Q & A with Biggest Loser winner Danny Cahill!

      Monday Night during The Biggest Loser, I posted to ask questions and I would answer them in my next Lose Your Quit Blog.  Well, here they are!  I tried to answer every question as honestly as I could, and I hope they provide some information to you concerning your journey!  – Danny Cahill, Biggest Loser winner, Season 8

     Kim Halper – What’s the best way to stay motivated to exercise during the winter months when you’re stuck to mostly inside workouts??

I stay motivated by changing it up! Do body weight cardio one day, then lift the next, and then swim the next, etc.  By changing it up and pre-scheduling my workouts, I stay motivated! I, too, LOVE to exercise OUTSIDE! #outdoorsworkout

      Kara Hibbard Stack – How do you keep yourself important and top priority when you have a family?

I remind myself what happened when I didn’t keep myself a priority! I became 460 pounds! Then I try to include my family in workouts, travelling to motivational speeches, and other ways! They know that my health is vitally important!

     Stacey Kirby how do you pick a shoe for workouts? Do you have suggestions?

The show gave us a new pair of shoes every week.  This is because at 400+ pounds and working out 6-8 hours daily, we ruined them that often! Luckily, I tried so many different pairs that I found the ones I liked! I need a wider, more foundational base and less of an arch in it. I find a shoe I like, and then stick with it! I’m still using the style of shoe I wore in week 9 on the ranch!

     Carol Burken  – What are five filling & low cal meals?

I’ll give you a tip for fullness here: Take fiber 30 minutes before eating. It will help you stay full! Also, I always ate many vegetables! I love Broccoli because it is very low calorie and VERY FILLING! Clean protein helps you stay fuller longer, too! Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast is a great option!

     Jennifer Holstein Godwin – I have watched this show every season and seen extremely overweight people exercising for what i assume can be 6-8 hours a day. I don`t think I’ve ever seen an explanation for how they don`t have raw chafing wounds on their skin that rubs together and sweats. I’m 100lbs overweight and I just don`t know how that is possible? Are special clothes worn?

I still have extra skin on my inner thighs, and when I run long distances, I use Vaseline! They make “Glide” and other brand names, and at the ranch we used something else, but use something to “Lube Up” those trouble spots and watch the chaffing be minor!

     Lisa Loar Simpson – What’s your go-to fast food when you are on the run and don’t have time to cook?

For breakfast I sometimes eat a cheese-less Egg McMuffin from Mcdonalds (NO HASHBROWN!) But I’d say my go to is Subway. There are always healthy options there. I recently ate at a Muscle Maker Grill and it was fabulous!  There are many things you can eat that are “better options” for you! Look through my motivational blog and regular blog for my “Fast Food Survival Guides” for tips on eating fast food that is healthier!

     Tom McCloud – Low fat vs. high protein?

Limit bad fats, but good fats are okay! It’s generally “Calories in vs. Calories out” as Jillian would say – and I agree!  I like a balanced diet of about 35% protein, 45% carbs and 20% fats. It varies though. Avacado, nuts, and olive oil are all examples of good fats!  And I LOVE OLIVES! (But they are higher in calories, so be careful!)

     Amy Lapain – Any thoughts on those w/ disabilities and exercise…

Amy, I often get asked that.  Do anything you can to get your heart rate up! Moses on The Biggest Loser shadow-boxed on the edge of the bed and lost 100 pounds in 6 weeks! If joints or legs are the problem, the pool is great!  My friend used to wheelchair race! That’ll make you sweat! Ask around about different exercises for your disability, but most of all, KEEP THAT DIET UNDER CONTROL! Watch your calories!

     Wayne G Vandenlangenberg What is the biggest barrier you had to overcome on the show?

Well, Wayne, there were a few! One was being away from my family! That was so hard for me – not knowing they were okay! We didn’t get to communicate with them at all unless we won a call home! The second was that on the Black Team, there was a conspiracy against me! I had to win immunity every week to make sure I didn’t go home! There was an alliance, and I was the odd man out! Well, I DID IT! I got immunity EVERY WEEK! J

     Becky Due – What did a typical day of meals look like for you?

During the show at home, I ate 1 egg and extra egg whites and either a grapefruit or other fruit, maybe a piece of Ezekiel Toast for breakfast, then I ate a clean protein for lunch and dinner – either skinless, boneless chicken breast, turkey, or fish, and I’d have plenty of vegetables (asparagus was my favorite! Grilled!) and salad. I never ate bread at dinner, but only whole-grain or sprouted-grain breads at breakfast or lunch! Nuts and a fruit for a snack before an afternoon workout. I just watched my calories.

