I vaguely remember being normal. I was 7 years old and in the second grade. That is the last time I remember being normal. Since then, I’ve been me. So exactly who am I? I am someone who has never taken a bite of food without placing a label on it – labels like “I shouldn’t be eating this” and “I can’t let mom know” and “I’ll just skip the next meal to make up for it.” Yea. I’m that guy.
Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Many of you know of people like me, but you just can’t relate. Every bite of food, every meal, every treat, every drink – they’ve all been my adversary. I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a meal like others I know – without the guilt and shame that come with it. And every meal is a pound that will show up on my body. Guaranteed.
A Taste of Victory
I was 15 years old. I hadn’t had a girlfriend in almost 4 years. You know why? Because of my weight, of course! Who could love a guy like me? OH! Just a minute…mom brought home some Doritos! OH NO! I did it again! Ate the whole bag! I’ll never have a girlfriend… 🙁
Wait! I’ve got it! “Mom, will you buy a large jug of that low-calorie Italian salad dressing from Sam’s Club? I know it’s eight dollars, but it’ll be so worth it! And bring home 4 heads of iceberg lettuce, too. Thanks!” Now I’ve got to run that mile around the block. All I have to do is go out my door, run up the street, down to 3rd street, around the park to Crosby, then back home. That’s a mile. I’ll do that every morning and every evening. “What? Did I put anything on the salad? Yea, sure mom! I did.” There is no way I’m putting cheese, or anything else on my salad! That’s extra calories! I’ll just tell them I did and they’ll never know.
“What mom? All of the Diet Coke cans in my room? I’m only drinking 1 or 2 a day, I promise!” Ha! She’ll never figure out that I remain full of Diet Coke and have no room for food. And it’s ZERO calories! A win-win, right?!
What you’ve just read above was a picture of the summer between my 10th and 11th grade year. I left school at 240 pounds, and came back to enroll at 165 – I had lost 75 pounds in three months! As I walked through the gym, I could hear the voices whispering,”Is that Danny Cahill? WOW! He looks GREAT! I never knew he had it in him! Maybe he’ll ask me out on a date!” I felt worthy for the first time in 9 years. And it came with my weight – a connection I would never, ever lose.
The Oklahoma 500
Soon after getting married, it began again – the weight gain. 200, then 250, then 300, then 400, then almost 500 pounds! I was a wreck! I just couldn’t stop eating! And please, don’t ask me to do anything. I just want to sit – it hurts too much to stand!
That’s when I felt that same urge I felt at 15 years old again – I would find a way to lose the weight! And along came The Biggest Loser. I made it on the 3rd show I tried out for, lost 239 pounds (by burning 8000 calories daily while eating somewhere in the realm of 800 calories) and popped out of the paper at 191! I had lost 239 pounds! I felt like that guy in the gym, walking across to enroll in my junior year. I could hear the fans, my family, the press, everyone talking like they did that day 23 years before when I disappeared fat to reappear thin! Even Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry flirted with me on the Today show! I had it made, right! WRONG!
Here we go again
So fast forward 5 years, and the weight is creeping back on. The food is calling my name again and the bites are shameful, the meals are threatening, and my life is still in a shambles! It’s like nothing has changed!
This is the struggle many people have. The battle with the scale goes on and on, and no matter how hard we seem to try, nothing works! The weight comes back with a vengeance and we fail over and over again. The shame gets even more magnified with each failure and the guilt is so heavy it makes it hard to live. But wait! There’s another fad diet right around the corner for me to try – and lose – and eventually fail at.
The truth is that there are more things at work than simply one thing. There are many perspectives to why we cannot keep the weight off. First and foremost, our worth cannot be tied to our weight. God isn’t more proud of us if we are 175 than if we are 400 pounds. He loves us the same. He wants us healthy, but more than that, he wants us happy. And that’s a good start. No matter where you are, the “WHY” to get healthy cannot be only aesthetic. And we have to learn to love ourselves regardless of our failures and victories.
