Head, Shoulders, Hips and Knees

Today, on Day 4 of my journey toward health, I discovered something very valuable. 
LUNGES ARE MAGICAL!  *Disclaimer, I am not a normal, sensible human being.  Just because this works for me doesn't mean everyone with bad knees/hips should do this. *
Even though my legs have always been my strongest, most muscular body part, I hate working them out because I hate the weak, shakey feeling I get afterwords.  But, I have had a growing tightness/ discomfort in my hips for years now, and when I looked up stretches for this problem on the internet, one of the stretches shown was suspiciously like a lunge.  I tried it, and my hips opened right up and stopped feeling sore.  Now, every time I get that tightness, I do a lunge or two and everything seems to realign.  My knee was still feeling stiff and irritated today, and I was going to skip the leg portion of my workout, which includes plie squats and lunges.  The thing that is going on with my knee feels like something is out of whack, needs to move or pop, realign.  I moved my knee in a couple different ways to get it to pop and it did, which felt a little better, so I decided to go ahead and give it a whirl.  The plan I'm following only has me doing 1 set of 8 squats, and by squat number 5 I was starting to feel discomfort in my knee, but I told myself, 'there's only 3 more and I'm done for today', and finished the set.  While my knee was still a bit irritated, I was starting to feel the warmth of the blood in it, which numbed the discomfort a bit.  Next came the lunges.  Oh how I loathe lunges!  They are so hard for me to do, I always feel like my form isn't right, always feel like I can't get back up once I get down.  I tried to focus on the muscles doing the work (butt, quads and hamstrings) instead of my knee.  After my second lunge, my knee made a huge "POP!" and I immediately felt better than I have since the issue started.  I gladly finished my entire workout, no more pain, and afterward, walked a bit to help my legs be less stiff/sore.  The thing is, I was supposed to do this workout on Tuesday (Day 2) and I knew my knee wasn't in a good place so I told myself I would just do the upper body stuff.  As the day went on, something else after something else came up, and I skipped it altogether.  I felt guilty, but I justified it by the bum knee.
This scenario is representative of my entire life.  I always let myself off the hook, never hold myself accountable, and I am really good at finding justifications for just about anything you could dream up!  Oh, and I can really pour it on when I have to!  It all wins me the luxury of being lazy, and doing just enough to get by.  I am not like this at work, I give everything I've got, go above and beyond.  And I'd like to think I am a better than average mom.  Why do I treat myself like crap?  I think this is a fairly universal truth among overweight people, particularily obese people.  It isn't just diet and exercise that I neglect, but my whole being.  When I first get inspired to focus on my diet/exercise, I also start taking better care of my skin, teeth, even my house.  It is an interesting phenomenon.  I think it is because, deep down inside, I think I am not deserving.  I have these feelings so often, but it manifests itself in different forms.  Thoughts like these are just different variations of the same:
I am not enough to keep my husband satisfied/happy
I will never be financially stable
My kids will grow up to detest me and think I'm lame
I can deal with myself later, I've been fat this long.
Some day I will get fit.  I'm not strong enough, mentally, to get into it right now.

There are always these little voices that make us back out of a challenge.  Ultimately, it comes down to knowing that you do have the strength to do what you've always dreamt of doing, you just have to stop letting yourself off the hook.  Have you ever taken a test, so sure that you were going to do horrible, and acutally did a lot better than you expected?  Life is like that, too.  You never know what you have inside yourself until you push.
So, as a way to hold myself accountable for my health and fitness goals, I have decided that I am going to join a contest.  It is the Eat Clean Diet Makeover Challenge.  I just found out about it, and it started in August, but it goes through July, 2011, which gives me a good, solid 6 months. I am not expecting to win, and really don't care about the prizes they are giving away, I just wanted to chose something concrete to keep me on task.  I have to take horrifying "before" pictures in sports bra and work out shorts,  that is not a pretty sight!  But, it will serve as a reminder of why I am doing this.  Or at least, one of the reasons.   Whenever I push myself farther than I thought I could go (like today with the knee) I discover my own strength and the challenge leads me to imagining how much farther I can go.  When I am focusing on myself, a challenge is a ficundity, building on itself and feeding my motivation.  And, at the end of the day, when I am tired and sore, I will know that I got that way from doing something good for myself, and not because my poor, neglected body is starting an uprising against me!


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