Completion

Celebrating a Finish Line

I’ve talked before about how I’m not thinking of the end of my HCG journey as some sort of arrival at a mythical “I never need to think about detoxing again” kind of place. Nonetheless, a former co-worker of mine always talked about how necessary it is to celebrate the finish lines you achieve. Yes, there’s always a next thing, next task, next project right around the corner, and that deserves attention and energy. But it’s also essential to honor the tasks/things/projects you’re able to complete, and honor yourself for being able to complete them.

Completion
http://www.learntarot.com/todesc.htm

And tonight is a moment where I may not have reached the finish line on my detox journey, but it certainly have reached a finish line. Because today was my last day under the post-HCG dietary restrictions, meaning that I have successfully navigated through and to the end of this nine-week experience.

So: yay.

Though no exclamation point on that, because I am decidedly of mixed feelings.

I am truly proud to have accomplished this, to have found the self-care and discipline to live within the rules of the protocol. I am also looking forward to releasing the strictness of these rules — to being able to start weaving grains, legumes, and carbohydrates back into my diet. (In fact, I think there may be a batch of my famous three-bean “chili” to cook up some time soon…)

I am grateful for the opportunity to get a clearer sense of the distinction between physical and emotional hungers, though there’s another post to write about how I don’t actually think “emotional hunger” or “emotional eating” are necessarily a bad thing. Even though I’d sort of known about this already, it was truly shocking for me to really see and understand the quantity of foods that have added sugar in them, and I’m going to try and limit my intake of added sugars as I move forward.

From an energetic perspective, I am also glad to have taken this HCG journey. Obviously, as last night’s post revealed, I still have many ways in which I am limited and lots of places to keep learning and growing. But it does sense as if the nurturance in this experience — the role of HCG as a sort of “mother vitamin,” allowing myself to be supported by the center and my coaches, practicing maturity and self-care — has really helped take my victim identity off-line. Some significant piece of chronic resentment and suppressed rage that I’ve been carrying with me for rather a while seems to have resolved itself.

Ultimately, though, I also feel slightly embarrassed at the notion of being too proud about this “accomplishment.” Because, honestly, it wasn’t that difficult an experience to go through for these months.

Still: there were some moments of difficulty here and there, and I did manage to weather them. So, honor the finish line, honor myself for getting there, and much honor to Spirit and to my teachers for aiding my way on the path.

full glass of water

Watching My Levels, Listening to My Body

Certain aspects of the HCG protocol are designed around the reality that one’s body will build up a tolerance to the hormone. This is why the protocol lasts only six weeks,* and also why you take a “day off” from your HCG injection every week — this helps lengthen the amount of time before your body goes into what I’ve been calling “HCG saturation.”

full glass of water
All full up…

Obviously, the idea of “HCG saturation” is rather significant because once you’ve built up HCG tolerance, then your body can’t use the hormone to sustain ketosis, which means that instead of drawing energy out of your body’s fat stores, you’re just trying to extract it from your super-low calorie diet — which means that, given enough days, you could start going into ugly starvation mode with your hair falling out, etc.

This has been on my mind because the last few days, I have been feeling a much higher level of physical hunger than I’d had during the rest of my HCG journey. Now I’ve talked at other times about having emotional food cravings and habitual ones, but in those cases I was always able to distinct between those cravings and the level of physical satiation I was feeling. This week, not so much. The feelings of hunger have been genuinely rooted in the physical body, and I’ve been watching this carefully to try and figure out if I’ve hit “HCG saturation” a couple days early.

Another indicator I’ve been watching is my morning pee-stick. I talked about this briefly before, but I don’t think I explained that the purpose of said pee-stick is to check/confirm the level of ketosis your body is in. Well, after the first few days of the protocol, my ketosis levels have been consistently reading as either “medium” or “large” throughout my entire HCG experience. Until yesterday morning and today, that is, when my ketosis level read as “small” instead.

So there is some evidence that my body might be reaching this finish line a tad earlier than expected.

As of tonight, my intention is to finish out this phase of the HCG journey pretty much as originally scheduled: shots ending Monday, and (mostly) staying on the low-calorie diet till the end of Wednesday. (I am going to be giving myself some extra leeway to have some additional vegetable or protein during these days, if my body needs it — staying strictly within this phase’s rules about which foods are allowed, but taking a little flexibility as needed around the amount of said foods).

But if my morning ketosis level goes down to “trace” or — more significantly — to “negative”? All bets may be off, and I might be hitting the next HCG phase ahead of schedule.

———-

One extra fascinating aspect to this is how my detox/consciousness center is currently running a weekend course, which means my coaches are deeply occupied in the important work of running said course and taking care of that group of students. And Mr. Mezzo is out of town for the weekend.

