A Lighter Side
David Brown was just a guy. A guy who struggled with his weight—like many of us do. Then he was offered the chance of a lifetime by being a contestant in the hit NBC show, “The Biggest Loser.” Walking on set, he weighed a hefty 409 pounds. At the finale, he weighed 187 pounds, looking leaner and better than ever. David dropped by the Outlook magazine office to talk about his experience on the show. Being 222 pounds lighter, he had a confidence and charisma about him that was infectious. Eager to share his story, we dove right in.
How did it feel to be selected to compete on the show?
It was such a surreal process. I put myself out there and hoped for the best. When I was accepted, it was a dream come true.
What was your first day like?
The first thing you do when you get there is three hours of the most intense workout you’ve ever done. It’s a wake-up call—your body is out of shape with no real concept of working out.
What was the most beneficial thing you learned?
You have to leave your comfort zone behind and challenge yourself to workouts that are harder, longer and faster. My mantra is “do what you can today, so you can do what you want tomorrow.”
How did you keep track of everything you did to lose weight?
We wore BodyMedia FIT trackers during every workout, which records your activity level. I logged 2.2 million steps during my time on The Biggest Loser. If you had told me before I started that I could walk that much, I wouldn’t have believed it.
What was the atmosphere like on the show? Did you get along with the other contestants?
We all got along fantastically. The first week everyone got to work out together, all 15 of us, with no teams. We all had the same goals, same ideals, same pressures, which helped everyone bond. We started encouraging each other very quickly. Even after we separated into teams, we still did.
What is your favorite part about being a contestant?
Ultimately, it’s the success. During Makeover Week, when my family came around the corner and didn’t recognize me, well that was the payoff moment. Their expressions told me “it was worth it.”
Was it difficult to be away from your family for so long?
It seemed impossible. Without my faith and my family’s letters to me, I’m not sure how I would have made it most days, much less each week.
What was it like being isolated from the rest of the world?
While there, I didn’t have internet access, so there was no “noise” at the Ranch. Because of that, I now use less technology since being home because it just distracts me.
Are there certain foods or drinks you just avoid entirely now to keep the weight off?
Well, I’m always aware of what I’m doing with my body. With food, you just need to have a plan and strategy in life with your food. You can enjoy the things you want to enjoy, just don’t over-indulge.
How does it feel to get an entirely new wardrobe?
Well, I don’t have that wardrobe yet, but I’m working on it. The fun thing is that I can now shop at any store I want to, not just specialty size stores.
What’s the story with the beard?
The beard started last year with no-shave November. After that, I came up with a goal to grow it out until I had lost 100 lbs. Then the beard became part of the storyline of the show and the producers wanted me to keep it until Makeover Week.
Any advice would you give to someone who wants to make a life change like you did?
It’s the combination of taking the first step and challenging yourself. Giving yourself a motivation to move. Even if you can’t do something today, sign up for it anyway with a moment of courage and then start training. That idea has turned into my “1 Stronger” challenge.
Tell us more about the 1 Stronger Challenge…
It focuses on the idea of a healthy lifestyle. Every 90-120 days, I want to have signed up for an event like a run, triathlon, bike race, anything. Then I can be specifically training for something and have goals for something.
Are you training for something now?
Right now I’m training with my family for the OKC half marathon. We are going to run it together.
Do you have a favorite way to exercise or activity?
I love being on the spin bike. Also, at the Ranch, we could exercise outside in the national park it was located in, and I would run or ride my bike up to Inspiration Point. That was one of my favorite activities to do, be outside and feeling the wind on my face.
How has being a Biggest Loser contestant changed you?
The biggest part of my transformation is something you didn’t see. It’s easy to see the before and after photos. However, the biggest change was in the emotional healing that happened day-by-day, week-by-week. Letting go of my depression and working through things I had neglected years ago. That’s what I’m most proud of.
How has it not changed you?
My faith and family were and are my main priority. All the experience did was reinforce my priorities. Now, everything is sweeter. My senses are awakened. The experience is better.
What’s next for you?
I have a burden to share what I have learned. I didn’t realize the desperation that I had and I want to wake people up. My message is one of hope, healing and health.
Connect with David by texting “1Stronger” to 44622, to get free text updates, diet & exercise tips, and inspiration from his journey of hope, healing & health. Booking info: 1STRONGER.com