'I risked losing the ability to walk with my weight' - Mary Byrne on Operation Transformation
Reality show heavyweight Mary Byrne admits her health would have grown much worse had she not signed up for Celebrity Operation Transformation.
The former X Factor star is in the first week of filming and was told by experts after a fitness exam that she risks losing mobility in her legs if she doesn't change her ways.
"I knew I was obese. I had lost two stone in the last two years, totally down to my daughter Deborah looking after me because she lost five stone," she said.
"As soon as the show came along, I had no hesitations.
"I think my health would have gotten very bad.
"When we did a fitness test, they told me I was in a very low bracket for my age group and that I could lose my mobility because my arthritis in both my knees is so bad. It's a huge change."
Mary started the show weighing 18st 5.5lb and hopes to lose at least a stone during the four weeks of filming, but she has found it difficult adapting to her new diet and exercise regime.
"The cooking, I would cook a pot of stew or bacon and cabbage, and now there's foods I would have never used in my life. I'm finding that a challenge but I'm getting there," she told the Herald.
"Exercise is my big thing that I'm finding difficult as well, because I have arthritis in both my knees. Hopefully, as time goes on, I'm on the road to healthier living. This is a lifetime change for me."
With her first weigh-in coming up on Monday, Mary believes it will be an emotional moment, regardless of what number shows up on the scales. "If I stand up there and they tell me 'you haven't lost anything', that's going to be disappointing and I will cry," she said.
"But if they turn around and say I lost my target, I'll be crying as well because I'll be so happy."
Mary was speaking at the Make A Wish Foundation's Rope For Hope abseil, where participants descended the State Street Building on Sir John Rogerson's Quay.
Last year's effort raised more than €70,000 for the charity.