My body and I

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I’m 40 now and it hasn’t been since recently that I’m feeling like I’m finally getting to know my body.

The fact that it has taken me so long is pretty hilarious and shocking at the same time, I think. I don’t know how many women and men out there feel the same way but over the last few months I have realized that I have been disconnected with my body for the longest time despite the fact that we have gone through so many things together – puberty, painful PMS’, good and not good sex, putting on weight more than losing it, a surgery, physical exercises etc. - and I have been living in it all my life.

Still, I have never really given my body much attention unless I complained about pimples, cellulite, too tight pants and bikini season.

I’ve been treating it unfairly and badly by eating what I feel like, letting it get addicted to sugar, not giving it enough sleep, not listening to it when it gives me signs and warnings, not loving it and on top of everything blaming it for my own failures.

If my body were my child, I would be a horrible parent.


It isn’t like I’m completely out of touch with it though. I have moments of gut feeling when my body tells me something is off or wrong with a person or situation and though I don’t always listen to it, I know that it is there.

I believe though that I have been getting better at giving my body more attention when it feels exhausted or when I want to know where my emotions sit. I also understand that breathing is very important and that I’m actually not doing it right but at least I’m working on it now.


So, why did I decide to write this post? One reason is that I want to share my journey about all the things I have started to discover about my body and myself. Maybe someone out there can benefit from it in one way or another. Another reason is that it’s simply ridiculous that we live in a society that gives the ‘wrong’ and negative attention to body, and that tons of industries use this to enrich themselves by offering solutions to this negative outlook on body and mind. Waking up and grasping all that is essential in order to change the game. And last but not least because it is still a long way to change your lifestyle once you come to understand all this.


You got to start somewhere though, right?


Two years ago, I joined the gym because I sounded like a dying old horse when I used stairs or had to run to catch a train, and so I wanted to be proactive about getting older in a fitter body by building muscles and getting in shape.

Nine months later I still didn’t see any noticeable results. My trainer at the gym told me that a healthy diet is the most essential part when it comes to losing weight. Although I heard the words coming out of her mouth and adjusted some food habits it didn’t change much. The great thing about having joined the gym though was that I made two new friends there – one was the receptionist at the gym and the other was a gym member, who is a professional athlete trainer, acupuncturist and life coach. That’s when I quit the gym and the receptionist and I took private work out and life coach lessons with the professional trainer. That was about a year ago. After half a year I did see some change: I did build some muscles and also lost some weight but once the trainer went on a two-month break I gained everything back on over the summer. I felt pretty depressed about how fast things went south even though it took so long and was so hard to have come this far.


I opened up to my trainer and life coach about it after she came back from her trip.

And then she said something she had said to me many times before but AGAIN, you only really hear when and what your heart is ready to listen to. She said “It’s not about being or not being able to do something, it’s whether you REALLY want something or not.” For some unexplainable reason this time what she said finally sank in and I told her that I was ready to do what was necessary.


The challenge was to get me down from 60 kg to 54 kg (my height is 1,57m by the way) within two months. The conditions were that I had to do everything my trainer told me to do. For two months I had to be in bed by 10 pm and get up at 6 am. I had to follow a strict protein diet and take a photo of everything I ate and follow her advice, and I worked out for an hour about four to five days a week. With my trainer’s support I pushed myself to my own limit and on the 60th day of my challenge I had built muscles and my weight was down to 55 kg.

Yes, I didn’t finish strong and had failed the challenge by 1000 g but I felt strong in many other different ways.

I learned a lot about myself, I became aware of my food habits and my sugar addiction. I learned about nutrition, about consequences of decisions and how planning ahead can be half the achievement. I understood that I wanted to change my lifestyle; most of all I know now that I want to become a morning person.

I learned one more important thing but that’s another hilarious and shocking story I will tell you in another post.  

(Photo: Unsplash)

Convenience Overload?

