Photo that led to 50kg weight loss
A SUPER shrinking bridesmaid shed eight dress sizes after being snapped in a "disgusting" wedding photo - before unveiling her 50kg-lighter frame at new nuptials 12 months later.
Sugar addict Kayla Hatcher graduated from high school in 2006 a size 10 but after having children as well as the tragic death of her sister to cancer, nine years later she tipped the scales at 117kg and a size 22.
The mum-of-two, who drank two litres of fizzy drinks every day, was inspired to transform her body after not recognising herself in pictures of herself as a bridesmaid at her cousin's wedding.
Kayla swapped a fast food addiction for eating just 1000 calories a day and began going to the gym twice a day - even getting up at 2.45am to work out before her kids woke up.
Within 12 months, the 30-year-old had shed almost half her body weight before debuting her svelte new size-8 frame as a bridesmaid at another family wedding exactly a year later.
Real estate office manager Kayla, from Grand Bay, Alabama, said: "After having babies, my weight crept up.
"My typical day was to watch TV, eat and sleep - I was very unhealthy. But I didn't pay attention, I just got bigger clothes.
"After I was photographed in that pink bridesmaid's dress at my cousin's wedding in October 2015, I didn't recognise myself.
"The dress was awkward and uncomfortable. Everybody else's looked fabulous on them, but mine wasn't flattering.
"I was angry I looked like that, and angry the photographer took the image at that angle.
"I saw like six chins and really big arms. It was bad, but it opened my eyes.
"That picture changed my life. I stared at it for hours, and knew things had to change."
Kayla would start the day with two sugary bowls of cereal for breakfast before gorging on cakes, pizza or burgers and eating double helpings of fried chicken or pork chops for dinner.
The mum drank two litres of root beer or Mountain Dew each day as well as sweet tea.
But after hating herself in her cousin's wedding photos, in March 2016 she joined her local gym and swapped her sugary drinks habit for the recommended daily intake of water.
The mum-of-two also began working out for 30 minutes a day before gradually increasing this to three solid hours of weights, squats and crunches daily - going to the gym at 2.45am to complete her workouts in the early hours before her kids woke.
Kayla slashed her calorie intake from 3500 to 1000 a day and began eating smaller portions of healthy home-cooked meals while cutting out noodles, bread and sweets.
By June 2016, she had lost 23kg and by the end of February 2017, only 11 months after starting her weight-loss journey, Kayla had lost a whopping 45kg.
Exactly a year after she decided to lose weight, a 50kg-lighter Kayla was a bridesmaid again in March 2017 - in a much smaller dress.
Kayla, who still runs twice a week, said: "It was really hard in the beginning. I really love my sleep. But once I saw it was working, it became easier.
"I was getting up earlier, I was going longer. By mid-2016, I was going to the gym at 2.45am and staying until about 5am.
"I became addicted to it, going to the gym first thing in the morning, and running club with the kids after school and gym again at night.
"It's overwhelming when you've never set foot inside a gym before and know there's people who go there every day. But I did it.
"When I began losing weight, I was thrilled. Never in a million years did I think I could lose 20kg, much less 50kg."
"I feel so much happier and better about my appearance these days.
"When I went to my cousin's wedding in a size four [US] dress, it was one of the best days of my life."
Kayla now offers advice to friends and family going through the same thing - whether it be recipes, fitness information, or simply a supportive shoulder to lean on.
She said: "I'm still in shock about how much I've changed. If I can do it, anyone can.
"My transformation has changed my life - particularly my relationship with my kids.
"They're thrilled I will go outside and play with them now and they love that I come to running club with them."
KAYLA'S DAILY DIET: BEFORE
Breakfast: Two bowls of sugary cereal
Mid-morning snack: A snack cake and tea with lots of sugar
Lunch: A pizza or burger
Afternoon snack: More tea loaded with sugar or fizzy soft drinks
Dinner: More fried fast food with potatoes and 'Southern' US cooking
Dessert: A candy bar or sweets
KAYLA'S DAILY DIET: NOW
Breakfast: Apple and cinnamon porridge
Mid-morning snack: Almonds
Lunch: Deli meats (usually turkey) with spinach in a wrap
Afternoon snack: Peanut butter, nuts or fruit.
Dinner: Salad with grilled chicken or fish and Italian dressing
Dessert: A bowl of Greek yoghurt and granola (to hit the sweet cravings spot)
Beverages: Water, coffee with vanilla sugar-free creamer