     Brenda Lambert – When u feel u have nothing motivating u at all how to get motivated and moving / exercise all year round especially when u feel so unmotivated?

Brenda, as I state in my book “Lose Your Quit,” you have to FIND YOUR WHY! Get a reason why you want to exercise.  It might be a pair of goal-jeans you want to fit into.  Mine was my daughter Mary-Claire, my son David, and my wife Darci. I had to get myself healthy for them. I was the head of my family and a bad role model for my kids.  I just had to change it!  Every time I wanted to quit, I remembered them! If you FIND YOUR WHY you can TOLERATE ANY HOW!

     Lynne Kaska & Pam Caldwell – What is your greatest challenge when maintaining weight loss and how do u overcome it? Any suggestions for weight loss plateaus?

It is a challenge to maintain weight loss!  I’ve yo-yo’s a little bit, but and still over 200 pounds down! You have to change your mind. You have to change your belief and know you are worth the work of exercise and a healthy diet! Then, put yourself at risk. If you are a Republican, write a check for $100 to the Democratic Party (or vice versa if you’re Democrat.) Then put a stamp on the envelope and give it to someone. If you gain to a certain amount, they mail the check! Make it $1000 if you need to, but make it hurt! Also, treat yourself when you lose! You have to celebrate victories!  As far as Plateaus go, your body might be just getting more efficient! Up the intensity! Lower your calories (but never to an unhealthy level!) You just might have to exercise harder to get through the plateau!

     Dean Mick Frein – why doesn’t the show focus more on the food part of the weight loss? They spend very little time on the food part.

They do spend time on it, but maybe not enough. If you get a Biggest Loser cookbook, you can see the recipes we sometimes use on the ranch! I think the show is more focused on the contestants and their stories – why they gained weight and why they need to be motivated to get it off! It’s like getting “clean” when you go to the ranch.  I equate it to a “sober me up” camp. I will say that a nutritionist is a great friend to have! Find a healthy, all around diet for you!  Jillian once told me to eat 7 times your weight in calories if you want to lose weight, but never below 1,100 calories per day. If you eat natural healthy foods, that’s the ticket. Calories in vs. calories out!

     Dolly Wilson Relford – How many calories a day did they restrict you to on the ranch?

Dr. Huizenga gave us a healthy calorie count to eat. Mine started at 2,200 calories per day and lowered as I lost weight. You have to understand that we are burning between 5,000 and 9,000 calories daily on the ranch, so even if you eat 2,000 calories, you’ll lose a lot of weight seeing that 3,500 calories is a pound. They urge us to eat a healthy number of calories every day to keep our bodies fed.

     Bethany D Mathis – For me there usually comes a point when I feel like my motivation is gone. How did you push through that?

Find a new goal. I have a book called “239 pouds – 239 thoughts” on my website. It’s a great pocket book to read a quote or a thought and get moving. Also, my book “Lose Your Quit” is a great resource.  A good way is to have a workout partner! To have a buddy always helps keep me motivated!

     Molly Teter Everett I have lost over 100 pounds, but have gained back 30. I am fighting myself all of the time. I do exercise, but I can’t seem to get away from sugar. How do you "re-motivate" yourself?

Molly, you must keep your diet under control! Take the sugar out of your house! Like an Alcoholic stays away from a bar, you must STAY AWAY from sugar! Treat yourself one time to a treat every week, but go get it! Don’t buy a gallon of ice cream, walk to the store and get an ice cream cone! Then leave the excess there and DO NOT TAKE IT HOME! Leftovers are never good to have around, especially leftovers of sugary snacks!

     Scott Ayres – How do you keep from falling back to your old ways?

Scott, I often do fall back there at times.  But my recovery time gets quicker and quicker! I simply lose the regrets and move on. Don’t give yourself an excuse to fail, but when you mess up, move on. Also, never frequent the same bad foods and amounts you used to! I never go to buffets!

     Dana Chandler – This is Face Your Fears week. Do you continue to fear the weight gain?

Yes I do. I fear it often! But I have to know I have the tools to succeed. Educate yourself about weight-loss, and get moving with exercise! Those two things are the most important things to keep it from happening again! I schedule my entire week of workouts on Friday for the next week, and then there are NO EXC– USES!

     Brenda Monie Houston – What percentage of biggest loser contestants gain the weight back?

I can’t be sure, but some do. Unless you deal with the issues of why you used food as a crutch and gained the weight in the first place, you very well might gain it back. I urge people to get counseling, and in fact, if they still have problems, to attend a 6-day intensive at Shades of Hope in Texas – run by my friend Tennie McCarty.  I will say that Biggest Loser contestants have a better success rate than any other weight loss program I know! Although The Biggest Loser gives us the tools for success, it’s ultimately up to us to use them.

