Posted Online: March 18, 2013, 10:05 am
Lost and found
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By Jeff Schnaufer
Danny Cahill and Amy Parham recently rose to fame on "The Biggest Loser." She shed over 100 pounds and he has dropped over 200 pounds since. They have both gone on to author books. Amy wrote "10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl," and Danny and Darci Cahill are authors of "Losing Big." We asked them how life is going for them – and what challenges they are facing – today.
Photo: CTW Features|
"The Biggest Loser" contestant Danny Cahill's before and after photos.
Photo: CTW Features|
"The Biggest Loser" contestant Amy Parham's before and after photos.
Question: What are your greatest emotional and mental challenges following weight loss?
Amy: After you lose weight, you realize how much you allowed yourself to settle for other things in life. This causes you to examine relationships, careers, etc. So you kind of feel like you lived life halfway before.
This causes regrets. Maybe I could have done more, maybe I allowed people to take advantage of me that I shouldn't have, etc. So you see your weight not only affects your body, but also other areas of your life.
Danny: Coming off the Biggest Loser, I had to re-adjust to life off the ranch. This meant the 7-8 hours of workout a day had to be trimmed down to a normal level of 1 to 1.5 hours a day. This was tough, as I was mentally afraid I would immediately gain the weight back. My family also suffered the fact I had lived such an extreme lifestyle for those few months. Everything to me was about moving.
As time went by I settled back into balance. This was a great relief for 2 years, but then tragedy struck – my father died. The stress of that lead to a quick 50-plus pounds of weight gain. I had fallen back into my addiction. My wife had to set me down and tell me she didn't know if she could go there again. She asked me to get help and get my addiction under control.
I soon regained my composure and found peace, and my life came back to normal. This opened our eyes to the fact addiction is with me, always ready to show back up. I have to recognize when I feel those feelings and get them under control. The way to do that is not to stuff them and give them a voice – other than addictive tendencies. Write a song, run a race, build something – anything to get the issues out of my tissues and not turn to the addiction again.
I am doing much better now and have almost lost all of the weight I put back on.
Q: What are the greatest physical challenges of keeping weight off?
Danny: When I lost the fat, I found the skin issues. I was left with pound upon pound of skin. Well, I was offered a surgery on "The Doctors" show and they cut 10 pounds of skin off my body in an eight-hour procedure. It was a trial, but the results were fabulous. You can actually look on YouTube for "Danny Cahill Skin Surgery" and watch a portion of the surgery and the reveal. It was amazing.
Now I am finding that all of the running I have been doing is wreaking havoc on my back. I have laid off so much running and returned to the gym with a one-on-one training experience. I am loving it and my body is on its way to the best shape it has ever been!
Q: What are the ups and downs of keeping weight off?
Amy: Having been on a reality show, you are always under a microscope where your weight is concerned. It puts pressure on you constantly. Sometimes that is good because it keeps you accountable, but it is frustrating too when you want an occasional dipped cone and the ice cream guy gives you "the look."
Danny: Traveling is the toughest thing. The food when traveling - which I do now that I motivationally speak around the country at businesses, churches and organizations – is not always exactly what I would choose.
It's been tough to keep in shape while flying over 100 flights for three years in a row. I have the knowledge to make better choices, but I also need to keep in the gym while traveling. Before, I wasn't as busy. Now, I am 10 times busier than I have ever been and I love it. Helping people by paying it forward with speaking, authoring my two books ("Losing Big" and "Lose Your Quit") and mission trips has been such a blessing in my life.
Q: What is the hardest moment you've had since losing weight?
Amy: My son said I should say giving up Doritos. (Laughs out loud). But I can honestly say I never had any attention from men or jealousy from women before I lost weight. It's unsettling. Especially when you are not used to that.
Danny: The hardest moment I have had since losing the weight was my father's death in December of 2011.
I was speaking for Chick-fil-A away from home and had to quickly catch a flight back home. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
I miss him dearly, as he was my father, coach, boss, co-worker and my best friend. I have lost a true companion in him and each day I am reminded of him in some way. I have battled through the loss to turn it into inspiration. My father sowed so much into my life that his champion moments show up in me in some way every day. I know he is always with me.
Q: What's the best piece of advice you could give to someone trying to keep off the weight they have lost?
Amy: Stay active. Move your body some. And don't be afraid of food. You have to eat. Just eat things that are real and whole.
Danny:The best advice I can give is to find support. Get involved in a 12-step program such as Overeater's Anonymous or Alanon.
If people are having really hard times keeping the weight off, I recommend the 6-day intensive at Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas. Tennie McCarty does great work and is wonderful at getting to the real issues of the weight issues.
Another great program is The Journey Training in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I facilitate the program myself and it gets down to those core issues.
If you simply lose the weight and expect you'll control it from now on without dealing with the reason you gained the weight in the first place, you'll be fighting an uphill climb. Real victory comes with freedom, and freedom comes with education, support and treatment. Invest in yourself first and take control of your life by making you a priority.