Friday 23 March 2018

Operation Transformation diary: Weight loss is important - but staying healthy more so

In week 1 of Karl Henry's 'Operation Transformation' diary, he talks about diet, health scares - and Lycra

Karl Henry
Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Advising leader Dan Kennedy from Dublin not to exercise this week was one of the hardest bits of advice I've ever had to give anybody on 'Operation Transformation'.

Dan wasn't feeling well, and is currently having some stomach issues investigated, so the panel decided not to give him a weight loss target, like the rest of the leaders.

Just two weeks into the challenge, Dan is really focused and has already lost 12-and-a-half pounds. As one of the most popular leaders, I know it's not what he wanted to hear - but he took the advice to rest up on board, and is sure to come back fighting fit next week.

When you suddenly go from drinking pints and eating takeaways every night of the week to eating healthily and exercising, things like this can happen.

Although weight loss targets are important, for me and the rest of the panel the most important thing is that all the 'Operation Transformation' leaders and viewers at home who are following them stay healthy.

Expert Dr Ciara Kenny had a few choice words for Dan on Wednesday night's show over not telling the panel about his symptoms sooner. In my experience, that's pretty typical of most Irish men.

Guys across the country do it all the time - they push through and push through, until it becomes a problem. The sooner you tell your GP something's wrong, though, the sooner they can get to the bottom of it. Hopefully, Dan will be an inspiration to other men to talk about their health more.

After his own health scare last week, it was great to see Mayo leader John Conmey getting back on track and shedding 12 pounds in his first week. John's got AFib (Atrial Fibrillation) - which is basically an irregular heartbeat - but has been given the all-clear by his cardiologist to continue on the show.

A lot of people use health problems as an excuse not to get fit and healthy. There's a temptation to sit back and say: "That's it - I'm done."

So it was very powerful to hear a medical professional here get behind the message we give our leaders on the show each week - to eat less rubbish and move more.

Of course, it wasn't all plain sailing for restaurant owner John, who also got some flak from dietician Aoife Hearne for not making his own meals this week. However, I tend to agree.

As someone who also runs his own business, I know exactly what it's like not to have enough hours in the day. While it's great to see John's wife, Evonne, being so supportive, when you're undertaking such a massive life change it's important to take control of your own diet if you want to succeed.

Both men, and indeed all five leaders, had incredible results on the scales this week. In total, the leaders lost 44 pounds in their first seven days of eating healthily and getting active.

Far from fat, though, much of this is down to fluid loss, so they shouldn't be too disappointed if their numbers drop in the coming weeks, as I'd expect.

Lastly, the 'Lycra question' cropped up again among 'Operation Transformation' fans on social media in recent days. Trust me when I say leaders aren't forced to wear Lycra during the weigh-in to humiliate them on national television.

Rather, it's to show them the results of all their hard work as their body transforms over the course of the eight weeks - and to motivate them to keep going!

Irish Independent

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