Looking Back at Day Three, Four, and Five of the Living Below the Line Challenge

Time for a confession--I did not balance my meals very well on Day 3 of the Living Below the Line Challenge--and I paid for it in energy, focus and motivation on Day 4 and that lack of interest snowballed into a very blah Day 5.   I spent most of Day 4 in a grumpy, irritable, headache blanketed fog.  I missed my blog posts and opted for yard work and errands over anything that required attention to detail.  I simply did not have that attention span on Thursday.  Then--that awful Thursday put me hours behind on Friday with no energy to play catch up.


Looking Back at Day 3.  On Day 3--I failed to realize the importance of at least trying to balance and vary the meals that I ate.  I was tired--and just did not feel like devoting the time to cooking rice at lunchtime.  Then--to add to my down mood--the hard drive on my laptop crashed, my oldest daughter brought me her broken camera (which she needed for a school art project in three days) and the two little girls came home with several projects, papers and items for my end-of-the-school-year to-do list.

The Meals on Day 3.  Instead of managing my daily calorie intake well--I gave in to convenience.  Breakfast:  1 Egg and Dry Toast.  Lunch:  I Egg and Dry Toast.  Dinner:  1 Egg, Dry Toast, a banana, and a few raw carrots.  I did not drink enough water during the day.  I had a headache--and when everything started breaking, crashing--and moving in on me--I did not have the energy to handle it. 

Realizations from Day 3 and Day 4.

1.  Food really DOES affect mood.  Even as limited as my diet was on Days One and Two--the effort that i put into the variety helped maintain my energy levels and did not greatly affect my mood.  Whether my hopeless mood was caused by lack of proper nutrients or by my lack of options and choices--I was depressed, grumpy and on edge.

2.  Does my child NEED a $3.00, 12 oz. fruit smoothie?  (No-I'm not off on a hunger induced tangent--yet).  Field Day is fast approaching at our elementary school--and my daughters brought home order forms from the PTO to purchase fruit smoothies along with lunch.   I realize that the girls will (theoretically) be exercising and expending energy throughout the day--and neither girl will drink the entire 300 calorie smoothie along with their normal lunch.   I guess there's a fairness factor in this smoothie sale that I don't like.  What about the boys and girls who cannot afford a $3.00 smoothie? A sizeable percentage of our daughters' public school participates in a free lunch programs--meaning that they cannot afford 1.65 for a full lunch.  Why is the school PTO dangling a smoothie treat in front of young children who already hear the words no too often because of family finances--and cannot fully understand why a classmate is more deserving of a treat?

Realizations from Day 5.

1.  Resentment and anger hit when least expected.  In spite of the fact that I chose to participate in this challenge--and I chose to essentially give up my choices and options for the week--I found myself unusually angry.  Why were so many people so more deserving than I was?  What makes them so special?  What had I done wrong?  I actually found myself angry at my own children because they were so ungrateful--and selfish. 

2.  Hopelessness takes an unimaginable toll.  It's Tuesday--and three days after the challenge and I am still not back on track.  My emotions, my body, and my spirit are still down in spite of the fact that absolutely nothing changed in my life (aside from a computer crash, a cell phone software upgrade that went awry, and a houseful of work that needs done that didn't happen during my days of "fogginess").  How would I feel with no end in sight?

Final thoughts after completing the challenge?  If it's taking me several days to bounce back from all of the emotions that I faced in just a few days living "below the line"---how much strength and determination must a person have to overcome extreme poverty that persisted for months or years?  I am almost back from my challenge--but, I honestly hope that I do not forget the feelings and emotions of the week.  This challenge made me stronger by weakening me--and more determined to offer a voice for those who have lost theirs to hopelessness and resentment.
If you are interested in learning more about the Living Below the Line Challenge--visit the Below the Line website.  I would encourage you to become involved in your community--whether you donate time, energy or resources to the local public schools or to area shelters or community programs.   I have a support system to help lift me from the lows generated by last week's challenge--I cannot imagine trying to overcome weeks, months or years of extreme poverty alone.

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  1. This was a wonderful challenge, one I may do myself. Definitely made me think back to my years as a single mom. Did I provide enough for my children?? Well, they're all in college, gainfully employed, productive, healthy, happy members of society now.. So maybe? I don't recall a lot of rice and egg eating. I remember big meals loaded with carbs tho and not enough fruit and vegetables. I feel for the children who live below the line. If you as an adult felt so horrible, how must they feel?? And how are they able to express those feelings?? Thanks for the link to the site. I'm going there now.
    This was an excellent post and I learned soo much.
    Thank you.



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