Losing to win, running to inspire
Roberto and Luis Hernandez, twins from the south side of Chicago, come from a big family with a strong Mexican-American background. While they had a great childhood, they struggled with their weight most of their lives.
“When our parents were growing up, they were poor—meals were never a guarantee. They wanted their kids to have a better life than they did, so they vowed we would never go hungry,” says Roberto. “The fridge and our bellies were constantly full.”
“We know our parents had nothing but good intentions, but this led to an intense food addiction for both of us,” says Luis.
By the time they left for college, they were both about 260 pounds. But when they returned, they both weighed in well over 300 pounds, and their relationship with food had grown out of control.
In their post-college years, Roberto and Luis tried every diet imaginable to get their lives on track, but they quickly realized they weren’t going to be able to lose the weight on their own. When the opportunity arose in 2015 to be contestants on the Biggest Loser, the twins jumped on the idea, knowing it could be the life change they so desperately needed.
Once chosen, Roberto and Luis joined Jennifer Widerstrom’s team and worked harder than ever before.
After starting the season at 350 pounds, Roberto took home the grand prize—he lost 160 pounds. Luis won the “at home prize” after his incredible weight loss of 140 pounds.
Today, Roberto and Luis are physical education teachers in the Cicero school district where they continue their healthy lifestyle and share it with their students.
When the twins were looking for their next challenge, they decided to go big: the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Roberto and Luis will be running for Advocate Health Care’s Inspired to Run team in this year’s marathon. They have chosen to donate the funds they raise to Hope for Fitness, which benefits Childhood Obesity.
To help Roberto and Luis fundraise or to learn about how you can join them on Advocate’s Inspired to Run Marathon team, visit our website.
About the Author
Kelsey Sopchyk, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She earned her BA in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. In her spare time, you can find Kelsey working on puzzles, trying new sushi restaurants and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.