An Unexpected Milestone

This time of year is one of anniversaries for me: it’s been just over a year since Gumby died and Cooper and EmmaRose arrived; it’s been two years since life turned upside down physically, fiscally, and spiritually. I am 59 ½ years old, which I recognized only after this morning’s weigh-in showed me less 59 ½ pounds, an unexpected milestone.

I had planned to write about weight today, in particular because I read August McLaughlin’s absorbing story about bulimia and anorexia. Weight issues—fat or thin—produce the kind of sadness that asks, “`does dirt have calories?’” Those were August McLaughlin’s first words as she found herself face down on the ground, dirt in her mouth, her body nearly spent. Of all the thin or fat stories I have read or heard, of all the books, tapes, and videos on nutrition I bought to discover why eating/living this way will work or won’t, this young woman’s courageous story gave me all I ever needed to know.

Although I am not aware of ever thinking about dirt in the context of calories, I do know the agony of abusing food. For 58 years, I ate as I pleased, favoring bread or cheese of any kind–same with fruit and meat. Surprisingly, I don’t remember not liking brussel sprouts, broccoli or spinach (my first spinach was from a Del Monte can a la Popeye). I don’t think I ever met a drop of alcohol I didn’t enjoy but gin and vodka martinis have always topped my list followed by all beer and any wine.

Gumby and me 2008

I am of German-Russian descent—farmers mostly—even at my best, I have a solid look about me. For the better part of the last twenty years, I walked at least three miles a day, which pretty much stopped in 2008 as my profile picture with Gumby demonstrates. By August 2010, I added another 33 pounds.

I was still taking prescription medication for my lupus, for my depression, for my degenerative disc disease, for my thyroid—I sought treatment for diseases–I dismissed being in second stage kidney failure, and I ignored extensive blood test results that showed “remarkable” food sensitivities to wheat, dairy, and yeast. Later, when I actually read the results, I saw signs of sensitivity to soy, to gluten, to sugar, all of which came to pass.

Food had begun to reject me, a life of food abuse was making me allergic to myself. That was my dirt.

I could continue consuming gluten, yeast, starches, sugar, dairy and remain dangerously ill physically, accompanied by spiraling slides into the slough of despond for weeks, even months or start “eating to live,” somewhat like Dr. Joel Fuhrman suggests but without starchy vegetables, mushrooms, or beans—too many carbs, maybe for always, same for all grains.

Within a year, I dropped 50 pounds as well as all medications, staying within a 50-53 pound loss for almost six months. I discovered my body does know how much weight it needs and that exercise plays a role but not in weight loss, not really. Exercise does benefit my body but what I eat is what I weigh, and that’s been most hard to learn.

Two weeks ago, I noticed my hip bone, at first in alarm because it’s been so long since I’d seen it—it’s still amply cushioned but it’s really there–my small fingers are not slender but they seem to have length; although a jiggling wattle is a fact, there is a definite shape to my face, even emerging cheekbones.

By the end of last week, I had lost 5 ½ pounds (my scale is most precise, not allowing me a whole pound when it’s only half), then a pound, then three until 59 ½ pounds gone, a total pounds number I hadn’t seen in over fifteen years.

I won’t say the scale is my friend—even in my Pollyanna world that’s a bit much–yet I do not mind weighing myself every morning, and today, it meant a milestone.

ROW80 Wednesday Word Marking:

From January 2 until February 4, my goal was to write 250 words per day—as blog posts, fiction, or nonfiction–for an approximate total of 8250 words.

Beginning February 4, I started the “30-minute” stretch in which I write for 30 minutes. So far, that has generated just over 6,444 words, averaging about 900 words a day and now the writing is for longer than 30 minutes. It still takes care of the mind minutia so my other writing is more focused. I am still “keeping” between 250 and 300 words beyond those 900, which means with ROW80, I am now over 17,300 words. On days like today, numbers really please.

28 thoughts on “An Unexpected Milestone

  1. Pingback: Bite-by-Bite, a Mindful Remembrance | KM Huber's Blog

  2. Pingback: A Change of Habit | KM Huber's Blog

  3. Karen, your writing resonates someplace deep within us because you write pure emotional truth. What a wonderful blog. What an outstanding woman.

