Wednesday 13 December 2017

We're still shadows of our former selves

it's one thing to lose the pounds when you are part of a tv series, yet how easy is it when the cameras stop rolling? previous participants of operation transformation, which ends ITS CURRENT RUN tonight, talk to ANNA COOGAN

Emily Piggott (22)

Student of government and public policy in UCC.

Weighed 18st 6lb on joining Operation Transformation in 2011.

Weighed 16st 6lb on completing the series at the end of February 2011.

Currently weighs 14st 5lb.

Total weight loss: 4st 1lb.

It was the hardest and best thing I've ever done. I had to cut back on food, exercise after years of not exercising, and there was someone in my house every day for eight weeks filming me. I was withdrawn at the beginning of the series, and hated going out because I was afraid I'd be the butt of jokes because I was so heavy.

It's different now, and I love going out, and feel confident when I walk into a room full of people I've never met before.

I've made losing weight the focus of my life. I've kept to Dr Eva's food plan and make everything from scratch, there are no jars or pre-made sauces in my house any more.

After never exercising, which might explain why I ended up weighing 14 stone at age 14, I am now a regular at the gym. The weight kept going on during my teenage years, and I was more than 18 stone at age 21. More weight would have gone on if I hadn't joined Operation Transformation. Karl Henry got me running and walking, and now I run about four times a week. I go to the gym about three times a week. I've learned that if I eat chocolate, I have to exercise to get it off. I only have to look at a Chinese to put on 4lb, while friends can enjoy a takeaway and not put on an ounce.

My attitude is very positive since completing the series and after losing another two stone in the past year. My aim now is to get down to 12 stone by July, and to 10 stone by next Christmas.

I am confident that when I begin working fulltime and am in a relationship and have other things going on in my life, I will still be able to continue to keep to my healthy eating plan. I want to lose a bit more weight before I consider getting into a relationship.

I'll take good care of myself before focusing on taking good care of someone else.

Conor O'Connor (34)

IT operations specialist.

Weighed 25st 4lb on joining Operation Transformation in 2010.

Weighed 21st 11lb on completing the series in the middle of March 2010.

Currently weighs 19st 2lb.

Total weight loss: 6st 2lb.

I'm an all or nothing person, and by committing to losing weight in public and on Operation Transformation, I knew I'd go through with it.

Myself and my wife Sandra had a baby when we were young, I was 22, and that change in life, combined with working shifts, contributed to me gaining weight.

I gained between eight and nine stone between 2001 and 2010. It's a considerable gain, even for a man who is 6ft 4ins and has a rugby build.

My mum would say, 'You want to live to see Sophia grow up,' she was so concerned about my health. I would eat more to make myself feel better.

My all or nothing personality concerned the show's psychologist Eddie Murphy. I think he was afraid that I would revert to my old habits once I was out of the spotlight. I proved him wrong.

The three things I took from the show were calorie intake, portion control and exercise.

The junk food went out the window. I stopped working shifts. I felt it would be easier to eat healthily, and because our second daughter, Katie, was born two years ago, and I felt it would be better for family life.

I am aiming to get down to 17 stone by October because I am going to be competing in the World Handball Championship in Citywest that month. I won 11 All-Ireland handball titles by the age of 21.

So that I can get back to where I was fitness-wise to compete at that level, I now train six days a week. I'm really looking forward to going out and reclaiming victory.

To follow Conor's progress log on to www.roadtoworlds.eu.

Ronan Scully (45)

West of Ireland representative for the Irish charity Self-Help Africa.

Weighed 16st 4lb on joining Operation Transformation in 2011.

Weighed 13st 1.5lb when the series ended in February 2011.

Currently weighs 12st 11 lb.

Total weight loss: 3st 7lb

There was a history of heart disease in our family. My dad had a quadruple heart by-pass at 65. And his dad died at 48 from heart disease. I didn't want that for myself. I also wanted to lose weight for my family -- my lovely wife Jacqui and my two beautiful daughters, Mia and Sophie. I want to be around to enjoy them growing up.

I used to play a lot of football and hurling when I was younger. Then I spent 10 years working in Africa and India.

When I came home, I got married and settled down. I used to travel around the country for work and I became a 'dashboard diner'.

I'd pull into garages and have sausage and rasher sandwiches, bars of chocolate and high-energy drinks. Diet and exercise weren't important.

Doing Operation Transformation gave me a lot of confidence. It made me look at my life and appreciate what I have. It made me realise that your health really is your wealth. I still eat a lot of the meals that Dr Eva Orsmond recommended -- dishes like vegetable lasagne and Guinness stew. I also eat a healthy breakfast, something I never did before. If I feel hungry I eat fruit or drink water.

I'm happy with my weight right now. I like to give myself exercise targets. At the end of March, I'm doing a 350-mile charity cycle for Down Syndrome Ireland. And in the autumn, I'm looking for 15 to 20 people to come and run the Great Ethiopian Race for Self-Help Africa.

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