So if my levels drop to the stage where I need to make a call about staying the course or making a pivot, I’m pretty much on my own.**

Given all the ways this journey has been about accepting help, guidance, and support, that’s really kind of ironic. On the other hand, considering my ultimate goal with the detoxing and the consciousness work is to become a stronger mother to myself and my world, there could also be something very fitting about reaching this decision point on my own, in centeredness and maturity.

* “Only” six weeks, she says. (Have I gone mad?!?)

** I say “pretty much” because I can imagine some text-message consultation happening: certainly with Mr. Mezzo, even if that’s not possible with the center staff. And I can always pull cards to help guide my next steps.

———-

Image credit: http://moodahocka.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/a-full-glass/

Reading the Signs

ant-manA few weeks ago when I was assaulted by my breakfast apple, I shared my own personal belief that there are signs and messages from Spirit everywhere, and that I’m working to grow my practice of noticing them.

Part of this decision stems from the ways I am naturally someone who watches and contemplates and studies life’s energies. After all, if you use a muscle instinctively, you might as well consciously grow its strength and stamina.

Part of my ongoing process stems from a corollary belief to “there are signs everywhere” about the progressive nature of ignored signs: Spirit may first speak to you in a whisper, but if you ignore that whisper, it’ll be followed by a shout —  and then perhaps a brick to the head. (Here’s two formulations of a quote where Oprah has shared a similar sense of trajectory: it’s highly possible her statements helped me see this pattern more clearly for myself.)

But sometimes there are days when the whispers come through loud and clear.

This morning at the coffee machine, I found myself in a conversation about a co-worker’s whose been out sick — turns out she’s having a gallbladder attack, and she’s currently resisting her doctor’s advice to have the organ removed because “the stones are too big to be treated any other way.”

And of the three colleagues discussing this situation with me, two of them have had their gallbladders removed, and the third served as closest geographical relative/convalescence site for her niece who goes to college up here in Boston and needed to have her gallbladder removed mid-academic-term.

By the end of the conversation, I was very clear on one point. Whatever else may remain in consideration for detoxing next steps, I am certainly going to be doing a gallbladder/liver cleanse in the next few weeks!

———-

It may be my imagining, but I do think some of the signs life brings me these days are clearer than they used to be. Or I’m gaining practice in listening for them, or something.

As I understand it, that’s one of the purposes of detoxing one’s physical and energetic system — to clear the channel for receiving and listening to spirit’s guidance (or one’s inner wisdom, whichever phraseology more closely resonates with your understanding of the world). I’d like to think that the clarity of today’s message about giving some loving attention to my gallbladder is a result of the detoxing I’ve been doing during the HCG journey.

Some messages remain less easily scrutable. Or, at least, they carry a bit more annoyance here in the physical plane, even if the spiritual meaning is pretty clear.

———-

With the turn to warmer weather, we’re having a bit of an ant invasion in the house. Since I turn to Professor Google in so many other circumstances, I figured I’d do the same here:

From shamanicjourney.com:

Each ant does his bit to ensure the survival of the whole community, no matter what role it has in society. Activities include gathering and hunting. They work hard, are patient and co-operative. An ant is able to carry a leaf, a crumb or a dead ant for miles – just to get back home to the anthill, requiring a load of stamina and patience. . . . As well as being extremely hard working they possess an extraordinary ability to work as a team – the power of their medicine – to build their homes, to feed and protect all members of their colony. There may be a social order in ant colonies, but all ants honour and respect each other and work toward their common goal – the good of the community. Worker ants are great architects and can show us how to construct our dreams into reality. They are also very persistent and can teach this skill as well.

From spirit-animals.com:

Encountering an ant you should consider that all good things come with time, and effort. Work with diligence, with conviction, and work with others in order to forge your dreams and turn them into reality. Despite their tiny size these little spirits are immensely strong, great strength of will and accomplishment can come even in the smallest of packages.

Alternatively it may be time to consider your own role, concentrate on your specialties and make sure you are making the most of your natural gifts. However, remain aware that nothing can be accomplished without the unity of the whole. Think about how your own contributions in your career, your family, and day to day life fit into the larger picture. No matter how small your task, or your contribution, it is still essential.

Message received, lovely ants. Now, please get off my kitchen counter and into the beautiful outdoors. Kthxbai!

———-

Image credit: http://culture.pagannewswirecollective.com/2013/06/super-heroes-totem-animals-and-pagans/

Breadcrumbs 2

640px-BreadThis may become a recurring feature for days when I have a backlog of small thoughts and no big theme to pursue. I gotta admit, though, that I’m not even sure I have a collection of small thoughts to pursue.

