A Barbie-obsessed woman who went drastically from being a size 26 to a size six has fulfilled her ‘childhood dream’ of looking like the iconic doll.
Kayla LaVende, 37, recalls that her love for the Mattel toy came from her parents gifting her one each week as weight-loss motivation when she was young.
She grew up being inspired by Barbie’s ‘you can be anything’ message.
As a girl she was diagnosed with thyroid disease and chronic lipedema, which made it extremely difficult to lose weight.
Kayla LaVende, 37, went from being 342 pounds to 140 pounds. Pictured left before her transformation and pictured right after she changed up her lifestyle
She does cardio seven times per week and weight training six times per week now. Pictured in her old pants after her health journey
Kayla went from being a size 26 (left) to a size six (right), and her ‘childhood dream’ of resembling Barbie has come true
To help encourage their child not to give up, Kayla’s parents gave her a Barbie doll every week as motivation
Her dramatic weight-loss journey started two years ago as an adult when she was taking a flight and wanted to become ‘invisible’ because she purchased two seats.
The Australian native, who lives in Las Vegas, went from being 342 pounds to 140 pounds, and now people say that she looks like Barbie, which she says is a ‘childhood dream come true.’
Kayla had been carrying excess weight since childhood. Although she was never a victim of bullying she always felt secretly judged by others.
Her parents attempted everything they could to help her shed the weight, but everything they tried didn’t work.
She spoke to doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists in order to get to the bottom of why she was so overweight when she was young.
‘I was eventually diagnosed with thyroid disease and chronic lipedema (an abnormal buildup of fat in the legs, hips, bottom and sometimes arms),’ she explained.
Despite the risks her health issues posed Kayla struggled to follow a healthy diet. Her go-to indulgences were carb-loaded treats like pasta, bread, pizza, and ice cream.
Exercise routines never seemed to stick and any attempts at long-term fitness programs failed.
To help encourage their child not to give up Kayla’s parents gave her a Barbie doll every week as motivation.
Kayla was inspired by Barbie’s strong message of ‘you can be anything.’ She accepted the notion that she, too, could become anything she desired.
Kayla’s weight-loss journey began two years ago when the self-proclaimed Barbie mega fan took a one-hour flight
Weighing in at 342 pounds, Kayla knew she needed to secure two seats to ensure her comfort and that of her fellow passengers and she wanted to feel ‘invisible’
Kayla has always been obsessed with Barbie and her fashion and as a young girl she vicariously lived through her.
‘Barbie motivated me to be creative, joyful, vibrant, and colorful at any size,’ she recalled.
Kayla struggled to find clothes that were in her size so she opted to make her own.
Little did Kayla know that her first solo flight in a decade would result in a complete body overhaul shrinking her from a size 26 into a size six.
Kayla’s weight-loss journey began two years ago when the self-proclaimed Barbie mega fan took a one-hour Southwest Airlines expedition from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to renew her Australian passport.
Weighing in at 342 pounds, Kayla knew she needed to secure two seats to ensure her comfort and that of her fellow passengers.
The extra seat may have set the content creator back financially, but the emotional relief of avoiding the embarrassment of spilling into someone else’s seat was worth every penny.
As she boarded the plane, Kayla couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. She chose the last row hoping to avoid judgmental stares from fellow passengers.
Kayla spent extra money to get a second seat on the plane. From previous experience, she didn’t want to make the other passengers sitting in the same row uncomfortable.
The Southwest Airlines staff allowed Kayla to board first and have a priority pick at her seat. She took the last row in an attempt to avoid stares. She recalls feeling like she wanted to ‘hide herself’ and become ‘invisible.’
Seated in the third seat in the same row was a petite lady who glanced rudely at her and that experience motivated her to transform her life.
Kayla has always been obsessed with Barbie and her fashion, and as a young girl she vicariously lived through her
Kayla struggled to find clothes that were in her size so she opted to make her own
As an adult, Kayla – who wore sizes 26 to 28 clothes – found herself starving throughout the day before bingeing on unhealthy foods before bedtime.
During the day, Kayla wouldn’t eat while working her long hours. She would come home starving and would be drawn to binge eat. Kayla would often indulge in fast food or pasta.
Kayla was experiencing pain and aches in her body. She knew it was time for a huge change in her life because she ‘craved freedom and felt completely constrained by her size.’
She continued: ‘For me, losing weight started with a determined mindset. Once I’d committed to losing weight in 2018, nothing could stop me.
‘I dove headfirst into healthier habits, embracing weight training, cardio workouts, and a diet featuring 120 grams of protein, under 30 grams of carbs, and less than 20 grams of sugar daily.’
She enlisted the help of gastric sleeve surgery to aid her weight loss and fitness journey, which she said ‘transformed her lifestyle and kept her on track.’
During the procedure, surgeons removed 80 per cent of her stomach. She then went on to have skin removal on her arms, stomach, and breast lift with implants.
She enlisted the help of a gastric sleeve surgery to aid her weight loss and fitness journey. Kayla is pictured before (left) and after (right) after her transformation
The result? Kayla’s weight dropped to 140 pounds. She then entered her first body transformation competition and she won.
Kayla is working with a trainer who is helping her gain more muscle and stick to her nutrition plan.
Her current routine includes ‘cardio seven days a week and weight training six days a week,’ and she is committed to staying ‘structured.’
As for her next fitness goals she wants to continue to work on building muscle.
Kayla’s focus became nutrition as she began eating for fuel instead of for pleasure. She also got a ‘newfound passion for fitness’ and has fun working out daily.
She begins her day with a protein shake. For lunch or dinner she goes for chicken or turkey to keep things ‘deliciously consistent,’ and she credits her discipline to a ‘shift in her mindset.’
In the future, she wants to have skin removal from her thighs because she believes ‘they are very strong and muscular under all the skin,’ and she’s curious to see ‘what’s under there.’
The result? Kayla’s weight dropped to 140 pounds. She then entered her first body transformation competition and she won
Kayla, who has garnered more than 84,000 TikTok followers and nearly 29,000 Instagram admirers, is even preparing to flex her newly empowered muscles in a bodybuilding competition.
Kayla is no longer held back by her size. She confidently navigates any space, indulges in exhilarating activities, and shops to her heart’s content.
Her life has taken an extraordinary turn as she works in the weight-loss industry, guiding and inspiring others on their own remarkable journeys.
Kayla has won her first fitness competition, purchased a pink convertible that she calls her Barbie car, and she even got promoted at her job. She wants to put out even more Barbie content and attend more events.
Kayla feels like she is ‘finally enjoying her life without any physical limits.’ She now ‘loves her life’ and has ‘checked off a few of her goals.’
Her transformation led her to be compared to her childhood idol, the fabulous Barbie herself.
‘People say I resemble her; it’s like a childhood dream come true. My Barbie style has finally been recognized!’ she gushed.