Trailer Choir member Vinny Hickerson, a/k/a Big Vinny, is still competing on NBC's hit show, 'The Biggest Loser.' The singer-songwriter, who began the weight-loss challenge at more than 420 pounds, reveals it was a painful childhood experience that triggered his massive weight gain.

Big Vinny was only nine years old when he experienced abuse at the hands of his step-father. "I thought I could protect myself if I was bigger," he explains (quote via Nashville's Tennessean newspaper). "I started eating as much as I could every day. Then I got so big and got out on my own at the age of 14. The thing was, I was already over 300 pounds and then it was, 'What can I do to prove that I'm not worthless?'"

The Tennessee native, who will release an album next year on the band's new label, Hollaville, is anxious to deal with his health challenges head on. "Now I realize that I have to face this thing and deal with those issues and realize I was a loveable person," he says.

Contestants on 'The Biggest Loser' are competing to lose the most weight, with the winner earning the grand prize of $250,000. The show airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM ET on NBC.

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