A couple of weeks ago, when I visited a meet up organized by Jacqui and Amanda, I met a very sweet Brazilian girl, who is a freelance lawyer and who has been living in Japan as long as I have.

Yesterday, when we met for lunch, we chatted about many different things – from how palm trees lift up your mood, how body aware Brazilians are, and to how shamefully expensive fruits are at Japanese supermarkets.

We talked about our everyday lives in Japan and because we both sounded like we miss things back home I couldn’t help but ask the annoying question I ask anyone, who comes from a place with a mild climate and palm trees all over: “What … on earth … are you doing here? Why don’t you just go back?”

When I get asked that question it makes me feel uncomfortable, sometimes even angry because I feel thrown out into a dark cold forest and my brain freezes for a second.


Because these harmless looking questions are not as harmless as they seem.

Deep down they are the real deal! Besides the fact that they make you feel like you have to defend your choices in life, they leave you know choice but to look closely at yourself and your life.

And we all know how good we are at fooling ourselves day in and day out, how well we distract ourselves with going to work, coming back home, doing meaningless things in our free time and making plans for the future just to avoid thinking about what it is that we want from our lives in order to feel truly happy.


It’s not easy to give an answer to “What do I want to do with my life?”, “Am I happy where I am?”

And when something is not easy, it’s damn easy not to confront yourself with it.

… Until you live in Japan for a decade and someone asks you that twisted cursed question:  “What makes you stay here?”


I’m aware that not everyone feels this way but a lot of us would say back “ … because it’s a convenient country”.


That is indeed an undeniable fact about Japan.

Japan is one of the most convenient countries you can think of.

You feel terribly hot in the summer or cold in the winter and Abracadabra you’ll see a vending machine right in front of you. At every corner you’ll find a convenient store that's to your service 24/7. Department stores are open all year round! And when you are a white foreigner at the tax office and you don’t speak the language then officials usually fill in documents for you or help you file your tax because the faster they are done with you the less they have to torture themselves with speaking in English.

At home in Germany department stores and shopping sites are closed on Sundays. If you run out of food on Saturday evening you are followed by a feeling of unease because you know you have no choice but to run to the supermarket if you want food on your table for Sunday. Officials are often in a bad mood and expect you to know as much about their work as they do. And if you don’t speak proper German get ready to live in a world of constant insult and humiliation.


For all the reasons above and more one can definitely say that convenience is a blessing.


But is it really? Is convenience truly a blessing?


What price are we paying for this so-called convenience?


       Besides the fact that eating sweets especially late at night is not good for your health, in order for me to be able to shush my craving for ice cream at 1 am in the morning by going to the convenience store, there is probably a single mother working late at 7/11 to make sure her kids have a roof over their heads.

      In a country that never rests, you’ll find it hard to arrange a get-together with friends unless you inform them 2-3 months in advance because everyone works on different days, and some people even work on Sundays.

·      BECAUSE I live in a convenient country that’s famous for its fabulous service my husbands gets called at 11 pm at night by customers, has to work late hours every day, and is not able to take five days off for his wedding and honeymoon without having to deal with his boss' nasty comments later on. 

Naturally, if WE receive good service from someone, someone else receives good service from us

It’s undeniable that service in Germany could be better, and that supermarkets are closed on Sundays.

But at least – without wanting to generalize things - our weekends are there to spend it with our loved ones. Our evenings are for us and not duty-trips to the bar with co-workers. And when we want to travel to the other side of the world, we usually get more than five days off, so that the trip doesn't feel like having spent it mainly on a plane.


Having more time to ourselves doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t avoid thinking about what makes us truly happy and how to follow our dreams. Not at all. We all get caught up in in our hectic lives and barely take the time to question our lifestyle.


But it just makes me wonder how much convenience we can actually bear without falling apart or going insane? 


On the bright side though … Without this crazy lifestyle here it might have taken me much much longer to realise that I need to get out of this circle of "constant matrix performance" if I want to discover what's out there for me and my life.