Tuesday 20 February 2018

Sexy for the summer

Niamh Byrne

Operation Transformation leader Rachel Walker tells us how the show has completely changed her life around.

The last six weeks have been gruelling for the Dublin homemaker but it’s been worth it as Rachel’s healthier living has made her a happier woman and mother.

Rachel has had a long-term battle with her weight. At the age of 14 she was put on steroids because of a low platelet count.

This resulted in the young teen gaining weight and after the birth of three children, Rachel’s dress size had slowly crept up to 18, something she wanted to address as part of the RTE show.

“I applied for the Operation Transformation after seeing an ad for it on Facebook.

“When I got down to the final applicants I explained to Karl what it was going to entail – basically a camera woman living with us and he still encouraged me, saying ‘whatever it takes, go for it’.

“Izzy the camera woman was in with us from nine in the morning until nine at night from Tuesday to Saturday."

“At times it was hard because I’d be worn out and ready to have a barney with Karl but I’d have to bite my lip because the cameras were there.”

Another great source of support for Rachel has been Operation Transformation’s viewers and new presenter Kathryn Thomas.

“I loved Gerry [Ryan], that’s why I went for the programme. I thought it might be strange with Kathryn presenting the show but she has been amazing.

“On the first day of the show she sent all the contestants out diaries with a note of encouragement. She’s even been up in my house for a cup of tea and always sends texts of encouragement – she’s so down to earth.

“And the public have been amazing too. I have 100 extra friends on Facebook now that have added me since seeing me on the show.”

Last August Rachel went through a hysterectomy after discovering she had cervical cancer.

“I was desperate to lose some weight, I just didn’t like how I looked and felt after the operation,” explains the mum who hails from Tallaght, Dublin.

Carrying nearly 14 stone on a small 5ft 4’ frame, Rachel was uncomfortable with her figure, but slimming down has made her determined to remain disciplined.

“I miss takeaways and chocolate but I’ve no intention of breaking my diet.

“I could say to myself ‘Oh I’ll just go out for a meal once a week’ but it wouldn’t work, I want to lose this weight too much to mess it up.

“If I treated myself to a piece of chocolate that would be it, I have to just give it up altogether.

“I want to be a different person for the summer, I’d love to get down to 10 stone, I haven’t been that weight in 20 years. “I used to cover up in shirts and jeans or tracksuits, even if we went on holiday abroad. Now I’m looking forward to wearing nice little skirts and summer tops.”

Rachel will also get a chance to wow with her new figure at the big reveal where she will be wearing a personally styled outfit.

“RTE have a stylist who is going to dress us for the show. “She was calling me the other day asking what styles we like, who were our style icons and things like that so she could have an idea of what to dress us in.”

Chatting to Rachel, you can she is bursting with self confidence, a far cry from the tearful woman who broke down during the stretcher challenge a few weeks ago on the show.

”In the past I’ve been putting obstacles in front of myself, I didn’t think I was good enough and so I faded into the background but I’ve so much confidence now, I feel like a leader.”

Rachel’s new outlook on life has had an amazing effect on her family life too.

“The kids love that I’m more energetic, every Saturday myself and Karl do something active with them now like bowling or going to family sports day,” she smiles.

“Myself and Karl have also started having a date night once a week where we go playing badminton together.”

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