When Becky Comet
’s son D.J. suggested they send in a partner audition tape for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”
just days before entries were due, she figured it was worth a shot. After all, what did she have to lose besides all the weight she’d tried to shed via “every diet known to man?”
“When I got married, we had kids right away — four kids in eight years — and I never lost the weight in between like I should have,” Becky said in a phone interview two weeks before the show’s season finale. “You get busy with your kids, your job, your home, your husband. Everything takes a front seat while you take the backseat — if you even get in the car at all.”
Fortunately for the 51-year-old Benton Middle School math teacher, producers of the hit reality TV show decided to put her 238-pound self back into the driver’s seat. She was selected to move to the ranch as a single contestant (her son wasn’t chosen) for the show’s 12th season, aptly titled “The Battle of the Ages.”
Life on the Ranch
One of the unique things about the ranch that isn’t obvious on the show is just how independent the contestants are. Of course, there were no phones, TVs, or internet, and there was definitely no junk food. The fridge was stocked with healthy food. NBC doctors provided contestants with a healthy calorie count to eat each day, and trainers gave a healthy calorie count to burn each day. But for the most part, Becky and her fellow contestants were left to make their weight loss happen on their own, including cooking their own meals and being responsible for their food and exercise choices.
“On the days we filmed, we worked out for two to three hours with our trainers,” Becky said. “Sometimes they’d say ‘Do what you enjoy that burns the most calories’ and then we were on our own. Daily, we’re talking six to eight hours of exercise.
“I wrote to my kids and told them to imagine a nine-to-five job, but instead of going to an office, you go to the gym,” she said. “That’s your eight-hour-a-day job. And the smaller you get, the harder it is to burn calories, so there were times when I was in the gym until midnight."
Weight Loss Secrets
Those who chose to exercise as hard and as often as Becky saw more results. Her results — losing close to 70 pounds before the season’s big finale and finally being able to put back on her wedding ring (a long-time goal of hers) — speak
for themselves. However, Becky is determined to teach others, no matter what their ages, the secrets she learned about losing weight.
“Age is just a number. It doesn’t matter what your age is or your limitations,” she said. “Everyone has their own issues, and what we learned is that there is always a way around it. You can always eat right and there’s always something you can do.”
Her Other Advice?
“You have to plan ahead. You can’t expect it to just happen. Like if you get in a situation where you didn’t bring food with you — you might get in a position to make poor choices,” Becky said. “Now I take my food on the plane with me and eat at regular times so I don’t get really hungry.”
Time management is another big one. “I was the queen of excuses. When I went home before the finale, I was the only one of the final four contestants who went back to work,” she said. “While they were focusing on diet and exercise, I had to learn to work in a rigorous workout schedule and teach. I have proven to myself that there is time, because the truth is, whatever it is you really want to make time for, you will.”
Success at Home
In order to maintain an active lifestyle, Becky found that you need to find something you enjoy doing.
“I’m not going to run miles and miles every day, I’m not that kind of person,” she said. “And to be honest, you don’t have to run all the time. My husband and I walk, we bought bicycles, and we’re going to start playing racquet ball. We’re working to find something that’s active that we enjoy doing because this is about changing our lifestyle so we live healthy for the rest of our lives together.”
She’s focused and driven by her new-found knowledge and the foundation she laid at the ranch, which is why "The Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper said this about her on Week 11, as she faced leaving the ranch and continuing her weight-loss journey at home: “Out of all three of my teammates, Becky is the one that I’m least worried about gaining it back. This woman, she carries herself differently; she’s such a smart woman and she knows what she wants … so I’m not worried about Becky.”
Lessons to Share
Harper’s confidence in her, as well as her own self-belief and motivation to set a good example for her four children is driving Becky now to bring healthy lessons to her school, including possibly starting an after-school program to discuss nutrition and exercise with both students and their parents.
At her homecoming party at Benton Middle School, Becky used her platform to share probably the most important message she could.
“Losing 66 pounds was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” but, “it was my dedication to finish what I started that got me through it,” she said. “That was a lesson my parents instilled in me, that my husband and I have tried to teach our kids, and that I’ve tried to teach my students. Finishing what you start is not always pretty, and it doesn’t matter what place you finish — you just finish.”