Category Archives: Life Change

Never be afraid to be who you are

I’ve gone through so many phases of my life and have continued to develop who I am as a person a little bit more each time. My core values almost always remain the same, but sometimes the way we act on those values change, depending on our life situation, our age, or job, or love life, whatever it may be.

I’ve been in relationships in the past where I’ve felt myself bend too far, where the things I was willing to compromise on took too much out of me and I lost track for a while of what it was I was really looking for, and who I really was.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you should never be afraid to be who you are. Never try to change what makes you you, otherwise you will end up being unsure of yourself and possibly even resentful of the people around you who “forced” you to change.

Relationships are about compromise, it’s about fitting two completely different people who may view the world in very different ways, into one single relationship. It’s important that each person feels loved and happy with the other person, and that each person can be exactly who and how they are without having to worry if their partner will accept them or not. Of course, we may have to compromise behaviors, or the way we are used to doing things, (i.e. I mix my darks and lights in one load, and my fiancé likes to keep them separate. It also drives him crazy that I leave the laundry in the washing machine long after its done and really don’t mind taking clean clothes straight out of the dryer to put on each day…) so you have to be mindful of what’s going to push your partner’s buttons and at least try not to do them, but not when it comes to questions of your character or moral beliefs. You should always stay true to yourself and to what’s important to you. And the other things, you will find, aren’t such a big deal to compromise on when your “love tank” is full and you feel loved for who you are.

You are the only one who is responsible for leading your life and for being the person you are meant to be. Only you can control your fate and where you go next. So do what I do, check in with yourself from time to time and make sure you are happy. Make sure you are fulfilled and satisfied, if you are with a partner, make sure they make you feel loved each and every day. And if not, maybe it’s time to reconsider the choices you’ve made, and the actions you took to lead you down the “wrong” path. I say “wrong” because I don’t believe anywhere you go in life is without its lessons. We all make mistakes and we can all carve a new future for ourselves at any time, but if you don’t stop to take a look around once in a while and see if that’s where you really want to be, you might just get swept up in a current of frustration!


When Cardio Fails

Sometimes you think you are in good shape. And you think you exercise enough. And you think that all the running, biking, walking, hiking, jogging you do should be enough. And then you go to your trainer and realize nothing you’ve done so far has adequately prepared you for what they have in store.

Enter: 60 minute sessions with my trainer. As you may remember, some months back I bit the bullet and signed up for a personal trainer. I decided it was time to take my fitness seriously and get a clue about what my body needed. So after the last 6 months of more, or less, attending sessions (there’s never the time, I’m traveling a lot, my trainer doesn’t have appointments available when I want them, [insert other excuses here]) I am in a unique position of having paid for way more time than I’ve actually used, (prepaid, now I know.) So now, over the course of the next few weeks, I have to use up about 600 unused minutes, which means my sessions will jump from 30 minutes to 60.

Regardless of the 23 mile bike ride on Sunday, and irrespective of the 30 minute run sessions I’ve had over the last week, 1 hour with Anja on Monday has me hurting in my sleep. My legs ache, my back aches, my abs hurt, my arms are sore, and it’s painful to sit on the toilet.  What in god’s name has this woman done to me?! (Amiright, gentleman? 😉 )



So now, after limping to the office this morning, I sit anxiously awaiting my next 60 minute lunchtime session to see what’s in store for me. And hopefully I won’t feel quite so badly about my apparently completely inadequate fitness level – despite my current level of activity!

Hi, I’m Amanda. And I’m a Sugar Addict.

This is how I feel most days.

This is how I feel most days.

One of the most difficult things I’ve tried to do is break free from my sugar addiction. It’s a daunting task I’ve attempted to undertake on a couple of occasions – and only met with limited success. A few months ago A and I agreed to cut sugar out of our diets. It was a difficult first couple of days, however once I realized how much more energy I had it was an easy habit to keep. My goal was short-term, only enough to help what I thought were some skin problems due to sugar intake and to fix my energy levels, (read, gray skies got me down,) and so after two weeks of feeling proud I had been successful, I let sugar slip its way back into my heart once again.

