When her father had a health scare, 26-year-old Danni Allen looked at her own lifestyle and had an aha moment—she wanted to start living a healthier life. Now it's hard to imagine Danni living any other way—she's one of the strongest people on The Biggest Loser this season. She's the last remaining member of Jillian Michaels' white team and has yet to lose one of the weekly challenges.
We found out more about Danni's life on the ranch—her struggles, her triumphs and how she really feels about working with trainer Jillian Michaels.
What’s the best—and worst part—about working with Jillian Michaels?
Danni: She is so direct and in your face. She really gives you the ugly truth. I wasn't ready for it. I almost felt violated and wasn't sure I could make it through the first week. But the truth is, I didn't understand how she works. She really put our team to the test.
What I love about Jillian is she does give you the ugly truth, but it's in the best way possible. She never gives up on you. She has a "cut the crap motto." She takes away my excuses. I can even be proud of myself now, all because of what she has done for me.
What was the hardest change you had to make and how did you make it sustainable?
Danni: Realizing that I am a subconscious eater. There are so many times I didn't realize I was eating. I always thought I was a healthy eater, but I never took into consideration all of the snacking I did. Being conscious of what and when I am eating is a huge part of getting over my struggles.
What surprised you most about The Biggest Loser?
Danni: I think I surprised myself. The fact that I have been able to go this far and not falter [shows] I can do it. In the beginning I thought I'd be happy if I made it through the first five weeks. But once I did that, I was disappointed that I didn't set a goal for myself to go further. I could tell that I was selling myself short.
I was also so worried that 15 people with different backgrounds wouldn't get along in one house, but I was wrong. We are one big family that lives all over the U.S.
What's been harder for you, the mental, physical or dietary changes you've made?
Danni: It would be easy to say workouts and eating healthier, but I think the hardest change for me was [mental]. It was hard to realize the imperfections I had with myself. I never realized the ingredients behind it all. I have a great family and friends and such a good life but I never felt I deserved it. I was such a negative person without realizing it. Jillian showed me that I can deserve this.
What sticks out as a turning point for you on the show?
Danni: Week five was the week where my whole team was gone. I wanted my team to do well and then all of a sudden it was just me. I couldn't worry about anyone else but myself. I had one of my best weight losses and I survived against two teams. I grew so much with Jillian.
What are the relationships like that you've developed on the ranch?
Danni: Ginna McDonald has been the closest relationship I've made on the ranch. She and I bonded almost the way a mother and daughter would. She has one of the hardest work ethics and it is inspiring. She has the determination that I truly admire. She really has a spark in here and I know we will stay friends forever.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.