Danny Cahill’s dream was to be a musician, but marriage, kids and his weight got in his way. Through hard work, determination and a season onNBC television’s “The Biggest Loser,” Cahill lost 239 pounds, 55.8 percent of his body weight, and has rediscovered his love for music.
Cahill spoke Oct. 6 at OCCC’s Campus Voices Lecture Series, leading a discussion about following dreams. Cahill was raised in Oklahoma City and was the contestant who lost the most weight in the 8th season of the popular television show in 2009.
Cahill explained his challenge with weight loss. At one point, he weighed 460 pounds. When the show began, Cahill weighed in at 430 pounds. Over a six month period Cahill brought his weight down to 191 pounds. Not only did Cahill lose the weight, but also he has devoted himself to physical activity. He has run in two marathons and is preparing for his third.
Cahill shared his four-point personal philosophy with the crowd of almost 200 attendees.“I am going to teach you to be successful,” Cahill said, “Today is the day you get the dream back.” Cahill closed the speech with his original song entitled “Second Chances.” Cahill wrote the song while on the show; the lyrics are all about not missing out on a second chance. The song was featured on “The Biggest Loser” and the season was titled “Second Chances.”
Whether it be losing weight, quitting an addiction like smoking, or being a better role model, Cahill said the process starts with the individual. His motto is “lose your quit,” his first step to success.
On his right wrist Cahill wears a black rubber bracelet with those three words written on it. The bracelets were given out before and after the speech as a reminder to never give up. Lose you quit is the first step to achieving your goal, Cahill said.
Step two, lose your regrets. Cahill said this step was very important to achieving his success. Out of all the steps, not worrying about the past seemed to be the most important. While filming the show, Coach Mo comforted Cahill after he lost a challenge. In an attempt to win a the chance to pick his coach and his team, Cahill decided to play a spin-the-wheel game. Cahill spun the wheel hoping to win, but instead the pointer landed on a chocolate cupcake, which he had to eat.
Discouraged, Cahill returned to the line regretting that he had decided to play. Coach Mo saw Cahill’s reaction and approached him.
“Danny, some day you are going to have to be OK with the choices you make,” Mo said. Cahill took this advice and began looking towards completing his goal.
“If you have something on your heart holding you down, you have to let it go,” Cahill said.
“Lose your lies” was the third piece of advice Cahill offered. During the struggle to lose weight, he found himself making excuses to cover the problem. Cahill said rather than fixing the problem, he would turn his weight into a joke. Cahill knew his goal was to lose weight, but after all the lies he told himself, he never made any progress. When he stopped lying and began being honest about his problem, he made progress.
The last action Cahill said everyone must take in reaching a goal is to find a “why.” He stressed how important inspiration is. Another lesson Cahill brought back from his coaches on the show was, “If you find your why, you can tolerate any how.”
Edgar Garay, an OCCC student who attended the lecture, said he found Cahill’s story and advice inspiring.
“The quote he used was ‘Never stop starting,’” Garay said. “It helped me; it inspired me to start today.”
After the lecture ended Cahill stood off stage to speak one-on-one with the students, faculty and staff that came to see him. The line wrapped around the room, everyone waiting for a chance to meet the man that taught them to: Lose your quit, lose your regret, lose your lies and find your thing, your why.