I have been doing home office for 4 and half weeks now. The first two weeks passed by without me doing any work on myself. There were several things I wanted to improved on myself but struggled due to the hectic lifestyle with waking up early in the morning to get ready and commute to and from work. Commuting every other week end to my family and to the gym. I often was not prepared, going the supermarket without a plan and ending up buying a lot of unhealthy food. Or I would buy a lot of vegetables but not finding the time to cook it. Also, I would often order unhealthy food on the week ends.
In my previous blog I told you that I started with intermittent fasting. It’s been 1,5 weeks now and I have lost 1,5 kilos. I feel great and in the morning when I break the fast I really am looking forward to the food and I really enjoy the food. I had forgotten the feeling of being hungry as would always be eating somethings without ever being hungry. As I am writing the blog its 7pm and I stopped eating one hour ago. My last meal of the day was a fruit salad containing one banana some grapes and one orange. I am not craving any food nor do I get hungry usually. I will break my fast tomorrow at 10 am.
I hope that I will continue losing around one kilo per week and will be in total 4 kilos lighter by end of April. My goal would be losing in total around 10-13 kg so that would mean if I continue to lose 1 kg per week that I would reach my goal by end of June/mid of July. I am looking forward to end of May because by then I will have a weight where I know I do really look slim and feel good. the last 4 kilos will be easier. I feel it’s always easier to stick to a healthy diet and workout if you already feel slim and fit. My second goal was to work out several times a week. This week I have only worked out twice for 30 min each. I need to start being more consequent with my workout next week.
The last thing I wanted to mention is that I ordered a book. I am so excited and cant wait to get it delivered. It is “the little friend” from Donna Tartt. I am expecting it to be delivered by Friday next meek. I also ordered for my sister the book “eat that frog” from Brian tracy and will read it as well. So the week after next week will be consisting for me by reading a lot (on the terrasses , in bed, in the living room) and losing weight.
I try to make the best of this situation, If I end up with 5 kilos less after the lockdown then I know that personally I have done the best out of this unusual situation.
In the last blog I told you how I wanted to use the current Situation to benefit my health and body. I have been doing regular exercise for one and half week now. Its 30 min online exercise course from cyberfitness.de which I am doing 4-5 times a week. I got a voucher from my employer for free access until end of 2020. I am doing the training outside with my sister on our terrasse usually every work day after work around 5pm. We started with the exercise series that focuses on legs and abs. So the fitness part is working however I noticed that working out alone does not help with losing weight and without rules I tend to eat and snack whatever I want at anytime which made me feel that I was gaining 1kg each week which was awful as I usually do not tend to gain weight very easily.
So I did some research to find a diet that would work for me and which was not restrictive in terms of what and how much I could eat since I do not like to count calories and I do not want to cook my own food. Since, Corona I moved to my family and everyday there is a cooked meal so no need for me to prepare my own food. I first thought about replacing my breakfast with a green smoothie but realised I had to do a lot of shopping of fresh green vegetables and it would not be practicable in the morning to make so much noise and in addition I may not like the taste. In addition, I like a breakfast with eggs or some kind of oats with fruits. So this option was not going to work for me. Then I stumbled on the intermittent fasting youtube videos especially I liked those from Dr. Berg. There are different approaches and I selected the 16:8 method where I fast for 16 hours (6pm to 10 am) and eat in a 8 hours period (10am to 6pm). Dr. Berg recommends to eat 2 to 3 meals during this period without snacking in between. Of course I try not eat burger, fries and pizza everyday. On the second day I lost 1kg which was good because in the last weeks I have only been gaining weight and to see the scale moving in the opposite direction was a good sign. I also know that there was properly a lot of water etc. that I have lost. Today is day 3 of my intermittent fast. I will try not to weigh myself every day because it demotivates and distracts from the main goal which is to look and feel better it is not the number on the scale. Nevertheless, My goal is to lose in total 9- 13 kg because that was the weight I felt the best. I hope I can lose the first 6 kilos by end of this months and focus on the last 7 kilos in May and June.
Please note that I am only sharing my personal goals and experience I am no health practitioner and the things I am doing are not beneficial for everyone so please inform yourself and talk to your doctor before starting with intermittent fasting or any other fitness regime.
