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Operation Transformation leader hopefuls

Operation Transformation leader hopefuls

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Karen Moore. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Karen Moore. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Oein DeBhairduin. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Oein DeBhairduin. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Gerard Condon. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Gerard Condon. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Elissa Whelan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Elissa Whelan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Glenda Conyard. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Glenda Conyard. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Alan Mullen. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Alan Mullen. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Karen McLoughlin. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Karen McLoughlin. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Lynda O'Toole. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Lynda O'Toole. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Veronica Horgan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Veronica Horgan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Rita Waldeck. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Rita Waldeck. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Mark McArdle. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Mark McArdle. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Darren O'Rourke. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Darren O'Rourke. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

Bernie Pepper

Bernie Pepper

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Roy Sullivan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Roy Sullivan. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Sandra O'Brien. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Sandra O'Brien. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Louise Ormsby. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Louise Ormsby. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Leanne Merriman. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Leanne Merriman. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Eilish Kavanagh. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Eilish Kavanagh. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Michelle Quigley. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

NO REPRO FEE Today, Wednesday November 19th, saw 19 hopeful candidates inch one step closer to becoming an Operation Transformation leader in Sportslink, Santry. John Murray and his team put the 19 finalists through their paces as to why they should be involved as a leader this year. Operation Transformation returns to our screens on RT? One in early January 2015. Pictured here is: Michelle Quigley. Picture: Tony Kinlan, 19/11/2014.

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Operation Transformation leader hopefuls

Nineteen candidates from across the country today compete to bag one of five coveted leader roles on the upcoming eighth series of RTE's Operation Transformation.

The 19 hopefuls were interviewed live on the John Murray show on RTE Radio 1 this morning prior to being assessed physically and emotionally by the four Operation Transformation experts.

The foursome - fitness guru Karl Henry, clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Murphy, dietician Aoife Hearne, and GP Dr. Ciara Kelly - return for this series.

The assessment day for the candidates includes an aerobic test in the swimming pool, a group session with Dr Eddie, and individual assessments by all four experts.

As usual, the five chosen leaders will then endeavour to inspire the show's viewers to follow them on their 8 week journey, beginning in January.

One leader will be revealed each day on the John Murray show from next Monday 24 at 9am when Kathryn Thomas will visit their homes live to break the news.

"For a lot of these people it’s about life or death and that’s what we’re talking about – we want to find five people who will lead a nation and they won’t change just their own lives, they’ll have helped change countless other lives," says Kathryn.

"We’ve seen that year after year with our leaders – how they inspire people and that’s what we’re looking for today. I just think they’re all brilliant because I don’t know if I could do it. To put yourself out there like that is an extremely brave thing to do.”

Operation Transformation has been a consistent success for RTE with an average of 545,000 viewers tuning in for each of the sixteen episodes last year.

The 19 Operation Transformation finalists are:

Alan Mullen

Age:  21

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Address: Ballintubber, Moate, Co. Westmeath

Weight: 26st

At 21, Alan could be the youngest male leader to date. He is currently studying Business & Computers at Moate Business College and lives at home with his parents Ailish and John. He met his girlfriend Emily four years ago, at a local talent competition. Alan has always struggled with his weight. Despite being a keen footballer and training hard with the local team, he was never chosen to play because of his weight. He quit the team in frustration, aged 16. His family are big GAA supporters and he would love to be able to get back out there and make them proud. His second dream would be to have the confidence to enjoy sharing his passion for music with his dad, who plays Country and Western music professionally.

Alan currently eats up to seven takeaways a week, and he drinks a minimum of 6-pack of coca cola a day. He is also a heavy smoker, smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day. He knows if he keeps going the way he is, it won’t end well. Alan wants to turn his life around and represent all the young people out there, who are in despair over their weight but don’t know what to do about it.

Bernie Pepper

Age:  34

Address: Rathwire, Co. Westmeath

Weight: 16st

Originally from Tallaght, Bernie now lives outside Mullingar with her husband James and their five children; Shannon, Jodie, Aimee, Holly and baby James Jnr, who is only a few months old.

