Operation Transformation's Karl Kenry: 'For our leaders, this is start of their new lives'
It was an emotional end to this season of 'Operation Transformation'.
The catwalk show is a real highlight every year. The leaders' families don't see them for a couple of days, so to watch their faces when they come out is fantastic. They're so surprised by how great they look, and it's not just the physical changes either.
Our show is about more than just the numbers: yes, we weigh people, but that's not the crux of it. The leaders were so confident, and it all comes down to two simple things: exercise and healthy eating. It really shows the difference a bit of hard work can make.
Meath leader Lucy Dillon looked like a Charlie's Angel on the catwalk. In eight weeks, she gave up smoking, went back to running, and had a huge loss of inches. She was young and vibrant, and she looked like a 24-year-old again.
Westmeath leader Noeleen Lynam was always very straightforward about her plan: tell me what to do and I'll do it. In the end, she supplied it, and she's proof that anyone of any age can get fit and lose the weight.
When the leaders were speaking to expert Dr Eddie Murphy, Noeleen spoke about realising that you need support on this journey, and it's okay to ask for help.
It's an important message for anyone trying to get healthy. Most of us are a bit shy and afraid to ask for help, but you do need that support from your family and friends to help you achieve your goals.
Throughout the show, Mayo leader John Conmy was under more pressure than any of us knew. It only came out in recent weeks that he had issues with Revenue. I think that eating was a coping mechanism for him. But from 'Operation Transformation', he has learned to cope with that stress in a better way. Even this week when he was under enormous pressure, he lost 8lbs. On the catwalk, I thought he looked the most radiant of them all. He had grown old before his time, but that night he looked youthful.
John still has work to do, but I'm not too worried about him. He has a great support network around him, and he really found his drive in the last weeks. He's in the right place now to keep going.
Limerick leader Clare Scanlan has become a different person to the woman we met eight weeks we go. There's a sense of calmness and togetherness about her now that just wasn't there when we first met her. She had us all bawling our eyes out.
Now that it's all over, I feel emotional. Sometimes I feel like the work is too hard, I'm wrecked, and I don't want to do the show again, but then I watch it and I realise that it is powerful. We've made a difference in some way to both the leaders and people around the country, and that's always the best feeling.
The 5k is always my favourite day. It was great to see people of all shapes, all sizes and all ages crossing the line.
For the leaders, it's a great culmination of all they've done on the show. We saw past leaders like Killian Byrne, Siobhan McKillen and Marc Gibbs that have kept going, and it shows that this is just the beginning.
The show is an eight-week intervention that gives you the jolt to get your life back on track, and that's exactly what we did this year. For our leaders, 'Operation Transformation' was only the warm-up - this is the start of their new lives.