About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Operation Transformation

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Operation Transformation

"In the first programme of the new series we meet the five leaders who are set to help navigate us towards a healthier lifestyle, the experts who will provide the customised plans and some of the followers who have signed up to amend their unhealthy ways. Presented by Gerry Ryan.

Back for a third series, this hugely popular lifestyle transformation programme will for the first time be an hour long each week.

The health of the Irish nation is currently under threat from an epidemic of diabetes and clinical obesity. Levels of obesity are higher in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe. In less than 20 years, it is estimated that as many as 50% of the nation will be obese.

Operation Transformation hopes to address this issue by raising our awareness of poor diet and lifestyle and suggesting a range of alternatives which can improve overall health.

Presented by Gerry Ryan, and guided through a range of customised weight loss and fitness plans devised by our panel of four experts, five leaders will help navigate us towards a healthier lifestyle.

Our panel of experts include the familiar faces of fitness expert Karl Henry and weight loss expert Dr Eva Orsmond. Joining the team for the first time this year will be HSE clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Murphy and motivational coach Enda McNulty. The leaders are therefore supported with expert nutritional and fitness advice along with guidance which will help address some of the underlying causes which prompted the weight gain and tips and techniques which will help.

Thousands applied to participate in the eight week programme. This year five leaders were chosen ranging in weight from 12 stone up to 24 stone with varying lifestyles in the hope that there is at least one of the leaders that members of the public can most easily identify with.

During the course of the series the five selected leaders will have to kick their bad eating habits and embrace a healthy diet & fitness plan to transform their lives forever. What's more, they'll have to do it under the watchful eye of the nation on TV, on Radio and on-line. Every week over the course of the two-month programme, the leader's progress will be tracked live on air as they face their weekly weigh-in with Gerry Ryan.
Viewers and listeners are invited to participate in the transformation programme by following any one of the leader's health transformation plans which are available free to download on the series accompanying website
Programme One of Eight

The first programme of the new series will introduce us to our panel of experts and our five new leaders who will discuss frankly and openly the details of their current lifestyles which they feel have brought them to the position of needing some help. Our panel of experts will reveal the five different fitness and diet plans which they feel will generate the best result for each individual, and we introduce some of the groups who will also be following the various different health plans". RTE PRESS


Dr. Eva Orsmond is a Medical Doctor with a special interest in weight management and the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults and children.

She is considered a leading expert in her field and is a regular contributor to professional publications. Dr. Eva believes that Obesity is still too often not treated as a disease in medical practice but rather its symptoms (e.g. high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes) are treated with medication. In reality, numerous medical conditions can be cured through lifestyle change of which weight reduction and a balanced healthy diet form a fundamental part.

Many would have already heard or seen Dr. Eva over the past years on TV and radio programmes talking about weight management. Appearing in programmes like Off the Rails, The Big Bite, Prime Time, The Late Late Show, Corrigan Knows Food and last years Operation Transformation, she strives to create awareness about overweight and obesity and it's consequences.

Dr. Orsmond qualified at Pavia University, Italy in 1990 returning to her home country Finland to practice medicine. She then started her training in Public Health working in developing countries. In 2000 she moved to Ireland and started working in St.
Columcille's Hospital Loughlinstown. During this time she also completed her Masters Degree at the Nordic School of Public Health at Goteborg University based on research undertaken at St. Columcille's Hospital.
In 2001 Dr. Orsmond started her Clinic specialising in the treatment of overweight and obesity in adults and children. As a mother of two children and an "expert dieter" Dr. Orsmond understands the personal challenge of losing weight and keeping it off.
Dr. Eva believes that the only way to make any difference to the increasing obesity levels is by increasing the awareness of the medical consequences of obesity and by motivating people to have a healthier diet especially through home cooking.

Dr. Orsmond believes that with the right support and motivation anyone can achieve weight loss and live a healthier life.


Karl graduated with a B.S.C in Sport Management from University College Dublin, where he achieved a first class honors in his thesis on Obesity in Children. In addition to this, he has a personal training diploma from the American Academy of Body sculpting and a diploma from the American Council of Exercise. Karl has been personal training for over nine years now and founded Karl Henry Personal Training in 2004.

Karl works with clients who are willing to work hard to achieve their goals. His client base is varied, consisting of business men and women, athletes and celebrities. As well as personal training, Karl also specializes in corporate fitness, running corporate wellness days, lecturing and weeklong boot camp holidays in destinations across the globe. Karl doesn't believe in quick fixes and fad diets as he feels that healthy eating and proper training is the key to getting amazing results.

Karl has always been very involved in sport. Since he became a vegetarian over 3 years ago, this has helped him to achieve an all new level of fitness with which he has raced marathons and competed in iron-man triathlons.

