From 300+ lbs to Roller Derby, CrossFit and The Battlegrounds
Kayla’s friends may describe her as determined, but we would describe her as unstoppable. After losing over 100 lbs, Kayla explains that her journey was not just about weight loss. “Weight loss is a huge obstacle, but it’s the struggle within that is the hardest battle.” Developing a sense of self worth and improving her mental health are just as important as her fitness. Kayla attributes her success to surrounding herself with like-minded people who support her. Her life mantra:
“Stay motivated to have fun, have fun to make friends, make friends to stay motivated.”
What 3 words would your friends use to describe you?
Weird. Fun. Determined.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your life?
Overcoming anxiety and depression and trying to improve my self-image. I used to be over 300 lbs and have lost over 115 lbs. Weight loss is a huge obstacle, but it’s the struggle within that is the hardest battle. It is easier to change the outside than to clean up the inside and to fight away bad thoughts. During my journey it has become clear that I will be working towards self-improvement my entire life. I think learning self-worth and trying to improve my mental health has contributed to my fitness journey, and now they are completely hand in hand. I don’t work out just because I want to be fit, but it keeps me grounded and calms my anxiety.
What does life’s better when battled mean to you?
To me, it means if you are not challenging yourself, then you aren’t living up to your true potential. I spent a lot of my life being stuck within my own anxiety and not trying new things or being active at all. I found a passion when I was in college – roller derby – that changed my life forever. It is a sport that is constantly changing and you can never hit the top – there is always room to improve. I love that challenge. I also just started CrossFit this year, which has made a huge impact on me. I think trying new things, feeling uncomfortable and overcoming, makes for a strong person. Life is much sweeter when you have sweated for it!
What’s your favorite Battlegrounds obstacle?
While I did honestly like the simplest of things – like my friends mud bombing each other on the course between obstacles – I also really loved the Triple Threat warped wall. During the morning, it was so slippery and there were so many people struggling, but I had help from strangers and returned the favor. The community became one, and no one was left behind. It was completely overwhelming and lovely – I never would have been able to do that alone. It would have been easy for me to go around, but I accepted the help (which is hard to do!) and was so amazed and proud afterwards.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
St. Louis has a huge and incredible roller derby presence – I am part of Arch Rival Roller Derby which is the coolest group of strong and empowered skaters and volunteers. Check us out on Facebook or visit our website.