I am not a small woman.
I am 5'11" in stocking feet (and I have to prove it regularly. "You've gotta be 6 feet tall!" Nope, I am exactly 71 inches tall. You're just shorter than you think you are.) I weigh about 184 pounds at the moment. That can fluctuate up to five pounds in a day, so I'm guessing.
I have been this tall since I was 13 years old. I have not been this weight since I was 13 years old, although I have always been bigger than what the fashion mags would have you believe is normal.
When I was in high school, I was a swimmer. I worked out somewhere between 2 and 4 hours a day during the season, and I ran around the pool deck in a Speedo like it was nothing. I never watched what I ate, and I always had a little gut, which made me feel like a house compared to the girls who had Speedo bikinis and flat abdomens. I weighed approximately 145 pounds when I was swimming, and about 155 pounds when I graduated high school.
Looking back, I realize I was overly harsh on myself, as most teenagers who spend their days in Spandex might be. I looked fantastic, gut and all. Granted, I still look fantastic, but there is more of me.
In college, I did not immediately put on the Freshman 15, as I was at a very high altitude, had no car, and lived on the third floor of a building with no elevators. I actually lost a few pounds and had rather ravishing legs, as I recall. By my sophomore year, however, I had a vehicle, I lived on the ground floor, and my body had adjusted to the lack of oxygen. Pounds crept on.
I still looked fantastic, there was just more of me.
By my second senior year of college, I had finally been diagnosed with ADD, and was given prescription Dexedrine, which is basically speed. The first month that I was on it, I lost 30 pounds because I forgot to eat. I was told that it would be a side effect. I don't recall feeling like I looked fantastic, I just recall having to buy a lot of new clothes. Fortunately, it was a "pink year" for fashion, so everything I bought was just adorable.
I looked fantastic, but I was too busy feeling like I was finally in control of my own brain to notice the body it rides around in. Also, I had a pretty amazing haircut at the time, so that's what I was aware of when looking in the mirror.
The appetite-suppressant side effect dwindled, and I put all the weight back on, plus some. A fondness for food paired with a disdain for exercise caused more pounds to creep into my flesh. Despite having a relatively active job, I managed to hit the 200 mark before my 30th birthday.
I looked fantastic, but I was starting to not feel fantastic. Perhaps this was too much of me?
My knees, wrecked on a long-ago backpacking trip, started to complain about my lack of muscles and the weight they were having to carry around. I halfheartedly switched to diet soda. I paid attention to what I was eating. In an unrelated incident, I adopted a large Poodle, who needs a lot of exercise. I managed to drop down to about 175.
I looked fantastic, and my knees weren't complaining as much, either.
For my 32nd birthday, I had submental liposuction and a chin implant. My double chin is (was?) genetic, and was getting worse, and I hated any picture of myself where I wasn't posed in a really contrived way. So I had it vacuumed out, and I don't think about it anymore (unless the implant hurts, which it does from time to time, especially if I've been sleeping on my face). However, not being able to chew for a week and a half brought back all the usual eating habits, and I put all the weight back on within 7 months. Bad habits, and all that rot.
By the beginning of 2011 I listened to my angry knees, which were now joined by my angry ankles, and started paying attention again. By May, I was back down to about 180, which is the threshold for ankle pain, apparently. Then the cat tried to die, and then the dog tried to die the weekend after that, and the stress of two terribly sick animals paired with the stress of work woke up all the bad habits again. Mindless mindless mindless eating. There is no reason a human should consume as much food as I was consuming.
So here I am again. Back on the calorie-counting, mindful wagon. It's not very fun, but it's probably better for my poor, yo-yo'd body.
Still fantastic? You best believe it. Although, I'd look better if I wasn't so damned tired all the time. That's a separate issue.
This time, I think I'm going to switch tactics. I need to overcome my hatred of exercise, because I'm pretty sure that's 70% of what my joints are complaining about. They'd like the support of muscles, please. Yes, I should still pay attention to what I'm cramming in my eatin' hole, but this isn't about weight anymore. Now it's about strength. I used to be terribly strong, and now there is no difference between "relaxed" and "flexed." It's all just.... mooshy.
They say that it helps to commit the goal to paper. Well, I'm committing it to Google (>waving to the Google Overlords<).
I'd like to be able to do a real pushup. I've never done one before. Ever. Even in high school.
I'd like a visible bicep. I had a visible tricep once, and I'm pretty sure I could do that again, but I never had a visible bicep before, and I'm thinking it might be sort of amusing.
I'd like to be able to not think about my knees or ankles.
I'd like my belly, when I'm sitting, to stick out less than my boobs do. It's making my pants uncomfortable.
I'd like my inner thighs to brush up against each other less, because it makes skirts an uncomfortable sweaty mess, and tights just don't work on me. They're all too short and I run every pair I wear. Not every skirt looks right with leggings.
I think these are reasonable, healthy goals.
I bet a bicep would look fantastic.