Second, we are ALWAYS on a diet! The definition of DIET is “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” Guess what? You can change your diet, but you are always eating a diet! The real question is what diet is the healthiest and best for you? What is sustainable – that you can live with for the rest of your life? Can you really eat all protein for the rest of your life? Are you really going to drink shakes for your meals 3 times a day forever? Are you really going to eat iceberg lettuce with Sam’s Club low-calorie Italian dressing and drink diet coke until you die?
Third, there’s bodily science. I learned this the hard way after damaging my metabolism by the large deficit of energy I expended vs. eating those 7 months on The Biggest Loser. My Leptin levels (a hormone that controls your hunger) were completely depleted and has barely made it back to 50%. My brain says I’m hungry after eating a full meal!
There are lots of reasons it’s hard to keep weight off long term. I am in the process of finding my balance, and after all these years I think I might be as close as I’ve ever been. The difference between the 8 year old Danny and the Danny of today is clear. I know my worth – regardless of my weight. And I know God loves me the same. So my “WHY” isn’t to be loved any more. My “WHY” is to be healthy and happy and live a long life. And I can’t think of a better “WHY”, can you? And I know one thing for sure. My past failures don’t predict my future – and I know there is hope for me yet!
It’s the beginning of the year, and most people are eyeing new goals – or the ones they never got around to finishing last year. For me it’s different this year. I’m addressing one I created a need for in 2015. I gained 30 pounds.
It’s been a tough year
This year in October, the cast of Season 8 of The Biggest Loser met at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. We were excited to hug each other and talk over memories, but we were called there for a reason. During the trip, I learned some important things. We all have struggled with our weight after the show – some more than others – but everyone has struggled.
We went to NIH to get our metabolism tested again. You see, during my season on The Biggest Loser, the government tested our metabolisms before we began, in the middle of the process, at the final weigh-in, and 2 years after the show. They found that our metabolisms slowed despite retaining most of our muscle mass. They had speculated that if we kept the muscle, our metabolisms wouldn’t slow as much. They were wrong.
After the show, my resting metabolic rate (RMR) was 1500. Two years later it was 1650, and now it is 1800. When I began it was over 3000! They expected it to slow, but 6-years after I am at 79% of a normal man’s RMR, which puts me behind the 8-ball! Your RMR is the amount of calories you burn resting – doing nothing – and I’m at a 450 calorie disadvantage. They suspect it is because of our rapid weight loss paired with our rapid energy expenditure. I burned about 8000 calories per day while only eating about 15% as much. Our RMR’s haven’t bounced back like they thought it would. Our bodies have changed – despite packing on some additional muscle and our weight increasing.
All of that said, I gained 30 pounds this year, and I cannot become a victim to my circumstance! So what do I do now? I set a goal.
Success begins with a goal
When you set a goal, it should be attainable with real measuring points to hit along the way, whether the goal is financial, physical, spiritual, or relational.
First, you should come up with a precise goal statement. It should contain what you want in measurable form, a time frame in achieving it, and it must be realistic. To simply say “I want to lose weight” isn’t enough. We want to be specific.
Here are my goals for 2016
- I want to lose 30 pounds in 3 months. I have an amount to lose, a time frame to achieve it, and it is achievable.
- For financial, you might say I want to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt in 2016. It is measured in amount and time, and that could be done.
- Maybe I want to spend 15 minutes a day reading the bible in 2016. Yes! If I’d said 1 hour a day, I’d ask if it were realistic to spend over 6% of my waking hours reading. I’d say no – but less than 2%? Okay!
Write your goal statement and put it everywhere – on your refrigerator, mirror, desk, phone – everywhere!
Next you should set 3 goal action steps. Getting started begins with taking steps. Make them specific. Not “work out 1 hour every day.” 7-days a week is too high, setting you up to fail.
My action steps look like this:
1. I will eat lunch in the office four days a week.
2. I will work out three times a week in the gym, including an additional two hours of cardio.
3. I will weigh-in once per week and measure my achievements. Those three steps I can handle!
Each step, you may need to break down even further. If your first step is join a gym, you might break that down to
1. Visit three gyms this week
2. Choose one and sign up
3. Set up an auto-draft payment.
So, create your specific and measurable goal statement for 2016, and create 3 attainable action steps to get you moving. Now you just have to start moving – step by step! And if you need help, reach out to me! I have an online coaching group that can help you set and achieve your 2016 goals! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For much of my life I thought to win I had to go wire to wire. What does that mean? I used to play the horses quite a bit before giving up gambling, and it simply means a horse takes the lead out of the gate and never loses it, winning the race and never being behind. I’ve learned throughout life that things often work out a little different than I thought. Hanging in there can pay off!