    You count your progress in words; your readers count it in revelations.

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  4. WOW!!! Hip bones! Please give me a hint where to check for them.

    You certainly are pushing yourself forward in all parts of your life. I’m so proud of you, for your writing, your kindness, your wisdom, your lake and your hip bones. I know somewhere deep inside this body is my size 8 just fighting to get out, but I’m not ready to allow it yet, or to make the effort to get there.

    It seems like so many of us have dealt with weight issues. I’ve had them since 8th grade, when I was on the edge of losing my vision. I was put on huge doses of steroids, in six weeks I want from 87 to 155 pounds. It was life changing. Back in those days we weren’t told that could happen, so once again I saw myself as a failure, it wasn’t bad enough that I read so poorly because of my vision (also never talked about) but now I was borrowing my Mom’s pantsuits to wear to school, because I just couldn’t wear the cute clothes made for my age group. I learned to sew, so that I could make fashionable outfits for myself. The love of sewing grew, it got me through raising my kids, the plus was I often made them neon clothes so I could pick them out in the crowd. A few years back my vision got worse, and sewing was to hard on my eyes. The kids were gone, and I had no idea what I would do with my life. I took a glass fusing class, which has now become my passion. I spend endless hours working with glass. The plus side of it, unlike fabric and thread, if I make a mistake I can usually tell right away from a bleeding cut.

    My whole point of this long story is that I’m finally getting it, with your help KM! If life throws your a curve ball, you do your best to catch it, but if perhaps you miss, you must keep trying until something works out right. Sometimes you even have to change the game that you’re playing, but you can’t give up. Thanks so much for your beautiful blogs, friendship and always making me think just a bit further then my comfort zone! ❤

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  5. Sometimes I read things that make the world all that much more real to me in ways I could not conceive, Your post here, Kim, and also August’s story you quoted (which, btw, thank you for doing so, otherwise I wold have missed it)…. Both these pieces struck me on a very personal level. I never reached August’s state, but I remember a time when I would try to not eat for days at a time because I had a father who told me I was fat and a best friend who was stunningly slender that I so wished I was more like and often “hated” because she could eat anything (I often let her have my lunch money for junk food because I didn’t think I should eat).

    And after years of this, not ever actually losing a pound and often gaining because I couldn’t get away without eating at home…. When high school had passed, and I went to college, I actually went the opposite direction (oddly enough, our school had a very good culinary arts program and its own dairy barns… which made the food service program amazing), as a bit of a rebellion when I suddenly realized that I was attracting boyfriends and friends despite not being skinny. I ate a LOT in college (and actually ended up being the skinniest I ever became in my life).

    Neither choice ended up balancing me. So like you, Kim, I am learning. And hopefully one of these days when I find my hip bone again with more than a probing finger, it’ll be because I have learned how to balance myself and “eat to live”

    Thank you, Kim

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    • Oh, Eden, thank you for such a beautiful comment; clearly, you know the road. Am so glad you read August’s story as I doubt I will ever forget her haunting line of “does dirt have calories.” Who knew blogging could bring this kind of question as well as joy from a hip bone? Of course, it’s about the writing but I’m beginning to think blogging brings us to places we might never go. Certainly, it takes us to worlds, like your lovely blog, whose existence we would never know. Always good to see you here, Eden, where your words are always welcome.

      Karen

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      • It’s about community and connection… I sometimes wonder (though I can’t speak for August) if it’s because we’re always looking in from the outside. Everything we see, even everyone we see, gets filtered through ourselves and our experiences. But somehow blogging corrects the lenses a little, or at least redirects the focus… We see a little less perhaps, but we see a bit closer, a bit deeper.

        What I love most is how blogging (and these challenges like the ROW) have allowed me to connect with such awe-inspiring people. And even more, that we all are that wonderful. We just need to be who we are.

