So you pulled a muscle, sprained your ankle, tweaked your knee? My heart goes out to you, but don't use that as an excuse to halt your progress towards better fitness.
When I was around 295 pounds last October, I was pretty much starting from scratch. I knew my way around a gym but was extremely out of shape. I had an old leg injury from years ago that resurfaced as soon as I tried to exercise it. The thing is, I could tell it was a specific muscle because only when I did leg extensions with that particular leg would I feel it. It felt weak and would give me twinges of pain. So did I lay off exercising altogether? Of course not. Did I decide not to exercise that leg? No. I just adjusted the weight for the leg extension down to a challenging but tolerable setting. And over time, the weakness and the pain went away. My leg actually needed the exercise to recover, and hadn't had it for years.
Lately my left shoulder has been hurting a bit. Probably a strained or pulled muscle. I have some challenging fitness goals I plan to achieve over the next month and having a sore shoulder seems discouraging. So I found this cool web site called do-it-yourself-joint-pain-relief.com created by Gary Crowley, a joint pain specialist with 23 years of experience. He had a series of 4 videos on how to detect and relieve shoulder pain. He talks you through how to identify the specific muscle(s) giving you problems and how to relieve the pain. I went through, watched and tried his methods and they did seem to help. In my workout today, I did rows, curls and pull-downs, all of which use the shoulders indirectly and while I felt a little soreness, I didn't feel any twinges of pain during the workout. I also backed off a bit on the amount of weight I was using. So now I feel like I can work through the soreness, exercise the affected muscles, help them recover and still achieve my overall fitness goals. Check out the web site for information on how to identify and relieve pain in any body joint.
There is also some useful information at WebMD outlining 6 ways to avoid workout-related injuries. Because of course it's better to avoid them in the first place than to deal with them after the fact. But if you're constantly workout out and challenging yourself over the years, chances are that you'll get minor injuries from time to time. So it's good to remember that you don't need to stop exercising altogether, you just need to identify the specific joints or muscles giving you problems and determine how to rehabilitate them. If your knee is giving you problems, for example, try a low-impact cardio routine that involves a stationary bike or an elliptical rather than walking outside or on a treadmill.
Of course if you have a major injury, the rules are different. You need to work with a doctor and determine the best course of action. You can tell the difference between a minor and a major injury. But most of the time, some kind of rehabilitation is part of the process.
So yes, in most cases you can continue to exercise and give your body the attention it needs to work through an injury and recover. And of course you should never have an attitude like "My shoulder hurts, I can't exercise. And since I can't exercise, what's the point of eating right? If everything isn't perfect in my world, I shouldn't even try to keep moving towards my goals." It sounds silly, but some people rationalize things that way. That isn't a healthy attitude. That isn't me, and that isn't you. We deal with the issues that come up each day and work through them as we keep our focus on the larger goals we have set for ourselves.