It’s a long road, so hang in there
In our book Losing Big, Darci and I revisit our relationship and its ups and downs from the start. So many who know us were surprised to read our book, finding out just how close we were to getting a divorce.
“I never knew anything was ever wrong!” I hear that a lot. Or “I can’t believe you guys went through so much!” Well, we did, and we both hung in there – and it paid off. In the book, I remember a few times when I sensed problems before our marriage, and I almost called the wedding off. Darci remembered the emotional abuse she endured, so much so that she almost left me. We both remembered our addictions and how they were what ran our lives for a number of years, causing us both to almost throw in the towel on each other. But we didn’t. We may have lost a few battles, but we refused to lose the war. We were hanging in there. And it paid off.
We hung in there, and we did the impossible
Before the Revolutionary War, the British Army was the most revered in the world. There was absolutely no way we could possibly win our independence from Britain. Yet we did. General George Washington was a great man, but few know that he lost many more battles than he won. While I read His Excellency by Joseph Ellis, I learned so much about George Washington, and so much about the revolutionary war. There was much that was left to chance, but for those chances to come around, the American Army had to hang in there.
It was by hanging in there and not giving up that we had a chance to win the war. George Washington pondered the choices he had often, and one was an all or nothing battle with Britain. He opted against that, a choice that led to hanging in there long enough to be able to take advantage of a harsh winter the British weren’t used to. We hung in there long enough to use warfare learned from the Indians that help us defeat the greatest army on earth. And we hung in there long enough for the French to finally show up and help turn the tide of the war for good, insuring the creation of this great nation!
When the going gets tough, the tough hang in there!
My mantra during The Biggest Loser was “Lose Your Quit!” It just means never give up. Hang in there until the end. And that’s what I did.
When we went to the Biggest Loser Ranch, Rudy weighed in at 442 and I weighed in at 430 pounds. At the week 4 weigh-in Rudy, Rudy weighed 5 pounds less than I did. In the past, I might have given up, but I hung in there. Rudy was the rabbit, and I was the tortoise. I was hanging in there!
So many times before in my life, I ran the 99-yard dash. Yes, I said the 99-yard dash – quitting when things got hard or seemed impossible, when in fact victory was just around the corner! So many times if I’d kept going, I would have realized my dreams; but I would give up. Well, at 39 years old, I decided to hang in there – and I eventually beat Rudy to set my own records on The Biggest Loser!
Just hang in there – opportunity will come, so be ready!
In The Journey Training, I often see people come in looking ready to give up. Maybe it was tough times or an illness or maybe simple frustration. By the end of the training, as long as they hang in there and finish, they are ready to run that 100-yard dash for the first time in years – or perhaps the first time ever! I’ve heard it said that you get what you prepare for. But I’ve also found that if you just hang on – even when you lose a few battles – opportunity will rear its head. And when it does, those that are hanging in there will cross the goal line and score the winning touchdown! Trust me – I know!
In the Journey Training, I often use the phrase “choose and move.” I love this statement, and so I use this all the time. When I am driving, if you’re a passenger in my car, you would possibly hear me yell, “C’mon buddy, choose and move!” How about when this happens at the mall? It is December at the mall, walking down the corridor, hundreds of people around me. Everything is moving along at a good pace, kind of like a herd of cattle, until someone stops right in front of you. You come to a screeching halt to avoid running into them, and then everyone behind you is doing the same. Not choosing and moving caused a 9 person holiday pileup.
Even if I don’t know exactly what to do, I choose and move. I may not have all the facts, but I will make a choice and act on it. Sometimes I will move without all the facts, and it ends up messing things up, and other times I may wait, producing an outcome that is not what I wanted.
I have 6 kids, and one thing I have learned is when to tell your kid is sick. I remember my son Casey once came in to me, about 18 months old and had a certain look. As a parent, you just know! I knew what this look was, but I knelt down and started trying to over-analyze it. He was whining, and kind of crying. “How are you feeling Casey, does your head hurt?”
