Presenter Kathryn Thomas will once again spearhead the nationwide campaign to get people moving by giving them the tools they need to complete a 5K run by the end of the series.
Kathryn commented: ‘I am so looking forward to this, the 12th series of Operation transformation. We’ve a new time slot – Wednesdays 9.30pm, we’ve a new base of operations – Balbriggan in north Co. Dublin, we’ve some old friends returning to the panel and we’ve a new medical expert in the brilliant Dr. Sumi Dunne – she’ll bring a whole new energy to proceedings this year.
But of course, the main reason for my excitement – as always – is our 5 brilliant new leaders who I know our viewers will be dying to meet and follow. It’s going to be a very interesting year.’
The twelfth series will see the return of the nationwide walks and we are linking up with the GAA for the hugely popular ‘Ireland Lights Up’ campaign, helping communities across the 32 counties come together and enjoy getting fit and healthy in the safe surroundings of their local GAA club.
For the first time in OT history, the new series will be based in the north county Dublin town of Balbriggan as OT attempts to get the whole town moving. Over the course of the 8 week series OT will be encouraging local community leaders to get their area active with the programme reporting on their success.
Balbriggan will aim to show the nation what can be achieved with a little community spirit encouragement and the support of civic leaders.
OT and RTÉ are delighted to announce the continued partnership with safefood.
Our expert panel returns and that too has transformed with a new medical expert – Dr. Sumi Dunne.
Dr Eddie Murphy
Dr. Eddie Murphy is back for his 11th year on Operation Transformation. He is without doubt Ireland’s best known Psychologist. He uses a respectful and hope orientated approach when dealing with his clients. Dr Eddie is very passionate about promoting wellbeing and personal growth for children, adults, families, communities and organisations alike. And he is the author of the best seller ‘Becoming Your Real Self – A Practical Toolkit To Manage Everyday Problems.
BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics, MSc Sports and Exercise Nutrition, CORU Registered
Aoife Hearne is a registered Dietitian and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, the professional body for Dietitians in Ireland.
Aoife works closely with local GP’s and also provides nutrition services to schools, industry, sports teams and community groups. Aoife has a strong personal background in sport. She was a member of the national track and field team from 1994-2000 and was National Senior Champion in the 100m in 1997. In 2012, Aoife completed a Master’s Degree at Coventry University in Sports and Exercise Nutrition. She has worked with many elite athletes from a number of different sports including the Tipperary Senior Hurling panel since 2009 – 2018.
With us from the very start of Operation Transformation, Karl is joining us again this year for his 12th season as our leading fitness expert. As well as doing personal training, writing and media work, Karl also specialises in corporate fitness and wellness. From one off lectures to full corporate health and wellness solutions, Karl works with some of the top companies across the country to deliver results that last and programmes that work.
Karl also writes for the Irish Independent every Monday. He has successfully published five books to date, including Real Results with Karl Henry, Bums Tums and Bingo Wings, The Slim Solution, Beach, Bums & Tums and his most recent ‘Karl Henry’s Healthy Living Handbook’.
Dr Sumi Dunne
We are delighted to welcome Dr Sumi Dunne BM BSc (Hons) MICGP MSc to the Operation Transformation team this year. Dr. Dunne was born in London and moved to Co. Laois in 1999. She graduated from the University of Southampton Medical School in the United Kingdom and undertook training in neonatal intensive care and emergency department paediatrics before commencing General Practice training with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Sumi attained membership of the Irish College of General Practitioners in 2006 and is on the specialist register of the Irish Medical Council for General Practice. Sumi has maintained both an academic and clinical career in General Practice, working as a Clinical Lecturer in the Department of General Practice RCSI and as a GP in the Midlands. In 2016, Sumi completed a Master’s in Leadership for Health Professions Education at the RCSI. A mother of four children alongside two golden retrievers, several hens and a goldfish, Sumi’s hobbies include cooking with chocolate and yoga.
- CATHAL GALLAGHER
Location: Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Weight: 26st 12.5lb
Cathal (48) works as a paramedic with the Ambulance service based in Ballyshannon and lives with his wife Agi (36) and daughter Maja (2).
Cathal has been working with the Ambulance service for 20 years now and loves his job. He has huge passion for helping people and putting the needs of others before his own. He is also a peer support worker, which involves supporting other colleagues who have dealt with hard situations.
Before working with the ambulance service Cathal worked in a factory. It was here that he was involved in an accident. He was taking a piece of rubber out of a machine when it activated and it crushed his hand. He was taken to hospital and ended up having the tops of his middle finger amputated as it got infected. After 7 surgeries doctors were able to restore 75% functionality in his hand.
After the accident Cathal became isolated spending the majority of his time at home just eating contently and not moving much at all. It wasn’t until he joined the ambulance service that he realised his weight was getting out of hand.
Cathal is a type two diabetic and has high cholesterol and with his training he knows the damage his weight is doing to his health. He fears he will die in his sleep but wants to be around to see his daughter grow up. As she gets older and more active he struggles to keep up with her. He wants to change this lifestyle and be a good example for his daughter but also his work colleagues.
