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.
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.
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.