I need to admit I am not reading as much as I had planned and have still not completed the book “out of the box” on which I wrote on one of my previous blogs. But this week end there is some great whether and I will certainly be sitting outside in the garden a lot and will have time to read the book.
Stay healthy, stay safe and see you soon on my next blog
As most people I am working from home for more than 3 weeks now. I canceled some parlor appointments I had planned for my weekends and hardly leave the home which luckily includes a garden and terrace. The first two an half weeks I did not do much that would benefit my soul and body at the end of this very unusual times. However, I noted that I have more time since I do not have to commute anymore and do not need to travel during the week -end from my place to my family’s place. Automatically, I started to go to bed much earlier and could sleep in one hour longer each day. Overall I started to feel less stressed and was not as tired as usually.
Luckily, I realized that this is a good time to lose some weight. To my benefit I got a voucher for using online gym classes until end of 2020 for free from my employer. So, this is the third day I am doing a 30 min gym class every day after work at 5 pm. I feel my muscles which is a good sign. We do the fitness outside at the terrasse and the movement outside in the fresh air does also has positive effects on my mood. I am very happy about my fitness routine even though it’s just 30 minutes it is quite intense and I feel that’s sufficient for the first 30 days.
I also started to eat healthier but there is a long way to go. I am curious about the progress I will made in 30 days (still 27 days to go). However, I need to improve more on my eating style. Even though I was eating much healthier the last three days I still had once a day an iced coffee which I need to stop doing.
The final thing I really want to do is to order a lot of books on health. I have so far focussed on reading business books, personal finances and personal development books. I want to focus less on money now but more on my health. I haven’t ordered them as I am a bit hesitant about the whole current situation. I don’t know whether books are still delivered and a bit hesitant on having unnecessary contact e.g. with the delivery person.
Have you stocked up your books? what are you reading at the moment?
When I first heard and read about the series “Jane the virgin” I hated everything about it especially the name. I found it disrespectful towards women to focus so much on whether they have had sex in their live or not. It reminded me so much of the cultures where it is required that women remain virgins until they marry whereas the boys can do whatever they please before and after marriage. I did not understand why being a virgin or not being a virgin was so important that a whole telenovela had to be named after it.
So I refused to watch the series for many long years until…….. November 2019 where I gave it a try on Netflix. I must say I enjoyed watching the series even though I am still not agreeing with many parts of the series especially when women are portrayed as the one who are either very romantic like Jane not caring about money too much or are cold hearted money centered evils like Petra….
Whatever my blog is not about Jane. But watching the series I kind of started liking the romance part, the motherhood part even though whoever knows me also knows that I don’t care about romance… I am more practical…
Even though I am dating someone for over a year know I did not realize that I actually liked the idea of becoming more intimate meaning going together on a vacation, living together and having a baby together. All that was for sure some very deep hidden wishes of mine that I have probably never realized before…. Sorry I am drifting again the blog is not about my relationship… It’s about the fact that Jane is a writer and she published a book (even though not a very successful one).
Writing a book was something I wanted to do for quite some time. I have also several drafts started one was intended to be an ebook on how to get once live in order starting from eating healthy to personal finance. At some point I started with a novel about humans being attacked by animals like a planned and organized attack; the more I was surprised when I saw Netflixed added a series called “Zoo” last year which deals on a very similar topic. I have always idealized the writing act; I imagined being in an isolated beautiful place in the mountains or the Sea and writing a novel knowing it will be published and a huge advance payment in the bank. I know that’s not how it is usually. I liked the idea of solitude, no internet and being all by myself with one single well defined goal “writing a book”. However, I never completed a book. I do not like uncertainty. If I write a book I need to know in advance that it will be published however there are no guarantees as an author and a lot of uncertainties and I do struggle with uncertainties. Maybe starting a blog is a good training to becoming in the habit of writing regularly and maybe one day I will be in a writing flow and use this flow to write a book.
Which topics would you want me to write a book. I do have several topics that I like e.g.:
~ about my experience working in a large accountancy firm where I experienced by myself and also head of several cases of sexual harassment against women. And how the “boys club” advantages men and makes making career for a women so difficult in an “developed” european country.
~ the story of humans being attacked by animals (birds and sea animals mainly).
