Ben Napier, host of HGTV's Home Town, is known as "Big" to his wife and co-star, Erin. At 6'6" tall, the Laurel, Mississippi-based woodworker towers over his 5'5" other half, and his large build sometimes seems better suited for a football player than a small-town shop owner. So when the show returns for a third season this week, fans might be surprised to see that "Big" Ben is a bit slimmer than when we saw him last.
"I've lost 55 pounds since last year," Ben tells CountryLiving.com. "Over the course of season 3, I dropped about 35 pounds, so you'll see it happening."
Ben's weight, which the couple also discussed in their new book, Make Something Good Today, will even fluctuate within individual episodes, as some scenes had to be reshot due to logistics like weather.
"We'd have to do an interview about it like two months later, and I was 20 pounds lighter than I was back then," Ben, who recently served as a guest blogger focused on men's health for the Manning Family Fund, explains. "I had to wear the same shirt that I was wearing that day, and suddenly it's too big."
Though he started exercising fairly regularly about eight years ago, Ben says that he got serious about his health in 2018, following the birth of the Napiers' first child, Helen (who is set to make some appearances in the upcoming episodes).
"Having Helen made me want to be healthier so I could be around a lot longer and see her grow up and see her whole life," Ben says, adding that his maternal grandfather died of a stroke when his mom was just 17, and both his father and his paternal grandfather have had open-heart surgeries.
In addition to cutting carbs and calories and fasting intermittently, Ben's been doing a combination of cardio and weight training.
"He gets up at 4:30 and plays basketball in the backyard every morning," Erin tells us. "I will not complain about it. It's great for his heart—I don't care if it wakes me up."
While she's proud of her husband's health journey, the former stationer still wants him to stay "Big."
"I don't want him to get too skinny," she tells us. "My favorite thing about him is how I always feel so small and taken care of. I just don't want people calling him 'Slim Ben,' because I didn't sign up for that. … But I really call him 'Big' because he's so generous."
"Even down 55 pounds, I'm still 280 pounds," Ben, whose retirement dream is to play Santa Claus at Christmastime, says reassuringly. "So I'm still a lot bigger than the average person."
Catch new Home Town episodes every Monday, starting January 14, at 9 p.m. ET.
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