As you know, one of my goals for this month has been to drink less coffee and alcohol, and to drink more water instead. I took on this goal because, after a month of tracking my diet, I found that many of my excess calories are coming from lattes and wine.  In addition, I’ve been wanting to lower my coffee intake to save money and possibly to sleep better. Another reason for giving up caffeine and alcohol is that I get terrible leg cramps when I get dehydrated. Therefore, because alcohol dehydrates me and my constant coffee drinking has caused a major decrease in my water consumption, I need to reduce my intake or else give up running (I will never give up running!). The problem though has been to motivate myself to drink more water in lieu of my favored beverages. All of this logical reasoning just wasn’t enough.

My solution? Lemon water (obviously). My best friend, Leslie, has been extolling the miracles of lemon water for years, but I never really let it sink in until recently. I spent some time a few weeks back researching lemon water to see if it had any added health benefits – turns out there are quite a few, including fresher breath and better digestion. Win! Given all of my reasoning, I decided to finally follow in Leslie’s footseps and adopt a morning lemon water regime in lieu of my coffee habit. This is also perfectly timed with the changing of the seasons, which will make the habit easier to cement into my daily routine. Once it begins getting warmer I find that I don’t really enjoy coffee beverages as much anyway. Yes, even the iced variety. I think it’s something about drinking milk when it’s hot out. It just doesn’t sit right with me. Lemon water is a great trade off. It allows me to drink something refreshing and flavored throughout the day that’s low in calories and doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. It also fulfills my need to have something to drink with me in class – I do this because it gives me something to do with my hands while my students are thinking over questions or doing group work and also because I sometimes get parched after two hours of talking.

One thing that had originally put me off about this idea of lemon water though was the inconvenience of it. Let’s face it, I’m lazy. I didn’t know if I’d really slice up lemons every morning and clean a water bottle every evening to make this goal work for me. Luckily, I happened upon this fabulous water bottle that has a lemon squeezer at the bottom, so there is minimal effort on my part. I just have to slice that lemon in half, stick it in there and go. It seriously couldn’t be easier. Even better, it makes it so the water is really infused with lemon, which I love.

What do you think? Have you tried any of the fruit infusion water bottles? Any favorite recipes? I tend to stick with just lemon, but there must be some other delicious choices out there. Please feel free to share them with me!

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On The Inside Cover the other day I wrote that I hope to keep my “Parisian diet” when I get back from France and my friend Chason asked me to explain what exactly I meant by “Parisian diet.” I know he was being facetious, but I thought I’d explain anyway, considering I have nothing else to talk about and this carries some good news with it. The good news being that I weighed myself this week and I’ve lost 5 kg (about 11 pounds) since I’ve been here. Granted, it’s not the wonder weightloss of 2003 (25 pounds gone in two months of starving in Paris), but it’s still a surprise considering my utter and complete lack of exercise in recent weeks.

So the Parisian diet. Basically this consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked or raw, along with some meat if I can afford it. This is the reason I’ve still lost weight despite my lack of exercise. At home I ate out nearly every day for at least one of my meals. And when I did eat at home it was usually something high in preservatives and other nasty chemicals. In California I was running three miles a day for awhile there and I was still not losing weight. In fact, I was gaining about half a pound every month.

The question is: Why do I eat so much healthier here? The answer: Because I have to. First, I can’t afford to eat out every day. I can barely afford to eat out once a week here. Second, I don’t have a microwave or an oven and I only have one working burner on my stove, therefore anything I cook has to be able to be cooked in one pan or eaten raw. Frozen meals and easy-to-cook meals don’t do so well on a stove. I’m sure I could find them, but it’s much more difficult (and expensive) than just grabbing some bread, cheese, and tomatoes.

What I’d really love is to come home and find an apartment with a balcony or a small yard where I can plant some vegetables. I’d like to think that would encourage me to keep eating healthy whole foods. Who knows though? When I’ve got an oven and a microwave back I may just be too tempted to indulge myself. I love food way too much to not enjoy it when I’m able.

P.S. Even though you guys already know the story about why I’m leaving, you can check out my new TNB post and leave a comment if you have some extra time. I’d really appreciate the input. Thanks!

I’ve gained 10 pounds in the past year. My clothes are fitting tighter and I’m concerned about it. My body image is probably at the lowest it has ever been and it’s because I don’t have the money to buy clothes that fit, so I’m constantly reminded of my weight gain.

Today I read a story in the LA Times that a friend of mine told me about. It refers to girls who wear too-tight clothing as “sausage casing girls.” They are the women who wear too-tight jeans and have love handles hanging over the top. While the article does note that some styles even make skinny people look fat, it’s about six paragraphs into the story, which is where most people have already stopped reading.

The story is really good when you get down to the bottom of it and read about the psychology of body image, but the whole first half of it was utterly appalling. I don’t know how anyone can live in LA, where looking perfect is more important than, well, than anything really.

I understand the reason behind the story, which is to say that it’s okay to admit you’ve gone up a size and that you should buy clothes that fit because it will make you look and feel better. BUT do they really have to refer to these women as “sausage casing girls”? What a horrible body image.

Read the story and tell me if I’m wrong.