'Biggest Loser' winner Danny Cahill weighs in
The lovable land surveyor and musician was a fan favorite because of his caring attitude towards his fellow contestants, determination and frequent emotional breakdowns. In a conference call Wednesday following his win, he even called himself "the biggest crier."
Check out what else Danny shared:
What was your regimen from the time you left the ranch to last night's win?
Danny Cahill: I did exactly what I did on the ranch. I kept my diet exactly like I did. I was a stickler for what I put in my body. I kept the workouts the same I did on the ranch. I did that with the help of my family. They supported me wholly in the process.
With that weight loss, will you have the extra skin removed surgically?
Cahill: Yes, I've got some skin issues. I've talked to a few people about hat. I do foresee that in my future. What I want to do is before I make the decision to get that done I want to the gym and instead of losing weight I want to lift some weights and build up a little bit of muscle before I do that. I don't want to go have skin surgery and then build up a bunch of muscle on top of it. I'm not going to body build or anything.
What kept your fire going throughout competition?
Cahill: When I went home in Week 5 and the Blue Team sent the Black Team home. The Blue Team expected the Black Team to not do good, to not do well at home as well as they would on the ranch. 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 lost 15 pounds that week. That was really the beginning of the spark in me. I turned a corner that week. Jillian pulled me aside and told me, "I'm seeing in you, you've turned the corner. You can do this. You can win this. You can really see yourself as a champion now." Week after week that fire just kept getting hotter and hotter. I got more confidence. I began to believe.
Any fears about regaining weight?
Cahill: Yeah there's 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 was a second chance for me. I was overweight as a child and when I was 15 I lost 75 over a summer and kept it off for eight years. And then I gained all that [back] plus another 150 pounds. So it is scary. But I now have the knowledge I need to keep it off. The thing I'm going to have to do is stay diligent, not stop. An object that is in motion tends to stay in motion. An object that is at rest tends to stay at rest.
Were others around you inspired to lose weight also?
Cahill: Yes, starting with my wife. When I left for the ranch she weighed 217 pounds. She has lost over 60 pounds and is in the 150s. She wants to get down another 15-20 pounds to get to her goal weight. I receive countless emails every day that says I've inspired them to lose weight. People in my own family, my in-laws and extended family they've started losing weight. I'm also a Discovery graduate which is a class in Dallas that is a self-empowerment class that was started in the 1980s by Dr. Phil. They actually have a "Biggest Loser" contest inspired by me.
What were your first feelings when you learned you had to run a marathon?
Cahill: I had a feeling whenever Jillian called, when she said, "Do you know what it is." I was afraid to say. I knew she was going to say "marathon." Running was definitely not my strong point at that point at all. I hated to run. It hurt to run because when I left the ranch I was still 288 pounds ... I was pretty intimidated. But at the same time, how we overcome obstacles is we set goals. The marathon had become a goal for me. It seems the way to conquer your fears is just go out there and do 'em. I did that in Week 11 going over across the canyon. I have an immense fear of heights. Going across that 200-foot high canyon conquered that. I thought, "If I can do that, I can do a marathon." It felt great running across the finish line with Liz.
What were your thoughts before and after Rudy got on the scale? Did you think you'd win?
Cahill: Before I got on the scale, I hadn't seen Rudy. They kept us sequestered. When I walked out and saw Rudy, I was amazed. Yeah I was worried. I left the marathon, about 4 percent on him. He was going to have to lose a lot more weight than I was to win. I had felt confident. When I saw him last night, it was scary. He looked at me and smiled. I looked at him and mouthed, "Did you beat me?" After he weighed in, I had a good feeling that I was going to beat him. But I hadn't weighed [myself] in a couple of weeks. I decided, "Hey, I know what I need to do. I'm just going to focus on getting the work done. If I worry about what I weigh and hit my goal, I might slow down. I'm just going to run to the finish." I knew there was a chance he could beat me. Looking at Rudy, the guy looked amazing. I never thought he could get down that much.
What are the safety issues involved with losing this much weight this fast?
Cahill: I didn't do anything unsafe purposely. I ate a good meal plan. Food was provided for us on the ranch, as much as we wanted. Those refrigerators were packed full of food. I was sure to eat the right amounts of what I could on a safe level. The trick was burning as much as I could without damaging my body. Any athlete, like a marathon runner, after a marathon your body it gets sore and injured. When we were on the ranch, we had to make sure and listen to our bodies ... As far as safety issues, I am so much more healthy now than when I was 430 pounds. And I was off blood pressure medicine within three weeks of arriving atthe ranch. My health safety increased immediately within the first week of losing all that weight and cutting my salt intake. My blood pressure stabilized. I didn't think there were huge safety issues with it.
Describe your "Biggest Loser" experience in one or two words. Explain why.