Bernie works as a clairvoyant and medium under her maiden name ‘Bernie Stokes’. She has over 21,000 fans on Facebook, and splits her time between private readings and doing shows nationwide.

It was her sister Pauline, who works as a personal trainer, that persuaded Bernie to apply for the show. MMA star Conor McGregor is Bernie’s first cousin and she played soccer against Robbie Keane in school. Bernie weighed eight stone for most of her life, but her weight fluctuated after each of her pregnancies and she is now at her heaviest.  Bernie’s husband James does all the cooking for the family but instead of eating the home cooked meals, Bernie finds herself reaching for junk food. She hopes to change her habits and form a good structure for herself and her family.

Darren O’Rourke

Age: 42

Address: Raheny, Dublin 5

Weight: 26st 7lbs

Darren is originally from the Pearse Street flats but now lives with wife Eileen and two teenage sons, Dylan and Shane, in Raheny.  He met Eileen at ‘The Apartment’ disco in his teens and they have been inseparable ever since.

Darren is very proud of the Pearse Street community, where his father still lives. His father ran the local football leagues and also boxed for Ireland.  Darren’s mother passed away from a heart attack at the age of 52, when he was only 20. Darren knows he’s going down that road and the thought of not being around for his sons terrifies him. Darren has struggled with his weight from a young age; he remembers having to get a man’s suit for his confirmation.  It’s now affecting every aspect of his life. His first battle of the day is simply getting out of bed. Darren does get some exercise by cycling to and from work every day.

Karen McLoughlin

Age: 31

Address: Howth, Co. Dublin

Weight: 12st

With two sets of twins under the age of four, Karen really has her hands full.  She and her husband Roy live in Howth.  While Karen absolutely loves being a stay at home mum for her kids, she feels she has lost herself along the way. 

When the first set of twins came along, Karen was left in a bit of a daze as she struggled to get used to being a mum. There are parts of the first year she cannot even remember. As well as dealing with the shock of hearing she was once again expecting twins, Karen’s second pregnancy was very difficult and left her very immobile.  She felt constantly hungry and put on 5-6 stone during her pregnancy.

Karen doesn’t even recognise herself anymore. Working as a design consultant, she took pride in her appearance and always had her hair and nails done.  Now she sometimes doesn’t even have time to brush her teeth or hair.

She feels as if she is wearing a ‘fat suit’ and constantly looks wrecked. She hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in five years! Feeding a family of six on one wage also adds to the pressure. She finds herself eating much more just to give herself energy and unhealthy snacks are always the handiest thing to grab.

Karen is maid of honour at her friend, Eibhlin’s wedding in February, which is a major motivation for her. She feels it’s about time she got out of her maternity clothes.

Lynda O’ Toole

Age: 36

Address: Tallaght, Dublin 24

Weight: 19st

Born and bred in Tallaght, Lynda lives at home with her husband and her three children. She has been dieting for 20 years, since first going to Weight Watchers at age 16. She doesn’t want to do the same for the next 20 years. When it comes to food, Lynda feels that portion size, and picking off the kids plates are her main problems.

All Lynda sees in the mirror is fat, which to her means ugly.  Lynda works as a hairdresser and while she enjoys making others look and feel beautiful, she doesn’t see the point in putting effort into herself.  She uses humour to cover up how she’s feeling, comparing herself to Mandy Dingle from Emmerdale.

Louise Ormsby

Age: 34

Address: Adamstown, Co. Dublin

Weight: 14st 7lbs

Travel consultant, Louise lives in Adamstown, and has been married to Will for four years. Even as a child she felt bigger than all her friends.  She was always the one with a bar of chocolate in her hand, or the one who would order a portion of chips with her lunch. Louise is desperate to start a family and has been advised to lose weight. She feels time, and life is just passing her by and she feels guilty for letting herself and others down. Louise is also a smoker ,she tried to give up last year but she is back up to 20 a day now. For the first time in her life, Louise feels that she has taken her head out of the sand in relation to her weight, and with the help of Operation Transformation she wants to do something about it.

