A woman who has dropped 185lbs is raising awareness of the side effects of extreme weight loss while crowdfunding her skin removal surgery.
Kayla Butcher, 24, underwent a gastric bypass operation in February 2016, and has since lost almost half of her body weight, taking her from 376.5lbs to 191lbs so far.
However, whilst she says that she is ‘incredibly proud’ of how far she has come, her transformation has left her with a noticeable amount of excess skin, which makes many aspects of her day-to-day life more challenging.
On her GoFundMe page, where she is aiming to raise $10,000 for her skin removal operation, Kayla explains: ‘It is very emotionally difficult to deal with, finally being freed from the weight I’ve carried since I was a child but still feeling trapped inside a body that constantly reminds me of the lifetime of pain and struggle.
‘Wearing clothes is more difficult and being intimate is even more so daunting than before. Things like wearing swimsuits. I have started saving here and there myself but need some help.’
Kayla, who works full time in a call centre, has documented her weight loss journey on her Instagram account, which she has dubbed ‘my journey to onederland’, and has gained more than 14,000 followers to keep up to date with her progress.
She told Cosmopolitan that before she began shedding the pounds, baked goods like swiss rolls and zebra cakes were her ‘downfall’. ‘We never had limits on what we could eat,’ she revealed.
A combination of a difficult home life and a move to a new city to attend college led to Kayla gaining around 145lbs, and after quitting sports and breaking up with her boyfriend, the number on the scales continued to spiral.
She added that the decision to have a gastric band fitted wasn’t easy, but seemed like a better option than the alternative, saying: ‘There was nothing easy about the process for me. It [seemed] better than living the rest of my life in shame, being moo-ed at in the streets.’
‘Gastric bypass made losing the weight easier and more possible, but it’s more a mind game than anything else. It’s like quitting your drug of choice cold turkey.’
‘I am more self-conscious now at 189 pounds naked than I ever was at 376 pounds. I look and feel like a balloon that has lost all of its air a week after a party,’ she admitted.
At the time of writing, her crowdfunding page has already raised almost $2,000, though Kayla estimates that her tummy tuck alone will cost $7,000 – but regardless of the outcome of the campaign, she has a positive attitude about the future.
‘I [want] to be full of life and not watch it pass me by,’ she concluded. ‘A positive outlook can make all the difference.’