But they did.

Aretha said her husband doesn’t struggle with his weight, but she had for years. Her doctor had talked to her about her high blood pressure. Aretha and Rodney decided to join the class together, to improve their health and be a good example for their community. 

Because of that, he and Aretha were reluctant to join at first, because of all their duties there.

“Life happens, and life happens a lot,” Aretha said. “We encourage each other, and we stay with it.”

She’s regained some of the weight, but is still 45 pounds below when she started. More than 100 people have taken the class, with most losing weight and improving their blood pressure and glucose levels.

During the course of a few years, she lost weight and her blood pressure improved to the point where her doctor took her off hypertension medication. 

Aretha was surprised they didn’t miss one class. Soon she was leading a Passport to Health class herself at New Life Christian Center. 

For instance, decreasing sugary foods and increasing fruits and vegetables. Drinking more water. Increasing exercise, like taking walks and going to a nearby recreational center to walk laps. Some classes included a cooking demonstration of foods they might not be familiar with, and substitutions to reduce calories – like using squash to make noodles in place of pasta. 

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