~ a little book with stories of courageous people I have met during my life with heartbreaking, encouraging and inspirational stories.
Watching Jane going through the whole process of having a dream of being an author, going to writing classes, actually writing a book and having it published, made me rethink of my goal (that I have had many years ago). I thought of joining a meetup thats meet every week for a few hours where everyone writes on his own project.
Did you ever wanted to write a book? Did you start? did you complete or even published it?
In the current very unusual situation most people are worried about having enough food, water and hygiene supplies. I am really honest my first thought after hearing of the lockdown of cities and shops was will I be able to get books???? How long will my unread books at home last before I can go out shopping again??? Should I order books online as long as it is still possible??? Some supermarket have a small book shelf may be I can check it out next time I am buying grocery??? I usually go to physical book stores and like to chose my books over there instead of buying online.
Those were my worries, to be fair I moved to family who lives in a small city and here our supermarkets are still filled with a lot of food and I did not experience empty shelves here. We did a bit of a shopping like water, milk, rice, lentils and some tinned food so I was not worried about the basic needs.
I feel like I could use the current situation to work on myself since I am working from home now I gained at least 2 hours a day (commute, dressing up for work, waiting for the tram..). But Somehow, I haven’t made use of them very well the previous week. Maybe I needed some time to get used to this whole situation:
GOAL 1: I definitely want to eat healthier my goal for next week is to not eat anything after 6pm.
GOAL 2:I also want to go for a run every day starting from tomorrow and I really hope that there won’t be restrictions not allowing that. Where I am right now there are not many people around there are fields and a lot of space to still keep distance.
GOAL 3: I really need to calm my soul and fuel my brain. I feel anxious with this whole situation. The moment I start to feel better someone sends me a disturbing message on whatsapp on how worse everything will end up, economy, jobs some even talk about wars. I need to fuel my brain with good information and will read more. I already started my bedtime routine with reading 30 minutes before going to bed. Currently, I am reading the book “out of the box” from Mathias Morgenthaler. I have a separate blog post about this book. Once I am finished I will continue with the Book ” benjamin franklin” from Walter Isaacson. I saw this book on the shelf when I arrived at my families home. I bought this book in September 2012!!!!! YES in 2012!!!! It was during my first trip to the USA where we went to the Benjamin Franklin Museum and as only souvenir from the USA I bought this book for myself. I started to read this book but somehow could never finish it. Probably because its such a big book that I cannot carry around with me….I don’t know. But I will definitely finish the book in the next few weeks.
How do you spend your days? What do you miss the most? Will you order books online to have enough to read??
I really like talking about books with family, friends, colleagues … I like to give recommendations about which books to read, I often buy books as gifts for birthdays (on my nephews last years birthday I bought him the whole collection of his favourite manga) and I lend my books to whoever I believe needs it:
I have talked on one of my previous blog posts about the book “Megaliving” from Robin Sharma which I recommended and lend to my sister, she read it and said the book changed her live; it was exactly what she needed.
A family friend who came to visit us I gifted my all time favourite books “the goldfinch” as I during our chat I realized that she need a capturing book that would distract her from her own problems and loneliness. The list goes on and on.
But sometimes, I get frustrated even annoyed…. when people tell me they don’t have time to read. Since, I travel to work with the tram I usually carry a book to and from work and colleagues ask me about the books I am reading from time to time. So, again I was talking with a colleague about me always carrying books . So I asked her whether she likes reading too and so she tells me “ohh yesss I love reading but I usually don’t read as I don’t have time…”. I told her I have the same 24 hours and the same job and then she started ohh but I have a child and so on and so on. I understand everyone’s lives are different and everyone has different responsibilities; there are days also for me where I don’t read maybe my mind is somewhere else or I just don’t have the energy for it. But if someone loves doing something there will be a way to making some time for it be it 15 min in bed or on the tram.
Each book I read, had something valuable to teach to me; sometimes the reading experience was even magical and I do not want anyone to miss it. But then I also don’t want to persuade someone who already says I don’t have time for it. I believe it is a matter of the mindset if you really really want something you will make sure to find time for it and if not you will find excuses.
I do remember as a student it was very hard for me to find time to read since since there were no free days as I was also studying on most weekends. So what I would do if exams were not soooo close I would read during my train journey. But I must confess it was hard since I sometimes felt guilty reading a fiction book instead of the university relevant book or script.
