Plus-Size Model Rosie Mercado Reveals What It’s Really Like To Lose 250 Pounds

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“A C-section is a piece of cake compared to a tummy tuck.”

36-year-old LA model Rosie Mercado became famous when she was 420 pounds. She successfully lost 100 after two seasons on NuvoTV’s reality show “Curvy Girls.” But soon after Rosie gained 20 lbs, and she underwent a weight loss procedure that helped her lose 150 more pounds. This, drastic procedure left her 20 pounds of excess skin which she had to remove from her abdomen. Recently, 250 pounds lighter than her heaviest weight, Rosie talked to Cosmopolitan.com about her weight loss journey.

She explained that she didn’t have doubts about losing weight although she became a famous model due to the curves. On the question did she thought twice about making the decision, Rosie said:

“No, because I had been both criticized and celebrated for being fat at the same time. I asked myself if I was genuinely happy and realized I had to change if I wanted to be able to do things with my kids, get rid of the pains in my hips and knees, and stop being judged.”

“I was criticized like crazy for dropping the weight and accused of being ashamed of my body. It had nothing to do with shame or even wanting to have a better career. I just wanted to have a better life with spontaneity, the freedom to go zip-lining or ride a roller coaster, and take part in other experiences that I never had as a teenager because I’ve been overweight my entire life. It was never about being thin. It was just about being healthy with vitality and choices.”

Life with over 400 pounds is a constant struggle. Rosie wasn’t able to play with her three kids. She was even humiliated in front of many people when she had to travel.

“You always have to wonder if the chair you sit in is going to hold you, whether you’ll fit into a vehicle, and whether there will be a seatbelt that fits around you. When I’d go out with my three kids, I had to bring a nanny because I couldn’t keep up with them. I was a spectator instead of a participant because my body couldn’t hold my weight up for more than 30 minutes, and I’d get out of breath.”

“I’ll never forget this one time on an airplane when I was told in front of everyone that I had to purchase a second seat because I didn’t fit into one. The people nearby who heard it laughed while I cried. It was horrifying.”

Previously nobody believed that she is a model. Now, with fewer pounds Rosie even has more offers because she can fit into more regular sizes.

“At my heaviest, people would think I was joking when I said I was a model. Nobody came to me and said, “Hey, we want you for this,” but I was a working model at that size. I had to knock on doors and say, “Look. I represent bigger women,” because I did. There were companies that jumped on board because they realized that a lot of women could relate to my size, while other companies turned me away because their sample sizes didn’t fit me.”

“Brands are more supportive of me now because I fit into their sample sizes. I understand that — that at the end of the day, modeling is business, and brands aren’t going to go out of their way to cut special sample sizes just for me.”

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Now Rosie is proud to wear size 14. According to the Washington State University the average size of the U.S. woman falls between a 16 and an 18, which are the lower end of plus sizes.

“It doesn’t bother me. I know there’s been this big debate about what to call plus-size models, but whether you want to label it or not, I think you’ve got to accept what is. Otherwise, it gets under your skin. I’m proud to represent.”

Rosie doesn’t feel she was cheating by getting gastric sleeve surgery. She explained it’s a great way lose weight but the recovery is not easy at all.

“The gastric sleeve was a great tool to help me lose another 150 pounds, but it’s still been a journey full of sweat, tears, and lots of dedication. You can’t cheat weight loss. It’s not like I sat around and ate whatever and lost the weight. Everyone says surgery is the easy way out, but going under the knife is never the easy way out. You don’t know if you’re going to come back out of it and whether there will be complications.”

“Recovery took a lot of energy. I’d be tired after standing for 20 minutes. The hardest part was that I had to completely change my lifestyle from day one with a 30-day liquid diet designed to reteach my body how to eat, like a baby figuring out how to tolerate different foods. I progressed to soup, then protein shakes that got progressively thicker, then added mashed vegetables. I realized I couldn’t eat certain breads or anything high in sugar because I’d get dizzy and sweat like crazy.”

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