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Working It Out is a health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Manging Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy. Follow more of her story on

Today I woke up just knowing I was going to be writing a post announcing I had officially dropped 90 pounds. And then I stepped on the scale and saw that I was still only down 89.2 pounds and, like the simpleton that I sometimes am, allowed myself to feel defeated. There really was no reason for me to expect to hit the 90-pound mark today other than the fact that I still haven’t broken the terrible habit of weighing myself daily and so I was hoping that from Sunday to Wednesday the universe would allow my calorie deficit and the alliteration of weight loss Wednesday to collide because 90 pounds sounds better than 89, but no dice.

I looked at the picture above several times throughout the day thinking, that’s a damn good illustration of your weight loss efforts, but what do you really have to say about where you are in your journey since you don’t have a (so-called) milestone to discuss? And then I remembered back to the day I took that picture on the left.

Last August, Atlantic records put together a workout class for Tank’s latest album release, Stronger. All the editors of MadameNoire attended what we thought was going to be a cute little pre-work gathering in which our heart rates would increase more at the site of Tank than any type of workout, but alas we were wrong and the event turned out to be a full-fledged bootcamp, personal trainers and all. I can’t even tell you when the last time was that I’d worked out prior to that but the class was a serious struggle, for me at least, and perhaps what was even harder was knowing that everyone else knew as much.

When I look back on pre-weight loss pictures, it really is startling to see my size. As crazy as it sounds, I really wasn’t always aware that I was as big as I was. Case in point, when I approached those green bars you see in the pic above which we were supposed to jump over during the bootcamp last year, I remember one of the trainers saying something to me along the lines of, “take your time; you can just walk over them if you want to.” I thought to myself, Why is he assuming I can’t do this? Then I see how snug that t-shirt in the largest size available was over my stomach and I think Because you look like you could barely breathe, much less jump over anything. And that was pretty much the case as I kept fumbling around trying to stretch that mandatory t-shirt over my lumps and bumps, and had to walk over those bars when everyone else could jump them, and skipped the Bosu ball balancing because, well it just wasn’t an option for me at that size, and periodically pretended to have to talk to our videographer about work just so I could take a break because I couldn’t keep up and I was ashamed. I’m pretty sure the half-hearted smile I have in that picture confirms as much.

It would be two months later before I entered a gym again and actually started the routine responsible for my current weight loss but when I see the girl in the picture a year and a day later from that strugglefest, I realize I do have a milestone to celebrate. On Sunday I woke up 89.2 pounds lighter. When my old trainer called me to workout as his new gym, I walked an hour and 20 minutes to get there instead of taking the train so I could burn extra calories. When we started training, I swung a 44-lb kettlebell for 12 repetitions three times, I did deadlifts with the same weight, I did three 45-second plank holds, I did 1-minute rowing intervals in between pushing a metal cage with 135 pounds of weights on it across turf six times, I did lunges while doing sandbag chest presses, I did chest presses with 20-lb dumbbells while balancing myself on a stability ball.  I did a lot of s-h-you know what. Stuff I couldn’t do a year ago; stuff I didn’t imagine I would be able to do 10-and-a-half months ago when I set out on this weight loss journey.

Tonight when I worked out with my new trainer I complained for more than half of the session about my stomach and how we’re going to fix it and why it’s not going away when everything else — like my breasts — are. It wasn’t until about the third time that he looked at my confused and said “I think you’re being a little hard on yourself” that I realized he was right. In the midst of doing 75 crunches on an ab machine and another 36 while catching a 15-lb medicine ball in between each rep I couldn’t see past the need to still fix my body to actually relish in my progress and enjoy the process of getting stronger and being able to do things I’d never been able to before. There’s a cliche saying about how a year from now you’ll wish you had started today. I posted a meme saying exactly that 66 weeks ago and it still took me another four months to actually start. Had I known all this goodness was on the other side, I really wouldn’t have procrastinated another day. Not only am I just 14.5 pounds away from reaching the goal I set when I joined Crunch October 4, 2014, I’m only 45 pounds from the ultimate goal my first trainer and I set when we began working out at the end of November. I’m not a fan of the “slow and steady wins the race” mantra and though at some points in my journey I felt like things were taking forever, when I realize I haven’t even been at this a full year yet, I feel proud. I really did become a “Stronger U” and that, my friends, was worth writing about.

Oh, and if by chance my little spiel did nothing for you, here’s a pic of some fine fit brothas who might be at a gym near you just waiting to whip you into shape when you’re ready to be about that life. Don’t procrastinate!

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