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Mare Sees a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, in China

Posted Sep 22 2011 8:15pm

Have I mentioned that my parents have also moved to China, and that part of the purpose of my trip was to visit them as well? So imagine this scene: I’m happy happy happy to see my mother and upon entering their new place, I swoop over to her and hug her tightly. And she says to me, “Wow, you’re fat. Have you forgotten you’re supposed to be a woman?”

Gosh, can always rely on the Mom to be a downer. She thinks she’s just telling me the truth, but the truth is, truth hurts. Especially because I’ve been dealing with self-image issues ever since giving birth , and to hear it voiced by someone I love is just ever-so-painful. So anyway, my Mom makes an appointment for me with a Doctor of TCM to discuss my weight and overall health. It’s her theory that I’m fat because I’m “weak” and “unhealthy.” (By the way, TCM = Traditional Chinese Medicine, for those of you who aren’t following.)

We trek over to Pudong (the eastern part of Shanghai) to Ruidong Hospital to meet Dr. Chen. Dr. Chen takes my pulse (did you know that TCM doctors can distinguish 9 different pulses?!), asks me to open my mouth and stick out my tongue (that’s right – never brush your tongue if you’re going to see a TCM doctor), and then tells me that my body is very “COLD” and “WET.” He agrees with my mother’s assessment that I’m “weak fat.” Meaning, I’m not overweight because I eat too much; rather, I’m overweight because my endocrine system and glands aren’t working properly.

He then writes down on a piece of paper, in beautiful flowing characters, some Chinese herbs for me to take. I take this piece of paper down to the Pharmacy, they grind up the herbs, and I have to drink two packs a day in hot water: once in the morning 30 minutes after breakfast, and the other in the evening 30 minutes after dinner.

I have to be honest: I haven’t been 100% diligent about it. When I went to Beijing for 4 days, I forgot to do it altogether. Then since I’ve been home in the States, I’m lucky if I can remember to do it once a day. And these herbs taste TERRIBLE – you know that saying, “Better than a poke in the eye?” Well, these aren’t better than a poke in the eye. Not by a long shot.

And then there’s the issue that whenever I do drink the herbs, I have to hightail it to the bathroom right afterwards. Yes, they cause me to become massively UN-constipated. I was once a person who was lucky to have a bowel movement every 2-3 days. Now I’m lucky if I can get away with less than 3 per day. I’d almost rather be constipated, honestly! I barely have time to get anything done before I have to go to the bathroom again. What my co-workers must be thinking of me, I hardly dare to imagine…

I don’t know WHAT is in these herbs, because I’m hungrier than ever before and seem to be eating more. LOTS more. On the other hand, the scale says I’ve lost 6 pounds since coming back from China, and a lot of my pre-pregnancy skirts are fitting now where they once were impossible to squeeze into before. Before, my weight varied between 154 and 156 pounds on the scale (I stopped weighing myself after a while – it was too depressing). Now, I weigh in at 149 – yippee! I haven’t weighed below 150 since I was 3 months pregnant.

So, while I may not like the taste of these things, I’m going to keep taking them because it sure beats buying a whole new Size 12 wardrobe! In the meantime, this has stirred up my interest in Chinese medicine. I’m going to go research what this “COLD” and “WET” stuff means…and I’ll keep you posted on the weight loss. See ya!


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