Submitted by Lee Chemel
When I walked into Dr. Mao’s office a year and a half ago, I was ready for a change. I was sixty-six years old and working fourteen-hour days as a TV director. I had let my nutrition go. I felt the weight of my belly fat, cleverly hidden under baggy t-shirts that allowed only my skinny arms and legs to show. I was drinking two and sometimes three glasses of wine at night to relax from the stress of my job and being there for my husband and my two teen kids. I had energy, but it was hyper, adrenaline-stoked energy. On my visit to the Tao of Wellness, I expected dietary suggestions; I didn’t expect the full detox menu!
I was given a diet and as I looked at it, I thought, “I am supposed to stick to this? Vegetable juices and broths, oat bran, brown rice and vegetables? That’s it?!” Then I read, “One Week Detox” and said to myself, “OK, you can do this for seven days.” As I walked out, clutching my little bag of Chinese herbs, I was sure I would never be able to stick to the program.
By the end of the first week I felt flu-like symptoms, headaches and constipation. My body was clearly undergoing a change! But I was proud that I had stuck to the regimen and when the week was over, I was ready for the “regular” diet. When I asked what I could then eat, Edsel Tan, the other acupuncturist on
my treatment team answered, “Just stick to the same thing.” I was stunned. But gentle Edsel Tan assured me that other items would slowly be added to the list. As I walked out, clutching my little paper bag of Chinese herbs, I was sure I would never be able to stick to the program.
But I did stay on it. The herbal tea was having its effect. It settled me. And the acupuncture gave me a grounded feeling. The energy I felt was not electric: it was steady and even. All the while, Dr. Mao and Tan provided positive support. They were right: I needed to detoxify my body. Gradually, it became easier and easier to eat the good food and not crave the bad.
At the end of three weeks, I was feeling restored. I was adding different foods and dropping weight like crazy. Exercise became easier. The whole thing became easier. At the end of three months I had lost 18 pounds and felt calm. I wondered how long it would last.
Well, it has been a year and a half. I am holding at my target weight and I feel great. I am still working 14-hour days but I have good energy and less stress. Yes, I enjoy my wine occasionally. I still love ice cream and treat myself once in a while. But the nutritional guidelines have now become an integral part of my life. And last week, my husband and kids walked out of Tao of Wellness clutching their little paper bags of Chinese herbs.