David "Cowboy" Griffin lost triple digits thanks to "The Biggest Loser"
1. Today we welcome David Griffin from Season 4 of one of my favorite television shows ever--NBC's weight loss reality series "The Biggest Loser." David weighed in at 368 pounds when the cameras started rolling and went on to lose a total of 140 pounds through this experience. CONGRATULATIONS David on such a remarkable achievement and I'm very proud of you for making the commitment to improve your health as it is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life. I thought it was interesting that you had never even watched "The Biggest Loser" before you became a contestant. As an obese person, did you feel the show was too personal and embarrassing since you knew you had a problem? Or did you just not care?
Even though at one time I tipped the scales at a little more than 400 pounds, I had never been much for watching television. So it had nothing to so with embarrassment or not caring--I didn't even know that the show existed.
2. So it was a nutritionist friend of yours who encouraged you to apply for the show. Some people are intimidated about how they can approach a friend or loved one about their weight problem without hurting their feelings and jeopardizing the relationship. Do you have any tips about how to go about helping someone who needs to lose weight for the sake of their health?
I encourage people to get involved with their friends or loved ones who need to lose weight. It is not always enough to just talk to them about it. Take them for a walk, go grocery shopping with them while giving them nutrition tips, or start cooking from a healthy cookbook with them. Definitely don't forget to tell them how important they are in your life and how much you would miss them if they were gone.
I remember when my daughter Michaela was 8 years old she said to me, "I wish I could hug you all the way around." I was so large at the time that she could not get her arms around me at all. That definitely was not an endearing conversation with my daughter about weight loss. But during my time away from home at The Biggest Loser Ranch when I was training three times a day, anytime I wanted to quit or not go workout I thought about what Michaela had said and used that to motivate me to get better and work harder to become healthy.
3. You were a member of The Red Team led by personal trainer Kim Lyons. What was your immediate impression of Kim both as a person and as a professional and do you feel she enabled you to reach your fullest fitness potential during your time on the "The Biggest Loser?"
I instantly liked Kim and I think she is a wonderful trainer who really prepares her team for success for when they are away from The Biggest Loser. I did really well with Kim, but it took my body a little time to program for continued weight loss. She tried numerous strategies and I just could not consistently produce big numbers every week. But the perseverance and determination that she taught me helped me continue at home with my personal trainer.
4. The "game" aspect of Season 4 was the most one-sided it had ever been in the history of the show. In a way, it was kinda disappointing to see one team dominating--The Black Team--while the others were being picked off one by one. Talk about the morale of The Red Team when you started seeing your fellow teammates going home very early. Did you think it was fair and did it motivate you to work that much harder when you got home to keep up the work you had begun on The Biggest Loser Ranch?
The game play was horrible. No offense but if you look back to the beginning of the show The Black Team got a freebie weigh-in the first week. If they would have had to weigh in with the other teams when you review what their numbers were revealed on Episode 1, then they would have been the ones going to the elimination room instead of The Red Team.
Our first elimination was easy because Amber wanted to go home. But after that it was very hard and it seemed evident at that time that Jillian Michaels (trainer for The Black Team) was very good at playing the game. She has a lot of experience and it continues to show through in her success on The Biggest Loser.
I worked very hard day in and day out to stay on campus as long as possible. Speaking of game play, it was the game play of Neil, Amy and possibly Ryan playing the water game that ultimately got me eliminated. But, hey, it's a game and they had that right to play it.
5. If you could go back and change anything about your experience on "The Biggest Loser" using the 20/20 vision of hindsight, what would you do differently?
6. When I lost 180 pounds in 2004, I almost immediately found this newfound sense of purpose about what my life was supposed to be. It's an empowering feeling that you yourself have no doubt felt since your incredible weight loss success. What do you plan on doing to continue inspiring and motivating others on this journey to better health? Have you considered making this your full-time occupation as so many of the past contestants on "The Biggest Loser" have?
Inspiring, supporting and educating people about weight loss and getting and staying healthy has become my new passion. I am currently the spokesperson for GET FIT Tennessee. My personal trainer Carter Hays and I are doing Boot Camp and nutrition weekends all over the country with various events and involvements. It is my purpose to help people in their journey to better health and I enjoy every minute of it.
7. You're starting to sound like me. :) As a self-described "cowboy" who no doubt works hard to keep up the family ranch as well as chasing around four kids, how did you become so obese? Walk us through a day in the life of what you do which undoubtedly includes a lot of manual labor. Have you found that routine has changed any since your weight loss success?
To answer the first part of your question, I had been heavy all of my life and just continued to make poor nutrition decisions and exercise became obsolete for me. You can do all the manual labor in the world, but if you don't exercise to get healthy, then you won't be. On any given day I can be loading or unloading hay or feed. We work a lot of horses and cattle.
I stay pretty busy all the time including a full-time job. My routine of physical labor has gotten easier for me to achieve now that I'm in shape. I have so much more energy to work and play with my kids and spend time with my wonderful wife as well.
8. Everybody would love to know what your diet looked like before you were taught how to eat better on "The Biggest Loser?" And what do you eat now to continue the progress of your weight loss as you head into lifetime maintenance?
My diet before was a life of convenience--whatever I could get quick and on the go--never fully realizing how bad the processed foods and fast foods were for my body. If it's not natural, then it definitely will not nourish your body. Now we eat very healthy 24/7. Basically healthy carbohydrates and proteins with each snack and meal bout 5 to 6 times per day, with the exception of one cheat meal per week. I'm contemplating the idea of writing a cookbook next year, so stay tuned.
9. We'll definitely have to check that out, David! Make sure a few of those meals are low-carb. ;) I'm sure your family is thrilled by your new body and that you'll be around with them for many more years to come as long as you remain committed to your weight management routine. Discuss how much your relationship with your wife and children has changed for the better because of "The Biggest Loser." Did those few months you were apart strengthen the bond?
Most people don't realize how hard that time apart from your family really is while you're on The Biggest Loser. We had virtually no contact with our families because of the rules of the show. It is difficult to change every aspect of your life and not include your wife and children in that process. Now that I have been home for awhile and we all work out and eat healthy together, we are definitely happier and stronger than ever.
10. David, it's been a pleasure having you here at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog today to talk about your time on "The Biggest Loser" in Season 4. Again, kudos to you for accomplishing something that very few overweight or obese people are able to do--lose over 100 pounds! I'm here to help you and encourage you anytime, so don't hesitate to let me know what I can do to help you along in this permanent lifelong journey. Do you have anything you'd like to share with my readers as a final thought for them to remember?
Remember my motto: Nothing Tastes as Great as Fit Feels!
We haven't heard the last of "Biggest Loser" 4 contestant David Griffin. Catch up with all that's happening with him at his MySpace page or his newly-formed and creatively-titled DontStopDavid.com web site. He'd also love to hear from you via e-mail at DavidLGriffin@comcast.net.