Day 4 You’ll be shocked to learn that I had two eggs for breakfast, peanut butter and raisins for lunch, and spaghetti and sauce with broccoli for dinner. Not only were there were no trials or temptations, but day 4 is the best I felt all week. No headaches, weird stomach feelings, or lightheadedness. By the end of day 4, this is what I had left:
Not pictured: broccoli. There was too little to look appetizing.
Day 5 The last day. After three eggs for breakfast and peanut butter and raisins for lunch, I actually felt good enough to go on a three-mile run/walk. My latest exercise habit is listening to podcasts from Radiolab. The one I chose, which seemed somewhat related to Live Below the Line, was called Guts. One of the stories was about a man with severe gastrointestinal problems who had to get his nutrition intravenously – and not eat a single bite – for over three years. Not surprisingly, he went a little crazy. The story definitely helped me appreciate the food I did have.
In the evening, I had RSVP’d to a free food and drink event thrown by online review site Yelp, of which I’m an “elite” member for contributing lots of reviews to the community. A lot of my friends were going so I wanted to at least check out the event. Even though it was completely free, I couldn’t rationalize how someone living below the line would have the resources or consistent internet access to get into this RSVP-only event. So, after eating spaghetti with the last bit of tomato sauce for dinner, and chewing gum as a dissuasive measure, I vowed to not eat anything at the event but was nervous about caving or people trying to tempt me.
As it turned out, the event went pretty smoothly as my boyfriend and friends and I walked around to the different booths. I’m glad I went, just to see the scene, and even gladder I didn’t cave. Like at the supermarket where we had bought a steak a few days before, I again had a detached feeling that partaking in the food wasn’t even an option.
But while surrounded by all the delectable fare, I started pondering about when the challenge officially ended. Was it midnight, or after waking up the next day? The official user guide didn’t have the answer, though some participants’ tweets hinted at indulging after midnight. And I started ravenously planning about what I would eat when it was over. Lots of favorite foods were coming to mind, because everything sounded delicious, but some standouts were coffee, Mexican food, and a margarita.
As luck would have it, after the event my boyfriend and friends and I ended up at a Mexican restaurant called “La Margarita,” one of the best in town. Between the margaritas they were enjoying and the guacamole appetizer the waiter placed right in front of me at the table (which I would usually inhale), this was the most difficult test the whole week had thrown at me. I thought about getting a margarita at midnight to celebrate my week, but after discussing the options more with my friends, they helped me decide to wait until morning to fully stick with the spirit of the challenge.
And that’s what I did. But what did I learn from Live Below the Line?