Tag Archives: Health

Southern California – Lifestyle Change for the Better


Southern California – Lifestyle Change for the Better

“You are so skinny,” is just one of the sentences I got to hear from co-workers, friends and family when living back in Germany.  I mean, I was never overweight or had to worry about the number on the scale, but I was not in a great shape, even though I apparently was “skinny” (which I didn’t consider myself).  I didn’t work out on a regular basis.  When I was 21 years old, I had a gym membership, which I used about three days a week.  Sometimes, I went for two hours straight, partaking in a body works class followed by an aerobic workout.

I definitely did get my sweat on.  But when I came home after my workout, I usually got comfortable on my couch, accompanied by a bar of chocolate (and not only one) or a bag of chips.  I wasn’t realizing at that time that, in order to get a lean body, I had to take nutrition into the equation as well.  So basically, my workouts didn’t show any other results than staying in the same shape I was in.  What didn’t help though was the fact that, during that time of my life, I really didn’t care.

I usually held this attitude until summer rolled around, which meant that the weather became warmer and the clothing shorter.  At that time, I did start feeling uncomfortable.  I wanted to lie out in the sun, but not necessarily with a huge crowd around me.  I tried to avoid too crowded pools or lakes, even though I loved (and still do) getting my tan on.  I hated seeing myself in a bikini, but didn’t understand (or was willing to admit) that I had to change my eating habits big time.  This behavior went on for several years, until I permanently moved to Huntington Beach.

I witnessed fairly quickly how active and fit people out here are.  The weather was so inviting for outdoor activities, I wanted to join in the fun.  But since I hadn’t worked out on a regular basis for a while, I had to start it slow.  My roommate at that time and I began to go on hourly walks along the beach boardwalk, moving my unfit body while enjoying the beautiful beach scenery at the same time.  I started doing walks on a regular basis, but I still didn’t get the nutrition part: I was eating so unhealthy and, as a result, wasn’t able to see results.

After getting used to regular walks, I upgraded my personal fitness journey to a gym membership.  I love, love, love taking gym classes, including Yoga, Zumba, or Body Works.  Therefore, this was the next best step for me in the right direction.  But still, my nutrition was far from perfect.  I just loved to try out all those unhealthy foods we didn’t have in Germany.  But one particular fitness community helped me to finally change my eating habits for the better.

I just got back from a recent trip to Germany in January 2014 when I started watching a reality show (you know I love those from one of my recent posts) about two women who own a fitness brand.  I was impressed by their fit, toned physiques.  That is what I wanted to look like, not skinny, but strong and healthy.  I undertook some research about the fitness business, and found an amazing community of strong women of all ages and from all different backgrounds, who shared their progress, meals, and workouts on social media.  I became hooked pretty quickly, not only with the fitness lifestyle, but also with cooking healthier.

In November of the same year, I purchased a nutrition plan with plenty of nutritious food options.  I enjoyed cooking and experimenting in the kitchen more.  As the younger generation would say: I really started to dig this lifestyle.  Countless workouts and healthier meals later, I can finally say that I am comfortable in my body and am not afraid to lie out by the beach.  I have never felt better and more confident, and working out became a daily habit, which I do not want to miss out on.

But not everybody approves of my lifestyle change. What I now get to hear from some of my German friends is that they are worried I work out too much.  Some of them hold the misconception that working out equals wanting to lose weight.  I never had the intention to excessively lose weight.  For me, it is to get a toned, sculpted body I am finally feeling confident in.  To them, I am getting too skinny.  Some of them even told me to not exaggerate with my gym visits.  This makes me really upset.  I do not tell you to work out more, so don’t tell me to work out less when it makes me feel good.

I am not starving myself, I eat healthy and enough, and I am the happiest I have been with my body.  Looking back I would say that this move to a healthier me was the best decision I made.  I like the new me and would not want to go back to the stage I was in when I was in my 20’s.

Image: pixabay.com
Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.




Homeopathy- A Part of German Culture

Globuli - Homeopathy

The practice of homeopathy is so ingrained in our German culture like recycling and living environmentally friendly in general. After all, the father of homeopathy was a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann.

Yet, in all my years living here in California I have not found a homeopath, who I feel can replace the one I had in Germany. In fact if it’s something critical concerning the health of my family, I will still call mine in Germany for advice over the phone.

Having said this, I must mention that I found a superb chiropractor here in California, who I feel is more on my wave length of addressing my and my family’s health. And…, with amazement I watch how he solves many of our health problems that traditional doctors didn’t seem to find any solution for.

Just for the record I should mention, that I am far away from being a hardcore alternative medicine believer. We do have our traditional family doctors etc., and consult them. Traditional medicine however has so often failed us that I am now turning to seek advice from my alternative medicine sources first before following the almost always more costly advice and likely more invasive methods of my family doctors.

Even though one can find many naturopaths or homeopaths here in California, I often feel their expert knowledge doesn’t match the one of my doctor in Germany. She happens to have a traditional medical degree as an internist in addition to her homeopathic schooling.

But times have changed and alternative and naturopathic medicine enjoy a strong following also here in California. So I figure that I should revise my earlier opinion on alternative medicine providers in California, and vow to renew my research on finding some homeopathic doctors on this side of the world.

Interested in learning more about homeopathic remedies?

Tivoli Rainbow Garden Preschool is hosting a lecture by Jeanette von Johnsbach on “Fit through the Summer with Homeopathic remedies” on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 (Time: 9:30am-11:00am) on the school’s premises: 4051 Tivoli Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Entrance Fee: $20

Please RSVP ilka@tivolikindergartenla.com by Monday, June 17th 2013


Pilates – A Fitness Technique Invented By A German

It’s mid-February already! And just in case you are struggling with your New Year’s resolution of living a healthier, more balanced life this year, you are not alone!

