'Biggest Loser' winner hopes to inspire dads
BY MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer
Saturday, January 09, 2010
OWASSO — Danny Cahill weighed 430 pounds when he entered NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” contest. By the time the 40-year-old nabbed the $250,000 grand prize in early December, the Broken Arrow land surveyor had dropped 239 pounds.
Although Cahill is an inspirational figure to countless people aiming to lose weight, he’s also a married father of a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter. So Cahill’s using his new-found celebrity status to inspire other fathers.
Saturday morning, a slim Cahill, who’s now an in-demand motivational speaker, stood in front of more than 120 people all gathered inside the Owasso Chick-fil-A for an All Pro Dad event. All Pro Dad is a national organization “helping men to become better fathers,” according to its Web site.
At the outset of Cahill’s approximately 15-minute speech, he said, “One of the biggest reasons why I even decided to change my life was because of my kids.
“I tried to coach my son’s football team for a few years and it was so hard being 430-plus pounds — I was up to 450 pounds at one point — I couldn’t give my kids everything that they deserved. My weight was affecting everything. My son will attest to that.”
Then Cahill recalled a poignant pre-weight-loss moment with his daughter.
“My daughter came in and said, 'Dad, I want to be just like you. And I want to have a big belly.’ I thought, 'What kind of role model am I being to my kids?’?”
Actually, Cahill said he was so overweight at one point he couldn’t take his son camping.
“Those kind of things really made me think: 'What am I doing here? What do I need to change in order to make the relationship with my kids better than it already is?’ Because it wasn’t where it needed to be.”
To make that life change, Cahill had to make himself a priority.
“That had to be the turning point,” he said. “I’m worth what it takes to give my kids what they need; to give my wife what she needs and to give everyone around me what they need.”
These days, meeting all those needs means Cahill must balance the demands of celebrity — he was on “Larry King Live” Thursday night — with his home life in Broken Arrow.
Cahill said he planned to turn off his cellphone the Sunday morning to completely focus on his family.
“Everybody in here, if you get one thing out of me talking to you, walk out that door and say: 'You know what? I’m going to block that time out.’
“Make sure you block some time out for your kids, for your wife, for the important things in your life — the things that need to be stable for the rest of your life to happen. Without that, everything else is just air around you. It’s just air.”
Danny Cahill, season 8 winner of The Biggest Loser, speaks to a capacity crowd at the All Pro Dad's Day, a one-hour monthly breakfast where fathers and their children meet with other dads and kids while enjoying free breakfast at Chick-fil-A in Owasso. SHERRY BROWN/Tulsa World