Friday 30 January 2015

Dr Eva: I just can't keep chocolate in the house – I've such a sweet-tooth

The TV fat-fighter talks about her family life, beloved dogs and dealing with her 'Dr Evil' image

Calorie counting: Dr Eva Orsmond and Deirdre Reynolds at the lunch in the Westin hotel.
Calorie counting: Dr Eva Orsmond and Deirdre Reynolds at the lunch in the Westin hotel.
Tough love: Dr Eva Orsmond with 'Operation Transformation' contestant Charlotte O'Connell, whom she reduced to tears.

When you're eating out with Ireland's most famous TV fat-fighter, you tend to be on your best behaviour – resisting the bread basket, ordering water instead of wine and skipping dessert.

After all, it's not so long since Operation Transformation's Dr Eva Orsmond infamously eviscerated one of the show's leaders for missing her weight loss target by half a pound.

Relaxing over lunch in the sunlit atrium of The Westin Hotel on holidays, however, Dr Eva insists she's no "Dr Evil".

"Nobody has thrown anything at me so far," laughs Eva, who's originally from Finland. "But I have heard the 'Dr Evil' thing before.

"Once my son texted me during the show saying: 'Why don't you say anything nice to (the leaders)?'

"I do – but nobody remembers that, they only remember the other stuff. It's typical!"

Certainly the petite, soft-spoken blonde sitting opposite me over lunch bears little resemblance to the woman who reduced Cavan competitor Charlotte O'Connell to tears on RTÉ earlier this year – prompting a flood of complaints from viewers and Dr Eva's subsequent apology.

"People felt that I had been too strong with her, and maybe I was," admits the mum of two, who moved here from South Africa with her family 13 years ago. "But I really didn't expect that type of reaction.

"At a personal level, it made me quite upset that people thought I was just being mean.

"Some of my clients even told me they were going around defending me because I am not like that.

"With Irish people, usually everything is 'grand'. In another culture, it may have been viewed differently."

She adds: "I didn't apologise for what I said, I apologised for the way I said it.

"I still believe it needed to be said. We sorted it out and (Charlotte and I) are friendly now.

"At the end of the day, it is reality television and we need to get results. If everything was nicey nicey, it would be very boring."

"I started my public health studies in Sweden, studied to become a doctor in Italy and worked in Bangladesh.

"Then I moved to South Africa, where I met my husband Wyatt – and the rest is history!"

With two young children in tow, finally the couple moved to Ireland for work in 2000 – Eva as a doctor at St Columcille's Hospital in Loughlinstown and geotechnical engineer Wyatt on the country's growing web of motorways.

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