     Marsha Moody & Steve Shubert – How do you stop craving the high calorie foods, in particular fried and sweets? How do you handle the cravings?

I’ve found that the longer you go without them, the less you crave them. It’s like Alcohol or Nicotine. The longer you abstain, the less the cravings occur. I hardly ever eat fried foods any more.  And when I do, I often feel sick and my digestive system doesn’t like it! When you don’t eat as many sweets, you’d be surprised how sweet a carrot is! Also, Jillian once told me that she eats an all natural dark chocolate peanut butter cup every day. She allots it in her calories because she wants it. It helps her to keep from obsessing about it! If you plan your treats and only get them when you are about to eat them, it may not be bad to have a sweet now and then. But if you can’t do it and not crave more, just abstain!

     Pamela Miller Scott – I was so close to my goal. Every time I get close and I seem to sabotage myself. I have gained 20 lbs back. What can I do to get past the sabotage? I lost 92 lbs. My goal was to lose 108 lbs to get to the goal I had set for myself. I need to get a hold of this now before I gain it all back like I have always done in the past.

Pamela, I wonder why you sabotage yourself? It sounds as though there is an issue there you need to get to the root of. Go to www.thejourneytraining.com and think about going through an experiential training like that or contact a professional counselor. But, I’d urge you to read “Lose Your Quit.” I sabotaged myself all the time. Then I realized I did more work and put out more effort quitting and sabotaging myself than just following through.  I think the book might help you. LOSE YOUR QUIT!

     Jerrica Lee – What was the #1 biggest challenge you faced once you were back home after winning the Biggest Loser?

Not falling back in to the habit of drinking craft beers all of the time.  I used to love my craft beer, but the calories are horrible! I had a few after winning and founf myself gaining weight again.  I had to set it down. Now I rarely drink – in fact, since my wife has found sobriety, I am practicing it with her! Yup – it was the beer that was the biggest challenge. (In fact, now I want one! I GOTTA QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT NOW! J )

     Marianne Mekis Murphy – How many contestants from your season were able to keep most of the weight off?

I know factually that many have kept it off, because I’ve seen them over the past few years. Honestly I just don’t know about them all.  I know a few are struggling, but it’s a struggle for even those of us that have kept it off.  It is a journey, not a destination, and – as I said before – the success of Biggest Loser contestants is usually far greater than any other weight loss program out there!

     Cynthia Mercedes Acosta – What is the most difficult part of "maintenance?"

Travelling is the most difficult part.  I travel for Motivational Speaking over 100 flights per year! Finding healthy foods and choosing to eat them are the biggest challenge for me. It’s possible, but not often easy!

     Ashley Waites What’s the best and quickest way to get through a plateau?

Change up an exercise and add intensity.  Don’t change everything or you wont figure out what worked!  If you are spinning all of the time, switch to running for a while, or try cross-fit or something. Change 1 thing at a time and up the intensity! GET BREATHLESS!

      Alison Raines – Do you ever miss the fat guy you used to be?

Nope!  I’m the same jolly ole guy, but now I’m going to live longer!

     David Bryan Smith – Is it easier to play your guitar now?

No, but it is easier to tie my shoes! J

     Derek Michaud – Do you ever miss the GOOD foods that got you to 430 pounds?

You’d be surprised that those foods aren’t as “good” to me anymore. I like healthy foods even more than unhealthy foods!  Mexican is still good at times, but other foods aren’t as appealing to me! In fact, they sometimes make me sick – that should tell you something about those high-fat fried fast foods!

     Lori Lundgren Haworth – What keeps you motivated? What do your workouts look like now? BTW, you look great! Thank you for being you J

I am the Biggest Loser EVER!  That helps to keep me motivated, but I have to find motivation just like you! My workouts have been brutal, one-on-one workouts with a trainer again, because I needed the motivation and I found that would give it to me! Now I’m seeing my body change and am excited again! I’m going to look better than any other time in my life soon! And thank you for the compliment!

     Donna Campbell – Do they give you a set meal plan to follow or are their nutrition classes? They teach you eat this, not that?

Donna, we receive education on diet. One day Jillian took us into the medical room and we had “class.”  The Biggest Loser nutritionist helps us, but in the end it is up to us what we eat and when!  We were not on a specific meal plan per-say, and we could eat whatever, whenever we wanted! That is why the competition is so important!

     Jacki Almeida – I was busting my butt, lost 75 lbs. my fiancé passed away, I lost all motivation! Gained all 75 lbs back, it’s been a year and 5 months this past week…how do I get my motivation back.

