Maria is responsible for the care of her disabled husband and chronically ill mother, which leaves her with no time for herself. Maria's weight has recently become a problem, especially after the passing of her father, who was the core foundation of her family. Maria's weight is now hindering her ability to care for her family and herself; she hopes to set an example for family and friends by demonstrating the importance of good health.
Maria and her son, Michael Ventrella, are proud Italian Americans, but the traditional Italian food they prepare isn't very healthy. They hope The Biggest Loser can teach them some healthy substitutes for unhealthy traditional ingredients, so they can prove to their family and the Italian-American culture that carrying on cultural traditions doesn't have to involve continuing unhealthy eating habits.