Karl Henry on Operation Transformation: 'The harsh reality is that losing weight is hard and you will have to make sacrifices'
Happy New Year to one and all! Christmas can feel like a drawn-out affair, especially this year with so many people taking the week after the big day off work. And now, it's time for the New Year diet craze.
After the whole nation has eaten and drunk itself into a stupor, we fling ourselves to the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Detoxing, extreme health fads, exercising, gym memberships, signing up to new fitness classes - these are likely to be the primary matters of conversation for the next few months.
Over the coming weeks, I will be using my own experience to guide you through the New Year and to encourage you to avoid the hastily-declared resolutions that you normally make every other year and ensure this year will be different.
Starting next Tuesday, I will tackle a different topic every week to help you set (and keep) resolutions that will last all year, not just the short term ones like every other year - so join me each week and let's do this together.
Tomorrow night also sees the premiere of the 10th season of Operation Transformation, perfectly timed to help you on your way too.
Each and every year, the show has grown, going from strength to strength. What started off as a weight-loss show has grown into a national movement and a national platform to inform our audience and show what can be achieved by healthy eating and activity.
This year more than ever, Operation Transformation will demonstrate to people of all ages and abilities how important health is. There will be more campaigns and more involvement than ever, along with the five incredibly inspirational leaders you read about on the previous pages.
Maybe you're sitting reading this and thinking of getting fit this year - the real way, the way that involves effort and hard work.
Our five leaders represent different ages, fitness levels and body shapes. You can find one that looks like you and by following them on the show and on rte.ie/ot, you can get eight weeks of food and exercise plans, along with a 5k training plan, without having to splurge on a pricy subscription service or gym fees.
One of the reasons I have been involved in the show from the very start is the fact that it sells health in a real way. You will be bombarded for the next few months with so many ridiculous forms of fitness and diets that promise weight loss and better health.
Some of us will spend much of our hard-earned money on them and the reality is that, the majority of the time, these methods will last for a few weeks at most and then we will fall back into the old habits again, regaining the weight and messing with our metabolism for the rest of the year.
Operation Transformation shows just how tough weight loss can be: the show documents the highs and lows of each leader's journey, reflecting what many of us around Ireland are experiencing.
The harsh reality is that it is hard. You will have to make sacrifices. If you want to see real, long-lasting change, you will have to plan your weeks, cook your meals, do both cardiovascular and resistance exercise, and measure your progress on a regular basis.
You will have good weeks and bad weeks, but if you believe in what you're doing and you surround yourself with positive people, then you can get through it.
The role of the Operation Transformation leaders is to act as someone to inspire and motivate viewers around the country. By following a plan that works and that has been proven by 10 years of leaders, real change is achievable.
As well as the leaders, throughout the year we will have national walk days, national Park Run ambassadors all around Ireland along with two or three surprise campaigns that I think people will really love.
This year, I advise you to make just one real resolution to yourself - that you won't waste your money like you did in previous years, that you are going to focus on the long-term results, and that by taking it slowly and progressing each week, this new year, you will have a real 'new you'.