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  6. I love the rawness of your comments in this entry, Karen. In a society that is addicted to “image” and being skinny, it’s refreshing to hear someone admit they just plain like food and like to eat! Of course, being overweight isn’t healthy, but to me it seems a tad more ‘natural’ than starving oneself! Congrats on your 59 1/2 lb weight loss — gotta love those hip bones, eh!?

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    • Ah, my dear Lura, I have been the conventional unconventional that so marked the ’60s and feminism–still am–but after a while, I just pushed through whatever was in my way, so I got off track. especially with food. Rather than fuel for my body, food became a companion of sorts, a way I thought I’d never be. It is only in the last couple months that I no longer look to food for more than what it is–fuel. Of course, now I have my hip bone….

      So glad you stopped by, my dear friend. You always add light to the day.

      Peace and Love,
      Karen

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    • Hi, Jane!
      As I mentioned on your blog, I had been planning to write about weight but literally, what an unexpected milestone. Have to admit that hip bone is worth more than it ever has been. As always it’s great having you drop by.
      Karen

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  7. Your journey, whether it is writing or eating or the discovery of a long-lost hip bone is a pleasure to witness. Your story is so genuine and unguarded. You tell the truth–even if it includes a jiggling wattle.

    Congrats on discovering that hip bone.

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    • To be honest, I check that hip bone every day. Still cracks me up.

      Of all the surprises that continue to come my way, I am amazed at the energy of every day– it’s not the adrenalin or the slough, thankfully–it just is and I trust it now, whatever it is and isn’t. As you know, you have made a difference in my life, my friend.

      Karen

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    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and to comment. One of the things I’ve learned by being present is there are so many milestones to miss. Appreciate your supportive words.
      Karen

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  8. As I sit here reading your wonderful post I feel bloated. I drank just a half a glass of wine and I feel like a balloon inflated my belly. I noticed it last night too. I don’t drink every night in fact I rarely do, just happened to this time two nights in a row. I guess this means I will have to stop. Dr. Oz says that if you feel bloated from food or drink it means that your liver and kidneys can’t handle everything. What’s funny is that I have never been much of a drinker, I saw my friends (when I was young) drinking and puking and thought, no thank you. I guess my body just doesn’t even like it a little bit.

    Your post was very inspiring and I feel I need to look at what I am eating and choose a little wiser. Thank you for that.

    Congratulations on all of your milestones, I hope you celebrate in a kind and loving fashion for yourself.

    Peace,
    Morgan

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    • Hey, Morgan!

      One of the reasons for writing this post, other than my true surprise at marking 59 1/2 anything, was to have people think about eating. Frankly, it’s all good, in one way or another, but too much of a good thing….. No one has to be where I am unless they ignore every sign so good for you for noticing what your body is telling you. That’s all your body ever asks, I believe. I, too, am a fan of Dr. Oz and many, many others; I cited Dr. Fuhrman for his lovely phrase, “eat to live.” Isn’t it just fine?

      It’s only been in the last month that I no longer “miss” a martini but really enjoy the idea of it, which is so much easier on the mind and the body. Perhaps I will enjoy martinis more than ever, now. One of the incredible gifts in all this–and there have been so many–has been to meet me at last. It really is like being given a new life.

      As always, thank you for your thoughtful comments and for following my blog.
      Karen

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    • Appreciate your kind words, Wendy! There are a lot of advantages in such a situation, not the least of which is having the time to know one’s self. It changes everything. Yeah, I really am that positive, always have been. Thanks for stopping by; hope you come by often.
      Karen

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    • Hey, Lizzie! I’m still laughing about the hip bone. Initially, I laughed so hard that EmmaRose and Cooper thought something was wrong. Who knew a hip bone could mean so much. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I’m so touched that my story struck a chord with you, KM. Thanks so much for your lovely words!

    You wrote of your “dirt” with such poignancy. It’s amazing what we take for grated, food, wellness and otherwise.

    I wish you all the best in your journey. Please, please don’t ever give up. Looks like you’ve already begun to inspire others.

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    • I truly meant what I wrote about your story; I doubt it will ever leave me. You’re an amazing young woman, and the world is a better place because of you.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope to see you again.

      Best,
      Karen

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