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Turkey's all gone... now bring on the Transformation

OPERATION Transformation leader Killian Byrne got to enjoy all the turkey and trimmings over Christmas, but the Dubliner revealed the upcoming challenge has weighed in the back of his mind.

The 39-year-old told the Herald that while he was allowed to splurge over the festive period, the dad-of-two was conscious of the battle he faces on the popular RTE dieting programme, which kicks off next week.

"From when we were selected to be leaders, we were asked to keep a lid on things in terms of not changing too much before the series starts.

"We were all allowed to indulge, but for first time in years I didn't feel stuffed after my Christmas dinner -- knowing what was coming was in the back of my mind," Killian said.



SHORTS

"The 20 finalists who didn't get chosen as leaders have already started losing weight, so it's a little difficult, but if you can say that not losing weight is tough, that's okay."

Known as the chef in his house, the Rathfarnham native is passionate about food, but is looking forward to the strict diet and exercise plans as one of the five leaders on Operation Transformation.

"Our first weigh-in is on Monday morning and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not trying to hide anything about myself -- the whole idea of the programme is we have to be as honest as possible. I'm not bothered about being on camera either, nobody made me fat except me.

"People will see me in my shorts and out jogging, I'm prepared to do what I have to do to lose weight," added Killian, who currently weighs in at a hefty 20st and wishes to be fighting fit at 40.

The youngest of the leaders is Kayleigh Yeoman and the 18-year-old admitted she can't wait to kick start her new regime.

"Dr Eva is giving us our new diets next week and we're starting the exercises with Karl Henry too," said the teenager, who works part time in Limerick's Crescent Shopping Centre.

"I'm really nervous about seeing myself on telly -- I don't even like pictures of myself so I am apprehensive about it, but I want to live a healthy lifestyle."

She confessed that her biggest weakness is chocolate and that it will be difficult to give up in the coming months. "We're not allowed any treats because it's very strict ... I'm the youngest though and everyone looks after me."

Kayleigh will team up with Killian and her fellow leaders next week to start an intense eight week stint in front of the RTE cameras.

The enthusiastic pair are joined by Cork native Grace Batterberry (32), as well as dad-of-four Adrian Brereton (40) and Dophin's Barn local Natalie Cox (24), for season five of Operation Transformation, to hit TV screens on January 4.

labutler@herald.ie