Saturday 24 March 2018

Triona McCarthy: Here's how I'm never going to let my weight creep up again

In the final week of Triona McCarthy's 'Operation Transformation' journey, she reveals she has learned a lot, had some fun, and won't take her body for granted in future

Back to fitness: Triona Mc Carthy. Photo: David Conachy
Back to fitness: Triona Mc Carthy. Photo: David Conachy

Yaaaaay! I did it! I lost the weight and I've finally got back to fitness. And I'm only delighted with myself! This is all I ever wanted out of Operation Transformation.

As I said from the beginning, I wasn't on the show to delve into the darker side of my life. I wanted to have fun finding fitness and losing weight, not my personality!

I didn't have a life changing experience like the other leaders as I was overweight, not obese, and was already a healthy eater and active. Two children in two years meant I had a stone and a half to lose.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

The plan definitely works, but I had to make it fit my life. I have young children, a 24/7 job, a husband, a house and travel a lot for work.

I was out of the country a lot during filming but flew back every week to be weighed. Right now I'm a stone under my start weight at 11 stone 9 lbs (and I'm 5ft 6in, btw, not the 5ft 4in it says on the show website).

The best bit of the experience was to meet such a diverse group of people and hang out with them once a week for filming. James I already knew, but I know now we'll always be friends.

Mary and Kayleigh were already tight, but super friendly. Gary, like me, has young kids, so we were baby-talk bonders!

The show is authentic, in that like the viewers we only saw the experts at the weigh-in. The only time I saw any of them outside the show was when dietician Aoife came to film a segment about cholesterol. Karl sometimes got cross with me for not following his regime. I just sucked it up so I wouldn't have to suck it in, if you know what I mean!

I never saw Eddie the psychologist or GP Dr Ciara Kelly outside of the show.

When we were training for our pentathlon, we were lucky to train with pentathletes Natalya Coyle and Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe, both top-10 finishers in individual events at the 2016 Olympics.

These guys are the real deal. They live healthily, but are realistic and let loose every now and then.

Anyhoo, I was always honest. I showed how we can all fall off the wagon, but always picked myself up. I didn't hide anything.

My good friend Elaine Crowley warned at the start it was pretty full on. I never really minded that, as I'm always very busy: I always had my laptop with me, so I could squeeze in my work.

So, what have I taken away from the experience?

There are no quick fixes!

I'm never going to let my weight creep up again: it's so much harder to lose the older you get.

You don't lose weight by wearing a wrap for an hour; you won't drop two dress sizes in one day and you won't lose 20lbs in a month (unless you get a really bad virus, like Will did).

I wonder now if it's true that stress causes weight loss: why the hell am I not invisible?

What I've learned? You will miss workouts. You will have a few setbacks, especially after a transatlantic flight and no sleep (the water retention piles on the pounds).

You are human, you will fail sometimes. You just have to keep going.

We exercise so we can live longer, yet when I do, it makes me think I'm dying!

I no longer mindlessly eat. I'm writng this on the train to Cork and I have a packed lunch, snacks and water with me. That's it.

Following my scare early on in the show (a false-positive test suggesting I had heart disease), I'm determined to have my blood checked every six months and take care of myself.

That might have been a blip on my health radar, but next time it might not be.

I come from a family that never went to the doctor, but that's going to change.

Finally though, if you really want to know the big secret to losing weight, it's this.

Turn your head to the left. Then turn it to the right, and repeat this whenever you are offered food...

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