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Operation Transformation: The Resolutions to make for a successful lifestyle change


Operation Transformation 2015 leaders with Kathryn Thomas

Operation Transformation 2015 leaders with Kathryn Thomas

Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Dr Eddie Murphy Operation Transformation

Dr Eddie Murphy Operation Transformation

Karl Henry

Karl Henry

Aoife Hearne Operation Transformation

Aoife Hearne Operation Transformation

Ciara Kelly Operation Transformation

Ciara Kelly Operation Transformation


Operation Transformation 2015 leaders with Kathryn Thomas

Intending to get fit and slim down 'some day'? Make this New Year the one you take control of your health - and finally shift that spare tyre. Here KARL HENRY and his fellow experts from the cult TV show bring you the resolutions that will leave you both looking and feeling better in 2015

New Year's resolutions - the annual cause of people looking for every gimmick, shake, bar, diet or quick-fix to their Christmas weight gain. Fed up with feeling overweight and unfit, now is the time that people turn to fads that are often unhealthy and unsafe to try change their bodies with minimal effort. Guess what? It can't be done.

If you want to get healthy, get fitter and lose weight, then you have to change the way you eat and the amount of exercise that you do. Add in a positive mental attitude and you have a winning formula. This is why Operation Transformation is so successful. As we begin an 8th series this week, it's one of the biggest shows on national television. The programme is free to follow and gives you everything you need to make a lasting difference.

Over the next few pages, I have set out the 15 resolutions for mind, body and diet that you should adopt to start off your healthy new year. Cut them out and keep them somewhere that you can see them every day as a reminder of what you need to do. You're not alone in this, either. On page 17 you can meet the Operation Transformation 2015 leaders. Pick the leader whose body shape best resembles your own, log on to rte.ie/ot and follow their eight-week training and food plan. It will be the best New Year's resolution you ever make.

Ciara Kelly

Operation Transformation's resident GP


Ciara Kelly Operation Transformation

Ciara Kelly Operation Transformation

Ciara Kelly Operation Transformation


"Like with any new job, I was quite daunted when I did my first season of Operation Transformation last year. I didn't know what was expected of me then, so this year is so much easier because I know the drill. The new girl nerves are gone. I love how Operation Transformation is like a population-based public health initiative. The show gets people running, getting involved in small community groups and getting people looking at their diets.

"This isn't about just weight loss or what you look like in a dress. For me, Operation Transformation is about people choosing to be healthy and knowing how to support their own health into the future. We have people on the show dealing with fertility issues, arthritis and cholesterol, so it'll be my job to help them make improvements in their lives."


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1 Have fun

No matter what exercise you do, it has to be fun! If it's fun you will continue to do it - how many people continue with sports they don't enjoy?

2 Change your workouts:

Bodies react best to change, so change your workouts as often as possible to get the maximum results.

3 Train with someone fitter than you:

By training with someone fitter or faster, you will work harder to keep up with them than you would normally.

4 Lemon up:

Boiling water with lemon is fantastic for your skin, hair and digestion. It's both cheap and effective.

5 Rest up:

Learn to read your body, so you know when it's time to rest and give it time to recover. Measuring your resting heart rate is a great way to do this.

6 Take the stairs:

Everywhere you go we have stairs, we also have lazy ways to avoid the stairs. Change the one that you choose this year.

7 Try something different:

Ireland is an adventure sports playground, from surfing to mountain-biking and pretty much everything in-between. Why not get out there and try some of it?

8 Measure your waist:

Take a tape measure, put it around your middle and meet it at your bellybutton. This is the simplest indicator of the incredibly dangerous visceral fat that we have on our bodies. No matter what the number is, aim to get it down.

9 Talk test:

To get the best results, you have to work hard. While you work out, jog or power walk, ensure you are slightly out of breath but still able to hold a conversation.

10 Sit-ups wont give you a flatter stomach:

We all have six-packs, its what covers them that differentiates people. Sit-ups won't affect this at all, so don't waste your time doing lots of them.

11 Resistance for health:

Resistance workouts, using some form of weight, are by far the best training you can do for all round health. And, no, they won't make you bulk up.

12 Get some Sleep:

Sleep is your body's best form of recovery. Blackout blinds can be great for improving your sleep.

13 Body Targets:

An effective workout doesn't just target one body area. Aim to do full-body workout routines, with exercises for more than just your problem areas.

14 Make a plan:

Plan your workout sessions into your diary each week, reserving set days and times for when you want to workout. No matter what else comes up, stick to those times.