First Jacki, I’m so sorry for your loss!  When my father died in December of 2011, I gained weight and have turned it around now. YOU CAN TOO! Write a contract with yourself. Write down all the reasons to live and be healthy, and then pick the top 5. Post these EVERYWHERE! I know how it must feel, but you are too important.  Also, self-plug, but buy and read Lose Your Quit.

     Christy Beadle Byers Do you have to eat grilled chicken a lot or can you mix it up?

I east grilled or roasted chicken, turkey, fish, and even a little lean red meat and pork. Just pick the leanest cuts and cook them in a healthy manner – grilled, baked, and roasted are healthier than fried or sautéed.

     Jamie Roberts Cox – If the machines you work out on say to keep your heart rate at a certain number for weight loss, I feel I’m barely working out. On the BL, it seems their heart rates would be off the charts during some of the workouts. Which works better? Maintaining lower heart rate or busting it?

See a doctor and get your heart checked, THEN BUST IT OUT! I like to sprint on a machine such as the elliptical. 30 seconds as fast as I can go, then 30 seconds off. My heart races up to 170, then down to 140 – over and over again! That is called interval training, and it works! But, long, slow cardio is good at times, too. I say bust it as hard as you can as long as you are healthy enough to.

     Jaime Kraut – Yes why don’t they show more of the food part, I need more direction with the eating part. I have tried every diet out there.

Jaime, there are plenty of food sources out there. Jillian’s Master Your Metabolism is good. And there are plenty more. Just eat a healthy, balanced diet and a correct amount of calories and you’ll be golden. (I know, it’s easier said than done!)

      Barry Friday – After losing so much weight, how do you get rid of the excess skin?

Some snaps back, and some won’t.  I had a skin surgery! You can see it on my YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ibF18798dM  It was tough, but now my chest and abs are golden! Now for my thighs and back!!! L

     David Merrick – Was the production crew a distraction during your workouts? Is Jillian more chill off camera?

You get used to the cameras, and even forget they’re there! And no, Jillian is very intense even off camera, too!  She is awesome!

     Saramarie Jensen – Did you happen to have anxiety during the first month of getting your body rid of toxins and chemicals?

I got nauseated a lot, which I hear is normal. I didn’t necessarily have anxiety, though. I became exhilarated when seeing the definite changes!

     Raylene Griffin – How do you know what the correct caloric intake for your body/metabolic system is? Everyone is different, so it can’t be as simple as a set 2000 (or whatever set number) caloric intake, can it? And 2) cardio vs strength training…which is more important?

Raylene, Dr. H gave us our numbers based on your BMR and weight. Jillian said during weight-loss to eat about 7 times your weight in calories but never below 1,100. I’d say contact a health professional to get your optimal calories, but find what you can operate on healthily and work out hard! Cardio gets the fat off quicker, but strength builds muscle which helps keep the fat off in the end. Do both! Then you’ll be in better shape to keep it off when your weight is lost.

     Jani Lovett – What do you think would be the best breakfast ever to start your day?

That depends, but I always eat some protein with my breakfast. My favorites are egg whites (with 1 yolk) and a fruit or whole-grain bread as one, or I like a cereal in a non-fat Greek yogurt with fruit for another.

     Kendra Goering‏ @kennylea – I track calories on an app, but adds calories to intake when I burn some. Is that right? Don’t want to not add those back in?

That is based on a 1-2 pound per week weight loss. Keep a normal calorie log in a book you write with a pen. It helps to physically do that anyway! Or just ingnore the “Calories Left” number and eat your set amount.

     Vmcbean‏ @vmcbean – Does each room at the ranch have a private restroom?

All but one did when I was there. That room used the shower and bathroom down stairs. (Thank God I didn’t have that one!)

     Jerri Knowles @jerrilynn23 – How often do you let yourself have a "blow it" day as far as eating goes?

I have NO “blow it” days!  I have one higher-calorie meal, but still try to keep it healthy! I think one meal is enough – and don’t go crazy or you’ll be, in a sense, BINGE EATING! Just eat one “cheat” meal and keep it sane!

     JulieW‏ @JuliesJourney – Is the scale we see on TV the one that records your weekly weight or do they weigh you earlier in the day?

If I told you that, I’d have to kill you… J We hoestly do NOT know what we weigh before we get on that scale! It is a surprise to us, as well as you!


     Well, that wraps it up!  I hope you enjoyed this Q & A session with me!  Tune in again, and go to www.thedannycahill.com and sign up for my newsletter, buy a book, and continue to read my blog “Lose Your Quit.”  Thank you!  – Danny C

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