Life after “Loser”
It’s been nearly 10 months since Danni Allen was crowned the winner of season 14 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” After the hard-won achievement of losing 121 pounds, a different kind of work began: maintaining a healthy weight in the midst of normal life.
When we heard that LÄRABAR has become a regular part of Allen’s post-show diet, we invited her to meet our team at General Mills.
As we toured our headquarters in Minnesota – including our fitness center – I learned about her new yoga studio, finding balance in the everyday, and life after “Loser.”
Thanks so much for coming, Danni – and congratulations on your amazing transformation. Since being on The Biggest Loser, what does a typical day-in-the-life look like for you?
Allen: I wish there was a typical day! But every day is different, and I think that’s what makes life fun and exciting, but also challenging. I’ve been traveling a lot, which can make it harder to stick to a workout routine.
But I always tell people that if I can figure out a way to stay on track, so can you. On the days when I might not have a chance to get a full workout in, I concentrate more on my food intake and making healthy choices about what I put in my body.
And as long as my jeans fit, I know that it’s balancing out.
We know that you’ve made the decision to limit gluten in your diet. With your crazy schedule, how do you stay on track with your food?
Allen: I keep a big variety in my diet, otherwise I get bored. I tend to prep a lot, especially for breakfast; I make mini egg quiches in muffin tins, and heat one up as I’m running out the door. I like to manipulate vegetables, making things like stuffed zucchini or cooked-down spinach.
I drink a lot of cold-pressed juice – my favorite combination is spinach, apple, celery, cactus, kale, and pineapple. And for a snack, I love celery sticks with almond butter and dark chocolate chips – or a LÄRABAR, of course!
We have to ask – do you have a favorite flavor of LÄRABAR?
Allen: Right now, I’m stuck on the [seasonal flavor] Snickerdoodle. Peanut Butter & Jelly was my favorite for a while. And über Roasted Nut Roll is so good, because nuts keep me full longer.
What are your favorite forms of exercise these days?
Allen: Well, I ran the Chicago Marathon in October, so the training took up a lot of my time. But these days, I’m just enjoying the fitness level that I’m at without training for something.
That’s so exciting! What draws you to yoga?
Allen: I love yoga because it’s about strengthening and lengthening your muscles, which anyone can do, no matter if you’re 10-years old or 100-years old.
It’s a great balance of the physical and mental, and it helps take away so much mental junk. In my experience, sometimes there’s more junk up here [points to head] than physically.
Was mental transformation key for you in your success with physical transformation?
Allen: In all honesty, mental transformation has been 99 percent of my success. There was a point on the show when my trainer asked me verbatim ‘Why are you fat?’ – which is a shocking question, and it made me angry at first – but it also made me face the real reasons that were causing me to be the way that I was.
There were a lot of emotional issues that I had avoided for years, but as soon as I started releasing some of that emotional weight, all that was left was the drive to change.
And you changed your life.
Allen: I saved my life.