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Danni Allen, winner of “The Biggest Loser,” on the wake-up call that led her to weight loss

Danni Allen before after being “The Biggest Loser”

Danni Allen before and after being on “The Biggest Loser”

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Updated: July 17, 2013 10:05PM

I find it funny being celebrated as “The Biggest Loser” when I’m at appearances and events … but I like it. I could have never imagined where this show would take me, or the people I would meet along the way, but I can honestly say I’m having the time of my life — and most importantly, I feel great.

I believe we all have a “wake-up call.” Mine came in February 2012, when my father celebrated his 50th birthday in the ICU at Lutheran General Hospital after a buildup of fluid over his heart and lungs had him fighting for his life. His major health scare snapped me back to reality. I knew that if I didn’t change my perspective and my bad habits, I, too, would be fighting for my life.

It was during this time that “The Biggest Loser” casting crew came to the Chicago area. A friend of mine and I decided last-minute to make the auditions our starting point for becoming healthy. We waited in line for hours with thousands of other people, and were in and out of the audition room in less than 10 minutes.

So who would have thought I’d answer my phone that same night and hear, “Am I speaking to the next Biggest Loser?” I was speechless. I knew that my life was about to change.

As with any journey, being on the show had its highs and lows. For me (as viewers witnessed), things often seemed more low than high. I was fighting through most of the season alone after losing my entire team in the first few weeks, but I discovered a fire within myself that I had never ignited. I pushed, screamed and yelled through injury, insecurity and everyone telling me I couldn’t do it. As it turns out, I could. And I did. In less than six months, I lost 121 pounds.

Since winning “The Biggest Loser” in March, I’ve made it my mission to pay it forward. I want to help people believe they can do it — whether “it” is weight loss, gaining self-esteem, overcoming financial stress or finding job security.

I’ll use myself as an example: Nine months ago, running was never an option for me. Now, it’s all I do. Currently, I am participating in a variety of races across the country, “Forrest Gump”-style. I’m an ambassador for the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathons and have been doing speaking engagements and meet-and-greets across the country to prove to people that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

You can follow my journey through Twitter
(@danniallen14) or Facebook. Or even better, come join me! We all have goals that seem unattainable. But if you find the right tools and take it one step at a time, you will be amazed at what you can achieve. Fight for your comeback.

Danni will be running the 5th Annual XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon Sunday in Grant Park and sharing more about her “Biggest Loser” experience at the expo at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Visit the expo Friday or Saturday to register for the race (Lakeside Center East Building at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore, Hall D1).

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