15 Sign up for an event:

Events give you something to work towards, a goal and a target. They run countrywide, so make it fun and make a weekend away out of it too.


1. Resolve to weigh yourself every day. It's easier for people to see the effect of a Chinese takeaway from the night before, or see the effect of eating well for a few days. You'll soon get the message that weight gain doesn't happen by accident.

2. Eat mindfully. Before every meal, ask yourself: "Have I made a good or a bad choice here?" Slow down while eating, too. Numerous studies have shown that there's an association between people who wolf down their food and being overweight.

3. Try and get out for one walk every day. It's not just good for your heart and metabolic rate, but it's also brilliant for your head.

4. Know your triggers for over-eating. Many people do this thing whereby they think they'll be good all day, and then break this by eating something bad. If you do break out from a good regime, get back in the saddle as fast as you can.

5. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked twice a year. Many people think that it's expensive to go to a GP for this, but you can go to a nurse to get this done making it cheaper. These two things are important because they climb with age, and they're associated with heart disease, which is the single biggest killer in this country.


Aoife Hearne,

Operation Transformation's resident dietician


Aoife Hearne Operation Transformation

Aoife Hearne Operation Transformation

Aoife Hearne Operation Transformation


"This is my second year on Operation Transformation and I've developed a real 'carrot and stick' approach with the leaders. You have to be honest with people: I'm not there to upset anyone, but I'm not doing my job properly if I don't say the things that need to be said. People struggle with their weight for lots of different reasons. There's a real perception that people who are overweight are lazy, eat too much and don't exercise, but that's often not the full picture.

"For some people, food is used to fuel whatever they're feeling, or they're eating to suppress certain feelings. Some people have done this for 20, 30, even 40 years. My role on Operation Transformation is to help them understand what foods are better choices, and about portion size.

"Last year there were some really affecting stories on the show, and this year the leaders will be very relatable to the vast majority of viewers. A lot of them have gotten into bad habits, which is something I hear about in my own clinic all the time. It'll be really exciting to help them make these changes."


1 Treat yourself once a week:

Whatever your treat meal is, one day a week have whatever you want and enjoy it. This creates balance and helps you stick to your healthy routine for longer.

2 Shop once a week:

One day a week, get your food shop done. Stock the fridge with fruit and vegetables and you will be amazed how much easier it is to eat healthily.

3 Switch your white carbs to brown:

Brown carbs are full of fibre and goodness, make this switch and watch the difference it makes to your waistline.

4 Cook:

By cooking you are reducing your intake of processed foods. The fresher the foods in your life the better your meals are for you.

5 Eat breakfast:

Breakfast is the meal of champions, it revs up your system for the day and will give you the energy to take on the day ahead.

6 Drink water:

Water is good for your body, your skin, your mind, your energy and pretty much everything you do. Aim for at least 2 litres a day.

7 Diet foods are not healthy:

Most are full of additives, preservatives, sweeteners and e-numbers. They might be lower in calories but are higher in junk, so put them back.

8 Cut out fizzy drinks:

Fizzy drinks can have up to 13 teaspoons of sugar in them, which add to your visceral fat levels amongst other things. Put them back or drink them sparingly.

9 Eat Veggies:

Green vegetables are fantastic for your body, your waistline and your health, so have as much as possible. Brocolli, kale and sprouts are great choices.

10 Regulate your meals:

Eat your daily food intake within a 12-hour timeframe. So if you have your breakfast at 8am, aim to have your dinner by 8pm.

11 Have your five a day:

This means five portions of fruit and vegetables.Fruit contaisn sugar so aim to have no more than three pieces of fruit a day and the rest vegetables.

12 Stock wherever you spend your time:

Whereever you spend your time, you should stock healthy foods there. Your car, your office, your home - have snacks and foods close by.

13 Eat small:

Ideally eat five smaller meals a day as opposed to three larger ones. This will help to maintain your energy levels constantly throughout the day.

14 Reduce your caffeine:

Aim to have one or two cups of tea or coffee a day, and try for really good quality. Substitute with herbal tea instead if you can.

15 Eat Fat!

Fat is essential for health, so don't cut it out of your diet. Try coconut oil, advocados and nuts.


1. Have breakfast within an hour of getting up. It's been established that people who eat a good breakfast eat 80 fewer calories in the day. It may not sound like a lot but over the course of a month or even a year, they really start to add up.

2. Keep a food diary, and be honest while filling it out. A lot of people are not actually sure why they're overweight, but a food diary will soon show them their eating patterns and set them right.

