When Rachel Frederickson learned she won The Biggest Loser she “never felt stronger.” Having finally accomplished everything she wanted, she says she was “extremely proud of [herself].”

But the feelings quickly faded in the controversial media storm that followed her 155-pound weight loss. She only fueled the haters when she admitted to taking four or five gym classes per day while eating a mere 1,600 calories spread out in five small meals.

rachel frederickson weight loss before and after

Rachel before and after her scandalous 155-lb. weight loss. Photos courtesy of Getty.

“Comments during the controversial storm following my weight loss were hurtful,” she writes in an essay for the ‘Today’ show’s “2014 Voices,” a special series of essays and interviews.

“My self esteem once again was affected by other people’s voices — this time, the kind that live forever in Facebook posts or written in the pages of magazines. People tried to bring me down and (privately) succeeded. To the voices of those who tried to life me up after the finale, I thank you! “

READ MORE: Rachel Reveals She’s at Her “Ideal Weight”

She goes on to call 2014 “a year of learning, changing and growing” as she shares exciting news in her personal life. She’s taking college classes, walking dogs at a local shelter and is even training for her first marathon — though she knows none of that will silence the naysayers or please the haters.

“There will always be other voices in life,” she writes. “The trouble comes when you stop listening to your own. I am committed to trusting my decisions and standing strong behind them. I found strength in this struggle and I am listening to my own voice again!”

Read Rachel’s essay in its entirety at Today.com!