The Biggest Loser’s Danny Cahill Pays it Forward
Premier Issue, 2010
Written by Tammy Leigh Maxey   

CapIthebiggestlosern the hit reality TV show where The Biggest Loser is ultimately the winner, Season 8’s Danny Cahill took home the prize, but also a whole new way of life.

A year prior to landing a spot as a contestant on the show, Danny told a group of people in a support group and in his church choir that he was going to get on the show, he was going to win, and he was going to lose more weight on there than anyone ever had.  He received the customary, “That’s great,” comments laced with unspoken undertones of skepticism.

BigDannyHowever, Danny Cahill fully believed God had ordained this for his life, and he challenged those around him with that fact.  It was that truth, that calling, which drove Danny to push getting onto the show.

Since winning, and in fact losing more weight than anyone in history on the show, dropping from a whopping 430 lbs to a healthy 193, Danny has purposed his mission in life to pay it forward.

 While on the show, he wrote the motivational
 song Second Chance, now made available on
 his website with a portion of the proceeds going
  to the Make A Wish foundation.  Danny says
  that his wish was granted when he got to go on the show, and he wants to help others realize their wishes.

Danny also works to pay it forward as a spokesperson for the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program in Tulsa, OK, and he’s on the celebrity council for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma Pound for Pound Challenge (food drive), and travels giving motivational speeches.

For Danny, his biggest way of paying it forward is by sharing his story of triumph.  He wants others to know it’s never too late.

Prior to going onto the show, Danny was $45,000 in credit card debt.  He and his wife Darci cut up the cards, got into a debt reduction program, and worked for five years toward paying the debt off.  The last of the balance was paid off one month prior to Danny’s being accepted as a contestant on the The Biggest Loser show.

“After doing something that big, you feel like you can achieve anything,” Danny says.  “That was a real big hurdle in my life.”­  Danny says he has no regrets for the five years of not taking family vacations and driving junk cars.  If he regretted it, he wouldn’t be able to move forward.  Instead, he uses that getting out of debt experience, that feeling of accomplishment.  He used it to move forward and win on The Biggest Loser.

DannyintheGymDanny says, “When I first got to the ranch, I knew it was going to be ridiculously hard, but I didn’t realize just how hard.  The first day workout blew my mind, it scared me to death.”  The demands were so tough, in fact, that Danny’s partner, Liz, tried to go home in the first two weeks.  “I had done hard work before,” Danny says, “but nothing like this.  This was working six to eight hours a day.”

Off camera, things were a little more laid back.  Bob and Jillian (the personal trainers for the show) weren’t there when the cameras were off.  They told them what to do, but it was up to Danny and the other contestants to actually do it.  During the quiet hours, they played the card game of Spades.  The contestants had no internet, TV or telephones.  They had no contact with the outside world.

Weeks three and four were Danny’s lowest points while on the ranch.  In week three, Danny’s doctor took him off his blood pressure meds, which was great.  However, he also took him off his water pill.  His legs filled up with water, causing an upswing in his weight.  He worked and weighed in at a total loss of only 4 lbs for the week.  On The Biggest Loser that can be devastating.  In week four, Danny felt like he could have, and should have, been sent home.  As he was standing on the scale, he prayed, “Pull me from this fire, Jesus.”

After three months on the ranch, Danny returned home after dropping 142 lbs down to 288 lbs, to finish off the contest over the next sixty days away from the ranch, and away from Bob and Jillian.  Although it was a relief to come home and be with his family, it was also scary because Danny suddenly had all the responsibilities of his meals, and he did not live next door to a gym.

DannyThinHowever, Danny made it work.  He worked out as if he was still on the ranch, and worked everything around his workouts, including his job.  He lost 17 lbs in a single week at home, more even than he had lost in a week while being on the ranch.  Danny realized then that “I can do this, I can win the show.  I can be The Biggest Loser.”  It was his pivot point.  Jillian told Danny, “You’re a different person, Danny.  You’ve turned a corner, my work with you is done at this point.”

Danny became The Biggest Loser in the history of the show with a massive loss of 239 lbs (55.58% of his original body weight).

Now Danny spreads his motivational message of inspiration to others battling problems with their weight.  He says, “The question I would want them to ask is ‘Why?  Why am I this heavy?  Why am I obese?  Why did I get this way?’  The why is the first big thing, because when you figure out the why, then you can tackle the how.”
Danny figured out his ‘why’ while on the show:  He had a passion for music.  “It was like water in my veins; it was what I did, what I lived for.”  When he got married, Danny told himself it was time to put away his pipedreams and focus on supporting his family.  In putting his dreams on a shelf, he also put himself on a shelf.  Danny was no longer a priority in his own life.  He quickly learned that in not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of others.  As a result, he did a poor job in taking care of his family.OJandDannyDanny felt like a trapped man.  He not only had 430 lbs weighing on his feet, but also on his soul.  “I feel so good now that it’s all gone,” says Danny.  “I was definitely imprisoned by the weight.  The only thing I didn’t realize is that I had the keys to get out of prison.

“There is a part of me that is mad at the guy that waited so long to do this,” says Danny, “but a bigger part of me looks at that guy that was 430 lbs and says ‘Thanks man, because you’re the reason I’m here now.  You gave me this life; you gave me this second chance.  You were strong enough to take what God put in your heart, God told you that you were going to do, you were strong enough to do that.’  God can tell someone to do something, but they’ve got to get up and go do it.”

Now Danny and his family are trying to become accustomed to his new celebrity status.  He says, “It’s a little strange, but it’s great.  I am welcoming it with open arms, because I know God has a plan.  I have a mission on this earth and the celebrity status is going to allow that to happen.”

“I am the guy that’s meant to spread the message that it’s never too late,” says Danny.  “That you can achieve anything you want to achieve.”  He says he shows his faith more through his actions than his words.  “Jesus wasn’t just sharing scriptures,” says Danny, “He was making scriptures.  I feel like I show just what Jesus wants me to show.


“I want to share my story with thousands of thousands of people.  I want to motivate them to that point in their lives where they say, ‘I can change things, I can make things better in my life, I
don’t have to sit in this hole.’  Whether it be drug addiction, alcoholism, unemployment, being overweight, whatever it is.”

These days, Danny successfully continues with his dream in the music industry, and stays in touch with the other contestants from he show.  He also plans to continue watching the show, and be an inspiration to future contestants.  “Every time I watch the show, it makes me want to go work out.”  In addition, of course, he continues to live a healthy lifestyle, and pay it forward.  PivotPointEndingBug

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