Model Rosie Mercado has been working since 2009, weighing as much as 410lbs at one point.
Mercado felt she needed a lifestyle change when she began experiencing health and mobility issues. She also got a kick of reality when an airline attendant told her she would need to purchase a second seat on the plane. Ouch.
The model knew she needed a change, so she cut pasta, soda, and rice from her diet. She stays away from sugar and attends boot camps in addition to going on runs. A pretty great 180 from where she was before.
Mercado, however, says she was grateful to have been plus-size for a lot of her life. "I think I was grateful that I got to be 410lbs because it taught me a lot of lessons." She says she learned a lot about humility, how to treat people, and how not to judge a book by its cover.
When Rosie Mercado did decide to lose the weight, she decided to document it on social media, hoping to inspire other people with her journey. Unfortunately, they were less than kind.
"[People] told me to go jump off a bridge and kill myself. I think there's a group of people that resented that I was losing weight because they thought that diet equals being a size 0. And diet for me really equaled a lifestyle change, it equaled freedom, it didn't equal a size," she said.
She believes her authenticity and openness have rubbed people the wrong way, especially since she's gotten a tummy tuck and done skin removal procedures. "But you know what: I'm happy at the end of the day. And isn't that the most important thing?"
The craziest part to Mercado is that even though she's lost 250lbs, she's still considered a plus-size model. "Can you believe that?" she asks.
Well regardless of what those haters say, Rosie Mercado, you are stunning! What an inspiration and great example of perseverance!