The last several months have been quite a journey for Edmond's David Brown, who's been fighting for his life and for a position as one of three finalists on NBC's “The Biggest Loser” two-hour finale, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Brown went from weighing 409 pounds at the show's start to 243 pounds at the final weigh-in last week.
“I think the biggest deal is the fear of coming into the ranch, not knowing what to expect,” Brown said in an interview with The Oklahoman last week. “You really have no idea how difficult it is.”
Through blood, sweat and many tears, Brown faced the journey head on, and by the third week or so, he said he started seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. He started believing in himself and seeing that this experience could become a lifestyle.
“By the end, I start to see myself as an athlete,” Brown said. “I start to see myself as freed from the burdens of being this obese guy.”
On last week's episode, Brown competed in the show's first triathlon, which was something he'd envisioned himself doing early in the season, he said. It was also revealed that Brown's health had improved during “The Biggest Loser” process. He'd gone from taking nine medications daily, for everything from high blood pressure to type 2 diabetes, to taking none.
“As far as I'm concerned, I'm completely healed, completely healthy, completely successful,” Brown said.
The week before, Brown achieved another goal: making it to the makeover episode.
“I always had that in my mind if I could make it to makeover week, what a transformation that was going to be for my family,” he said.
And what a transformation it was. Minus the beard and 150 pounds, Brown looked like a new person, one who brought his three daughters and wife, Melissa, to sobbing tears of joy at the makeover reveal.
Shaving Brown's beard that had grown longer and scragglier throughout the show's filming was symbolic not only of the pounds he'd already lost, but also of moving away from the emotional baggage that had been weighing him down as much as his obesity.
The emotional baggage he'd been hauling largely stemmed from the death of his young first wife, Andrea Brown, 10 years after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Before her death, she'd experienced a remission and given birth to two daughters, Jordan and MacKenzie Brown, now 18 and 16.
“Just before I watched my wife take her last breath, she wanted me to make her a promise that I would be here to take care of her girls. And I intend to keep that promise,” Brown said in an earlier interview.
He didn't realize that he still hadn't picked up the pieces of his heart left from Andrea's death until those emotions flooded out of him during the grueling physical experience of the show.
“When you're at the end of your physical abilities, week by week, and you're being pushed so hard physically, you start to deal with some of that other stuff that you didn't know you had to deal with,” Brown said. “For me, there was just a lot of emotional baggage that I didn't realize that I was carrying.”
‘Take the first step'
Brown, a project manager for a roofing and construction company in Edmond, also is known for having served for seven years as a life groups pastor for Lifechurch.tv in Edmond. He is married now to Melissa Brown, and the two have a 5-year-old daughter, Trinity.
Tonight, if Brown wins the title of “The Biggest Loser,” he will be $250,000 richer. If he doesn't take the title, he can still compete for $100,000 awarded to the top “at home” loser.
Regardless, Brown is a big winner and a remarkable “loser.”
“There is so much that I've learned throughout this whole deal,” Brown said. “But if I was unwilling to take the first step it never would have happened. It starts with that first step and doing what you can do today.”
Here are some tips from Brown for changing your own life, one step at a time.
Don't be afraid to take the first step, however painful it may seem.
Don't let the excuse monster step in.
Don't have that negative self-talk tape rolling at the same time you're trying to make these changes.
You can talk yourself out of it every day of the week. The key is to actually talk yourself into it when you don't want to — when it's cold outside, you go to the gym. When you want to sleep in and hit the snooze bar, you don't.
Make the change every day. It's walking the stairs, it's parking farther from the front door, it's getting on the treadmill versus sitting on the couch.
It's the little changes that can be made everyday that make someone a hero. Because, at the end of the day, it's those things that add up.
Have a goal. Brown said he plans to compete in six to eight races per year, which will keep him training constantly, except when recovering from a race.