“No”, he whined. I had him breathe in and out, then I put my hand on his stomach, and I felt it turn…HOLY POOPY! I knew what was about to happen.
I yelled “NOELL,” grabbed Casey, threw him on my shoulder and bolted to the bathroom, which was on the other side of the house. We made it half way there before he exploded, puking everywhere; since we were running to the bathroom it was like crop dusting. I got him to the toilet, and we got him all situated. Then, once the adrenaline stopped, I assessed the situation. He started throwing up down the hall, so it was at head height on the west side wall, for about 17 feet. When we tried to set him down by the toilet, in the adjustment, he belched out another, and that took care of most of the restroom. It was in my ear, on my glasses, and right into my mouth. By the time Noell got there, I looked like I just got out of battle, and stood in my suit, dripping, spitting, and wiping whatever Casey had for breakfast and lunch off my glasses.
If I hadn’t made a choice and moved, the situation could have been significantly worse.
When I know I need to move on something, here is why I am passionate:
- The window of opportunity may not be open long.
- I may lose the passion if I delay
- Once I get it done, I can move on to other things.
What do you need to move on today?
You can learn tools such as these fromThrive15.com an online 24-hour a day “edutainment” “edutainment” platform that helps people learn from Millionaires, Moguls and everyday success stories like me. You can use my access code 2inspire and get a FREE 30 day membership.
“Christmas is the perfect time to celebrate the love of God and family and to create memories that will last forever. Jesus is God’s perfect, indescribable gift. The amazing thing is that not only are we able to receive this gift, but we are able to share it with others on Christmas and every other day of the year.” ~ Joel Osteen
Memories that last forever are the ones where something significant happened. When I was growing up, many Christmases were the same; get up early, run into the other room, look for presents under the tree (on the years we had one) and rip into the presents! I also remember a bowl of nuts – not normal ones – but some that were weird looking. I recognized the peanuts, walnuts, and some weird shaped triangular ones that I always used the metal nutcracker we had to open them up. If you follow my blogs you know that I am a slow learner, so I ate them every year and thought, “Yuck, why are these out?” Still there they were, every year. In fact they may have been the same nuts over and over! Then at night Mom would get drunk and what had started as an amazing day usually ended with yelling and tears.
My incredible wife Noell and I decided to make new memories. One of the things we started doing that has since caught on is giving gifts. Not just presents, but gifts. These gifts are given more infrequently than most other gifts, but are free and unlimited! And they can literally change someone’s day and make a memory that will last forever.
You don’t have to be strong to do this; just a little brave. And you have to take off the mask you usually wear, which is something many first learn how to do in The Journey Training.
Just sit down with someone you love, hold their hand and look them in the eyes, and tell them the gifts you see in them. For example, I would do this: I hold my wife’s hand, look her in the eyes, and tell her, “The gifts I see in you are an INCREDIBLE wife, one that knows when I hurt and won’t show it, one that gently nudges me to put the phone away and pay attention to the kids. You are the mother of my kids that I prayed for all my life. Your love for others is one that is unparalleled.” Then I hug her and tell her I love her.
Then I’ll move on to my kids; I do this individually with each of them in the same way. I would share with them how proud I am of their leadership (Connor), how their optimism and smile helps motivate me daily (Casey), how they amaze me with their musical talent (Chase), how their heart for giving and to help others makes me want to do more for others (Cameron), how I love watching them take care of others around them, and that I can’t last a single day without a hug from her (Savy), and how she has the gift of tenacity and pushes through until she gets what she wants (Sydney), and how it inspires me. I do this one by one; looking each of them in the eye and making sure each of them know how much I love them.
Sure, they can open a toy that they may forget about later, but they won’t forget when time stood still, and I as the man of the house I showed them my love, and at the same time I showed them how to love others.
Try it this Christmas. I know you (and they) won’t be disappointed. You’ll give a gift that will never grow old, be forgotten, or be something they didn’t want!
If you’ve ever wondered exactly what The Journey Training is all about, this pretty much sums it up. We just show God’s love in a new and different way.