The Biggest Loser, Maria Ventrella The Biggest Loser, Maria Ventrella

A week after being hospitalized for a fall during a challenge that tested her fear of water, Maria Ventrella was up for elimination from The Biggest Loser ranch against her son, and teammate, Michael. Satisfying her wishes to keep Michael, 31, on campus, the 51-year-old Maria was sent home, but not without hearing her fellow contestants claim that her son didn't deserve to stay.

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"I know how hard Michael worked ... you don't lose 10 pounds in a week being lazy," Maria told

Michael, who entered the ranch the largest contestant in history weighing in at 526, lost 34 pounds the first week and 11 the second. Ventrella further defended her son's big numbers: "Your body sort of stops at one point ... it's impossible."

Despite being sent home, Maria, who started The Biggest Loser weighing 281, pounds credited her 50-pound-plus weight loss to "determination."

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"Originally, I went to the ranch thinking about saving my son's life because of his big amount of weight and it was a matter of waking and up and saying, 'Hey, this is for you too.'"

After the weight peeled off, Maria decided to continue working out. "That's what I've been doing and I feel so much better."