Day 3 of the 5 Day Challenge: 600

I couldn’t do it.  I added 1/4 cup of vegetables (carrots onions lentils) to my rice and beans again, and again at dinner I added my chicken nugget size piece of chicken.

I realized today that my daily routine is disrupted.  So many times I’ve instinctively reached for a piece of food, or had the desire to go into the kitchen, and I have to stop myself.  Even today at the Shedd they’re honoring volunteers and they had a smorgasboard of granola, cereal, nuts, chocolate, pretzels, goldfish, yogurt, etc.  And I was about to reach for a cup to make myself a parfait when I realized that I can’t.

I’ve been on a weight loss/health gain/lifestyle change since the end of January.  I started using a site called (highly recommend it) and have used it to track my meals, calorie intake, and exercise.  I try so hard to plan my meals in advance, to stay inside my calorie limit of 1300-1550 calories a day.  CALORIES A DAY.  I try to keep my meals (lunch and dinner) to 600 calories.  I was afraid of entering the rice and beans into the meal tracker because I was afraid of how few calories would be in it.  Food for 1 day (+ oatmeal):

A packet of oatmeal, one cup of white rice, and a cup of black beans is less than 600 calories in a day.

And on a daily basis I was eating 600 calories a meal.

On Sparkpeople they also have something that calculates and breaks down your meals into grams of carbs, protein, fat, calories, and sodium.  Here’s my report for the day, and you can even see the levels that I was hitting in the previous week:

I mean just notice what spark says about not hitting your goals for any of these–it’s important to get the right amount simply so that your body can function!  And keep in mind my goals are reduced since I’m 500 less calories than the normal recommended amount.

And as I sit here in my room, I still can’t get over the fact that I just have so much unnecessary stuff.  Nearly everything in my room is unnecessary.  Our nation is a nation of incredible excess.  Disgustingly so.  I’ve grown up being surround by so much food, eating so much of it, that now me, along with millions of other people, are trying to lose weight.  And we live in a country where it’s not just overweight people that try to lose weight, we have people who are literally starving themselves so they can look thinner.  When halfway around the world there are people who would gladly eat the leftovers we so carelessly throw away.  (Please don’t think I’m making light of eating disorders of any kind–either overeating or undereating, I just can’t get over the contrast) Think of all the produce that we throw out because it went bad, or because it hit the floor.  All the leftover food at restaurants that gets thrown away.  I remember being amazed to learn that even if you don’t touch those rolls that are sitting in the bread basket, they have to be thrown away due to sanitation reasons.  THROWN AWAY.

This is the amount of food that is thrown away by the average family of four in America.  PER MONTH.  This comes from restaurants throwing away left over food on plates, food that never got served, from grocery stores that throw out produce with cosmetic blemishes because no one will buy it, from families that throw out produce that went bad, leftovers that went bad, etc.  According to the New York Times (in 2008), it’s about a pound of food a day PER PERSON.  This could feed dozens of people for a month.

Even just the fact that we ship up strawberries from Latin American in the dead of winter so we can have berries year-round.  It uses hundreds or thousands of gallons of gas to get it here.  All of that money could be used to feed literally MILLIONS of people…but we love our strawberries.  And that’s just one produce–think of the avocados, broccoli, beans, lettuce, tomatoes…honestly only root vegetables are in season here in Chicago.  Everything else in the produce department is shipped from some warmer place.  And I’m guilty, I’m not excusing myself from indulging in year round produce…I just can’t believe that this is how we spend our money so that we can live in a perpetual Garden of Eden.  We want what God provided so long ago without even realizing it, and we’re using all of our resources to get it…forgetting about the rest of the world while we’re at it.

I hate sitting in this tension between beginning to understand the problems in the world, and not being able to tackle them.  “The problem was so big and pervasive it was like the wallpaper of Africa.”  So what can we do??  I guess it starts with me.

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