I’m almost halfway through my Live Below the Line challenge, living on only $1.50 worth of food and drink per day for five days. My sponsors have donated $415 to UNICEF to alleviate extreme poverty. Please click here if you’d like to sponsor me.
I cheated yesterday, and I’m totally okay with that. I was meeting with my writers’ group, and the host is someone who has really great tea. I asked her to make me a cup of black tea with some milk and sugar. It tasted perfectly delicious.
I purposely made a choice to cheat a little because I constantly battle with perfectionism. I’m so extreme, deciding that if I’m not perfect, I must be worthless. So, when opportunities present themselves to blow a raspberry at perfectionism, and say, “Yes, I slipped up, and you know what, I’m still an awesome kick-ass person, so there!” I take them.
I am feeling surprisingly energetic. I appear to have lost 7 lbs. in two days. I was 15 lbs. overweight, so I’m rather pleased by this. The trick will be to eat more food when the challenge is over, but to keep it healthy and pre-planned.
I’ve read so many books and articles about how to lose weight and eat healthfully, and I’ve never bothered to do it. I couldn’t do it for myself or even for my children (assuming that I will live longer and set a better example for them). I could only make the effort in service of other people.
My being overweight is another sign to me of my being privileged. I can afford to eat a toxic diet of mochas, cheese danishes, scones, cookies, ice cream, and takeout. I’m thinking of planning my meals and one treat each week from now on, and calculating how much I’d normally be spending on overeating and donate that to charity instead. I can feed myself on the gratitude that I am able to donate to Kiva.org and UNICEF and leave it off my waistline.
I’ve loaded $5 each on three Starbucks cards. I’ve only given one away so far, to a guy in Oakland who was asking for spare change. I like the idea of giving food away but still letting the person choose what they want to have.
I’ve heard two of my friends complain recently about having people turn down the food they offered. They felt the person was being ungrateful or apparently they weren’t as needy as they seemed to be.
I understand where my friends are coming from, but I think being truly generous means being unattached to the person’s reaction. There’s a real difference between saying, “Here, I want you to have this,” and asking, “How can I help you?” I understand not feeling comfortable giving cash, and that’s why I like giving gift cards. A $10 Target gift card might be able to get someone a sweatshirt or pants on sale.
When I first decided to do the Live Below the Line challenge, I didn’t know there was fundraising involved. I was initially uncomfortable about that because I don’t like to ask people for money. I’m really glad I got over that discomfort though because I feel like my doing this is causing ripples that I hadn’t even intended. People are telling me they feel inspired, grateful, and more aware of how they eat, of they spend their money, of how much they waste, and how much they can help.
Thanks to everyone on this journey with me. You guys rock!