Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on LiveWellNebraska.com
Photo: Kayla Thomas-Haire and husband, Marc Haire, in August 2007 at their wedding at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Omaha.
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Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day — a moment which will, of course, be forever remembered in photographs.
When Marc Haire proposed to Kayla Thomas in September 2006, she set a goal: Wear a bikini and look good in the couple’s Jamaican honeymoon photos.
Kayla, then 31 and 190 pounds, hadn’t felt comfortable wearing a bikini since college.
“He loves me no matter what size I am, no matter what I eat. It’s what I do for myself (that’s important).”
She had 11 months to create a plan and meet her goal of losing 30 pounds. But plans are hard to stick to in the news business. As a reporter and producer at KMTV, Kayla was always on the run, and meals weren’t healthy.
“Every Sunday, the weekend crew would devour calorie-laden takeout pasta and pizza as a way to reward ourselves for working a Sunday when most people were off,” she said. “Weight loss was a daunting task. (I) never thought of myself as overweight until the pictures proved otherwise.”
Kayla got serious in January 2007 using Weight Watchers, a diet program that assigns points to food. She lost 4 pounds the first week, and seeing results was motivating.
She eventually surpassed her original goal and lost 40 pounds — all by eating healthy and exercising. She started out running on a treadmill and ultimately moved to Jazzercise.
Kayla found her wedding dress — a size 14 — three months before starting the weight-loss program.
“The dress was beautiful. I wasn’t as beautiful as I knew I could be or wanted to be,” she said.
Two months before the wedding, Kayla met with the seamstress and was told that altering the dress to fit her new size 8 figure would completely change the style. She had to buy a new one.
“I loved that dress, but I welcomed the opportunity to find something else. I about died when the single-digit dress sizes fit,” Kayla said. She even bought three bikinis to wear on her honeymoon.
After settling into marriage, Kayla didn’t return to her old habits. She lost another 10 pounds.
When she became pregnant with son Tommy, Kayla was at her lowest weight — 140 pounds. Six years and two babies later, maintaining a healthy weight has become a lifestyle.
During her pregnancies, she discovered running.
The new mom’s new goal: run a half marathon. She was scheduled to compete in her first one Saturday at the 500 Festival in Indianapolis.
Now the 37-year-old weighs 155 pounds and feels healthy.
She attributes some of her success to a change in work schedule. Kayla is now executive producer of “The Morning Blend,” a KMTV talk show. Her hours are shorter, and she doesn’t work weekends.
Throughout her process, Kayla has learned a lot and wants to impart that knowledge to other working moms.
“If you are not happy with yourself, you won’t be happy with anyone,” she said. “It’s not about anyone else but me and now for my kids.”
She also reminds women who have young kids and tight budgets that running is always free.
For the record, Kayla said she will wear a bikini when she takes her boys to the pool this summer.
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