3. With lunch and dinner, make sure that half of your plate is vegetables, and only a quarter is rice, pasta or potatoes. Don't skimp on protein, especially if you're trying to modify your carb intake, as you'll only feel hungry soon after you eat.

4. Replace wholegrains; go brown instead of white for all carbs. Potatoes have plenty of fibre in them, but try substituting with sweet potatoes every so often.

5. Enjoy your treats twice a week, and then get on with things. Some people have one or two biscuits they don't even like, then they finish the packet out of guilt. So enjoy a bar of chocolate, packet of crisps or glass of wine. Having all three at once might be a bit much, though.


Eddie Murphy,

Operation Transformation's resident clinical psychologist


Dr Eddie Murphy Operation Transformation

Dr Eddie Murphy Operation Transformation

Dr Eddie Murphy Operation Transformation


"A lot of the leaders measure their progress on Operation Transformation with weighing scales and tape, but it's the inner journey that I'm really interested in.

"Many of our leaders have low self-esteem, depression, lack of confidence and emotional eating issues. They have a lot of internal negative voices. It's my job to make those internal voices more positive and nurturing.

"I often say: 'It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you.' So we'll have to drill in and identify what's going on with everyone.

"For some of them, the weight issues are based around a lack of organisation and planning, and they'll think, 'there's not much that Dr. Eddie can offer me', but as they start to open up they'll notice that there are definitely issues regarding stress management or impulse control."

1 Set targets:

Find your goal, make the plan and work towards it!

2 Reward yourself:

When you reach your targets, it's essential to reward yourself with something to emphasise the positive reinforcement before you reach for your next goal.

3 Dream big:

Those who dream and aren't afraid to fail will strive and push themselves to new heights.

4 Read:

Books are such a simple yet rewarding source of knowledge. Set aside at least 30 minutes at night to read a book that will enhance your life.

5 Don't tell people:

The more people you tell, the more pressure you put yorself under. Make changes for yourself rather than announcing it on Twitter or Facebook.

6 Surround yourself with like-minded people:

If you want to be fit, be friends with fit people. Those you surround yourself with will have a big impact on you.

7 Stay away from negative people:

We are surrounded by negative people who knowingly or unknowingly bring us down. Remove these from your life and watch yourself blossom.

8baby steps:

Whatever small change you make today, remember that it is one step closer than yesterday. Gradual changes over time amount to great things.

9 Fly with the eagles...

... if you want to be an eagle yourself - eliminate people and situations which no longer make you happy or have a purpose in your life. People change and so do you.

10 Start Early:

If you have a busy schedule start your day with an early morning workout - you are less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way.

11 Don't set unrealistic goals.

Goals that are unattainable are barriers themselves, smaller goals are much more realistic and you have a greater chance of hitting them.

12 Who:

One of the most important questions I ask all my clients is who are you doing this for? A partner or family member or yourself? You need to be doing it for you and you alone. It is no good trying to get fit to please someone in your life.

13 Why:

Sit yourself down with a pen and write whatever comes into your mind about yourself. You may have to dig a little deep to discover your real motivation, but without this reason, the true honest reason, you will struggle.

14 How:

What do you actually need to achieve your goal? Is it going to cost you much? Will it take much time out of your week? It's great to sign up for an ironman triathlon, but the financial implications and the training time commitment cause so many people to give up.

15 Enjoy some downtime:

You should have at least one day a week that you rest and relax ,doing no exercise or work and just letting the mind unwind.


1. Power up your emotional and mental fitness. Make 2015 the year where you are able to manage your moods by understanding how your thoughts influence your moods. Throughout the series, I'll be providing people with the tools on how to do that.

2. Change your internal critic into a supportive and encouraging voice. Imagine what advice you would give to a good friend and then use this voice to support yourself rather than beating yourself up.

3. Become your real self. Leave down the mask and the front, because this only soaks up negative energy. Put your energy into who you really are instead, and people will like you for it.

4. Develop positive relationships with yourself, your family and friends. Figure out who in your life adds value and who is toxic. Reduce the dose of the toxic people and then have honest communication with those who are supporters in your life.

5. Keep the 'five-minute rule'. If you're planning a task like a run or walk, tell yourself that you must do it for five minutes. Start doing it, and you'll find that the positive feelings will follow.


Operation Transformation begins on Wednesday January 7, at 8.30pm on RTÉ One and runs on Wednesday and Thursday nights for eight weeks.

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