Cahill: My words would be "self found." I found myself. I had lost myself years ago. I wasn't sure why I did. I decided it was time to put away my dreams and to start a family and raise a family. I didnt realize I could do that and dream at the same time. I was wrong about that. Doing "The Biggest Loser," Bob and Jillian are incredible at getting in your head and saying, "Why don't you look at yourself and ask, 'Why are you 430 pounds?'" I had to do a lot of soul-searching and find out why I was 430 pounds. Through that process and the three months on the ranch, I found myself. I found Danny again. I found out I think you can dream and provide for your family and be a great dad and a great husband and live the dreams that I want to live.
Having so much willpower, couldn't you have lost the weight without going on TV?
Cahill: Yes I could have. In fact I ask myself that question. I got a little frustrated with myself about halfway through the show. When I noticed the body changes and looking better and being able to do more. And I started getting emails on my Facebook that said, "You've inspired me. I'm going to try out for 'The Biggest Loser.'" I thought, you know what? That's not what I intended to do. I didn't want to inspire people to try out for "The Biggest Loser." I want to inspire people to do it on their own. It got me thinking, "Why Danny? Why did you wait 15 years? Why did take 'The Biggest Loser' to do this?" I look back at all those years wasted. But at the same time, thank god for "The Biggest Loser" because without them I still might be 430 pounds. You can't put it off. You have to start now. "Oh I'll start my diet on Monday." That never works. Start right now. This minute.
Will you be pursuing more music now?
Cahill: Yes, that's definitely in my plans. In fact, the song "Second Chance" that I wrote, I've recorded. I'm excited to get it out. I've written a few songs since I've been home. My creative juices are flowing again. I went years and years without writing anything. I've found that fire and that want what I love to do, and that want is music. That is definitely going to be a huge part of my life from here on out. I plan on it. Be looking for Danny Cahill. I'm definitely going to have some music out there.
You told Jay Leno you're going to invest some of your winnings into a new carpet. Anything else?
Cahill: I am going to invest in carpet because we have no carpet. Another thing I thought, I [only] have two carry-on luggages full of my clothes. Little bitty carry-on luggage like a footlocker and a carry-on. I have no clothes ... Now I [weigh] in the 190s and I'm not going any further down and I don't plan to gain it back. When I get home and my wife gets home, we're going to go shopping. I'm going to get a new wardrobe started.
Did you make any lifelong friends on the show?
Cahill: Yes I have. Sean Algaier lives 15 minutes from me, which is really strange. Two guys from Oklahoma, from Tulsa. We were sitting in the van that first day. I didn't know who he was. We found out we lived so close to each other. We just flipped out and we both have a lot in common. Rudy is definitely -- I told him before the final weigh-in, I told him, "Get ready. I want my family come visit your family at your home because I want to get to know your family." I made a great friend in Liz. She's like a big sister to me. She told me I was like her brother. We will definitely be in touch for the rest of our lives. Everyone, when you go to "The Biggest Loser," there wasn't anyone on the show I didn't genuinely love ... I think they all genuinely loved me back.
How are you going to keep in touch with Liz? What did you think of Shay's special Subway prize?
Cahill: Liz has been wonderful to me. I've been as supportive as I can to her. We're going to stay in touch. In fact, one of the things I had planned was renewing my vows with my wife on our anniversary this next September. Liz has promised me she was going to help me plan that. After all, she cooked for me at the ranch all the time. She even washed my sheets for me. I didn't ask her to. She just did it, she was so good to me. Liz and I are very close. She's precious to me. I just want to see her succeed in every area of her life. Shay from the get-go, she was so inspiring to me. She will tell you that from Day One that first week, I looked at her in the eyes and told her, "You are an inspiration to me." Just the fact I came in her at 430 pounds and she came in 46 pounds heavier than I did, as a woman, 30-years-old. At the ranch she did not back down, did not give up. I watched her struggle up that mountain and struggle up that ladder, falling off of it, doing the things she had to do. That inspired me. She's a huge reason I did what I did. I know Shay's going to be successful because I know Shay. Shay is a strong, strong woman. I think Shay has figured out so much about herself. She's on her way to being the best Shay she can be. My words of encouragement to Shay: Do a little bit more today than you did yesterday. She does that. She's working out with I think with five trainers.
What was it like when Liz gave you that DVD with your family on it?
Cahill: That was the most amazing experience at the ranch. That gave me goosebumps. That was not acted out. I had no idea she was giving me my video. When I walked downstairs, I was honored for her. That's what she said she was going to do: "I want you to watch my family video with me." I thought okay I'm going to actually see her husband and her family and meet them on tape and I'll get something out of too. I was also wondering why the producers were allowing this to happen. It just did not dawn on me. This didn't show up very good on the episode, but I sat down and they push play and the thing comes on and I'm looking directly at my daughter, not even recognizing who she is. And I go, "My God, Liz, your granddaughter looks just like --" And then they cut with the show and I was like, "That's my family!" They didn't put that in, but that's really what happened. I was looking at Mary Claire, thinking it was Liz's granddaughter and thinking how similar she looked to Mary. I cried. Seems like I cried forever. Of course, I probably was the biggest crier on the show.
