- Trae Patton/NBC
Danny Cahill lost 239 pounds as a participant on NBC’s hit reality show “The Biggest Loser,” dipping from 430 pounds down to 191 pounds over the course of only seven months.
But since winning the eighth season of the reality show in 2009, Cahill has gained more than 100 pounds back.
A study from the National Institutes of Health followed the contestants for six years following their stint on “The Biggest Loser.” Of the 14 contestants followed, 13 regained weight since the show ended – a finding that has larger implications for weight loss.
In a recent story about the study, The New York Times revealed that the contestants’ metabolisms became slower after they lost weight, stopping them from keeping the pounds off.
Cahill, now 46, was one of the many contestants who struggled to maintain his new weight after the show ended. The reality star’s struggle with his weight began in the third-grade – at which point he started to gain weight, eventually becoming obese.
As a young man, Cahill would starve himself, only to later binge on an entire can of frosting, hiding in shame in the pantry off of his family’s kitchen. Over the years, Cahill kept fighting but giving in to his urge to overeat. Eventually, his weight soared from 300 pounds up to 485 pounds.
“I used to look at myself and think, ‘I am horrible, I am a monster, subhuman,'” Cahill told The Times.
Cahill’s weight also caused him physical pain, with walking and climbing up stairs hurting. He also had to sleep in a recliner because he was too heavy to lay down when sleeping.
And so, in 2009, Cahill joined “The Biggest Loser,” hoping to change his life for the better. For the show, Cahill worked out seven hours a day, which helped him burn 8,000 to 9,000 calories. He also ate at a 3,500-calorie deficit. At the end of seven months, Cahill won his season of the show, having lost more weight than anyone else in the program’s history.
But since then, he’s tacked on another 100 pounds to his 5-foot-11 frame. According to The Times, this is because his metabolism slowed when the show ended.
And over the next several years, his metabolism never recovered – having become even slower, as if his body was trying to get Cahill back to his original weight.
The study found that Cahill burns 800 calories a day less than other men his size, because of his slow metabolism. He’s attempted various diets over the years – measuring his food and increasing his exercise, only to drop down to 230 pounds and pop back up to 295 pounds. Cahill began to feel as if his constant yo-yo weight gain was his fault.
But thanks to the study’s findings, Cahill is no longer blaming himself for his weight gain.
“The shame that was on my shoulders went off,” Cahill told The Times.
But to maintain his 295-pound weight, the reality star is now eating 800 calories less a day than a typical man his size.