Karl is a self-professed Fitness Fanatic. His interests include Hill walking, Cycling, Triathlon, Swimming, Jogging and anything that gets his pulse rate up. He regularly runs Marathons and is currently training for an iron man triathlon and an arc-to-arc event in 2009 which will see him run from London to Dover, swim the channel and cycle from Calais to Paris. No Irishman has yet completed the event and he aims to be the first.

Questions for Dr Eva

What do you suggest someone should do if they know they are overweight?
Is there any particular rules they should follow in the supermarket?

Why do you think Irish adults and children are so overweight?
It's a combination of inactivity and too high density foods. As a nation we have had a reliance on take aways and easy forms of food. People don't know what are in the foods and they are not aware of the calorie content of the foods. What the eye sees the body will buy. Also for the last few years we haven't been lacking in money either. People don't even know how calorific croissants and breakfast roles.

Can everyone lose weight?
Absolutely. It's all about energy balance. If you can't lose weight go to the doctor and get your thyroid checked. This is a real life we are living and there is no easy way out.

Were you pleased with the success of the candidates last year?
They were fantastic. I also get stopped all the time when I go out and everyone keeps asking me when is it back on our screens.

Was it hard to get this year's group motivated to lose weight?
The TV is a big motivation for them. Everyone is watching them. But at the end of the day they are normal people who have weaknesses.

This year's candidates range in size and you had to give them diet plans were they all on the same calories or different calories according to their size?
They have quite a few range of options to choose from. We are not expecting people to get to a size 8 or 10. We just want people to know we are concerned about health. It's the unnecessary medication that people have to take as a result of being over weight. I have seen people who are diabetics who lose weight and they no longer need to take the medication.

This is your 3rd series of op tran - were you ever shocked by contestants diets?
Nothing shocks me now. Irish people love big heavy breakfasts some are even eating their whole calorie content of the day for their breakfasts.

The contestants are overweight - did any of them do home cooking and what kinds of food did they cook?
Everyone is eating too many convenience foods. That's what we are trying to get people to do to cook their own food. You can cook lovely pizza with grilled veg at home

What are your top tips for losing weight?
Be prepared - have healthy food in the house, tell yourself about the benefits of healthy eating. I myself have put on weight over Christmas so I am being careful - I need to be a good example.
Also, you need to experiment in your cooking - add spices - enjoy cooking and then it won't seem like a chore.

Any changes to the format of the show?
There are 4 leaders this year - myself and Karl and two motivational experts as well. There is also more exciting things happening this year with the three teams taking part.

Questions for Karl:

What is the first thing someone should do if they want to get fit and lose weight?
You first of all need to set yourself a goal - whether it is to lose 2 lbs or a stone.

Tell me some exercise myths?
There are hundreds - with regards weights - weights don't make you bulky unless you are using really heavy ones. Also quick fixes like fad diets where you lose a stone very quickly are myths - you put it straight back on and generally with a couple of extra pounds. It's not healthy.

What diet should people follow when they want to get fit and lose weight?
The one Eva is putting together for the show is great - it's full of nutrients, it's lean and it's healthy and it's very effective. A lot of people this time of year cut out things like alcohol and chocolate but that doesn't last and once they go back on it that's their motivation gone. You should have one treat day a week and new research has shown that that can actually speed up your metabolism to have one treat day a week.

What activity is the best way to get fit?
I am a big fan of walking - it's free - and it will use every muscle of your body if done properly. You need to do it for an hour and at a fast pace and you need to push yourself. It's not slowly walking to the shops or strolling with the neighbours. I use walking with my clients.

Were the group motivated to get fit?
They were all so motivated this year. We only have one guy this year. My general feeling this year is that we have the best group of the last 3 series. We did a fitness test with them and they surprised me - they are all up for the challenge. It's a very tough show to take part in. Everyone watching the show from a teenager to a granny have someone on the show they can associate with. We have Conor, Penny, Amanda (who is getting married next year), Ciara and Anna. We also have three groups this year - (one of them will be Politicians).

Operation Transformation is something that everyone can do to get fit. Obesity is a huge issue in Ireland and to be honest we won't see most of the damage till the next generation.

What's the best time of the day to exercise?
Whatever suits you. Yes, morning is proven to be more effective as you burn more through out the day but you need to do what suits your schedule. I myself don't like exercising in the morning I like to do it in the afternoon or evening. I am not a morning person.

What are the most common injuries when people start exercising / How can we prevent these?
Generally people exercise too fast - they do too much too quickly - they get fatigued. You need to warm up the body first. Also, improper techniques - but with Operation Transformation it's all on the website for you to follow. There's also nothing too scary in the exercise plan. Balance is the key. You need to plan - if you want to lose a stone get yourself to lose 2lbs a week - you also need a goal reward system. Something that you will treat yourself when you get to your goal or goals along the way.

Were you happy with last year?
I was happy but I thought there was one or two that might have pushed themselves a bit harder.

Any changes this year?
The three groups taking part this year adds a different element to the show.