When her 185-lb. weight loss left her with large amounts of excess skin, Jessica Weber didn’t let it bring her down. Instead, she’s sharing body-baring photos on Instagram to help others stay just as positive.
Weber, 23, decided to finally lose weight after she hit 383 lbs., and had an emotional talk with her mom.
“My mom actually started crying, and told me she thought I’d die before her,” the Illinois-based Walmart associate tells PEOPLE. “It just hit me hard, and I knew I had to start losing weight. It became my motivation!”
Now she sticks to a low-carb, high-fat diet that has her down to 198 lbs. in just 15 months — but it hasn’t been easy.
“I’m not perfect by any means, and I do stray off of it, but that’s what I stick to for the most part,” Weber says. “So far it’s been a constant struggle. I have to wake up every day and convince my mind that this is the right thing to do. So many people don’t understand that it’s a mental battle more than physical.”
And the weight loss process became a bit tougher when she started noticing her excess skin.
“I was always prepared for it, but it is still such a struggle to deal with daily,” Weber says. “I’ve seen some people lose weight and have it not be such a problem, but I wasn’t that lucky.”
But Weber stayed upbeat about the excess skin, and decided to share photos of her body on social media.
“I wanted to be open about it on Instagram because I wanted people to realize what obesity does,” she says. “That they can make changes, but they’ll also face problems with loose skin in all areas. “I want people to not be scared, or feel hidden of what they accomplished after weight loss!”
Still, she was hesitant to post the first photo.
“I was extremely nervous. I almost didn’t share it because I thought it would get so much hate,” Weber says. “I’m glad I did because I was overwhelmed with kindness and love.”
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And she’s enjoying reading all of the comments as she focuses on losing the last 38-48 lbs., and plans for a tummy tuck.
“Seeing everyone so positive has been the best feeling,” Weber says. “It makes me more open about my journey!”