Rosie Mercado is body goals! Ahead of her premiere on Vivica A. Fox’s talk show, Face the Truth, on CBS this fall, the model, TV host and life coach spoke to Us Weekly about her journey from a size 34 to a size 14, how she lost nearly 250 pounds and the health lessons that have stuck with her since.
The television personality says that her weight, which reached its highest at 424 pounds, was always connected to what was going on in her life. A series of hurdles — including two divorces (one while she was pregnant) and her son’s mild cerebral palsy diagnosis — were catalysts for her emotion-driven eating.
“My weight has always gone up in my darkest moments … I’ve always relied on food,” Mercado tells Us exclusively. “I dealt with the depression of being alone as a mom. Then also dealing with the emotions that I was no longer with my partner. On top of it, the constant criticism that, because of my weight, I was never going to attain any of my dreams.”
Mercado is now on the top of her professional game but her career had to withstand a fair share of detours. It was her dream to be on TV, but because of her weight she was discouraged by her peers. She opted for radio instead. “They told me, ‘You’re too big for TV. You’re OK from the chest up but from the chest down, it’s not gonna happen, girl,’” she says.
But in 2012 she proved them wrong. Despite her weight, she got a gig in front of the camera on the USA network reality show Curvy Girls. Still, while boarding a red eye flight home to care for her kids after filming the series, Mercado was told by a flight attendant that she had to buy a second seat to board the plane.
Mortified by how she was treated, she hit rock bottom. When she got home, her father suggested she go to a Tony Robbins seminar. It was there that Mercado walked across hot coals on stage, an exercise the self-help guru often uses to help attendees have a breakthrough. That moment finally sparked change. “I knew if I could do that, I could do anything,” she says.
She got a trainer, started eating right and lost 100 pounds all on her own. “I couldn’t even do a pushup. I couldn’t do a burpee. The great thing about my trainer Justin Blum, who is still my trainer today, is that he was very compassionate with me and would say, ‘Look. You can’t do this, but you can do that,'” she recalls.
In 2015, Mercado received a gastric sleeve to help her lose the rest of the weight. “I thought, ‘I’m so dedicated, I’m doing this. I’m sick and tired of the same thing. I’m making this decision and I’m changing my life’— and it was the best decision of my life,” she tells Us.
As a final step, the Nevada native had a tummy tuck to remove 22 pounds of excess skin due to her extreme weight loss. She became a size 14 — and has remained there.
“It was never the goal to be a size zero, never a goal to be a size eight — there’s nothing wrong with those sizes — but for me, my authentic self, I’m a curvy plus-size Latina that is living my best life right now,” she says. “I’m at my healthiest but I had to learn so many lessons about taking care of my body and that it’s the same way you take care of your business, it’s the same way you take care of your relationships and it’s the same way that you manifest your dreams. It’s about discipline, time and dedication.”
Adds Mercado, “You wanna get to the next place? You gotta work. And you’ve gotta do the work yourself.”
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