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Woman Who Lost 350 Lbs. Continued to Struggle with Binge Eating: 'I Couldn't Control It'

People logo People 4 days ago Julie Mazziotta

Jacqueline Adan hit her highest weight of over 500 lbs. in part because of her habit of binge eating — so it was frustrating to have the addiction come back after she lost 350 lbs.

The Montessori preschool teacher, 31, says she had the “uncontrollable” urge to eat at her heaviest weight, but she didn’t realize that it was a real, medical issue.

“I think I had some sort of binge eating going on, that uncontrollable, overeating behavior of eating too much, emotional eating, eating for fun and just not worrying about anything or the consequences it was going to have on my body,” Adan tells PEOPLE. “Once I realized it got out of hand, I couldn’t control it. The more I realized I had an issue the more I couldn’t stop eating.”

a couple of people posing for the camera: Jacqueline Adan © Jacqueline Adan Jacqueline Adan

When Adan made up her mind to start losing weight in 2012, she would restrict her food intake, and while it worked, it was too extreme.

“When I started losing my weight, I was very strict with it, and I went completely opposite,” she says. “I was like, I’m never going to do this again, I’m never going to overeat. I think that mentality helped me with losing weight, but at the same time it was very extreme. There wasn’t a middle ground.”

Adan successfully dropped 350 lbs. by 2016, but she was still in that restrictive mindset. And when she started working with a doctor for skin removal surgery and learned she had to add calories to her diet to keep her body going, the San Francisco-based Adan struggled.

“I had to eat more, essentially, and I fell back to the other extreme,” she says. “I was overeating, and still trying to keep my weigh minimal because I was so scared of gaining any weight back. I was constantly gaining the 20 lbs. and losing it, and gaining and losing 5 lbs. It wasn’t enough where people were noticing, but deep down inside, I knew something was going on.”

a couple of people posing for the camera: Jacqueline Adan © Jacqueline Adan Jacqueline Adan

She also felt a responsibility to keep up appearances on her Instagram and blog, where over 107,000 people turn to her for weight loss motivation and advice.

“Admitting that I have gained even a little weight — to tell them that, would be to be letting them down,” she says. “I feel like people look up to me for inspiration and motivation to lose weight or feel better about themselves, and I felt like I would be letting people down because I’m struggling with this.”

But Adan still didn’t have a name for her eating habits, and multiple doctors told her she was worrying too much. It wasn’t until she started working with a therapist that Adan learned that she was binge eating.

“I was glad to know that something was going on, and I wasn’t imagining it, and there was something that could fix me,” she says. “If I didn’t know what the problem was it was hard for me to find a solution. Hearing that I was a binge eater was like a light bulb.”

#transformationtuesday March 2012 is when our #weightlossjourney began. Yes I said our. For the first few years of our relationship we spent time eating out, not being active at all and indulging in way too many sweets and treats. We were in love and we thought we were just having fun! Well...little did we know how out of hand our weight was...how out of hand my weight really was. I had always struggled with my #bodyimage and with my relationship with food, and when I met Kevin and he loved me for me...I completely just went off track. Kevin took my hand when I was ready to change, and we began this #weightlosstransformation together. While Kevin ended up needing to lose 50 pounds, I found myself needing to lose over 350 pounds. The nights of binge watching tv and eating pizza and other takeout meals were over and it was time that we took back control of our lives. Kevin was right by my side through it all. He loved me at 500 pounds and to this day our love has only grown stronger. He lost 50 pounds and yes I lost the 350 pounds. Combined that is 400 pounds we have lost together, but what we gained is so much more! Our dates now include boxing together, seeing who can get the most miles on the assault bike in one class and helping each other lift heavier and push each other to be the best we can be! We are proof that anything is possible and that it is possible to make the changes in your life and reach any goal no matter how big it may seem. But if you take one thing away from this...I hope that you see that true love really does exists and it does not matter the size, shape, color, or your dress size! Love is love and when we not only have unconditional love from others, but unconditional love for ourselves anything is possible! Kevin was able to see me for me, without seeing a size or a number and because of that I was able to see who I was and who I wanted to be. I was able to begin to #lovemyself as well. Stop waiting for that perfect time, and start living your life right now!!!! Keep spreading that love to not only to others but to yourself as well! Remember, love has no size, color, or shape. #loveislove So keep on loving!!! #couplegoals #beaut

A post shared by Jacqueline's Journey (@jacquelineadan44) on May 8, 2018 at 5:38pm PDT

Recognizing her addictive habits helped Adan change her mindset, and how she eats.

“Now I’m much more aware of what I’m doing, and it’s not all or nothing like it was before, where I would go to the gym and eat my healthy foods or have one doughnut and binge the rest of the day,” she says. “Keeping it even has been key for me because I can catch myself in the moment before I’m overeating or completely restricting myself.”

Adan wanted to share her experience, to show that appearances can often be deceiving — just because she lost weight doesn’t mean that her problems are solved forever.

“I hope that no one ever feels ashamed or embarrassed if they are struggling with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia or with their own body image or self love,” she says. “For me, actually admitting I needed some help and realizing that I was struggling and accepting what was going on and admitting it was exactly what I needed to overcome this and continue to move forward!”

Slideshow: Get Inspired by These Incredible Weight Loss Transformations (Provided by People) 

Robin Janes: Lost 280 Lbs.: Janes, 28, can't remember a time when she was ever small. “Not even in a baby picture,” she tells PEOPLE for the 2018 Half Their Size issue. “I was always overweight, and it continued through adulthood.” By then, Janes couldn't fit on a normal scale. “I went to my friend’s family business where they weigh huge industrial tubs,” she recalls. “That’s how I found out I was 450 lbs.” Her real turning point, though, was when she realized she could no longer fit in the desks at her college, and had to put her education on hold. Ready for a change, Janes started with Isagenix meal replacement shakes, and taught herself to cook healthy meals. She also began working out slowly, with short walks and swims. Now 280 lbs. lighter, Janes loves playing volleyball and hitting the gym, and is working on her degree once again. “I’m back in school. I can work anywhere. I’m not limited,” Janes says. “I feel like before all the doors were closed for me. Now they’re all open.” Get Inspired by These Incredible Weight Loss Transformations


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