SACRAMENTO (CBS Sacramento) – Model Rosie Mercado, in a recent interview with PEOPLE magazine, recalls a time where top modeling agencies would call her after seeing her head shot. When Mercado arrived to the casting call revealing the rest of her body, many chose not to hire her because of her size.

The mother-of-three reached 410 pounds. She expressed that her relationship with food became a dependency especially after traumatic events.

“I hit rock bottom about eight years ago and started gaining a lot of weight,” she explained. “My son was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, my marriage fell apart. Everything that could possibly happen happened.”

Mercado recalls her worst fear was not being able to fit into a booth or table at a restaurant and not being able to do things she enjoyed, like going to the movies or Disneyland. She even had to hire a nanny to play and have fun with her kids.

Mercado’s wake-up call was the day an airline employee told her she needed to buy a second seat in order to fit on the plane.

She said, “They were really rude. They announced it in front of everyone that I needed to buy an additional ticket. That was an ‘aha’ moment for me-either I choose to continue living this lifestyle, or I make a wise decision and take responsibility for my life.”

She began working out regularly and eliminated fast food from her diet.

“It just really comes down to eating habits. I do have my cheat meal once a week, but everything other than that meal is high-protein, low-carb, and dairy-free. I eat lots of vegetables and drink lots of water,” she said.

Since dropping nearly 210 pounds, her modeling career is taking off and she is now the face of plus-size retailer Igigi.com for their holiday campaign.

The best part of her weight loss is spending more time being active with her children. She continues to lose weight, but expresses her, “goal is not to be a size 2 or 4; that’s not who I am.”

Mercado said, “I feel so confident because of my quality life. I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.”