I really don’t know how to ‘properly’ start this blog post, so I guess I’m going to go straight into it. As I have mentioned recently on my blog and videos I have been ‘Living Below the Line’ this week. It’s a five day challenge in which you have only £5 to eat and drink on. I did this challenge successfully last year for the first time and managed to raise a ton of money for Unicef, which is an amazing charity. This year I took to the challenge again, although I chose to do it earlier because of the GCSE exams coming up soon.
This post is just an over view of my challenge but I think there’s a really important message which you can get from it – so please stick to the end!
So you can already go and check out a small write up of my first day living below the line here – https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/madfashionlover . However things got a lot trickier further down the line.
This is what I bought for my £5 :
– 2 packs of spaghetti
– 2 tins of spaghetti hoops
– Frozen mixed vegetables bag
– Pasta Sauce
– Fish fingers
– Baked beans
– Custard Creams
Day one – although very bland – isn’t very tricky to complete. The real strain is when you get to the other 4 days. With such a little budget comes NO VARIETY. You don’t get to pick what you want to eat for dinner, you just eat the same meals in the same order for 5 days; if you’re feeling particularly fun you could always change up the order of lunch and dinner (that’s the extent of variety…). Going from the luxury (which we all take for granted) of being able to eat what you want when you want to having to restrict yourself to bland food with little to no protein and fat is TOUGH. I can’t tell you how hard I found it this time.
This is where we get to the under-estimating part. I really did under-estimate the challenge of it. Of course I knew it wasn’t going to be easy (I had done it last year and I knew it wasn’t a walk in the park) but I found it a real struggle. I didn’t really take in to account that I had just recovered from being ill and it’s the last week of term therefore I’m like super duper tired. In fact taking in such little energy from my food made me SO tired throughout the day – I’ve almost fallen to sleep on the bus both to and from school…oops!
After struggling through Day 2 – I was so tempted to quit and stop then as I could already tell eating that type of food wasn’t doing me any favours on my concentration levels – I decided that I could battle through and it would nearly be finished. However Wednesday came and I was completely and totally knackered. I’m not going to waffle on. Wednesday night after a long chat and thought process (it really wasn’t a snap decision) I decided that the challenge for me was over. I could lie to you and pretend that I was keeping on going with this challenge. But I promoted what I was doing on here and I want you to know the reality of what happened when I did it…
I will be honest – I was disappointed with myself. However I also know that I put my absolute all into it and I now realise that I certainly under-estimated how hard it was, especially to do it at a time when I have so many other things to worry about. At first I assumed I ‘failed’. I hadn’t completed the challenge so therefore I failed, right? I think differently now. I put my all into it and it was definitely a good lesson for myself – it’s the closest I’ve ever been to feeling the true feeling of hunger and I seriously hope to never experience it again. I also believe that it was a fantastic way to spread the message and cause of hunger with other people. I definitely opened people’s eyes up to the true sight of poverty and hunger. And lastly of course, I did still raise some money for Concern Worldwide. I will soon be sending a cheque of over £50 to them – and although that’s not a massive amount, even saving one person from dying of hunger would be worth it.
This year I didn’t manage to finish the challenge, but maybe it’s an eye opener to how hard living in extreme poverty really is. I wish with all my heart that I could get everybody out of poverty because the first half of this week was one of the worst feelings of my life. Hunger is the most horrible thing to experience and knowing that there’s people who are wasting food you could be eating is even worse.
I’m not asking you to donate money, stop eating or take part in the challenge for yourself. I simply ask you to be thankful for every meal you eat and every drink you consume. And please, don’t waste what you have – somebody else wants that with all their heart.