The first time a PLUS-size blogger who had shed 25 stone was fat-shamed in public, she was horrified.
When Jacqueline Adan, 30, turned 25, she weighed a massive 35 stone (500lbs), and she decided that it was time to change her life for good.
Five years later, the Californian felt prepared to travel with her boyfriend Kevin wearing a swimsuit without a coverup after adhering to the Jenny Craig diet plan, a US-based low-calorie meal delivery service.
In an emotional Instagram post, she described what had happened: “It had been a while since I had last worn a bathing suit, and it had been even longer since I had done so without a coverup until we went on vacation to Mexico a few weeks ago.
“To enter the pool or stroll along the beach, I was anxious to remove my coverup. I was still in the same frame of mind as that 500-pound female when it happened.
As soon as I pulled off my coverup, a couple at the pool began to point at me, laugh, and tease me.
Despite the possibility that the embarrassing incident might have permanently damaged Jacqueline’s self-confidence or made her stay home for the remainder of her vacation, she made the conscious decision to own the situation and ignore the couple’s glances.
I smiled and got into the water after taking a deep breath, she continued.
“For me, that was a major occasion. I was different. I had changed from the girl I once was.
“I may occasionally feel insecure, I still have a lot of loose skin, and I still get teased.
“To be honest, it bothered me. But I vowed to stop allowing those people to influence me!
I won’t let what other people think of me keep me from living my life, I promise.
Despite the situation, kind Jacqueline said that the pair was ignorant about both her journey and her life in general.
“They don’t understand how hard I worked to shed 350 pounds, she said.”
“They are unaware of how I am bouncing back after a big surgery. They have no right to stand there, point at me, and laugh.
“I smiled because of that. What other people think, say, or do to cast doubt on you or try to undermine you is irrelevant. It’s your response that counts how you view your own self.
“It’s difficult to love yourself exactly as you are. They might not agree with that. It’s alright. I wish you’d accept yourself.
“Be kind to yourself. I wish you continued success and pure joy!
After receiving numerous praises and gratitude from her 61,000 followers for her open account of her holiday nightmare, she decided to thank them in an equally emotional post on her account, @jacquelineadan44.
She stated: “I think there is a lot of negativity surrounding people who are different, so I think it is our responsibility to build one other up rather than tear each other down! The only thing that matters is being truly satisfied with oneself, which comes from within.”
Jacqueline has been frank and open about her weight issues. In a blog post from last year, she described the moment she realized she needed to lose weight.
When describing a trip to Disneyland for her 25th birthday, she stated that she was so obese that she had to be pushed through the park in a wheelchair and that several of the ride turnstiles were too big for her.
She stated: “Since the day I was born, I have adored [Disneyland].
“It’s a land of magic and fantasy, where anything was possible and where dreams truly did come true. As soon as I stepped through those gates, I was instantly turned into a princess.
“I reasoned that perhaps seeing the “happiest spot on earth” would be precisely the thing to lift my spirits, but when we got there, I had to rent a wheelchair since I could hardly manage the short distance to the front gate.
“I felt so ashamed that I was unable to walk due to my physical condition and that I had to use a wheelchair to get around.
“I can still recall riding my wheelchair through Disneyland and feeling as though everyone was staring, criticizing, and admiring the big girl on wheels who couldn’t even walk! I was humiliated!”
What do you think about body shaming? Have you experienced it? How can we stop it from happening to people? Please let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to spread the news so that we can hear from more people.