Rita Waldeck

Age: 52

Address: Stepaside, Dublin 18

Weight: 15st 6lbs

Rita grew up in Cape Town, South Africa.  She came to Ireland when her husband Timothy was offered work here. She now works as a care worker in St Vincent’s Hospital.

Rita was a cross-country runner and used to be quite slim. Her weight started to go up after the birth of her first child. She admits that she didn’t try very hard to lose any weight at that time, because culturally in South Africa, if you didn’t gain weight after getting married your husband was seen to not be providing properly for you.

When Rita first came to Ireland, she actually became fitter as she walked to work each day. However, she soon discovered the Irish breakfast in the hospital canteen and became a big fan.

As a health care professional Rita feels hypocritical when she has to weigh-in patients. She often makes jokes about it to them but she says she knows she shouldn’t. Since being diagnosed with high blood pressure Rita has been trying to lose weight but progress has been slow. She also has mild arthritis in her knee and hip and she knows she can’t afford to gain any more weight for the sake of her health.

Oein DeBhairdruin

Age: 29

Address: Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Weight: 19st 7lbs

Originally from Tuam in Galway, Oein currently lives in Clondalkin with his partner, Dan. Coming out as a gay traveller was a difficult time for Oein and he has since set up LGBT Pavee to offer support to gay travellers. Oein also works for  ‘Clondalkin Traveller Training’, where he helps travellers improve their skills for the workforce.  He is very passionate about his work. 

Oein feels he started gaining weight in his early teens because food was a huge part of his life, from celebrations to mourning. Oein will turn 30 next June and is statistically entering middle age (the life expectancy of a traveller is 61.7 years). He is very worried about his health, as his family suffer from a history of bad health.

In his spare time Oein enjoys harvesting, blending and brewing his own tea and knitting scarves. He also writes for local newspapers and magazines.

To get to his healthy weight would be to achieve a long time deeply embedded personal goal.

Karen Moore

Age: 35

Address: Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

Weight: 14st 7lbs

Single mum, Karen began life in Mullingar, the daughter of two publicans and the middle child of three sisters.  At the age of eight, Karen spent six months in hospital with an infection in her knee. She believes that is where her weight problems began. After living on hospital food for six months, she ate everything she could when she got home.

At the age of ten, Karen and her family moved to London but Karen later returned to Ireland to work in property management. Unfortunately Karen was made redundant and left out of pocket. She turned to food for comfort, moved very little and gained a lot of the weight she now still carries.   Two years later Karen and her partner gave birth to their daughter Ruby (now 2), a year after her birth the couple split up, but remain very good friends. 

Since the split Karen has started to focus on achieving her goals.  She finally got herself braces to straighten her teeth, she had her adult acne treated and she completed a post grad.  Now it’s time to focus on her weight. She wants to gain self-confidence, something she’s been missing for quite some time.

Ger Condon

Age: 30

Address: Ferrybank, Co. Waterford

Weight: 16st

Ger is a self-employed handyman, who started his own business in August, because he couldn’t take sitting around waiting for work.  In school, Ger was a sports champion and played a couple of games for Ireland at under-15 level. He also played with his fellow countyman John O’ Shea at club level. His dream to be a professional football player was crushed when he injured his ankle aged 17. Disheartened, he gave up football and drinking, smoking and partying took over. In the last year, Ger has started to volunteer with Waterford Marine Rescue. He is really enjoying it but feels his weight is holding him back. It takes him longer to squeeze into his dry suit and get to where he needs to be. He doesn’t want his weight to get in the way of saving someone’s life.

Ger knows he is simply eating too much; cooking for one seems to result in massive portions and then there’s breakfast rolls, take-aways and the handy option of a second dinner a day in his parent’s house next door. Ger has been single for the last three years. He would love to find a lovely girl and settle down, but doesn’t see this happening until he loses the weight.

