Greetings! We have a little introductory post to end this week off. Ready?
I’m taking the SNAP Challenge!
On a diet.
The timing was too perfect to pass up. I started on the very 1st of November. By the end of October, I had emptied out most of my frozen foods, into my belly. It occurred to me this would be the perfect time to try the SNAP challenge. Then I thought, oh but wait, I need to lose a few pounds to look cute for Christmas.
*Dim lightbulb goes off*
Heyyy, why don’t I do both?
I’m all about optimization, baby. I can strike down two birds with one stone with this SNAP diet challenge so I’m excited! You can expect a weekly check-in with the details of my SNAP challenge starting now until the week of Christmas. Because no one diets on Christmas.
I am a huge Garfield comics fan. I have nearly every single comic strip book collection ever published, including Davis’ holiday ones. Now with that said…I did mutter before that I was not happy with my weight gain. I went from 100 lbs to 108 lbs over the course of a few months. It’s certainly nothing sudden or drastic but I don’t like where this might be heading. I’m not that teenager with the killer metabolism anymore and I should accept that.
The weight gain is likely blog related. For the past 6 months that I’ve been blogging, I’ve started leaning towards faster foods to get back onto the computer sooner or have both my hands on my phone. It was easier putting the pre-made somethings into the oven. To keep myself awake during my late night writing sessions, I’ve been drinking fizzy sodas. Yes, I’m terrible.
#1 I’m currently 108 lbs and I’m trying to get back to my normal weight of under 100 lbs. I’m not very big in general in terms of overall mass. That means you can argue that my food intake is lower than a full-sized adult. Which if you knew me, you would know that’s completely false. I’ve kicked Mr. Executive’s butt at buffet (he had to cheat to win) and he’s a 5’11 male.
#2 I share the house with hubby, dad and Airbnb guests. I’m the solo girl on this challenge.
#3 I will consider this challenge success enough when I lose weight. Maybe I can start another fad diet ?
#4 We live in Seattle, it’s 24% more expensive than the average U.S. city.1 I’m NOT adjusting that cost of living difference into my total. My preferred goal is still under $30 a week.
#5 SNAP benefits are paid out BY MONTH. But I will be going by weeks and taking ONE grocery trip per week instead.
Rules & Guidelines
I’m not the greatest record keeper. As history would have shown if I had actually kept records of my bad record keeping, but I’ll try to document every meal and purchase price with the receipts. Hubby can help with record keeping because he’s detailed oriented. He’s betting $20 (or in Lily language, 2 carne asada burritos) that I won’t make it :\
All food eaten must be counted in total spending – including dining out. *Cries in agony*
Not allowed to eat ANY foods purchased prior.
Avoid free food offered by friends and family (I will report it if I do).
Eat healthy with weight loss in mind as the primary goal but not the only goal.
Report each purchase or every single item purchased.
Counterproductive to my frugal genes…do not buy things at discounted grocers. I’ll only be going to Albertson’s closest to my house.2
Only round prices up. Include all taxes too.
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or more commonly known as food stamp benefits was established during the Great Depression. Participants received orange booklets with pages redeemable for household staples like starch products and bars of soap. Today, you cannot buy non-food related items like soap, in-store hot foods, medicine, pet food and alcohol.
Benefits of SNAP recipients vary from state to state. SNAP benefits depend on several other factors like geography (cost of living), participant’s income and the total household size. Nevertheless, I will be trying for $30 or under per week like my fellow blogger, Doubling Dollars, who is also on this challenge
One of my experimental goals for doing this SNAP diet challenge is primarily seeing if I could drop 8-10 pounds before mid-December having officially started this challenge on the 1st of November.
My less selfish secondary goal is to see what it is like for someone living on food assistance.
My last important goal is finding some way to eliminate high prep time and maximize productivity for the typical working poor citizens.
In summary, we’re looking at weight loss, cost-cutting and time-saving. In my opinion, those are huge feats that I have to accomplish all at once. Wish me luck!
#1: I’m not going to make it.
Well, my husband doesn’t think I can make it.
He is concerned about my overactive foodie genes kicking in.
I LOVE FOOD. How did you think I got to a point where I need to lose weight? I eat nearly as much as hubby does except he is 50 lbs heavier than me.
#2 I CAN make it under $30/week.
Keeping it under $30 in expenses is not something I’m worried about to be honest. I think I’ve had enough practice from my dad to know what’s up.
I am worried about having depression, misery, burn out and all that other good stuff. Hubby really doesn’t believe I would make it. He is afraid that I might turn crazy. I was sore at him for 2 days for a missing burrito so imagine this. He is fearful for his safety.
There are different levels of poverty. Since Doubling Dollars is simulating a “food desert” and someone who might not have access to ovens or microwaves, I will try going a slightly different route by stimulating the working poor. A total of 42 million American workers earn under $12 an hour and often times they are also parents to young children.3
I’m essentially simulating my parents when they were working at the back of that Chinese supermarket. Our difficulties didn’t reach the height of lacking microwaves – most apartments and government-subsidized housing have the basics.
I’m simulating my immigrant parents as the overworked, underemployed, working poor family fallen on hard times. They have a roof over their head and are sometimes employed, although at low-wages with no sick leave, vacation time or health benefits. The law does not protect workers from being fired if they miss work because of illness. This leaves overworked and underemployed workers fearing simple colds, stomach bugs, leg sprains etc. Which brings me to…
I’ve been sick with a cold / fever for the past 2 days and I started this challenge during the “honey, I think I’m coming down with something” phrase. It has made everything harder so I’m feeling the misery right now. It’s also a rainy, 40 degrees in Seattle and I have work for the next two days. We don’t have a car. SNAP benefits don’t cover medicine. Much realistic Lily…
General Game Plan
This is going to take some thought. One thing that is to my advantage is prior knowledge. Growing up poor has prepped me better than…say if Gwyneth Paltrow tried the SNAP challenge with her rabbit food. I told my husband despite his near million net worth, I should still remember how far rice porridge has taken me. I do not believe the budget of $30 or under will be an issue. The two bigger issues are seeing if I can try to eat healthy in the time that I need to cook it and it’s something I would want to eat. I still want to enjoy my food a little…
I will try my best to skip all the carbs. I’ll bum a paleo diet. Meat’s easy to cook, filling and taste like delicious murder. The issue is meat is expensive. I will be more conscious of that. Carbs are cheap and plentiful but they would not be as effective in weight loss. Vegetables vary. Some common fruits (like apples) are too sugary so I’ll void those. Avocados and berries are luxuries obviously.
I only have salt and pepper. At least for now, it’s the first week. Setting up shop is difficult. I was thinking about making an extra trip because I forgot the oil. Ughhh! This really blows when you are actually sick. I’ll skip oil for this week. I’m splurging for olive oil next week though – health first, then price, then ease of preparation.
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