Jacqueline Adan, who once weighed 500 pounds, has avoided being seen in a bathing suit at all costs for most of her life.
But since dropping 350 pounds, she wasn’t going to let anything — including a few unpleasant onlookers or some excess skin as a result her dramatic weight loss — stop her from enjoying her vacation and taking pride in her success.
“I thought, ‘I’ve come so far, I’m going to do this,’” the body-positive blogger from San Mateo, Calif. told TODAY Style, adding that the last time she wore a bathing suit, she paired it with a long-sleeved shirt and pants.
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But this time around, Adan, 30, bought a new bathing suit with no intentions of covering up during her trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She recounted what happened in an Instagram post that's gone viral.
“I was nervous to take my cover-up off and to walk into the pool or walk on the beach," she said in the post. "I still felt like that same 500-pound girl ... then it happened. A couple sitting by the pool started laughing and pointing at me and making fun of me as soon as I took my cover-up off. 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. I was not the same girl anymore.”
Adan, a preschool teacher, added in her interview with TODAY that she didn't think it was fair for the couple to judge her body.
“They don’t know what I’m going through," she said. "They don’t know I’ve lost 350 pounds. They have no right to sit there and judge … so I just got in the pool with my family.”
It was just five years ago that Adan weighed more than 500 pounds. After getting stuck in a turnstile at Disneyland, she decided to start eating healthier and to move more — which resulted in a life-changing, 350-pound weight loss.
Adan never saw the couple who laughed at her again during her vacation, but when asked what she would have told them, she said, “I would have wanted to give them a hug. That’s obviously what they needed: more love and more positivity instead of judging people.”
Supporters flooded her Instagram post, which received nearly 30,000 "likes," with kind words.
“You are amazing," one wrote. "Thank you for being an inspiration."
“Amen! Be proud of the work you’ve done and own it,” wrote another.