Danny Cahill, winner of "The Biggest Loser," will be the motivational speaker at the Oct. 6 Wellness Fair. He said he's excited to come and help people learn how to stick with their goals.
Famous now because he won the NBC reality show, he travels as a speaker. But when he was young, he thought he'd be famous for a different reason.
"I was just at my 25th high school reunion. People said I wrote in their yearbook, 'Look for me on MTV,'" Cahill said in a phone interview before he and his wife left for a speaking engagement in Argentina. "I was a musician, and I had aspirations of being a celebrity, but I gave that up."
Cahill struggled with his weight in school, but got it under control because he wanted to impress girls. He even became successful as a musician, but after he got married he felt he needed to leave that behind and get a "real job."
Unfortunately, Cahill said once he gave up his passion, he went back to overeating as a way to cope.
Eventually, Cahill reached 458 pounds. Doctors told him he would likely die at age 50. Then his daughter gave him the reason he needed to make a change.
She told him, "I want to be just like you. I want to have a belly like yours."
"That opened the floodgates," Cahill said. "That was when I had to look at my life and see what kind of provider I was being for my family, how was I affecting my kids, how was I affecting my wife."
This experience of finding a reason is now a big theme of Cahill's motivational talks.
"In anything you have to overcome, you have to have a big reason why," he said.
"Lose your 'quit' - that's my big thing, that's name of my website. Just don't give up. If you are going to do something to change your life, first you have to resolve not to give up. Lot of people give up at the 99 yard line, and they don't even know it."
Once he was determined to win "The Biggest Loser," he applied to join Season 5, and kept at it until he was accepted in Season 8. After three months, he was in the final four, and everyone was sent home for 60 days. Cahill decided not to go back to his job; in order to win, he needed to keep training full-time.
At the final weigh-in, Cahill was 239 pounds lighter. He lost 55.6 percent of his body weight, setting a record for the most weight by percentage ever lost during the show.
"Everyone's got issues," he said. "Some people are completely healthy and run marathons. But if it's not their weight, it's something else. We all have things we run away from and feel hopeless in. It's become my passion and purpose to tell people that there's light at end of tunnel."
Of course, he also said weight is a big issue.
"We're approaching over 50 percent of people being obese or overweight in some way. This health problem not going away," he said. "Our health in America is not great, and without our health, we have nothing."
Cahill will be running in the race on Oct. 7.
"I may not be a speed demon - I wasn't on the show - but I finish strong," he said. "It's not about finishing number one, it's about doing something that's good in your life. That's why I tell people to get into these races. If they haven't run anything before, I tell them to get into the 5k, even if they just walk it."
He said people shouldn't think getting in shape means becoming a marathon runner or having a bodybuilder physique.
"That's not what it's about. It's about being better tomorrow than you were yesterday and continuing that journey."
He also said one of the best parts of his job is meeting people and hearing later about what his talk meant to them.
"I'm excited to be out there. I'm not an unapproachable person. If anybody sees me, come up and ask me a question," he said. "I love to talk."