Are there more activities you're looking forward to doing now that you couldn't when you were heavier?
Cahill: Yes, there's so many things. One of my goals was to start a martial arts class with my kid David. He always wanted to do karate. I thought that would be a great way to maintain and stay in shape and do something with my son. All these years that have gone by, all I could ever do with my son was play video games. I could never go hiking with him, go fishing with him, go hunting with him, do those things. Since I've been back, and been in shape, we've been paintballing, crawling through the woods playing paintball together. We've done camping, which I couldn't do before. Rockclimbing, doing all kinds of things. It's been really fun to be able to do all those physical things that we haven't been able to do. I can't wait to go fishing in a pond in a boat again or in an intertube ... I even mentioned that whenever Christmas time comes, my wife would have to get on the ladder to put the lights up on the house because they don't make a ladder that handles 450 pounds. Well this year, I'm putting the lights up. That's one thing I'm going to do.
Speaking of the holidays, will you indulge in any holiday treats?
Cahill: I think it's important. Jillian came home to work me out and see how I was doing and surprised me after I had come home from the ranch. After we worked out in the gym I had a little bit of a breakdown. She talked to me, "Listen, the ranch is a tool. It is there to teach you how to deal with these things, but it's not the end-all be-all [sic]. We had a little counseling session after a lot of sweat and tears. She said, "What are you craving? What food?" And I said, "I've been craving pizza." She took me to a pizza parlor that I had loved and I ate a piece of pizza. It was thick, deep-dish sausage piece of pizza. She wouldn't eat the pizza, but she bought a piece of cheesecake with fudge and chocolate on it and caramel, drizzled all over it. I watched Jillian Michaels eating cheesecake. She did it to make a point. She said, "Danny, I'm not telling you never to eat pizza again. Just don't eat the whole pizza. You have to give yourself treats that you enjoy." She said one of the best days she ever had with Bob Harper was one day they at candy and watched movies all afternoon. Then they worked out really hard and went back to the store and bought more candy and ate candy again. She said, "Doing that here and there is not going to kill you, but you've got to know that you can't do it all the time." That really taught me a lesson. So yeah, on Christmas I am going to have a glass of eggnog. I'm going to have a Christmas cookie, but I'm just not going to have a plateful of Christmas cookies and whole half gallon of eggnog.
Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
Cahill: My New Year's resolution actually is going to keep in the gym. I've made that resolution early. When I get home from New York City here tomorrow [Thursday] evening, Friday I'm back in the gym. I've made it a point that in the next 30 days -- except for Sundays -- I'm going to spend at least an hour at the gym. My post-"Biggest Loser" resolution is to keep in the gym for at least 30 days every day until I work out a schedule and keep accountable with my wife. We're going to be accountable to each other. We're going to have weekly weigh-ins. Every Saturday morning we're going to get up and weigh in together. I've got "The Biggest Loser" scale, but not the big one we get on [on the show]. I got a little "Biggest Loser" scale in my bathroom, and I've used it religiously.
Anything you'd like to do or say for people out there?
Cahill: I'm looking forward to taking what I learned on "Biggest Loser" and giving it to others. As many people that watch "The Biggest Loser," there are so many people who don't. I didn't even watch it for the first two seasons because I thought it was a show that made fun of fat people. I didn't know what it was about. I thought, "How dare them [sic] do that?" There are a lot of people out there who are like that who need help and need information. For me to take that information that was so genuinely given to me, and this chance I was given and to hoard it and not sow that seed ... I wanna sow that seed. What happens when you sow seeds? You reap a harvest. I wanna be Farmer Danny reaping a harvest of weight loss across the nation.
Are you going to keep the brown hair?
Cahill: You know what? Yeah, I think I am. I actually liked my grey hair. And whenever we went to the makeover, I walked into the salon saying, "I am not going to let them color my hair. I know they're going to want to, and I'm not going to let them do it." I walked in and Tabatha [Coffey] ran her fingers in my hair. She said, "I'm thinking I'm going to color your hair." I go "Okay" and gave in like a kid. I got so mad. I said, "Why didn't I fight harder?" And then Bob got mad. I came back to the ranch and went, "What happened to your salt and pepper I loved your salt and pepper." But when I got home I thought if the grey started growing in, I wasn't going to color it again. But then my 10-year-old son said, "You know, dad, I think you should. I think it really makes you look good." So that was the straw. I said, "Okay, I'm going coloring my hair again and I'm not going to stop now." I like it. It just makes me feel young. It makes me look young and makes me feel a lot better. I'm going to keep the dark hair.
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