Wellness entrepreneur, DJ, foodie, beauty product addict and exercise junkie Hannah Bronfman is among the most influential women in the lifestyle space. In her highly-anticipated first book DO WHAT FEELS GOOD: Recipes, Remedies and Routines to Treat Your Body Right (Harper Wave; ISBN: 978-0062790958; Jan 8, 2019; 336 pages; $29.99) Hannah offering insights on everything from nutrition to fitness to skincare; shares her favorite recipes for feel-good foods and indulgent beauty rituals, baring her soul and sharing personal stories along the way. Check out this recent interview with Hannah:
Q: You write about being a young dancer and being faced with some harsh beauty standards, as well as growing up with a grandmother who suffered from an eating disorder. How did you come out of this with a positive self-image and what advice would you give to others?
I think we can all understand the idea of wanting something so badly that we are willing to change ourselves to achieve it. Sometimes that can be a good thing and sometimes it can be a bad thing. I attribute coming out of the crazy ballet world with a positive sense of self because I had a strong gut and I listened to it. I saw the way other girls were acting, doing, speaking, behaving… their extreme lifestyle choices (not eating & dancing all day) and negative self-talk were unattractive to me. At first, I wanted it so badly I thought maybe, if I didn’t eat then I would be skinnier and I would be picked for the solo role, or if I was skinnier it would be easier to lift my leg higher… The truth is I couldn’t not eat, I liked food too much. I liked food so much that when i would go for a second helping I would get looks from people not just in the ballet world.
I realized at a young age that I wasn’t going to be a professional dancer and that was okay. I started putting my energy into things that made me feel good which at the time were team sports. Team sports helped me understand how to be a leader and feel good about my strength.
Q: What inspired your wellness journey? Were you always interested in wellness?
Two things happened that led me on my journey. When my grandmother passed away it was a monumental moment in my life where I realized that as women if we don’t resolve the issues we are faced with as teenagers then these negative bodies ideals, images and thoughts will linger on inside of us. I made it my mission to live the happiest and healthiest version of myself knowing that my grandmother would have wanted that for me and knowing I deserved it. I was still in college and i started cooking for myself and experimenting in the kitchen and I also started exercising on my own terms which included dancing again but this time it was African and modern dance that ignited my exploration.
After college I was DJing night clubs in NYC, I was burnt out, my skin was horrible, and I hardly had time for any of the day time activities I loved. Realizing that I had fallen off track from the things that made me feel good, I committed to a lifestyle change and to my health once and for all. I moved into corporate DJing which allowed me to have my days back and I found the experts that could help me get my health back together.
Q: You’ve turned HBFIT into a successful online destination for the best in wellness–why did you want to write a book? What will readers get from DWFG that’s different from what you offer on HBFIT?
HBFIT is a destination for the latest and greatest in wellness. This book is a personal account of my journey to self-discovery. It’s the information I relay on daily, it’s the expert advice I sought out when I couldn’t seem to fix my issues. It’s the routines I have created for myself and how you can too. I cook a lot and of course we share recipes on HBFIT but these recipes are not found on the internet as they were made especially for this book. This is the real version of how I came to find my best self, before social media, before there was a boutique gym on every corner. This is me unplugged.
Q: You talk a lot about self-care in your book but how do you balance running HBFIT, being an ambassador for brands like Adidas and Amex, and DJing all over the world?
The life I have set up for myself takes a lot of outward energy. It’s important to me that I stay on top of my game by making taking care of myself, whether that is my morning or night routines, not compromising on what I put in my body, taking rest days, or doing research on a city via a health and wellness sense so I know my options. These things make me feel my best and when I don’t feel good it’s hard to do what I do.
Q: In the book you write: “good health is a gift, but it should not be a privilege. Everyone deserves to feel good.” But the health & wellness world has been criticized for not being accessible? Do you think this is true and what are ways that people can stay healthy and fit regardless of income?
I do think the way wellness has been marketed over the last 5 years in the media does make it feel like it’s for a particular type of person and or that it is expensive and unachievable. But there are so many things you can do for yourself that don’t cost money that can make a huge impact on your health. Wellness isn’t only about working out and eating right, it’s about the in between moments as well. In Do What Feels Good, I talk about simple things that you can do for yourself that truly make a difference and how anyone no matter their economic background can achieve a better sense of self. Of course, there are plenty of good options for workouts and eating right that don’t cost a fortune these days. With all the streaming services and cooking for yourself instead of eating out all the time, you might even start saving money, especially if you limit your cocktails per week.
Q: You mention surrounding yourself with people who are inspiring. Who are some of these people in your life and in what ways do they inspire you?
Having the right crew of friends, loved ones and professional relationships are so valuable to me. My husband is big thinking and a good executor and the way he sees the world is inspiring to me. My family and friends. These are the people I rely on to tell me things I may not want to hear, or that I seek advice from, or need to joke with. I relay on my friends and community and truly believe that when you surround yourself with positivity, positive things happen to you. I’ve been around people who are toxic before I and I don’t have the time or energy for those people.
Q: You have a chapter in the book called, “everybody has an opinion”. as someone who shares a lot of their life on social media, how do you block out the haters and stay motivated to do you? What advice can you give others to do the same?
I’ve been blocking out the haters since I was in high school. I think that one of my best qualities is my thick skin and honestly, I use their negativity and doubt as motivation to keep on keeping on. I delete negative comments because I have found that when ignorant comments are made, other people start to get defensive and things escalate quickly. I’m lucky that this doesn’t happen often but hey, the delete button is there for a reason.
ABOUT HANNAH BRONFMAN
Hannah Bronfman (@hannahbronfman) is a DJ, on-camera personality, entrepreneur and a beauty, health and wellness enthusiast from Manhattan. She received a BFA from Bard College. Bronfman is the founder of HBFIT, a unique destination to explore all things health, beauty and fitness. This is her first book.