Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Operation Transformation shock has helped me appreciate all that I have'

Triona McCarthy on the dramatic start to her experience as a leader on RTE's weight-loss show weight-loss

SCARE: Triona McCarthy ahead of ‘Celebrity Operation Transformation’. Photo: Gerry Mooney
SCARE: Triona McCarthy ahead of ‘Celebrity Operation Transformation’. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Triona McCarthy

I have a confession to make. I, the p**s artist formerly known as Party McCarthy, have been in the Fitness Protection Programme for the past few years, hiding from healthy living. But having signed up for the new season of Celebrity Operation Transformation, I've been trying to get into shape. And it's a shock to the system.

When you think about it, I'm not a celebrity. Or am I? It seems everybody is now, in this social-media soaked world. Also, according to a lot of people, I'm not even heavy enough to go on the show. Out and about, I've heard lots of, "You're not fat enough", and while I'm very flattered, those people might just need to pop into Specsavers - I'm actually a stone-and-a-half overweight. Not obese, but I'm not where I want to be, where I used to be, or where I should be.

Anyway, what's wrong with getting fit and healthy, which is really what the show is all about, after all? We've a great gang, with X Factor star Mary Byrne, internet sensation James Patrice, celebrity chef Gary O'Hanlon and The Voice's Kayleigh Cullinan.

We are all on completely different journeys - yes, I know, I'm talking in TV language now - and even though we all have very different personalities, trust me when I tell you, that makes really good TV.

My new BFF is James, who is a 'gas' as he would say himself. He cracks me up and you really need that humour as you run around a pitch for torture - I mean training - purposes. Kayleigh is a burgeoning beauty junkie and I'm breaking into song with Mary at every opportunity.

But it's not all fun and games. When we had our first fitness test with Prof Niall Moyna and he told me I was apparently the lightest and the fittest they'd ever had on the show, I was pretty pleased with myself.

But that was short-lived. Next thing I knew I was being asked to take off my microphone and the cameras were switched off; Niall had something serious to discuss with me.

I thought I was in trouble for oversharing on social media or playing one too many pranks on the others. But it was far more grim. I might have been the lightest and fittest but apparently I was far from the healthiest.

My Instagram followers may have caught glimpses of me in hospital two weeks ago and wondered what was up. The truth is, there were irregularities in my test results that indicated - drum roll, please - heart disease. I thought it was a spoof when they told me but I soon began to realise it wasn't a joke.

You might have seen me on Saturday Night with Miriam a few weeks ago. I was in the height of uncertainty about my health and about remaining on the show at the time, but I just put on my happy face and got on with it.

I was fast-tracked to see a cardiologist in the Blackrock Clinic where I had to have a barrage of tests. Thankfully, in the end, it turned out it was a false positive. They just can't explain how it was coming up that I had these irregularities.

I always look for the silver lining and after all the drama I swear I'm never going to b**ch or tell lies or think bad thoughts ever again. But mostly I'm going to see more of my friends and family and tell them I love them.

Speaking of family, mine have been fab with my husband Will cooking up a storm in the kitchen with the healthy recipes.

My mum Margaret has been marvellous, minding Maxi, my four-year-old, and Mini, my two-year-old, as I'm off gallivanting.

Although on Thursday there was complete pandemonium when I realised Mini was due to start Montessori that day and not on Monday as I had presumed. An entirely different scenario to last year when Maxi started with a perfectly packed lunch in a pristine new school bag and a carefully chosen outfit.

Mini was shoved out the door with an old handbag as a school bag, in her brother's hand-me-downs. She raced in the door of Montessori and I ran back out without any drama. All was grand.

Maxi and Mini are the real little stars of the show, as the production team keeps telling me.

All will be revealed on Wednesday's show when you'll get to see what it's like in my house as I try to do this.

And thankfully after my scare, the next few weeks won't require a literal 'operation'. I'm delighted to be able to focus solely on the 'transformation' aspect.

'Celebrity Operation Transformation' starts this Wednesday on RTE One at 9.35pm

Sunday Independent

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