So here I am again, once again on the ledge of “to sugar or not to sugar” and my mind is saying, “no more sugar!” and my heart is saying, “please just one more piece of marzipan!” So which is it – tears of marzipan or a straight road to fitness?

Anyone willing to join me in a 15 day sugar challenge? What if we up that to 30? Who’s in?

No More Excuses


So after weeks, well a couple months really, of not finding the motivation or time or energy, or [please insert other lame excuse here] to make it to the gym, I’ve finally been on a pretty good exercise stint. I’m back to my 3-milers, though they are still very difficult, I must admit. And I’m on the weight machines again.

Truth be told, I have been preparing for the next time I see my trainer and know she will show me no mercy for having been lazy for two months! Given that this showdown will take place today at lunchtime, I feel like I have done the most I could to prepare, given the circumstances.

So from today forward I have a new motto, no more excuses. It’s time to start taking my fitness and health seriously again. Spring is just around the corner (well, except for the rest of the northern hemisphere where spring sprang a few weeks ago!) and I have a number of exciting things coming up over the next few months, (weddings, a trip back home, beach vacations, etc). All of which are more than enough reason to get my priorities in order earlier rather than putting them off any longer.

As a good friend of mine often says, “start today” or more specifically “A year from now you’ll wish you started exercising today.” and it pretty much hits the point home! Time to get started on those goals now or I have no one else to blame but me if I don’t reach them!

Time to Catch up with Resolutions from Last Year

Remember last year, when you wrote down a list of all the things you planned to accomplish in 2012? Like running a 10k, or finding a new job, or finally going through all those old bills you have which no longer serve a purpose? Do you remember feeling inspired, like you could really get it done? And then, do you remember watching as the clock ticked down on the last day of December thinking, well, there’s always next year!

Well here is next year! A chance to do it all again, or more likely, for the first time! So as I start the new year, telling people that “I don’t do resolutions” and feeling like I am above it all and don’t need a new year to force me to do the things that I already wanted to do anyway, I am finally taking action on all my “not resolutions”…from last year!

For starters, I have always wanted a personal trainer. I don’t need to write another post about getting one, since you all already know I am struggling my way through intensely painful leg and arm movements today, (why did I ever think I was in reasonably good shape?!). Check! I also wanted to become fluent in German. Okay, I can’t exactly check that off my list, but at least I am re-committing myself to the language classes I’ve already been taking for over a year now. I show up! That counts for something, right?

Let’s add a sprinkle of blogging regularly to the mix. Guilty! I have not been so good at this lately. But I think I deserve at least a B+ for effort! I promise (not resolve) to be better about it. Just need to write when the inspiration comes. Like on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon when I’ve just discovered a hole in my woolen sock.

There's a hole in my...sock...dear Lila dear Lila!

There’s a hole in my…sock…dear Lila dear Lila!

I’ve also got an eclectic mix of running a half marathon, traveling, being better at gift-giving, and, naturally, learning Serbian tossed in. While the running and traveling are (seemingly) coming more naturally to me these days, my Serbian remains at a steadfast zero. But I’m pretty sure you can’t just marry into a Serbian family and not speak the language.

Last thing on my list, well for today at least, is certainly this whole photoshop/photography thing that I’ve been wanting to explore for years now. I can’t blame this on 2012, or 2011, or even the year before, but either on my fear of failure, or lack of expendable funds to sign up for a class. That’s not to say I’m suddenly rolling in dough, but I did finally decide to shell out to explore a passion of mine.

You most certainly cannot call me unambitious! So we’ll see how this whole Not Resolutions thing works out for 2013.

Moving In

So as some of you know or remember, I recently got engaged in early December. In all the excitement of the engagement we realized living in separate cities wasn’t really going to work for us. In all fairness, we decided this a few months back…maybe even years…but now was the time to make it a reality.

