The 11th series of Operation Transformation returns to our screens on Tuesday the 9th of January when presenter Kathryn Thomas will reveal our five new leaders.

Over the next eight weeks, these five brave leaders will radically change their exercise and eating habits, while inspiring the nation to follow them on their journey to a healthier lifestyle. With the country following their every step on television, on radio and online.

As always, the leaders will have support and advice from our qualified team of Operation Transformation experts including fitness coach Karl Henry; principal clinical psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy; dietitian and Healthy Ireland Council member Aoife Hearne and Dr Ciara Kelly. All four will be on hand to guide the leaders as they put the Operation Transformation health and fitness plan in to action.

Once again you can keep up to date with Operation Transformation on radio. The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 will continue to be the radio home for the series, with regular updates from the leaders, campaigns and events.

Live Better, Live Longer: Operation Transformation’s health strand Live Better, Live Longeralso returns.

This year our panel of experts will each explore a different issue that they are passionate about. Dr Eddie will be looking at how loneliness can have negative impact on your health, and Dr Ciara Kelly will be investigating the shocking negative effects of alcohol on Irish women, and Aoife Hearne will be looking at the rise of energy drinks.

Ireland Lights Up with the GAA:

This year for the first time on Operation Transformation we are teaming up with the GAA for Ireland Lights Up to provide a positive and beneficial resource for communities throughout the entire country In a bid to make walking more accessible and safe for the masses, we are asking GAA Clubs throughout Ireland to turn on the floodlights/lighting systems at their pitches for Ireland Lights Up. We want to promote both the physical and mental benefits of walking and exercise, as well as the fantastic facilities that local GAA grounds have on offer to people in their locality.


In conjunction with RTÉ Junior, Operation Transformation will be providing 15 new 10@10 workouts for primary schools across the country. This 3-week plan will be even more accessible than the 10@10 workout was last year. It will broadcast on RTÉ Junior across those weeks, it will available to download and to stream on the RTÉ Junior website and on their app. Each of these workouts will be available in English and as Gaeilge.

Groups Training Day:

On the 6th January Operation Transformation will host a training day for OT Groups across the Country in GAA Headquarters in Croke Park.  These Community Leaders will take part in this grassroots approach that OT has never taken before, and they will receive training from Get Ireland Walking so they can go back to their  communities and lead them.

Leader Challenges:

We will also have a  whole new set of challenges for the leaders to experience with Kathryn Thomas introducing them of inspirational older people doing extraordinary things.

The Operation Transformation Awards: 

This year we want to celebrate those viewers and followers that have gone out of their way to make the healthy choice the easy choice for other people across the country. This is an opportunity to recognise the contributions of individuals and businesses across the county who contribute to a healthier Ireland.  Across the series, we will ask for nominations for these awards, to celebrate those who help others keep the change.



Age: 38

Location: Lucan, Co. Dublin

Weight: 19 st 4 lbs

David (38) is a Community Sergeant in an Garda Síochána, and is based in the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin city centre. He lives with his wife Siobhán (37) and their two children Dylan (5) and Zoe (3) in Lucan but is originally from Tulsk, Co Roscommon.

David and Siobhán have two children, but David calls their daughter Zoe "a very special girl". Zoe was born prematurely at 24 weeks weighing only 540 grams. Siobhán is Zoe’s full-time carer as she has cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease and has to be fed through a tube.

He wants to show his colleagues that if he can lose the weight and get fit, they can too. David wants a better quality of life with his family and as Zoe gets more active he wants to be able to keep up with her and also spend more time with their son Dylan.

Age: 52
Location: Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo
Weight: 13 st

Mary (52) lives with her husband Joe and their three sons Gary (26), Robbie (24) and Paul (16) in Kiltimagh Co. Mayo. She owns a Montessori school that is located at the back of her house, she works there part-time.

Her eldest son Gary is one of Mary’s main motivations for applying for Operation Transformation. Gary has Down Syndrome, and Mary feels that Gary has put up weight himself over the last year. She wants to be the best mother that she can be for Gary.

Over the last decade she has grown to have a crazy relationship with food where she would eat everything, for every occasion. Mary also worries that if she doesn’t do something about her own weight she won’t be around to care for Gary when he needs her when he’s older.

Age: 30
Location: Artane, Co. Dublin
Weight: 18 st 9 lbs

Felicity (30) works as an interior designer for Ventura Design. She is originally from Tipperary but now lives in Artane, Dublin with her partner Des and their 8-month-old daughter Lauren.

Felicity loves fashion but due to her weight she dresses for comfort and in clothes that simply fit, rather than wearing clothes that she actually likes. Especially with the weight she gained after having her daughter, she now finds it impossible to find clothes.

Felicity wants to change her relationship with food for herself, but also so that her daughter doesn’t follow her example. If she was chosen to be a leader on Operation Transformation, she wants to lead the country by example.

Age: 27
Location: Ballinagh, Co. Cavan
Weight: 12 st 3.5 lbs

Sarah (27) works in administration in a social welfare office in Cavan. She lives with her husband Gary and their daughter Amelia (4) in Ballinagh, Co. Cavan but she is originally from Finglas in Dublin.

In May 2015 Sarah discovered a lump in her left breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer, this was a total shock to herself and Gary. Spending a lot of time in the hospital led to a lot of takeaways and convenience food for Sarah. The habit continued once her treatment finished. She has now put on more than two and a half stone and feels very uncomfortable in her skin.

Now that Sarah’s been given a clean bill of health she would love to get back to her old self. She has tried to go back doing circuits with her parents but when she pushed herself too hard she got lymphedema in her left arm (swelling). This was then used as an excuse to stop exercising. She is ready to stop making excuses and put the cancer and weight issues behind her. She wants to be a good role model for her daughter and just be healthy and happy.

Age: 28
Location: Mallow, Co. Cork
Weight: 17 st 12.5 lbs

Only child Wayne (28) lives at home with his parents, Ann and Liam, in Mallow, Co. Cork. He has only recently returned to work after getting a job as a youth worker with Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services (CDYS) in Mallow. He has never lived away from home and his mother takes very good care of him, making his bed, washing his clothes and cooking his meals.

Wayne has always played sport but has experienced a number of injuries along the way. The most recent and worst of these was a broken elbow during a soccer match in April 2016. It took four surgeries to repair and kept him home and out of work for over a year. At one point, he thought he might lose his hand. This time period saw Wayne gain weight with excessive eating and drinking. He describes this period as the lowest of his life.

Wayne worries about how his weight will affect him in the long term with his family history of chest problems, but has decided that with starting his new job it’s time to start a new life. He finally wants to grow up, learn to take care of himself, lose the weight, and move out.