Yvonne picked as TV show leader
Carlingford woman Yvonne Keenan-Ross was revealed as the fifth and final leader for Operation Transformation Series 10 on The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 last Friday when Kathryn Thomas surprised the mum of two in the café she runs with her husband Stephen at Thosel Street.
Yvonne told The Argus that she is now looking forward to introducing lots of healthy meals onto the menu of 'Liberty Cafe' as she takes on the challenge of being group leader for the new series of Operation Transformation which airs in January.
Yvonne decided to enter for the programme as she needed to change her lifestyle and loose weight following a holiday earlier this year.
She told Ray: "There was a full length mirror on my side of the bed and every morning I got up and I looked at this fat woman and I was like 'who let her into this room!' I didn't recognise her and by the Friday I was like 'okay you have to just admit to yourself that you're much bigger than you thought you were due to the fact that you don't have a full length mirror in your house' but from the waist up I look great!'
Even before she had been accepted as one of the leaders, Yvonne had begun steps to lose weight and had set up a group in Carlingford as she realised that she had to look after herself, after concentrating on her family,
Five years ago, her husband was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had to have major surgery, and in turn give up work. Yvonne cared for him throughout his treatment. Last year, a secondary cancer was found in Stephen's lungs. This meant more surgery and more treatment. Thankfully, Stephen has had a second clear scan and is delighted to be in remission.
Before that, Yvonne had struggled with her fertility for years. She did six unsuccessful rounds of IVF before having their son Luke. After Luke she knew she wanted another baby. They began IVF again, only to be told that her eggs were no longer viable. As her and Stephen pursued other options, their daughter Karla was conceived naturally.
However, she had used her pregnancy as an excuse for not losing weight and admits that working in the cafe didn't help. 'I was busy cooking all day so the last thing I wanted to do was to start cooking again when I got home in the evening, so it was easier to get a take away or stick a ready meal in the oven. I am now looking forward to using the recipes and tips from the programme and including them on our menu.'
Dr Ciara Kelly was in studio when Yvonne was announced as leader. She said Yvonne will make a fantastic leader, noting: 'Yvonne represents loads of women in their late forties who have had kids or maybe gone through fertility treatment. And it's not just about the having kids and getting pregnant; it's also about the fact that for years she's been putting herself second. She's been raising a family and her husband has been unwell and so she has taken a backseat to everyone else's needs for a long time at home.'