No Denying the Mirror's Reflection by Dennis Donati

No Denying the Mirror's Reflection by Dennis Donati

I would like to share a story with all of you who may not know me yet. It’s a personal one, but my hope is that somewhere out there, someone reading it will relate. Someone will be wondering the same things I was wondering two years ago, New Year’s day. Somewhere out there a reader has been wondering if they could follow through with their New Year’s resolution to lose weight, or get in shape. If I can do it, anyone can!

It all started with an injury at work, where I ripped and permanently damaged cartilage and tendons in my wrist and hand. I had worked construction in new commercial for the past 16 years and was used to being active all day long. I had a horrible diet, looking back, but for years I got away with it because I was young and so active all day long. That all changed instantly when I got hurt, and was in a sling for almost two months with no activity. I rapidly put on weight everywhere I didn’t want it, while losing muscle that had taken years to build up.

mirror2As I piled on weight, I just kept denying how bad I was letting myself slip. Then it hit me one day when I looked in the mirror, and there was no denying it! I stood there and in that moment I saw my dreams in the outdoors and hunting fading away. At that time I still didn’t know if I would ever shoot a bow again, but I was absolutely determined to fight with everything I had to hang onto my goals and dreams.

I wasn’t allowed to exercise at all with my wrist when New Year’s day came around, so I did the only other thing I could do...I did an extreme diet. It worked in burning off a lot of fat over the next three weeks, but it did nothing for the muscle I had lost, and was losing. It did nothing for my ever increasingly horrible cardio endurance, or my joints that began to hurt more and more without activity. Finally I finished my first round of physical therapy, and was cleared to exercise on my own with strict weight restrictions and limited exercises, but I did it religiously! I also started walking on the treadmill six days a week. I would run for as long as I could at 5.5 mph (which was usually about 5 minutes) and then I would walk for ten minutes and repeat. I kept increasing either the speed or the time I would run between walks each week.

I kept up with it through the second round of physical therapy, and even through my wrist surgery, doing cardio in my half cast. Overall in just over a year I lost 50 pounds, dropped a ton of body fat percentage, got my waist down to the size it was in high school, and could actually run. I was able to run my first ever 5k and 8k races this spring, and later added mountain running for the increased cardio for the lungs. Now exercise is a part of my life, and it has saved my life and most importantly, my hunting future. If you ever wanted more out of your hunts or more out of your life, don’t wait any longer. Make the future what you dream it to be, believe in your heart and your mind that you can do it, and you deserve it, and go do it!


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