When twin sisters Mary and Ruth appeared on Oprah’s Where Are They Now?, Ruth weighed 120 pounds and Mary weighed 420 pounds. On the show, the twins explained that they looked identical up until the age of 11, when Mary started gaining weight.
Their mother referred to Ruth as “the pretty one,” which was damaging for both of the sisters. While Mary struggled with overeating and weight gain, Ruth had such an intense fear of gaining weight that she developed anorexia and bulimia. She said she would rather starve to death than be obese like Mary, and she was always worried about her sister’s health.
Oprah spoke to Mary’s 13-year-old son Chris, who explained that he was afraid her obesity would lead to her death. He had never told his mother his fears, but Mary became emotional while hearing him speak on the show.
Six years after the episode was filmed, Chris died in a car accident. The tragedy led Mary to fall into a deep depression for more than a year, and she struggled greatly with her loss. Eventually, though, she was inspired by Chris’ words on Where Are They Now?, and she decided to turn her life around.
Mary said that the first time she got on a treadmill, she could barely last 30 seconds. Now, she can walk for 30 minutes, and she loves working out. She said she also changed her diet and began eating more healthy foods. She has lost more than 120 pounds, and she says that although she still has a long way to go, she’s “still going.”
The death of her son was a devastating tragedy, but Mary was able to carry on with her life and make some incredible lifestyle changes. Her transformation has inspired other people to pursue their weight loss goals as well.