OWN
06/11/2014 10:10 am ET Updated Jun 11, 2014

Mom Who Once Weighed 78 Pounds Gives Update On Her Life Today (VIDEO)

In 2006, Leigh Key was a 38-year-old mother of two boys. Like many moms, she worked hard to care for her family, but there was something very troubling about Leigh.

Leigh was anorexic and, at 5'6", she weighed just 82 pounds.

She shared her struggle with anorexia on The Oprah Winfrey Show eight years ago, admitting that she had even dropped to 78 pounds at her lowest. "Honestly, maybe my arms are too skinny, but I never will ever say my stomach is too thin," Leigh said back then.

When she spoke with Oprah, Leigh initially dismissed the effect her anorexia was having on her children. "I want to pray and say it's not [affecting them]," she said. "I really want that."

"But that would be crazy to even think that it's not affecting your children," Oprah told her.

To show Leigh that her children understood much more than she wanted to admit, Oprah played a tape of 9-year-old Benton talking about his mother and called it one of the saddest things she'd ever heard.

"I wish my mom could play longer with me. Because of her energy loss, she sometimes just doesn't feel like doing anything," Benton said in the piece. "I feel kind of sad because my dad usually gets onto her because she doesn't eat enough... Sometimes I would like to prepare supper for her so that she can eat a little more."

Not only that, but Benton also picked up on the tension between his parents due to Leigh's dangerously low weight. "When my mom and dad are in the arguments and I'm still awake, I get pretty scared when my dad yells," he said. "My mom usually just says, 'This is the way I want it.'"

After watching the video, Leigh was upset and finally acknowledged the damage that she was doing to her family. But would it be enough to help her overcome her eating disorder?

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" followed up with Leigh to see how she and her family have been doing since the show. Now 46, Leigh weighs a healthier 122 pounds -- but says that the road to recovery wasn't easy.

"My friends, my family wanted Oprah to maybe shock me into changing my ways, but it wasn't that easy. I guess it just took a little longer than they had thought," she says.

What kept her on track, Leigh says, were her children. "Benton's video just broke me. It made me think how horrible a mother I was that I was not taking care of him," she says. "That hit me harder than anything that was said on the show. It was very tough."

She also realized the key to being able to make the necessary changes. "I had to learn to love myself," Leigh says. "It's just a matter of saying, 'I deserve to be happy.'"

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on OWN.

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
Spotting The Signs Of An Eating Disorder
PHOTO GALLERY
Spotting The Signs Of An Eating Disorder

CONVERSATIONS