- PAUL MURPHY
Location: Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo
Paul (41) is the manager and owner of Murphy’s Hotel in Tubbercurry. He lives with his wife Sonya (39) and two children Ava (8) and Ethan (1). The hotel is a family run business and has been in the Murphy family for 40 years. Paul and Sonya have been married for a year but have been together for 12 years.
When Paul was younger his parents ran a pub and shop, which he would often help out in. Within the shop there was a butchers that his father would work in. In December 1989 his father Barthley was working and nicked a small cut on his hand. The next day Paul remembers his father saying that he didn’t feel very well. Within a couple of days Barthley was in hospital and Paul was by his bedside. He remembers his father telling him he was going to die and that he had to be the man of the house and look after everyone. A day later Paul’s father passed away from septicaemia from the cut in his hand. Paul was 12-years-old at the time and his younger brother Barry was 3 and Brian was 1.
Last year Paul and his brother Barry bought the business from their Mum. His brother Barry is one of the chefs in the restaurant and Paul manages the running of the business.
Since getting married and having another child Paul wants to change his lifestyle and start looking after his health. He is just 2 years older than his father was when he died so he doesn’t want to leave his wife alone with 2 children. At the moment Paul’s health is fine but he is well aware of the health conditions he is setting himself up for if things don’t change.
- PAMELA SWAYNE
Location: Youghal, Co. Cork
Weight: 13st 12.5lb
Mother of 4 Pamela (36) lives in Youghal with husband Sean (36) and children Ally (18), Leigh (10), Lilly (7) and Mickie (4). She works part time in the Amber Petrol Station in Youghal.
Pamela found out she was pregnant at the age of 17 with Ally just months after she lost her father in February 1999. Dad, Thomas, passed away from lung cancer only 3 weeks after he was diagnosed. Though the year was extremely difficult for the whole family Pamela had Ally in April and still sat her Leaving Cert in June. Since then though Pamela hasn’t really given herself time to deal with the loss of her dad.
Pamela has tried all kinds of diets in the past but she’s never managed to keep the weight off. Pamela is also an emotional eater so when she’s in good form she goes all out with proper family dinners but if she’s had a bad day she reaches for the easy option. She loves food and the more convenient the better, chipper, Chinese takeaways, jambons, hotdog lattice, crisps, chocolate anything that’s hassle free. Pamela does not want her children to follow in her footsteps.
Pamela comes across as bubbly and outgoing but she hides how she really feels about her weight. The big turning point came recently when listening to ‘This is Me’ from the Greatest Showman with daughter Lily in the car, she said ‘Mum, that’s you’.
Pamela has come to the stage in her life that she just wants to tackle her weight once and for all. With 4 years to go to the next big birthday Pamela wants to be 40, fit and healthy!
- SIOBHÁN O’BRIEN
Location: Clonsilla, Dublin 15
Weight: 17st 4.5lb
Siobhan (30) resides alone and works as a secondary school teacher in Luttrelstown Community College. She grew up in Clonshaugh and is the youngest of three girls in a very close family. Her Mum Rita and Dad Joe have always been very supportive of her and this time is no different.
Growing up Siobhan was always very sporty and involved in everything in her community. During secondary school and University she was an Irish dancer, a keen footballer and was on the Irish Taekwondo team.
During the seven years since finishing college Siobhan’s weight has fluctuated. Being a teacher and telling kids about healthy living and the importance of activity Siobhan feels she is being a hypocrite and the children in her school don’t take her seriously. Part of their Junior Cycle reform is about teaching kids how to be social and confident and how can she teach them about this when she isn’t fulfilling them herself. She wants to be a good influence on the children’s lives by showing them how to live healthy instead of just telling them.
Siobhan is ready to make a change and she has a very supportive family behind her. She hopes she can break down the barrier she has built up over the years and get back to being happy in herself. Her ambition is to run the Dublin City Marathon.
- JEAN TIERNEY
Location: Bruff, Co. Limerick
Weight: 15st 1lb
Proud Limerick lady Jean (33) lives in Holycross with fiancé Paddy (35). She works as a Sales and Marketing Manager for nightclub, House in Limerick. They got engaged on April Fool’s Day because they are both practical jokers and knew no one would believe them.
In January of this year she gave birth to a little girl they called Sloane (warrior). Her first pregnancy was found to be an ectopic pregnancy so doctors were monitoring her but again she developed complications at seven months. The baby girl was born and she seemed perfect but suddenly she developed what they thought was a serious lung disorder. The hospital tried their hardest to save Sloane and even contacted a team of specialists in Sweden where Sloane was flown to seek further medical help. Alas in Sweden doctors discovered Sloane had a heart defect they were unable to treat and she was flown home to spend her last days with Jean, Paddy and their family. Sloane passed away at 5 days old.
Jean said the hospital support system in the Maternity Department in Limerick was amazing but she piled on the weight after her baby died and cannot get control of it. Her biggest problem is emotional eating, she would have no problem walking or doing physical activity but she can’t stop eating once she gets upset. She has spoken out publicly about losing her little girl to help other mothers cope with miscarriage but she knows that her eating is because of what has happened.
Jean wants to try to move on now thankful that she got to hold her little girl for a little while. Jean now wants to lose the weight and get fit to enjoy her wedding day and hopefully start a family at some stage