Nevertheless, after “dropping the blogging ball” at the end of last week*, I’m strangely invested in the idea of getting a post in tonight. So: breadcrumbs it is.**

———-

Last time I did a “breadcrumbs” post, I talked about the immense desire to use lip balm during the winter months. Unexpectedly enough, that longing has only been increasing the last week or so as the seasons have shifted. I have no idea why my lips are feeling more chapped in the spring than they were in the winter. Is it the way that spring and winter keep handing off the meteorological baton on a 48-hour cycle? Have I been cooking more meals with cayenne or ginger?

Whatever the cause, my poor lips are hurting. Even if I do end up obeying the advice about being very slow to add fats and oils back when I’m transitioning to my next-phase eating regimen next week, I can promise you that I’ll be having my own one-woman festival of appreciation for (and liberal use of!) Burt’s Bees Lip Balm starting Thursday.

———-

Day 2 of Five by Five successfully completed, with a couple categories achieving the “more than 5” benchmark. Let’s see how long I can keep the streak alive!

———-

Six more days of shots, eight more days of way-strict eating regime. Counting down

———-

Among the many restrictions of the HCG protocol is a suggestion not to take most over-the-counter medicines: especially painkillers. No ibuprofen, no naproxen, nothing in the family of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-imflammatory drugs).

I’ve been lucky enough not to need anything during my HCG experience. At least, not till now — unfortunately that’s changing. I’d hoped the strange side benefit of getting old and having less frequent periods might be that I’d have one of those two-month cycles and completely miss facing the challenge of menstrual cramps sans painkillers. Alas, ’tis not to be.

Guess I’m in for a few days of playing mind over matter.

* Since I started up again this spring, had I ever missed two nights in a row before this past Friday-Saturday combo? Corollary question: why do I think of two nights off as such this huge lapse?

** Damn, I miss bread.

———-

Image credit: http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Bread

Sleeping moon

Knit the Ravell’d Sleeve

It is entirely common knowledge that healthy sleep is a good thing, and that part of healthy sleep is simply getting enough of it.

Sleeping moon
Good night, moon….

It is also entirely common practice to skimp on sleep in these 21st-century over-scheduled times. Neither Mr. Mezzo or myself have been perfect in giving ourselves enough sleep-time, though Mr. Mezzo has a better track record of self-care on this score than I do. This may be because he’s better at disciplining himself to keep healthy routines — whereas I feel half the time as if I’m allowing my unruly inner 6-year-old to run the show.  Another contributing factor is he feels the pain of sleep deprivation more acutely than I do.

And I daresay I’ve become quite good at pretending I can get by on a regular dose of 6, 6.5 hours of sleep nightly. But I’m rethinking that right about now.

Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher in life’s feast,–

~~ Macbeth, 2.2

One of the gifts of being away at the detox center was I was able to allow myself a full night’s sleep every night. The first night was a “minimal” 8 hours and the rest of the time I managed to schedule even more. Which is, of course, one of the benefits of having some time off from work.

But last night, I followed through on the pattern established while I was away and went lights-out when there were still 8 hours between me and the morning alarm. Shocking!

I don’t know for sure whether last night had its own effect,  but I do think I felt the effects of being well-rested while I was at the office today. Obviously, a big part of that was the accumulated stretch of fully-rested nights preceding last night’s 8-hour miracle. (Plus the benefits of the other detoxing.)

But if 5 nights’ good sleep on vacation can add up to something special, there’s no reason that a similar — or longer — stretch of good sleep can’t add up for my benefit, even when that sleep is in my own wee bed.

Sounds like a simply enough plan, right? But I’m actually feeling some challenge around it.

I always have so many things I want to do with my evenings. Some of it is entirely frivolous — my TV/DVR obsession runs deep as the ocean, plus there’s my iPad gaming habit and the eternal time suck that the Facebook/YouTube rabbit hole can create in an evening. Those habits could use some inquiry, and I might do well for myself to release some of those calls on my time and attention. Some of them, mind you, but not all. I have too much love for the honest joy of frivolity to run some perfection/purity of life movement where I scorn all fun and foolish things.

And even if I were living some perfection movement where I’d purged all frivolity from my life, I would still be looking at a long list of interests and aspirations. Kinesi sessions, detoxing practices (footbaths, castor packs), joining a choir, reading books, taking classes, writing regularly here (and beyond?)….

I’m not quite clear on how to interweave all these interests and aspirations with a 9-to-6 job and a shiny new resolution to sleep more.

There is room to find some creative options here and there.

On days I get a lunch break, I could start writing my night’s post then. I already know how easy it is to run a kinesi session in the footbath and/or in front of my favorite shows, so I could cash in on that knowledge more frequently. I can watch my Coursera lectures or read the assigned articles on my iPad while I’m doing a castor oil pack. (Choir rehearsal, if I get in, might be something I have to do sole-focus rather than multi-tasked.*)

So, as with so many things: a work in progress. But also a realm of possibilities.

