Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Good news for the big twin

My twin sister, Heather, and I looked a lot alike when we were growing up. Our parents kept the bracelets from the hospital on our wrists long after they brought us home from the hospital as they learned how to tell us apart. We switched classes in kindergarten and no one knew. My grandmother told us apart by having my hair cut: Christy for cut, Heather for hair. My cousin recently sent a picture out asking if the 13 year old in the picture was me or Heather and I had to look twice to be sure.

But since the birth of my third child we have looked less alike because I didn’t lose the weight I’d gained. It’s been nine years and I still haven’t lost it and it appears I never will. (Yes, I hear the violins playing, too.) When I see pictures of Heather now I realize I’m looking at my “after” picture… We look less like twins now than ever before; I look older, much more than my six minute advantage should allow.

Today, though, I found my extra poundage may offer an advantage. A team of plastic surgeons has studied identical twins’ faces and found the heavier twin looks older before 40 but after 40 the bigger twin looked younger!

“The …most interesting findings had to do with weight… differences in how old (the twin pairs) looked began to appear when one had a body mass index (BMI) at least four points higher than her sister. For twin pairs under 40, the heavier one looked significantly older. But surprisingly, after 40, that same four-point difference in BMI made the heavier twin look significantly younger.”

Who knew?!

The study goes on to say, “…volume replacement - that is, fat filling in wrinkles - accounts for the rejuvenated appearance of the older twins. This theory was supported even more dramatically among twins older than 55. For them, having as much as an eight-point higher BMI than their twin was associated with a younger appearance in the face.”

So for the next 14 months Heather will look like the younger twin she is. But when we turn 40 we’ll see who gets called the little sister.

This does not mean I'll give up the Wii Fit or stop trying to lose some weight to be healthier. But maybe it will give my little sis the freedom to ease up on the rigid one-Coke-a-day rule. Live it up, Heather! Have two; it just might lead to fewer wrinkles.


PS: For everyone who's asked - I'm on the left and Heather's on the right.