Family medical history — before The Biggest Loser, I was running from mine.

Heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes — throw in Type 2 diabetes and you’re looking at my family history. And that was just my parents and my only brother. I was obese, on medication for high cholesterol and headed down the same path.

It was a bleak picture. I wanted to retire and spend time with the amazing man that I married 30 years ago. I wanted to watch our four children continue to grow into the terrific adults they are becoming. But, in the direction I was headed, those things were definitely in jeopardy. Change was in order.

So I went on a crazy, reality TV show called The Biggest Loser, lost 88 pounds, and changed my life. My health now is fabulous. All the news from my doctor is good. Now, I just want to help as many people as I can to find the same new lease on life that I have found.

One specific group I’d like to be able to help is children. I want to teach them that it’s never too early to start learning and practicing healthy habits. God only gives us one body and we are charged with taking care of it.

Now, I just want to help as many people as I can to find the same new lease on life that I have found.

Then along came Teaching Gardens and the American Heart Association. Together they wrapped up what I envisioned in one nice, neat package.

So, The Biggest Loser, Teaching Gardens, and the American Heart Association came to Benton Middle School in my hometown of Benton, Arkansas and what an amazingly terrific day we all had. We got to talk to the entire student body of almost 700 children. We talked about the importance of healthy eating, including fruits and vegetables, as well as daily activity. I confessed to the kids that I am one of those people that’s not crazy about cooked vegetables. But I absolutely love all kinds of raw vegetables. And there’s nothing better that the taste of vegetables fresh out your own garden.

Then, we built planting boxes and planted all kinds of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. The students were great. You could just see the pride of accomplishment in their faces. Their eyes seemed to sparkle as they learned about planting. When the work was done, those students looked at those plants as if to say, “I can’t wait to watch you grow!” It just doesn’t get any better than that.

I am so excited to have had the opportunity to participate with The Biggest Loser, Teaching Gardens, and The American Heart Association in this project. I am looking forward to watching this program unfold as the teachers and students get into the curriculum that comes with everything. What a blessing for the students at Benton Middle School and the Benton community.

– Becky

Editor’s Note: For more information on the American Heart Association’s Teaching Gardens, and to see the Teaching Garden’s clip on NBC’s Biggest Loser, please visit:

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