Glenda Conyard

Age: 37

Address: Rathnew, Co. Wicklow

Weight: 13st

Pre-school owner, Glenda has tried every diet under the sun, and even once paid a hypnotist €500 in attempt to shed her excess weight. She and her husband Paul did manage to lose some weight in advance of their wedding two years ago but while Paul has kept it off and gone on to lose more, Glenda has put it all back on.

The couple live in Glenda’s hometown of Rathnew with their son Sean. A self-confessed fussy eater, Glenda has no problem making healthy meals for her husband and son, but won’t eat these dinners herself.  She admits the local Chinese Takeaway know her by name because she’s such a good customer. The couple would really like to expand their family, but Glenda has been told that her weight is potentially affecting her fertility. Glenda has never felt as motivated to lose the weight and more importantly learn how to maintain it.

Eilish Kavanagh

Age: 47

Address: Bunclody, Wexford

Weight: 13st 10lbs

Business owner, Eilish runs a café called TLC, named after her three Children; Tomas, Laura and Chloe. Eilish grew up on her family’s farm and still lives on the family land with her husband John and their youngest daughter Chloe. Eilish lost both of her parents three years ago but all her siblings live close by and regularly meet for trad sessions. Eilish even had a bar fitted in the sitting room to facilitate the legendary parties.

Eilish once represented Ireland in ladies Tug of War and was extremely fit at the height of her training. Her weight really only became an issue when she gave up her 20-a-day smoking habit. Being surrounded by food all day isn’t helping. She finds herself picking at the chips, sausages and chicken nuggets at work.

Eilish is soon to be Mother of the bride, as her daughter Laura is getting married next year. This is a major motivation for Eilish, who is refusing to buy a size 16 outfit. She was 9st getting married, and doesn’t want to be 4 stone heavier at her daughter’s wedding. With a history of type two diabetes in the family, Eilish feels that she needs to take action now, as the older she gets the harder it getting to shift those pounds.

Elissa Whelan

Age: 26

Address: Ratoath, Co Meath

Weight: 15st 11lbs

Elissa feels she is existing not living.  At 26, she’s never had a boyfriend, she hasn’t achieved her ambitions to be become a midwife and she fears any kind of limelight. Elissa lives on her parent’s stud farm in Rathoath. As a child she loved horse riding, but as she gained weight she feared she may injure the horse, so she gave up her beloved past time and only form of exercise.   By the time she made her Confirmation, Elissa had to buy her clothes in plus size ladies’ shops.

Secondary school was a nightmare; Elissa was taunted and teased by the boys in school and online.  She is still quite wary of men as a result.  She made up all sorts of excuses to get out of going to school, especially on PE day.  She is bridesmaid for two of her friends’ weddings next year. While she is honoured to be part of their weddings, she is also terrified and hates that her weight is taking from the special occasion. She is taking part in Operation Transformation because she deserves to be happy and doesn’t want to end up fat and lonely forever.

Leanne Merriman

Age: 29

Address: Clane, Co. Kildare

Weight: 18st 9lbs

Originally from Kill, Leanne currently resides in Clane with her boyfriend, Eoghan, and their pet dog.  The couple met four years ago on Facebook. They would love a baby but Leanne thinks her weight is preventing her from getting pregnant. Leanne has struggled with her weight since childhood, which she puts down to eating too many sweets.   She has lost weight in the past but always by extreme measures, such as dieting shakes, which was never sustainable. She works as a phone operator for a taxi company and while she enjoys the work, her dream is to be an interior designer. 

Leanne feels overwhelmed by the prospect of losing weight. The more she thinks about it, the more she eats. Despite being a young lady with no responsibilities, her social life is now non-existent because of her weight.  She is turning 30 in January and feels it’s time to start living again.

Mark McArdle

Age: 44

Address: Dunleer, Co. Louth

Weight: 22st 7lbs

Busy dad of four, Mark is starting to feel the pressure because of his weight. He wants to set a better example for his children and stop worrying his wife Michelle, who is a nurse, and very concerned about Mark’s weight. 

