Friday 26 April 2019

Triona McCarthy: Losing my figure was no big deal - I gained two great kids

As she joins 'Operation Transformation', Triona McCarthy hopes her journey will be something other women will relate to

Triona McCarthy pictured with her children Maxi and Mini ahead of 'Celebrity Operation Transformation'. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Triona McCarthy pictured with her children Maxi and Mini ahead of 'Celebrity Operation Transformation'. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Triona McCarthy & William White pictured at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods

Yaaaaaay! I've done it. I'm finally feckin' fat enough to go on RTE's Operation Transformation.

Not the full fat one now mind, the, eh, 'celebrity' one - or should that be slobrity! I know, I know! Although, I'm just a little biteen worried now that I'm going to get too thin…

Is a teeny, tiny body capable of storing ALL this personality?! Hahahahaha!

Did you see it coming? I'm not sure I took that much notice of the weight creeping up. I generally try to avoid things that, eh, make me fat, like weighing scales, mirrors and photos! My fat pants got tighter and I put on a happy face and I suppose I played to type - the happy, jolly fat gal! But it's not easy being breezy. I'd say to my partner Will 'do I look fat?' and he'd say 'you're beautiful!' and I'd laugh and reply "I didn't ask was I ugly?"

Sure wait till I tell you about 'The Call' from the show, which was pretty hilarious actually. Niamh, the producer, rang and told me how she was working on the 2017 series of the hit show and how they'd love me to be 'involved'. I said how I'd absolutely LOVE to 'work' with them as I silently fist pumped furiously thinking what a great gig it would be styling these poor unfortunates. Niamh, God love her, was so sweet, as she tactfully told me how they actually wanted ME to be one of the 'celebs'!

I nearly died.

Triona McCarthy & William White pictured at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods
Triona McCarthy & William White pictured at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh Racecourse. Picture: Anthony Woods


If you follow me on, I'm always doing stories on how I've burst the zip on something or how I'm feeling so sorry for my jeans as I'm putting awful pressure on the seams and how I basically go from being The Girl about Town to the Girl in the Dressing Gown.

I might be out all day filming or doing a photocall, wrapped up in Spanx so uncomfortably tight around my middle that it's actually hard to breathe! So the minute I come home, it's bra off, belly out as all I want to do is put on my kimono. It's probably the only thing that actually properly fits me right now! I have a wardrobe full of clothes from sizes 8 to 16 and the only thing that will fit me right now, is the actual wardrobe!

I have this terrible habit of always buying my clothes a size too small, thinking 'sure I'll slim into that'. But it hasn't happened for a long, long time and I'm fed up spending all my money in the 'shapewear' section of Brown Thomas and not the designerwear section, where I'd much rather splash cash.

Will says I went from wearing no knickers to wearing granny knickers! And he's right. When we met, six years ago, I was nine and a half stone, then I got busy having babies and I think I ate for 20 instead of two. Now I'm 12 stone six pounds, and I'm five foot six inches.

After I had Maxi I never lost the weight, or got out of my maternity jeans as I got pregnant straight away again with Mini and piled on another stone and nope, I haven't lost any of that weight either. In fact, I gained a lot more. I know pregnancy is different for every woman, some gain weight only on their tummy, while I gained weight all over. Some pop out a baby and are straight back into their skinny jeans the next day but I didn't really take that much notice as I thought of it as a kind of trade-off. Losing my figure was no big deal as I gained something so much more important - Maxi and Mini!

I've never really been that 'into myself' if you know what I mean. I don't hate my body or myself, I've just never been a particularly vain person or that concerned with my own looks. Even if I had the body of a Victoria's Secret Angel, I think I'd be the same way.

I write about skincare and beauty for a living and, of course, I want to look presentable and acceptable, but now I realise, I just want to be healthier and fitter. My body doesn't exist for aesthetic purposes only, it allows me to live and breathe and do so many amazing things in my life and I guess what I've learnt, since my sister died at 30 after a battle with breast cancer, in this game of life, we don't get to choose our genetics, we play the cards we're dealt with.

Triona McCarthy. Photo: Tony Gavin
Triona McCarthy. Photo: Tony Gavin

I'm never going to have a thigh gap but equally I don't have cankles.

And, I don't want to get cancer. That's possibly the biggest motivator for me. In fact, I wish there was a way to donate my fat the same way I donate my blood! So I see this as a chance to "upgrade my life" and make the changes now that will benefit me in the long run. I'm also an 'older Mum', so it's about knowing the quality of life I want to have in 20 years. I want to be a fit, foxy 60-year-old when Maxi is having his 21st and still give it sox, that's sox I said, on the dancefloor!

I want to have the quality of life where my knees won't hurt and I won't make a groaning sound when I get up out of my bar stool.

The few people I've told I'm doing the show have said they didn't think I was big enough, but the truth is, I'm just good at hiding it!

My extremities are slim, my ankles and wrists, so I always show those off and the thing with extra weight is, the free boob job, so they're shoved up under my chin to distract from The Belly. Actually, let's just have a lil moment of silence now for my boobs and all the other boobs that have been lost to fitness, cause I know from previous plans, they're gonna shrink waaaay faster than my thighs!

If you've been reading my column in LIFE magazine for the last 15 years nearly, you might actually think I'm a mermaid as my photos are mainly from the bust up!

When the magazine had a re-vamp and it was decided they didn't want a new photo of me every week to go with my column, I admit, I did think, despite reassurances from my editor, it was because I had got too old and fat and nobody wanted to see that. It was so much easier when I was younger, I was like Janet Jackson, I could go from washboard abs Janet at the weekend to chubby Janet in the track pants during the week and then back again.

We've already done some filming for the show with the cameras following me around and I never really realised how my lifestyle has affected my waistline. I get my hair blow-dried and I'm offered cappuccinos, chocolate and Prosecco. I go to a meeting and it's more cake with a side of cosmetics. I even have products delivered to my door for me to trial with a little sweetener as such, cupcakes or more cake pops.

And since I found out I'm doing this, I'm eating rings around myself. I'm actually worried the local shops and restaurants near where I love will shut down from the loss of business from me! I'm home in Schull the weekend after next as I'm judging the Best Dressed at the Regatta. I rang Ellen, one of the organisers to let her know I'd have a camera crew coming as well and she was so sweet, saying how proud she was of me and how excited my local community would be and couldn't wait! I'd like to finish by saying, I hope 'my journey' (yes, I'm down with the lingo already) will be something other mums and other women with weight issues will relate to and maybe it might also help them to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Though I'm not losing weight. I'm getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again!

The second season of Celebrity Operation Transformation starts in September

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