I have been asked by several people how I am doing working with Dr. Jeff Donatello. I’ve generally avoided answering the question as I have only been working with him for 4 weeks and I’ve committed to a 6 month program. That being said here’s my first interim report.
The Good – I am sleeping better. I’ve never slept well. Normal for me was passing out at 9 p.m. and waking up between 10 and 20 times per night. For the past few weeks I’ve been sleeping much better. Some nights I go 6 or even 7 hours without waking up, although on the “good” nights I’ll wake up at 3:45 or 4 a.m. and be up for the morning, which is a little early even for me. My training is also going well. I don’t know if this had anything to do with the supplements and the diet or the fact that I took two months off from training and began training again in January with my head and my heart in a really good place.
The Bad – Unfortunately right now the bad is very bad. Over the past four weeks I have gained 8 pounds. I am 5′ 8″ tall and weigh 190 lbs. In November of 2011 I weighed 155lbs. Over the past 2 years and 3 months I have gained 35 lbs while training on average 15 hours per week and avoiding sugar and processed foods. While the weight gain has been dramatic, the last four weeks were the fastest I have ever gained. Based on BMI I am currently borderline obese.
The weight gain is difficult both physically and emotionally. On a physical level all my clothes are tight and uncomfortable and I can feel my fat squish and compress every time I move. In many ways I feel as if I am wearing a poorly fitting borrowed fat suit rather than living in a body that is my own. I understand the need to love your body and be appreciative of everything that it can do but its really difficult to love something that feels like an unwelcome intruder. It is also difficult to reconcile my fitness with my current physical state. I know that I have very large aerobic base and that there’s speed somewhere deep within me but its difficult to get it to come out when I’m carrying around so much extra weight. Weight may be a limiter but in my case its become both literally and figuratively the most massive limiter. During my run today I was thinking I should start training wearing a weighted vest so I can prepare my body for the additional weight that seems to be inevitable.
On an emotional level the additional weight gain is devastating (actually devastating may be an understatement, I was in a puddle of tears several times over the past week trying to bring myself to accept the numbers on the scale). Even though I know on an intellectual level that I’m doing what I am supposed to do in order to lose weight, on an emotional level I cannot help but label myself a disappointment and a failure. What’s worse is that it is difficult to express my frustration and despair without receiving well meaning, but inapplicable and irrelevant advice in return. Over the past 2 years I have spent over $10,000 seeing various doctors, a half dozen RDs and nutritionists and now Dr. Donatello — telling me about portion control and whole foods isn’t helpful, I was there two years ago. Sometimes I just want a shoulder on which to cry and a space to be vulnerable.
I also feel bad for Shaun. I know he wants to do anything and everything he can to make me feel better but unfortunately other than being there to allow me to vent and cry, this is my problem and mine alone. I don’t need support or encouragement to prepare healthy foods on the weekend, or to wake up early to get my training in, those things are all like clockwork for me. Unless he can fix my body or re-wire my brain to make me accepting of my size, there’s not much he can do and it frustrates him to no end.
I have made a 6 month commitment to Dr. Donatello and I know that this is a process, not magic. That being said, while I am trying to be hopeful at this moment I am having a very hard time. I also know that if I don’t stay committed to this process there is really nothing else for me to do. When starving myself results in weight gain there just may not be any solution. Hopefully when I report back in at 8 weeks I will have some good (or at least better) news.