I was laying on a tan cushy table with my right leg basically up my nose and my left leg out to the side like a deformed chicken wing. A small woman was pushing on the chicken wing leg telling me to “relax”.
Yeah right…you relax with your leg up your nose!
It was 7:00 a.m. on a Thursday . To my right was an 80 something year old man working on an arm machine giving me the look like “Ooh…she’s getting the chicken wing move!”. To my left were posters showing proper spine alignment, which I was sure I was not demonstrating with my legs in such a position.
It was in that moment…there in the small physical therapy office with chicken wing pusher and old man rower, that it hit me.
I ignored my body for FAR TOO LONG.
Throughout my lifestyle change, I have done a lot of soul searching, a lot of mind building. I’ve read inspirational quotes about working hard, dedication, coming out of the comfort zone. I’ve paid attention to changing my mind and nurturing it every step along this journey. This in return has paid great dividends as I’m in an amazing place emotionally. Happy, confident, and able to hold the willpower to lose my weight.
But there is just one problem. I have focused so much on my mind, and so much about taking care of it to make sure I could meet my goals, that I forgot one very important thing.
I’ve always let my mind lead this journey — “Ooh let’s lose 100 pounds!” “Ooh let’s work out 7 days a week”,”12,000 steps a day, NO PROBLEM”, “Ooh let’s stand on our toes like a ballerina in barre class”, “Trampoline class?? Sounds fun!”, “Let’s become a runner”, “Hey why not try to run a 5K” “Let’s go! go! go! go!”.
Picture if you will a young, fresh new employee running in excited on the first day of work, excited to see what lie before her. Ready for work! Ready to go! Excited for the journey!!!
Now my body on the other hand, my body is the old grouchy employee that has worked there 38 years. The one that rolls her eyes coming into work, REALLY resents the go-getter attitude of the new employee. How dare this new up and comer come in and tell you how to do your job! Who does she think she is??!!??
So as my mind kept coming up with all these crazy things, my body who spent 30 some years just coasting by without much physical exertion was forced to come along for the ride, without anyone asking it what it wanted, what it needed, or if it was okay.
So is it any wonder that it finally had enough and started to have its voice heard through causing me pain?
As I felt the small physical therapist push with such force against my hip that I wanted to jump off the cushy table, I was finally forced to listen to nothing but my body.
And boy did it have a lot to say!
“Allow me to recap” it said through clenched teeth at every push. “ You wanted to lose this weight, so we’ve walked, ran, stretched, lifted, jumped, squatted, strained….EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And not once Miss Go-Getter did you ever stop and think about what it was doing to me. Would it have killed you to stretch before you ran? Or taken a break? And did we really need to do two exercise classes in one day??”
I could feel every tight muscle as the physical therapist worked. Every sore joint, every twinge of the nerves in my back and hips. I didn’t feel like the confident super woman that my mind tells me I am…I felt really….well….HUMAN.
“HAPPY NOW!?!?!?” is what I heard with the last huge push at the chicken wing leg.
I sat up and for the first time was fully aware of what my body had been through on this journey.
It’s amazing how we get so set in our mind, so set on our goals…without even thinking about the fact that our minds just have to come up with the motivation and ideas, but our body has to implement those ideas. Yet we are shocked and upset when our body fights back and we have pain.
When I started working out in July, I went from 0-60, from no exercise or physical exertion to 7 days a week, in a flash. When I did this I started feeling pain in my hips. The pain started out really severe, so much that when people would joke that I would need a hip replacement by age 40, I would secretly fear they were right.
About 40-50 pounds into my weight loss, my hip pain went away. I chalked it up to me finally getting in shape and so I threw more at my body.
I started running. When I would run instantly my right hip would hurt and for a day or two after I would run, I walked around like John Wayne, only without the sexy cool swagger. The pain was always super sharp when I would start running, would lessen as I went, but then I’d feel it big time when I was done and for the next few days. I seriously was in the best shape of my life, but I looked like I was in the worse from my limping.
But I never stopped, never checked in with a doctor, never looked into how I could help my body get accustomed to the workouts.
I just ignored it.
I think I did this because I didn’t want to come to the realization that my body was not as strong as I wanted it to be. We all see ourselves as super strong, and so when our body tells us otherwise it’s easy to try and sweep it under the rug. It’s a tough pill to swallow that we can’t do it all.
I also didn’t want to face the fact that I am getting old…well oldER. I’m not ready to say old even after a session of chicken wing pushing.
But the pain kept coming and started to affect my ability to really run. The limping continued, my body kept calling louder and louder….
And I finally listened. Now after the pain of these stretches I realized I had done the right thing. I guess having your body poked and pulled really gives you the wake up call to start paying attention to it every day.
My physical therapist was awesome. She recognized right away my passion and love for working out and my desire to not give up. She smiled and said “You can still do everything you are doing, we just need to stretch and strengthen the muscles”. I found out my Piriformis REALLY did not like what I was doing and was the culprit to my problems. And so now we will work on giving my muscles what they need, so they can keep up with my mind.
It’s now time to get my body and mind to work together.
So be good to your body during your personal journeys. Don’t ignore it. Listen to it, even if you have an extremely pissed off Piriformis muscle, and let it be a part of your decision making process. Stretch often. Breathe deep. Rest. Take care of your body and it will take care of you for many years to come.
And trust me… make sure and take care of your Piriformis muscle – that is one muscle group you don’t want angry at you. Ouch!