Despite being a successful salesman for a growing company, Mark feels his expanding waistline is affecting his work. He doesn’t look like the professional he truly is. He would love to wear a sharp suit, rather than what just fits.

Mark is very active within his community; everything from playing the Dame in the local pantomime to coaching at the local GAA club. He even helped to set up an Operation Transformation group in the village last year. Mark claims his weight annoys him rather than upsets him. He feels that everything else is his life is fantastic, but his weight is the only thing that he has not been able to master. Operation Transformation would be life changing for him and his family.

Michelle Quigley

Age: 35

Address: Delvin, Co. Westmeath

Weight: 17st 2lbs

Stay at home mum, Michelle, is originally from Ballymun but currently resides in Westmeath with her husband, Brian, and her three children. 

Although only 35, Michelle has already had two heart operations. She was diagnosed with a congenital heart problem at the age of 25, days after getting together with Brian. He has stood by her throughout.

Michelle’s pregnancies put a huge amount of pressure on her heart and she suffered serious complications in her last two pregnancies as a result. Luckily it all worked out and in April Michelle had her second valve replacement. Inside she feels as good as new so it’s time to start working on the outside. She knows her weight isn’t helping her health and she doesn’t want to miss her children growing up.

Roy Sullivan

Age: 39

Address: Portlaoise, Co. Laois

Weight: 17st 1lb

Taxi driver, Roy is originally from Tallaght but now living in Portlaoise with his wife Ruth and three children.  He commutes to Dublin every day for work. The combination of long hours and fast food over the last seven years has resulted in a ‘driver’s belly’ for Roy. He also regrets spending so much time away from his kids, especially when covering the late nights at weekend.

With the amount of time spent sitting in his car, Roy knows he needs to get more exercise.  Yet the weight lifting bench and treadmill in his garage are left gathering dust.

Roy’s big 40 this coming January is fast approaching and he wants to be able to wear smart clothes that he’s unable to fit into at present. Having tried so many quick fixes in the past, he feels it’s time to learn about food and fitness the right way.

Sandra O’Brien

Age: 33

Address: Gorey, Co. Wexford

Weight: 16st 3lbs

New mum, Sandra is originally from Dublin but living in Gorey with husband Ian. Just, ten weeks ago, their much longed for baby Liam arrived.  Sandra is convinced that her weight and fertility are tightly linked.  She waited eight years for her first child, and she’s not willing to wait another eight for her second. Sandra grew up in Blackrock with her mum, dad, sister and brother. She was once a sporty child, who was given a trial to play soccer for Ireland at 15.  However her priorities soon shifted and her weight began to climb.

During her pregnancy Sandra suffered from high blood pressure.  She was also suspected of having gestational diabetes, and needed to monitor her blood glucose levels.  She felt very guilty about her weight during pregnancy and tried her best to control it, only gaining 9lbs in total. Sandra is a bank teller but is currently on maternity leave. Since having her baby, she’s finding it difficult to resist the lures of congratulatory cakes.

Veronica Horgan

Age: 24

Address: Dunmanway, Cork

Weight: 16st 3lbs

Born in Mazara Del Vallo in Sicily, Veronica moved to Ireland with her Italian Mother, Irish father and two sisters at the age of 4. Veronica was always a bigger child, and her Sicilian grandfather used to call her ‘Sweetie’ in Italian, which directly translates to ‘little ball’. Her mother is a great cook and she even ran an Italian chipper here in Ireland.

When Veronica started school she didn’t speak any English, and she found it very difficult to make friends. She was bullied because of her weight and the fact that she was ‘foreign’.  Veronica turned to food for comfort. After school Veronica went to UCC to study Commerce and Italian, however she couldn’t continue after 1st year due the financial strain it put on her parents. She now works for South Western BPO, and absolutely loves it there. This is also where she met her boyfriend Eoin.  They’ve been together 10 months now and will be moving in together shortly. 


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