In 2012, Jacqueline Adan weighed over 500 pounds. Though she had struggled with her weight since childhood, she decided that it was time to stop letting food get the best of her and start fighting back for real.
"I decided enough was enough and I took control back. I changed my diet and began exercising," she says.
You go, girl!
She even began her own website, where she shares her weight loss journey.
Her weight had always made it difficult to indulge her love of fashion since most clothes didn't fit her, and a healthier relationship with food allowed her to love it again.
Reaching her target weight was only the first step. The incredible weight loss had left her with a lot of excess skin and discomfort.
Jacqueline says, "At the time I was so angry with myself for getting so big that I now have to have surgery."
But after the surgery, she was happy she made the decision.
"But looking down and seeing my stomach flat...no loose skin hanging off me...and that moment...that exact feeling...it is so hard to put into words. It was gone. I felt like a new me and I was determined to heal and keep going."
This time it was an upper body lift and an arm lift.
"I have to admit, that I can't help but tear up when I see that my arms don't hang down to the floor, and my back is...well...flat now."
Now that the first two were healed, the doctor could go back in and remove the leftover skin from her arms and tighten up everything.
After four surgeries in a single year and more to come, Jacqueline and her family decided a vacation was in order.
Besides overcoming her anxiety about showing off her legs, she also needed to find a suit with sleeves to protect her scars from the Mexico sun.
"I used to hate to travel because of the airplanes, walking, being worried about what would happen and what I could not do....if I would fit..get laughed at or made fun of....now I feel like I want to travel all over and do everything!!!"
"Floating in the water, letting my body relax, and clearing my mind of everything was exactly what I needed...physically and mentally!"
"This photo is the first time in over 5 years that I went into a public pool, without pants or a shirt covering me and just jumped right in!"
But, of course, she wasn't surprised when people started to point and comment about her legs.
A few weeks after the vacation, Jacqueline shared the story on Instagram.
Though Jacqueline has come a long way and already had surgeries on her upper body, her legs still carry the excess skin from weight loss.
"So what did I do? I took a deep breath, smiled and walked into the pool. That was a huge moment for me. I had changed."
"They do not know me. They do not know how I have worked my ass off to lose 350 pounds. They do not know how I am recovering from major surgeries. They have no right to sit and point and laugh at me.
"That's why I smiled," she explained, "It does not matter what others say or if they try to doubt you or try to bring you down. What matters is how you react to it. How you feel about yourself. Loving yourself just the way you are is hard. Others might not like that. That's ok.
"I hope you love yourself. Love your body. I hope you keep doing you and just keep smiling!"
You go, girl!
SHARE her story with your friends so that more and more people can read Jacqueline's message of self-love!