the hunger project
From October 2011 to October 2012, I kept myself hungry by limiting my food and drink budget to the average daily Food Stamp benefit of $4.40. Each day I took note of all I consumed, recording the dollar value and caloric content, maintaining daily totals, and calculating cumulative amounts and averages. Over the 366 days of the project (it was a leap year), I averaged $3.93 and 2178 calories per day. Beginning at 186.6 pounds, my weight eventually hit a low of 138.4, a loss of over 25%. My initial reasons for undertaking the project – to make a statement, to acquire empathy, to keep my family from going deeper into debt – and the various ironies of voluntarily going without enough food grew increasingly remote as the reality of constant hunger came to completely dominate my experience.