls-to-the-wall during my workout and then come home and eat a giant tub of cookie dough.  Now is that so wrong? 

I want honesty when it comes to striving for that—what may seem impossible—perfect body.  But more importantly, I want to know that my body can be perfect because I work for it and treat it right, not because it fits the standards of US Weekly or is created by the magic of Photoshop.  That is what Happy Healthy Hannah is all about.  It IS possible to stay in shape, love your body, and still indulge in that fantastically decadent red velvet cupcake screaming your name from the glass case (hypothetically speaking, of course…).  Sometimes I follow “the rules,” sometimes I don’t.  But regardless, I want to be honest about it and share my tips, tricks, and slip-ups with you.  I want to share my journey through staying a Happy Healthy Hannah.