Rosie Mercado is a plus-size model who lost 240 pounds after she was told by airline staff that she needed to pay for two seats on an airplane. This was the kick she needed to finally get the surgery that would help her with weight loss.
The 36-year-old Los Angeles native was 410 pounds with 70-inch wide hips when that airline encounter happened in 2011. That jolted her to start her journey to a healthier life. With diet and exercise, Rosie lost 100 pounds. Her exercises included running, Zumba, and other cardio.
Then she plateaued. She had a difficult time losing additional weight and even noticed that she was beginning to gain some pounds. She was 320 pounds and terrified of going back to her original weight. And that was when she decided to make a big change.
She told People magazine, “I was going back and forth with my weight, and I saw a documentary on the [gastric] sleeve. I said, ‘You know what I’m going to do this. It’s the next part of my journey.'”
But Rosie was not prepared for how tough her journey to health would become. After getting a gastric sleeve fitted, she could not have rice or soda without becoming sick. She had to relearn how to eat in small portions. Her new body was adjusting, and she needed to be on the same page.
Her life became all about low-calorie meals. You have to make adjustments as your body transforms itself. She learned her body’s limits of what she could and couldn’t do. When she tried to push herself to do something she wasn’t allowed to do, like have soda, she would feel horrible.
Rosie said that she developed discipline and learned portion control as she struggled with life after gastric surgery.
After losing such an incredible amount of weight, she suffered from a problem common to those who have undergone weight loss transformations. She has a lot of excess skin, and it wasn’t pretty. She explained, “I had to be in Spanx the entire time. I couldn’t run without Spanx because of the weight of the skin. You lose all this weight, you’re excited, and then you take your clothes off and you have all this excess skin. New issues start coming up.”
She would get rashes and struggle to deal with the folds of skin. It was difficult to even get dressed. Rosie got a tummy tuck to remove the 20 pounds of extra skin.
Speaking of her weight loss journey, she says it was the most painful thing she has undergone in her life. She went through it all: burning, tubes protruding from her body, body aches. With a combined effort of her own diet and exercise and the gastric surgery, Rosie lost a total of 240 pounds. She dropped from size 36 to a svelte size 12/14.
Currently, she maintains her weight of 170 pounds with boot camp classes at least three times a week. Her diet consists mainly of protein and vegetables.
As a plus-size model, Rosie is signed with True Model Management. She’s been with them since April of 2014, and she has featured in campaigns for Ibbi World and igigi.com.