Many overweight people struggle with staying the course and losing the necessary weight because it’s incredibly challenging to do. Often, people can be inspired to make a change in their exercise and eating habits when life throws them a curve, such as a health scare that requires them to lose weight. In this case, a tragedy motivated one woman to make the difficult change.
Twin sisters Mary and Ruth looked identical until they were 11 years old and Mary started gaining weight. By the time the sisters were adults, Ruth weighed 120 pounds and Mary weighed 420 pounds. Their mother referred to Ruth as “the pretty one,” which was devastating for Mary.
When they were 34-years-old, in 2005, they appeared on The Oprah Show. The two shared their story, as Mary tearfully noted: “She was the perfect twin, and I wasn’t.” The interview included footage of Mary visiting her sister at work and breaking a chair in Ruth’s salon. Mary said it was “disgusting,” adding, “it made me feel ashamed.”
Mary’s eating addiction impacted Ruth as well, as Ruth battled anorexia and bulimia for years, terrified that she would gain weight like her sister. Mary’s 13-year-old son, Chris, was worried that his mother was eating herself to death.
Ruth explained: “I have gone through many battles of anorexia and bulimia because I didn’t want to look like her. And it’s not because I’m ashamed of her to that point. I mean, I love her. She’s my sister.”
Chris explained the pain he felt about his mother’s weight, sharing: “My mom eats a lot and it makes me feel really mad at her… because she can take control of what she puts in her mouth and what she eats.”
Her son felt upset because his mom’s weight prevented her from playing with him and riding go-carts, for one thing.
He added: “I’ve always wanted to say to my mom, ‘Just stop eating, because if you keep on going, you can die. And I don’t want you to die, because you’re my mom.’ I’ve never told her that.”
Oprah caught up with the twins six years after their interview and discovered that their lives took a very surprising turn.
Mary’s son tragically died in a car accident at age 19 in 2011. Mary went spiraling into a deep depression, she said, noting, “I sat a year and a half on the side of my bed, just trying to figure it out.”
Out of the tragedy, however, she was motivated to take control of her health, explaining, “Now it’s time to do what he wanted me to do.”
Mary went on to lose 124 pounds, but it wasn’t easy. She explained: “First time I got on a treadmill I was on I think thirty seconds, I couldn’t even breathe.” She added: “And now I’m up to thirty minutes, so it’s such a big accomplishment.”
She wants to continue with her healthy lifestyle in honor of her son. Ruth noted: “I’m so proud of her. I want her to finally live her life and do what she’s always wanted to do.”