At nearly 406 lbs. And 605 lbs. respectively, Amy and Tammy Slaton say their weight gain had led them to a dark place.
Tammy, 32, hadn’t left her house in six years except for doctor’s visits, and the isolation intensified her depression.
“I attempted to kill myself last January,” she reveals to PEOPLE.
Amy, 31, and her husband Michael want to start a family soon, but have struggled to get pregnant. The Kentucky siblings grapple with serious weight-related health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. Everyday tasks like cleaning the house and going to the bathroom became exhausting.
Last year was a wake-up call for the sisters, they say, and they vowed to try and lose enough weight to qualify for bariatric surgery.
“I had a feeling that if I didn’t make changes now, I wasn’t going to live past 35,” Tammy says.
The Slaton Sisters, who are also YouTube stars, will be documenting their weight loss journey on TLC’s upcoming six-part series, 1,000-Lb Sisters, to premiere on New Year’s Day.
The show will chronicle doctors’ appointments, healthy eating challenges, and reveal the final decision about their surgery.
Tammy moved in with Amy and her husband following her last hospital stay and requires their help with everyday tasks.
In an exclusive clip from the series, Amy and Tammy poke fun at themselves as they try different exercise equipment.
“Ain’t that how you work it?” Amy asks Tammy as she tests out a Shake Weight. “Yes but it looks nasty,” Tammy says. “You’re gonna make me pee!”
The pressure to lose weight also caused tension between the siblings.
Another clip from the series shows the sisters arguing about their living arrangements.
“We started this journey together, but there’s only so much one person can do,” Amy says after an argument where Tammy asks her to “get the f— off my back.”
“In some ways we drifted apart from each other, because of the fighting, but we’re still sisters and we love each other,” Tammy says.
The most challenging part of the Slatons’ journey was sticking to an exercise regime and healthy diet, they say.
Growing up, the siblings say they didn’t have access to nutritious food. Their mother worked several jobs to keep the family afloat, and their grandmother and father died when the girls were young.
Amy and Tammy relied on inexpensive microwave meals, fast food and canned goods to feed themselves, and rapidly began gaining weight.
They have been trying to lose weight since middle school, but “nothing worked,” Amy tells PEOPLE.
Now, the sisters say they are happier and healthier since filming the docu-series in May.
“I can go to the store and not worry about my looks because I feel good about myself regardless of what other people say about me,” Amy says. “I’m beautiful the way I am.”
Tammy says the experience helped her set more ambitious goals for 2020. She and her boyfriend are planning to move in together soon, and she is hoping to find a full-time job.
The sisters also cut sugar out of their diet in favor of low-carb, high-protein meals like shrimp stir-fry and cauliflower mac and cheese.
They have also discovered favorite exercises to incorporate into their daily routines: Tammy likes to swim, while Amy prefers to dance or go for long walks outside with her husband.
As the premiere rapidly approaches, the Slaton Sisters say they hope people can empathize with their struggles and cheer on their accomplishments.
“I don’t feel like I have to wear a mask or hide my body when I leave the house anymore,” Tammy tells PEOPLE. “I’m not afraid to let people see me.”
1000-Lb Sisters became available on TLC Go on Dec. 20 and will premiere live on Jan. 1, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.