“No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone” Nietzsche.
The book I am presenting to you today, starts its first page with a quote of Nietzsche. I did the same here since I love quotes, there are inspirational and make me wonder about life. 57 interviews from Swiss entrepreneurs are summarised in one book the outcome is — ” Out of the box – the luck of findings its true purpose in life” by Mathias Morgenthaler. I bought this book some 1.5 years ago and still hadn’t completed it. During some spring cleaning I found this book again and gave it another try. It’s packed full of inspirational stories of how people coincidently found their calling. Some people interviewed in the book had created businesses that were sold for millions to large corporations such as the smoothies “innocent” others may not be able to make a living (yet) out of their ventures but are having the best time pursuing what gives them joy such as a student who started a business of selling abonnements of handwritten and postcards.
Most of the stories started usually in large corporations where the individual either felt trapped or could not imagine him/herself working in such a way for the next 20 years;
Some were still students and coincidentally were able to make some money while doing what they liked;
A few went all in taking risk while others continued with their day job and worked on their side hustle in the evenings or weekends until it became their “full- time job”.
The stories were incredible inspiring to me and what stroke me the most that everyone had such a different story and product. While I personally cannot relate to the techfreak who at the age of 18 is paid by large corporations to advise them, I can actually relate to the student who realized she loves writing and started here hand written postcard business. It reminds me that each of us enjoys doing something and does not enjoys doing something else, we all have a unique skill set and do not need to start creating the next app just because we heard about someone selling his app and becoming a millionaire…..
Funny, though there is even a story of a young man who started his career in the same corporation where I am currently working for. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to do something, who has some goals outside of a corporate job and need some fresh ideas on how to go ahead or just to take the next step.
The one thing that learned from the stories in the book is that dont get discouraged when the people around tell you that your idea wont work or banks are rejecting your project. If you want to go your own way you will not only find applause but a lot of rejection and also have failures. Many of those who are described here in the book already started some kind of business before which was not very successful. So don’t be discouraged if your first project isn’t as successful as you wanted.
There are also a few stories of people for example the man who wants to make art available to everyone and works hours over hours but he knows he will never make a profit and he is happy about it. His goal and passion is art so he is fine and he continues without expecting that his passion will also be the source of income that he needs to survive financially.
I am currently spending a lot of time sitting outside in the garden and reading. Since during those times of the Corona Virus there is not much going out. So it’s a good time to read. The picture for this blog post was taken in Frankfurt where I live at the Main river when I was reading this book on a beautiful Saturday last week.
For my thirties birthday I had invited some friends at my place for dinner, cake and going out. One of my friend asked me what type of present I would like — I told here that I like to read. Accordingly, she bought a book as a present. How she chose the book and the impact it had on me is the story I am telling you about below.
So, I turned 30 in Summer 2015 and was working since January 2010 in Luxembourg in an consultancy firm. I had my moments… at times I was highly motivated and liked what I was doing but at other times I was miserable as I knew I was working a lot (on weekends, late nights) and the benefits were not always worth it. But I was working for a bigger goal it was not the short term benefits that interested me. My goal was to become a partner at the firm. However, working more and more with the partner as the years passed and I got promoted I realised that I have been idealising the partners at the firm and their actual life isn’t as glamorous and perfect as I was imagining… Just a few things that I have learned about them was they had a lot of stress, were working during week-ends and holidays, heart attacks, broken marriages, unhappiness and resulting certain drinking and partying habits that may suit a 20 year old single but not a mid 40th to 50th year old married partner at a large consulting firm….
I meet my friend also at work where she had also stayed many years and she even started at the firm a few years earlier than I did and was working in a different department. However, due to some cost cutting she was let go and suddenly realised that her job she though was providing her safety was at the end not as safe. She got a small severance package and had to leave immediately. It took her some time to mentally absorb it and she finally after several months found herself at another job in Luxembourg. And while she was working at the new job she continued to search for her dream job and once she found it it was a paralegal position in Paris she prepared for it for a whole one week it and without a law degree was accepted for the job while her law friends who also applied to the job were rejected. As of today she is still happily working in that same job. She was also telling me for some time that I had so much potential and why I was stuck in the same small country and the same firm. She saw me in a different location and a different firm….
