For plus-size model Rosie Mercado, it all started in 2011 when a flight attendant told her that she needed to buy an extra seat because, quite frankly, she was too big to fit into just one.
She was 410 pounds at the time and that moment humiliated her so much she wanted to lose weight.
Five years later, she's now 170 pounds, and she's lost 250 from her heaviest weight. That weight loss came at a price, though.
"I got hate mail," she told a TMZ camera crew of her journey, claiming that people encouraged her to commit suicide for losing weight. She calls the haters "fat activists."
"They just hated the fact that I was public about my weight loss," she said.
Rosie lost weight with a combination of diet exercise and surgeries, and she's unapologetic about having done the latter, which included getting a gastric sleeve, tummy tuck and skin removal surgery.
Some people, she said, just weren't pleased with her losing weight, despite the fact she says she's happy now.
"There was a group of people that resented that I was losing weight because they thought diet equals being a size zero," she said. "Diet, for me, really equaled a lifestyle change; it equaled freedom. It didn't equal a size. It equaled to having freedom of choice."
Still, she is actually "grateful" in some regards for being over 400 pounds because it taught her persistence, how to be humble and how to treat people better.
"Never judge a book by it's cover," she added as one of the most important things that being obese taught her.
In August, the model showed off her thinner frame on Instagram with a before and after image., writing, "Both sizes have taught me lessons I will never forget and have made me a better human being. Determination and persistence .....Before and after... 410 down to 170 and my life has changed so much..."
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