January is widely known to be the busiest month in the health and fitness industry. Many gyms actually double their sign-ups during that month. But come February or even March many have given up on their new routine and lost their initial motivation and interest. Keeping up your motivation is important but so is having engaged in the right sport or fitness program in the first place.

There are so many great programs to choose from nowadays. From Yoga to Kick boxing, to Pilates and Pure Barre, just to name some exotic ones as well. Pilates and Pure Barre seem to be leading the line these days, and are part of the “in” fitness programs. While Pure Barre is a fairly new exercise technique, Pilates has been around since the beginning of the 20th century.

Pilates used to be an exclusive training program for the professional dance community to condition dancers, but also to help them when they were injured. Joseph Hubertus Pilates, a German national with Greek roots, had invented and promoted his Pilates method of physical fitness in the early 20th century, and refined his technique after he had left Europe and settled in New York where he founded the first Pilates studio.

According to Wikipedia, Pilates conditions the body helping it “to build flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back.”   It “… is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body.”  (www.pilatesmethodalliance.org/about-pilates)

Having started out as a very special training regimen for only a particular group in its beginnings, Pilates is now widely available, and is being offered at many Fitness studios as well as dedicated Pilates studios. One can find many books on the technique as well, but joining a class definitely helps to get the basics down.

Pilates, Yoga and Co. is of course not to everyone’s liking, and many may just prefer a traditional workout. To keep the momentum going, and not call it quits already early in the year, make it fun and choose doing your workout routine in the outdoors, for example at the beach: Jogging along the sandy beaches or a training session with a personal trainer, who knows you and can work solely on your specific workout needs.   Los Angeles based German fitness coach Christian Klugmann offers exactly this: A training session right at Venice Beach. See for yourself in the RTL – Explosiv interview.

Get inspired and keep these muscles working… Happy February!

More to read up on:



January – Fitness Month of the Year Or ‘Winterspeck Muss Weg’

Everywhere you go these days, any store you enter, any magazine or newspaper you open up – the topics Get Back In Shape and Fitness jump at you.

Stores are promoting their latest fitness equipment and workout videos and magazines try to educate or convince us on which cleansing technique is the best to lose unwanted pounds, and how one still can keep all her/his energy despite all the fasting.

And we learn: Once the body is detoxified, there is no rest in sight. Now it is time to get sculpted properly. But what exercise program is the best? The Fitness market is overflowing with all kinds of different fitness classes and techniques. From dancing classes that supposedly will keep you in shape, like the latest trend on “fitness pole dancing”, to elegant sounding  fitness classes like “Pure Barre“, an exercise technique that supposedly mixes weight training with Pilates and ballet, and apparently shows record-breaking results. Or is it after all just pure weight training that will make us essentially look good?

One thing is for sure. Balance is the magic word. And that’s no news to anyone of us. We all know it but it just doesn’t sound exciting and enticing enough.

Eating with measure and working out on a regular schedule, be it running, tennis, dancing or weight training. Most important for all of us fitness junkies is to have fun with whatever technique we decide on and to avoid getting hurt in the process. Overstretched ligaments are no fun!

Health Insurance in the US

Finding the right health insurance in the US can be quite some challenge. If you are employed by a company and are part of a company group policy you are one of the lucky ones. But if you are self-employed and need to find health insurance that is somehow affordable and covers the whole family, it can become a critical endeavor. Especially if one of the family members happens to have asthma, which is apparently considered a chronic condition, you might run into some problems.

This is at least what I am experiencing at the moment. While everyone else in the family got accepted by the plan I had chosen, my child with asthma got rejected and is still without any insurance. Now, here I go again hitting the on-line road to finding some acceptable insurance that will be okay with the pre-condition of my teenager.  My Health Insurance Odyssey is far from over yet, it seems.

The article”Resources for the uninsured” by David Colker in the LA Times of June 21, mentions different options of what to do when being in this dilemma of trying to find a health insurance to cover you. One is apparently the web site of Healthy City, where one can find “…a search-able database of hundreds of organizations that provide various kinds of preventive, dental and eye care at no or low cost.” Check out www.healthycity.org. A child with a chronic condition can either “…stay on group coverage through COBRA, even if your COBRA eligibility has expired or can get coverage through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program”, according to Kathy M. Kristof’s article “Strike quickly to use COBRA”, also in the same edition of the LA Times.

I will be on my way to checking through this jungle of premiums, deductibles, Co-insurance and Out-of-pocket limits, since a teenager walking around without health insurance is a scary thought to me. How much easier it seems to me was it to have health insurance in ‘Good old Germany’. I don’t recall any of these hassles. You had one insurance that covered everything,  from preventive care to visits at your dentist and optometrist and no-one was rejected for having a pre-condition.

Here are some more resources on finding the ‘perfect’ health insurance: Check out www.ehealthinsurance.com or some of the county services below:

Los Angeles: www.ladhs.org/wps/portal/Patient ; Orange County: http://egov.ocgov.com/ocgov/Health (click on “Clinics & Hospital Locations”); Riverside County: www.rcrmc.org; San Bernadino County: www.arrowheadmedcenter.org; Ventura County: wwwvchca.org/mc ;

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance program, www.helpingpatients.org , can help find reduced-cost or even free programs to get your medications.

Let’s see what the new health insurance plan by President Obama will have to offer. Hopefully it can make some difference.