So at my birthday she gave me a book “1000 places to see before you die” from Patricia Schultz, she said she wanted me to be inspired about all the different countries that exists and to maybe move a different destination. She was right about that Luxembourg was holding me back… I have such good memories from Luxembourg but after several years I felt somehow trapped but didn’t want to admit it to myself.
I had a lovely birthday and started to whenever I had free time to read the book and magically without even trying or any effort half a year after my birthday something life changing happened that I have never considered before. Around three months after my birthday I submitted my resignation letter and six months later I was boarding my flight to London to start a new career.
I am sometimes wondering whether I would still be in Luxembourg if it hadn’t been for the book that somehow subconsciously changed my mind or was it for my friend who had been slowly planting this idea in my head or was it all together including my starting doubts whether I really wanted to become a partner within this firm. Whatever it was I am really happy that I did the move. Many things have changed for the good.
Would it be fair to say that the book “1000 places to see before you die “changed my life???
Rafiq Shami is one of the few German writing authors whose books I have read. I like to read books in the original language and most books I read are in english. However it happened in October 2015 that I stumbled on the book “Sofia” from Rafiq Sharma. The night before I celebrated the famous German Oktoberfest with my colleagues in Trier. It was an amazing event with famous singers and the corporate we worked for had booked tickets for us in the VIP area. It was the first time for me on an Octoberfest and we had so much fun, partying all night. I had booked a hotel very close to the venue in order to not having to worry about how to arrive home at night after the party.
The next morning, I had breakfast at the hotel and asked at the reception for the direction of the next bus stop. From there I took the bus to the Trier train station. At that time I was living in Luxembourg and I had some time until the next train arrived so I looked around at the shops and as usual ended up in a bookstore. Luckily, very recently I saw on german TV a program which presented some new german books to read. I remembered a few of them while walking through the bookstore. The first book that was recommended on the show I found very quickly and opened the book on a random page and started to read, however it was not what had expected to find the scene which was being described on the page was relating to war times …raping a women by several men in a forest …. it also described how one of the men while raping her was thinking she must be enjoying it at least a little bit as well .. why would she moan otherwise … and her hand touching his back made him feel even more excited… That was enough for me, I am sure the book was a good one but there are certain types of topics I just cant handle to read. So I searched further and found the book “Sofia” by Rafiq Shami. It plays in Damascus …. it’s a love story and a spionage thriller and about running away…. I bought the book, sat on the train and drove back home.
At home, I enjoyed staying in all day, eating food that I bought from the train and reading Sophia. I still remember this day as one of the perfects day…. After a long day and night partying just staying in bed the next day with good food and a good book. It’s weird but I still remember what I was wearing and that I was feeling perfectly comfortable with me and myself. Everything was just perfect that day.
Nevertheless, the year 2015 was a very difficult for me and I associate it with big changes. The first big change happened when one of my good friends from Luxembourg moved away in Summer 2015 to Paris. It was very difficult since I had spent a lot of my free time with her, many weekends, dinner or theatheres after work etc. It was a hard goodbye. A few months later, in November I resigned to my first real job I ever had after university where I had spend 6 years…. and decided to move away from Luxembourg to London to take a new job in February 2016. All those changes and expected changes filled me with anxiety. Especially Winter Sunday evenings were very hard for me.
Luckily, I had tennis lessons every Sunday evening. It required me a 15 min train ride. I would take the book Sophia with me and read on the train drive. It was magical, I felt as I was part of the book… even though I have never been to Damascus I felt in love with the city… the way he described the city the people their way of living and enjoying simple life with simple but good and real food. Reading the book helped me feel less uncertain about my own life it gave me some hope and relaxed my anxiety. Nevertheless, winter sunday evenings were dark and cold but my the book and my tennis lessons helped me overcome this difficult time.
Later around december my good friend came back to Luxembourg for a visit and we went to the christmas market together. I still remember, me walking to the market with my gym bag and tennis racket and of course my book. My friend had to catch a train later that evening and I had planned to go with her to the train station towards my tennis class. We were enjoying the food and drinks at the christmas market and I did not wanted to end it hoping she could stay and did not have to face the whole dark winter evening on my own. But that was not as it was she had to go and I went with her to the train station. There we stayed and talked and I noted that was going to miss my train which did not bother me since I wanted to stay in company even if it was for a few minute more.
