'I was probably gone beyond pain really. Just sad' - Operation Transformation leaders reflect on negative feelings from beginning of process
The Operation Transformation process comes to a close tonight with the big finale and in Wednesday night's episode the leaders reflected on where they started.
Eight weeks ago Clare Scanlan, Lucy Dillon, John Conmy, and Noeleen Lynam opened up about their feelings in the circle of truth as they applied for the show.
And on Wednesday, at the end of their journey, clinical psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy showed the leaders just how negative those feelings were with a wall of phrases they had personally used to describe themselves before beginning their food and fitness plans.
Leader Clare Scanlan, whose son Darra died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome at just 15-years-old, admitted she still feels sad but said she has regained her purpose in life.
The mum-of-three said: “I was probably gone beyond pain really. Just sad, there is no other word for it, just sad all the time. I still feel a bit sad. I am happy, I suppose I feel that I have a bit of a purpose and there’s a bit of a drive in me that I had lost completely, so, I am really looking forward to driving on with what I have started”.
Primary school vice principal Noeleen Lynam became tearful as she admitted that she was perhaps “too independent” and unwilling to seek help from others.
“What I have learned is that, especially my family that I would always be close to – I can’t believe I am crying at the end! – I would have been ‘sure Noeleen is the one who will organise things’, which I do, but it is just nice sometimes to say “do you know what, I need help”. I think when everyone rallied around during this, it taught me that, which was a really good thing so I don’t know why I am crying over it!” she said.
Mum-of-one Lucy told Dr Eddie that she is no longer thinking about needing to "feel" or "get" thin.
“A huge thing that has taken over my mind on this journey is feeling healthy rather than feeling thin or trying to get thin. Definitely the word healthy has entered my head anyway,” she said.
Lucy gave up smoking when she started Operation Transformation. As the programme progressed, she began to deal with her feelings about the death of her mother from lung cancer.
“I am delighted to say I finally nipped it [the smoking] in the bud. It is for my family as well, for Molly [her daughter],” she said, “I want to have that longer life that my Mam never had”.
Finally, Mayo man and father-of-one John Conmy, who raised his teenage brothers after their parents died within a few years of each other, told Dr Eddie that all the negative words on the wall could easily slip into his vocabulary.
“There’s 50 words there, all negative, any of those 50 words could easily slip into my vocabulary. You are perceived as being a successful businessman, happy-go-lucky, work hard, play hard. Was I happy being all that and doing all that? I don’t think so. I’d like to think that people would know the real me,” he said.
Noeleen had some words of advice for John telling him: “You don’t have to be the one giving out all this love to everyone. You did it for your brothers, you do it for your family. You said neighbours or whoever will come to ask you for help because ‘John will do it’. Stop and say 'no, hold on', to allow people to love you back in return because, by goodness me, you deserve it”.
In the end, Dr Eddie invited the four leaders to destroy the wall of negative sentiments. “I am so proud of ye all. You have all made an incredible transformation. These negative words are part of your past,” he said.
The four leaders have shed 100 lbs or 7 stone between them and in tonight's finale they can be seen ditching the lycra as they get a makeover and walk the catwalk in front of friends and family.
Last month, Dublin Dan Kennedy was forced to quit the process after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis although he has vowed to get back on track with his plan.
While the leaders were working to lose the pounds, so was the Irish public with people who have registered clocking up a 73,000 lb weight loss since January 4.
Operation Transformation will, for the first time, continue year-round, not on TV but on radio, online and on social media.
The Operation Transformation finale airs in a special double bill on RTÉ One starting at 8.30pm on Thursday, February 25th and continuing after The Nine O'Clock News.