Operation Transformation 2019!
Operation transformation 2019, my 9th year presenting the show!! I can hardly believe it. I took over from the late, great, Gerry Ryan back in 2010. I was pretty terrified at the time because I loved Gerry and he had totally made the show his own. Nobody has, or ever will step into Gerry Ryan’s shoes. He was such a unique brilliant broadcaster. So I knew I had to put my own stamp on the series and 9 years later here we are! We are sifting through all the leader entries at the moment and we will eventually whittle it down to 5 people who will lead the nation in January.
Why do people do it? It is a question I get asked a lot. Why do they stand there in their knickers in front of the entire nation when they are already suffering with low self-esteem? Or how do they put themselves through it if they are already super conscious in front of partners, friends and colleagues? Well, because every single Operation Transformation leader to date has recognised that only with help and support, comes change. When you are sick of hiding and pretending, when you are sick of feeling trapped by your own body. When you long to feel like the person you once were, then it is about being brave enough to take that first step and speak out. Once you say the words “I need help” out loud you have already unshackled yourself with the biggest weight of all. Asking for help is never weak. In fact it is one of the biggest shows of human strength. It says, now I’m ready to fight. Nobody can enter the ring for you. But a support team, however big or small, are always an integral part of any success.
Last year Felicity Moroney, Sarah O Callaghan, Mary Diamond, David Cryan and Wayne O Donnell all went on their own journeys and over 8 weeks they allowed us tag along for the ride. Collectively they have lost over 16 stone between them. They are a total bunch of legends. Every one of them can testify to being in a better place and would go as far as saying the show changed their life. They listened and learned from our experts, put in the hard work week after week after week and the results paid off. Last year, just like every other year, the leaders are overwhelmed by the unwavering support they get from people in the four corners of the country. Also the realisation, that by putting themselves forward they inspire and help thousands of others in a way they never could have imagined.
People are entitled to say whatever they want about the show. And I’ve heard it all. Its body shaming, fat shaming, all just for entertainment etc But really it is about shining a light on 5 people who have stepped forward to better their health. People we can all relate to because they are just like all of us. The show has also been a brilliant vehicle to highlight the obesity epidemic in Ireland and has been at the forefront of keeping the message out there constantly hammering home the message of how important it is to eat well and stay active. But it always, always comes back to the leaders….What did last years OT leaders teach me? The same that every single leader over the last 9 years has taught me; the human spirit, no matter how broken or weak or damaged or lost, is indestructible. With hard work and plenty of support you can achieve amazing things. As the great Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until its done.”