* I don’t know which is the larger sin: false modesty or arrogance. For the first, see above. For the latter: I’m real sure I’m gonna get in.

———-

Image credit: http://www.annholm.net/2013/01/uncover-your-potential-sleep-sleep-well/

Infrared sauna

Sweat it Out

“I come from a northern people.”

I’ve said this a few times in the last couple of days. And it’s true — not just looking through the Boston/New England lens, but also taking the longer ancestral view. Half Scots, half Lithuanian. Not quite so far north that my great-great-ancestors were riding reindeer to school, but close enough.

And why has this been a relevant declaration for me to make? Because one of the techniques often used to help address the body discomfort that sometimes arises during a detox is to sweat it out. Which means I’ve been spending a little bit of sauna time in past few days.

Infrared saunaI know that the sauna experience is often thought of as a pleasurable one, maybe even luxurious. It’s never really operated that way for me. Heat hasn’t ever really been my thing — hot weather, hot tubs, hot showers, saunas — all of then pretty low down my list of personal preferences. After all: I come from northern people.

———-

I remember once Mr. Mezzo and I were on a beach resort vacation together. Our first evening after arriving, we enjoyed the sunset together holding hands and sipping drinks across the Moroccan tile divider between the hot tub (where he was) and the regular pool (where I was). Ever since then, we’ve had a way of joking about the differences in our internal climates. He’s a hot water duck, while I’m a cold water one.

This detail actually puts a bit of a question mark in my claim that my discomfort with heat is part if my DNA. ‘Cos Mr. Mezzo is half-Lithuanian, half-Irish. Not a whole lot of difference in the ancestral geography, but quite a significant one in personal climate. Kinda makes me want to run a couple cheek swabs through a DNA test to see what else is going on in our ancestral trees.

———-

Anyhow, question marks or no, I’ve referenced my ancestry a lot as I’ve stepped into the sauna movement this weekend. I’ve had a strong enough “no” around them in the past that it felt like I was stretching beyond my comfort zone — in a good way, but a stretch nonetheless — even to be stepping into one. So I think calling out my ancestry was an easy way to give myself permission to cut a session short if I needed to.

So far, there hasn’t been the need. I still don’t think I’m the world’s number one fan of the experience of sweating while I’m in the middle of it.* But I do know the experience has helped ease some of the headaches and body pains I’ve been experiencing — so even if I don’t feel all rainbows and joyous inside the sauna, I’m definitely feeling good because of it.

And my biggest fear about it? The one that has nothing whatsoever to do with my northern lineage? The fear of how excruciating it would be to be trapped in a small, hot box with nothing to entertain myself but the chorus of poisonous inner voices that so often run my mind?

Not the problem I had feared it would be. The voices weren’t really running all that much today.

That’s supposedly one of the detox benefits of the HCG journey, and I’m encouraged to see this small sign that this sort of internal silence might actually be kind of possible.

I am definitely curious to see if that particular trend continues. Because if it does, that would be huge in bringing my life forward.

* I’m sure there’s all kinds of body hatred wrapped up in my distaste for a natural process like sweating. However, tonight is not the time to unwind that particular piece of knottiness.

———-

Image credit: http://www.pdcspaworld.com/Saunas-Infrared.htm

Showing Up

It was a kinesiology training weekend, so my hours have been very full and I am now exhausted. I can’t believe I’ve made it through 8 of the 10 training retreats. It seems like only yesterday I was just starting to learn the ReUnion Process. Conversely, it seems like I have undergone lifetimes since the first training session.

There’s a lot of new (and renewed) material from this weekend that I have to integrate around the deep potential this work carries for me to reach new layers of self-acceptance. But one of the big messages form the weekend was about the simply — and simply powerful — importance of continuing to do the work. In doubt, in confidence, when you’re feeling triggered, when you’re in the flow, when the work is challenging. Show up. Keep showing up. Keep doing the work.

Strikes me that it’s not a bad mantra to hang onto in the more focused project of growing into fat acceptance, or to the even more focused project of maintaining a blog. So it’s a shorter entry tonight. Nevertheless, I showed up.

==========

In other news, there’s a new MTT (“Meridian Tapping Technique,” formerly known as EFT) resource I’m thinking of tapping into.* But, like every other MTT resource package I’ve ever seen, this one has the evidently-obligatory materials about “Tapping for Weight Loss.”

So, do I get the package because I want to learn better ways to use MTT for other health and mental health issues (anxiety, insomnia, cramps, headaches, chronic pain), and just accept that the inclusion of weight loss materials is just another symptom of the deep cultural assumption about how thin=healthy? Or do I skip the resource package as a one-woman protest against the mindless perpetuation of that cultural assumption?

* Tap into. Get it? Get it? (I slay me.)