Sunday 23 September 2018

'If I don't get up at 5.30am and go to the gym my day is ruined' - last year's Operation Transformation leaders on how lives have changed

The search for new leaders has begun

‘Operation Transformation’ presenter Kathryn Thomas, centre, with, from left, Chris McElligott, Yvonne Keenan-Ross, Marie Grace, Mairead Redmond and Sean Daly. Photo: Andres Poveda
‘Operation Transformation’ presenter Kathryn Thomas, centre, with, from left, Chris McElligott, Yvonne Keenan-Ross, Marie Grace, Mairead Redmond and Sean Daly. Photo: Andres Poveda
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Last season's Operation Transformation leaders collectively lost a record 15 stone 10 lbs and they've continued to lose weight since filming wrapped.

Chris, Yvonne, Sean, Marie and Mairead spoke to Ray D'Arcy on RTE Radio 1 about how their lives have changed since the show.

Yvonne has seen huge health benefits especially regarding her arthritis.  She no longer needs to take pain medication and no longer limps. 

However, while her health is improving, she is also dealing with the news that her husband Stephen's cancer has returned. 

Previously he had suffered from cancer in his stomach but had been cancer free for two years.

"Last Tuesday we found out that Stephen's lung cancer has returned, on his right lung," she told Ray.  "He has to start his chemotherapy, he's actually in Lourdes hospital at the moment having his port put in... it was a big shock, he has to start fighting again."

Chocolatier Mairead, meanwhile, has lost two stone since the beginning of the programme and said, "Life is great now.  It's changed your lifestyle, it's changed your way of living."

Marie has developed a fondness for running.

"I absolutely love running," she said.  "If I've a really busy day, with work or whatever, I find just to go out, I might go for half an hour, I might go for an hour, depends on the mood I'm in, I just find when I come back I'm much happier."

Chris' goal was to make the Irish amputee selection team to play in the European championships in Turkey, and he achieved it.  He lost three and a half stone.

"The funny side of it is, I take another 8 lbs off when I take the leg off me... so if I take my leg off, I get down to 13st 8lbs," he laughed.

Sean has lost over five stone and says his life has completely transformed as he could not fit into cars.  He now shops for clothes all the time, and has become something of a gym bunny.

"They obviously opened up Penneys in Liffey Valley coz they knew I'd be losing weight," he joked, adding, "If I don't get up at 5.30am and go to the gym my day is ruined."

The five should serve as inspiration for this year's leaders.  The nationwide search has begun for the eleventh series.

Operation Transformation presenter Kathryn Thomas said: “I'm blown away by the success of last year's leaders. I'm so proud of each of them. 2018 marks the eleventh series of Operation Transformation. I'd say to anyone who's watched the show before and thought I wish I could do that - this could be your year - this could be you standing here next year - healthier and happier - encouraging other people to make a difference in their lives.

"So make that first step - log on to the OT website, pick up the phone and call the team. You can make all the excuses you like but the leaders here today are proof that the Operation Transformation plan works and that you can lose weight and keep it off. 2018 could be your year - we'd love to hear from you.”

To apply online go to www.rte.ie/ot  If you have any questions or if you would like an application form sent to you in the post, please call Helen, Brittny or Elisha on 01 864 1444 or email ot@vipmg.tv

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