Over the past two years, Kayla Hurley has lost nearly 200 pounds. It’s not something she’d ever intended to be famous for, but within days of posting her story to Imgur, Hurley was everywhere. She was hailed as an honest voice for those who have lost large amounts of weight and those who long to.
The reason that Hurley’s story is so captivating isn’t because she looks like a completely different person, but because she’s fighting the stereotypes of the weight-loss narrative. She’s not The Biggest Loser or The Swan. No TV coach has helped her slim down and then plied her with cash and prizes. Instead, Hurley’s speaking out about both sides of the weight loss journey. On one hand, she’s happier and healthier than she’s ever been, on the other, she’s struggling with some painful challenges no “fat to fabulous” story ever tells.
Hurley is 24, and she says she was obese all throughout high school — gaining weight until age 22 when she hit a turning point at an amusement park. She and her family had gone to Busch Gardens to celebrate her little brother’s birthday. Humiliation struck when her brother wanted to ride a rollercoaster and Hurley found herself unable to fit on the ride.