Keri's Challenge Continues - Making it Work

My meal plan changed a bit after Sunday. It includes less healthy, low calorie options and more carby, filling options. Those of you who know me well know that I don’t do well when hungry, or “hungry,” rather. I’ve never been truly hungry in my life. After my less than 1200 calorie day on Monday with no extra vegetables or salad in the budget to fill my stomach, I was hungry and thinking about food at 8 p.m.

By the time I went to bed around 10:00 p.m., I was strategizing with my husband about modifications to the meal plan because I certainly wasn’t going to feel like this for six more days. The thought of going to a food bank did cross my mind… We settled on switching out the cottage cheese and apple for a bean and cheese burrito. The tortillas I got from Vons the next morning had hydrogenated oils in them (typically a big NO for me), but it was starting to sound pretty yummy at that point. It was also raining and I was thinking about chicken noodle soup, so I switched out the rice/beans/salsa dinner for Top Ramen, chicken, and vegetables. Probably not the worst thing I could eat. It was immensely satisfying, and I didn’t go to bed hungry.

I did skip my exercise though. This is fairly typical of me, but I didn’t feel I had the energy and didn’t want my feeling of fullness to wear off. The last modification was adding tzatiki sauce to my pita sandwich. It was getting a bit dry and boring after two days, so I want to spice it up.

All in all, sticking to the challenge hasn’t been too challenging. I turned down a free meal on Monday and ate my sad pita sandwich instead, but it did give me a chance to tell my coworkers about the challenge.

First of all, I have seen first-hand how poverty and obesity can be linked. I have experienced it all just in the past few days. Reasons can include:

  • Lack of consistent access to healthy foods – remember when I gave up my salad because it was too expensive?
  • High levels of stress at home
  • The choice of inexpensive, calorie-dense foods over low calorie and more nutritious foods – I have already made this choice several times to stave off hunger pangs.

The other myth I would like to dismiss is the thought that people on food stamps are “lazy.” I am an accountant, so I like my facts to come in numbers.

  • Who is eligible for food stamps in California? Families with income less than 200% of the federal poverty line. In 2016, that is $48,500 for a family of four. For those of my friends who live in San Diego, you know how hard it would be to make it in San Diego on that little income with a family.
  • How much does someone with low education and lack of skills need to work in order to make over $48,500 a year? Assuming this person makes the California minimum wage of $10 an hour, that would be 4,850 hours a year. Or 93 hours a week with no vacation. Typically (but not always), the family of four would be made up of two income earners – the husband and wife would both work full-time, which would equate to only $41,600 a year. Two working spouses raising two kids doesn’t sound lazy to me.

Hopefully you found that interesting and perhaps, inspiring?

If so, please consider donating to the San Diego Hunger Coalition during this week’s Challenge. I have worked with them for several years now, and they are a reputable and worthy not-for-profit. You can donate via my Crowdrise page (donations go directly to San Diego Hunger Coalition) or donate to them on their website