I checked a book out from the library called "Run for Life: the Real Woman's Guide to Running." It's a pretty good explanation of the biology and mechanics of running in regards to women's bodies. Anyway, I was particularly fascinated with the anatomy stuff: different muscle types, the cardiovascular system, and how joints work. But this stopped me in my tracks: "If you are overweight you should lose weight BEFORE starting a running program." Turns out that the extra weight puts extreme pressure on your knee and ankle joints. I mean, I knew that, but the description and terms like "psi" made me stop and visualize a heavy weight being dropped onto a pylon again and again. Obviously a bigger weight will do more damage than a small one.
So I wanted to know just how much my bigger weight is. I've been reading that your total body weight is not as important of an indicator as your fitness level, which is measured by percentage of body fat. For example, a body builder might weight more than me, but she's got more muscle and blood than I have. She would be more fit than me, even though she weighs more. I looked up what would be considered a healthy amount of fat and then took some measurements to calculate my own.
Obese woman: >32%
Average healthy woman: 25-31%
Physically fit woman: 21-24%
Elite athlete woman: 14-20%
Over half of my body is fat. What a slap in the face.