'The Biggest Loser' champ Danny Cahill mindful of weight regain
By Christopher Rocchio, 12/10/2009
Danny Cahill is 239 pounds lighter than when he started his The Biggest Loser journey -- but he said there's always a fear that he could regain it.
"There is definitely a fear because it's unknown territory. I haven't been there in a long, long time. I regained the weight once, that's why this definitely was a second chance for me. I was overweight as a child and when I was 15 I lost 75 pounds over a summer and kept it off for eight years," he told reporters during a Wednesday conference call.
"Then I gained all that plus another 150 pounds. So it is scary. It is scary, but you know what I now have? The knowledge that I need to keep it off. And the thing that I'm going to have to do is to stay diligent and not give up, not stop."
The 39-year-old land surveyor and musician from Broken Arrow, OK wonThe Biggest Loser's eighth season during Tuesday night's live finale.
He began the competition at 430 lbs. and weighed-in at 191 lbs. during the finale, giving him a 239-pound weight-loss and a 55.58% weight-loss percentage that won the season's $250,000 grand prize and set an all-time The Biggest Loser weight-loss record.
"I don't want to lose anymore weight, I'm very, very happy with where I'm at," Cahill told reporters. "I actually want to build my body up a little bit."
Considering he lost more than half of his body weight during the competition, Cahill said safety was always a concern when on the ranch.
"I didn't do anything unsafe purposely. I ate good, a good meal plan. Food was always provided us on the ranch, as much as we wanted -- those refrigerators were packed full of food. And I was sure to eat the right amounts of what I could at a safe level. But the trick was burning as much as I could without damaging my body," he explained.
"That's what we had to watch on the ranch was that we listened to our body and make sure that when it was time to when your body says, 'Whoa you've got to stop.'"
Cahill also revealed that he stopped taking his blood pressure medicine three weeks into the competition.
"I'll tell you what, my health safety increased immediately with the first week of losing all that weight and cutting my salt intake and doing some of the things I did," he said.
"My blood pressure stabilized and I don't think that there were huge safety issues with it because I was sure to eat. And I think everyone was. I don't think anyone was on there starving themselves. If there was I didn't see it."
In addition to losing the weight and gaining a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle, Cahill said he also made some good friends during his The Biggest Loser journey -- including runner-up Rudy Pauls and fourth-place finisher Liz Young.
"I told [Rudy] before the final weigh-in, 'Get ready because I want my family to come visit your family at your home when this is over because I want to get to know your family,'" Cahill told reporters.
"I made a great friend in Liz for sure. She's like a big sister to me. And she told me that I was like her brother. And we will definitely, definitely be in touch for the rest of our lives."
Cahill added he had good relationships with all of the eighth-season contestants.
"There wasn't a person on the show I didn't love -- genuinely love. And I hoped I showed that because that was important to me, to just go there and love everyone the way that I would want to be loved by them," he said.
"It works. I think they all genuinely loved me back. And that was great. And I'm going to be genuine friends with all 15 of them."
Cahill said his desire to lose weight was re-ignited following a challenge during the fifth week of the competition when the Blue Team sent his Black Team home for a week while they got to stay on campus and workout.
"The Blue Team expected the Black Team to not do as well at home as they would on the ranch," he explained.
"When I came back to the ranch at the end of the week I was determined to prove them wrong. I was determined to beat every person on the Blue Team in weight loss and I did. I came back and lost 15 pounds that week. That was really the beginning of the spark in me that just I kind of turned a corner that week."
Cahill added that fire continued to burn hotter as the competition continued.
"It seemed like it kept getting hotter and hotter and I just got more confidence. And I think that's what it has to come to down to is your confidence," he said. "You have to believe you can do it before you can do it. And I began to believe."
"I did exactly what I did on the ranch. I was sure to keep my diet exactly like I did and kept my calories. I was a stickler on what I put in my body," he said. "I kept the workouts the same as I did on the ranch. I did that with the help of my family. I was able to do that because they supported me wholly in the process."
Specifically, Cahill said his wife has been a huge support.
"When I left for the ranch she weighted 217 pounds and she has lost over 60 pounds and is now in the 150s and she wants to get down another 15-20 pounds to get to her goal weight," he explained, adding they plan on implementing weekly weigh-ins after the new year.
"Every Saturday morning we're going to get up and weigh-in together and she's going to see my weight and I'm going to see hers and we're going to be accountable to each other."
While he previously worked as a surveyor, Cahill told reporters he's interested in public speaking to help inspire others.
"I am going to do public speaking. I plan on it. I haven't mentioned it but that's going to be a way I inspire. I've actually already written some speeches, some different speaking points," he told reporters.
"I'm just looking forward to taking what I've learned on The Biggest Loser and giving it to others."
Cahill admitted he didn't watch the first few seasons of The Biggest Loser because he "thought it was a show that made fun of fat people.
"I didn't know what it was. And there are a lot of people like that out there who need help and need information and need the knowledge on how to correct their life, how to correct their weight," he said.
"So for me to take that information that was so generously given to me and this chance that I was given and to hoard it and not completely sow that seed --I'm going to sow that seed. And you know what happens when you sow seed you reap a harvest. And that's what I want to be. I want to be Farmer Danny reaping a harvest of weight loss across the nation."
In addition, Cahill also said working as a musician is "definitely" in his future.
"In fact the song 'Second Chance' that I wrote I've recorded and am excited to get it out. And I want to write more music. I've actually written a few songs since I've been home. And my creative juices are flowing again," he told reporters.
"I went years and years without writing anything. I've just found that fire again and that want to do what I love to do. And what I love to do is music. I mean that is definitely, definitely going to be a large part of my life from here on out."
(Photo credit NBC)
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