While I flew across the Atlantic to the far side of the United States for Christmas, on what seemed like an endless number of flights, my fiance packed up a moving van of all his belongings (except for his shoes, skis, sheets, and other odds and ends that were temporarily left behind in Zurich,) and drove the 10 hours home to Berlin.


In Berlin he was greeted by 2 guys we had gotten in touch with previously who helped him unload the van into the apartment for a small fee. I can’t imagine how much work went into that day (yes, this all happened in ONE DAY,) but I am grateful that he was able to take care of everything and my obviously weak body, (see previous post about hiring a personal trainer,) was not forced to lift heavy boxes. When did I become such a girl?

I digress…so A is now officially sitting in Berlin. Well, more realistically sleeping in Berlin, working in Berlin, cooking in Berlin, (this is one of my favorite things he does here!) and making a life for himself us here.

And here comes the fun part, (or is it?) figuring out what else we need in the apartment, how can we make it feel home for us both, where do we hang that painting or photo, who gets to unload the dishwasher once its complete, and the “why do you always leave [object name here] on the couch/chair/floor/bed/bathtub? Ah the joys of moving in with someone and learning all their little idiosyncracies and quirks. (Actually, I found quite a true blog post from Lofty Appetite about this very same topic recently!)

living-together-testSo in the weeks that follow the initial move, and all the weeks and months and years to come, let’s hope love keeps us strong and the adjustment period fades quickly 🙂

January Already Kicked My Butt

So I’ve taken another step in the right direction today. I signed up for a personal trainer! I reluctantly handed over a signed contract for (what I consider) a lot of money, and agreed to get fit. At least once a week. For the next 6 months! There go my hopes of “trying it out” for a month. I’ve just full on signed up!


What lead me to this place, you might ask? Well, aside from not really enjoying running on a treadmill, and the random hip pain I sometimes feel after a good, long run (no reason to be worried, right?) I realized that I don’t actually know how to do anything at the gym that’s not a machine or a class.

I have been trying to self-train for a while now, testing out new exercises, following recommendations of friends, watching workout videos, etc, but for some reason they never stick quite as long as I want. And really, I am sick of my upper-body strength deteriorating more and more each time I try to lift something heavy. I am constantly on the search for the lighter suitcase, the lighter laptop, the smaller bag, etc.

So I finally decided that it’s time to build up some strength! Plus, I’ve never had a personal trainer before. Someone to pay attention to my body, to my weak points, to my specific goals, and to help me reach them! I get a lot of my inspiration from my friend Mel who started FitSteady in Austin, Texas, which helps match-make people and their fitness goals to personal trainers who help them accomplish them. So after listening to her talk about fitness for so long, and wishing I could use the service, I guess I finally caved!

So today was my “trial training.” I guess the point was to test if I was really serious about it and wanted to move forward. They help you run through a few exercises of their choosing and see how you are doing along the way. To be honest, if I had been unsure, today may have made me decide to never do it again. Ever. Especially when she asked me if I had “fun”. Fun? Does she know what that means?!


Maybe next time…

Anyway, today was a struggle. My level of fitness must be significantly lower than I realized, however I know it’s only a matter of time before I build up my strength. That’s the great thing about exercise, you just need to keep pushing and you will notice the results. So after not doing squats or lunges for a good 4-5 months, today I am back at it. (Note to self, practice before next session!)

So we worked with a high-tech resistance band hanging from the ceiling and worked on my arms and legs. Really it should have been a lot simpler for me than it was. Picture the equivalent of push-ups, but easier and then another variation. Then we moved on to lunge kicks (I was actually out of breath after this one!) and some form of plank but pulling my knees forward, and hip raises while pulling my knees towards me. AHHHHHHHHH!

I am proud I made it through, and only slightly embarrassed that it was as hard for me as it was. But I guess we all have to start (again) somewhere!