My friend left to Paris, I had missed my train so went outside to catch my bus home …. It was a cold and dark night.
In the bus I felt lonely and sad and and as the anxiety was just to come I remembered that I had the book with me so I opened “Sophia” started to read and immediately felt much better.
Sophia is one of the few books I still have with me e.g. not given away. Since it brings a certain feeling and memory back… even though at that time the feeling was not a good one, the memory of it has something about it that I do not want to give away.
I just saw very recently december 2019 that a new book from Rafiq Shami is available “DIE GEHEIME MISSION DES KARDINALS”. That’s the next book I plan to read from him.
Which books do trigger memories for you? Do you still have the books with you? What are those memories?
My summer vacation 2014 was a three week long language course in South France, Nice. It was a good way enjoying the sun, beach, meeting new people and learning a language. I arrived there 2 days before the actual class started. At the airport while I was waiting for the plane to board to Nice I saw an old lady, she made such an impression on me that I am still remembering her. She was exactly as I had Nice and its people in mind: Older, well off, dressed up with full make up and a lot of jewellery. It seemed she had sorted out her live… exactly knew where she was going. Me on the other hand seemed a bit drifting away feeling vulnerable and a little nervous since I was travelling on my own and I would be arriving very late at night. In case the driver who would pick me up from airport did not arrive I would have a problem. At that time I did not have a smartphone. As such sitting at the airport I was nervous thinking what if I did not find the accommodation or there was noone to provide me the keys to enter the building, what if the school was a fraud and they took of with my money and there was nothing ….no driver, no accomodation and no school…
Everything went well at the end, the driver arrived on time picked me up, dropped me at the accommodation, gave me the keys and explained in which floor I would find my room. The next day I woke up early and went to the administration office which was on the ground floor where I settled some admin stuff. I took of to walk through the city. It was a sunny, beautiful day. In my bag of course I had my book. At that time I was reading “the Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. I walked around 15 min and arrived at the city center where I sat down outside at a litte place serving pancakes. I ordered a pancake with chocolate and banana and a cappuccino and enjoyed the the beautiful atmosphere and pancake while continuing reading the book. The story was so dark so sad sad after each page I read I was glad that I was enjoying the book in such contrasting and beautiful atmosphere (sun, beach, vacation). The book was too sad and dark to read it at night alone …..
Next day, the language course started, and from then on every morning I had 4 hours french lessons in the morning. Then I went with some of my co-students out for lunch and the beach. The afternoon we had for ourselves were I usually went back to my accomodation, relaxed a little bit before we would all meet again for a dinner and night out. It was magical. I meet lovely wonderful people, especially with one of the student (who lived in Stuttgart) I had a special bond and we would spend a lot of time visiting the city, museums, doing a tour to St. tropez and Monaco (we still meet up several times a year and write regularly). It was just amazing. As always I was carrying my book with me “THE GOLDFINCH” wherever I went I was reading while chilling at the beach and also in the afternoons being on my own. Accordingly, the many pages as also the cover page are a little bit wet and there is an obvious wear and tear visible. Which is obvious considering I had the book with me wherever I went.
It is one of the books that made me feel as if I am part of the book, sometimes I pitied the characters and was so glad that I was not them since they went from one problem to the next. But I could not stop reading I enjoyed every page of the book.
Until now I associate the goldfinch with my France vacation and it brings all the great memories. Unfortunately, I dont have the book anymore. Usually, I give away books that I read and only keep the masterpieces, books that have blown me away and the goldfinch was one of them that I wanted to keep.. However, a family friend came to visit us and she had arrived from south east asia on her own and was living in a small remote village where she was also working. She was feeling very depressed since she was missing her family and was not adjusting so well into the new country she had moved in. At some point our conversation started about books and I named some books I had read and surprisingly she also was well read… I asked her about her favourite book and shared with her mine which was the goldfinch. She said she hadn’t read it so I gifted it to her. I also warned her that the book can be very dark and sad at times …. I hope the book brought at least some happiness in her live or the realization that her life at the end is not so hard and lonely as she was thinking…. think the book is in good hands and that’s what matters.