Here’s my struggle—potentially trivial when one considers the overwhelming hunger plaguing Haiti—but I’m on a diet and having difficulty reconciling my personal focus on weight loss with the staggering starvation faced on this relatively tiny island. When I was renaming my blog, I considered calling it “Breakfast for Haiti: a diet diary from Port-au-Prince.” I thought I might attach a fundraising feature to the site, so while I was focusing on losing what so many Haitians are desperate (even dying) to gain, I could appease my middle class, American guilt by, at least, increasing the amount of money available to fight hunger here. But this seemed potentially offensive, in bad taste, at the very least, given the fact that even before the earthquake nearly 2 million people in Haiti were “food insecure,” according to the World Food Program.
I come from a country with an obesity epidemic but live in one plagued with either not enough food or a population too poor to feed itself. This is a painful irony to swallow—quite literally.
So my question to readers really is: could or would dieting Americans find friends and family members willing to pledge a dollar, or five, or ten for every pound they lose—a diet for dollars of sorts?
Would you sell a literal pound of flesh to feed the poor? (Would my former colleagues from the English Department at the University of Kentucky read a diet blog that used Shakespeare’s images in such clichéd ways?)
Would over-weight folks from the US step up to (or away from) the plate on January 1st and reform their formerly failed New Year’s resolutions? Would this motivate dieters? Would they be more committed to this kind of effort? Would America’s biggest losers get off their fat asses long enough to fill the plates of their mal-nourished neighbors here in Port-au-Prince? Will morning in America mean breakfast for Haiti?
I’d love your feedback.