Fat Loss, General, Nutrition

On Wednesday 4th January in anticipation of the return of Operation Transformation to our TV screens we posted a video clip from YouTube. Here’s a brief summary.

The video we shared was of contestant, John, being berated by Dietitian Aoife Hearne. John lost 2.5lbs for the week.

Not bad right??


His target weight loss for the week was 4lbs (do they ever explain the science or reason behind these weekly “targets”?). This makes his paltry 2.5lb loss a failure in the eyes of Aoife who proceeds to take him down a peg or two.

I should explain a little before I go any further; I hate this programme. For the message it sends to the viewers. Viewers who may be on the same “journey” of improving their health, fitness and lifestyle.


Viewers are being told that, even if you lose 2.5lbs in a week, you are doing something wrong and are a failure who should be ashamed of not putting in enough effort, feel guilty about it and should thank whoever points it out and go out for a walk to return home to 2 rice cakes.

Getting fit and healthy should be a punishment for a life full of sin is the overriding theme.

And it’s f**cking wrong.

The issue I have (so far – wrote this after Episode 1) is that all the leaders’ weight gain stemmed from stress. In other words, a lack of exercise, was not an issue. They didn’t gain weight because they weren’t exercising. The pounds piled on because they made poor nutrition choices and they all say as much during their introductory montage.

Leader 1 – Yvonne

Yvonne admits to suffering from hormonal imbalances due to undergoing IVF treatment. She is filmed eating a roll.

Leader 2 – Marie

Having suffered the loss of a premature baby Marie took to comfort eating. She smokes and is filmed drinking Coke and eating crisps.

Leader 3 – Sean

Sean, suffering at the thought of revealing his sexuality, again took to food as a way to cope. He is filmed eating a pizza.

None of these leaders gained weight due to a lack of exercise. Admittedly, a lack of exercise may have helped but it certainly wasn’t the cause for their weight gain. It was because they ate a LOT of the wrong types of foods. Foods high in sugar that give a sense of gratification until they wear off and you feel like shit again.

They have all suffered from horrendous stress from being unable to conceive, dealing with the loss of a child and battling with revealing your sexuality. They WANT to make a change and I admire that so much but dealing with the scars of the psychological stress must come first. Without that, healthy eating and exercise simply add more stress to a person already overwhelmed by its affects.

Yet they will be pushed to their limits physically because it makes for good TV to make obese people cry or have a mild heart attack on camera. Dublin Fire Brigade obliged the producers last year. I’m sure we’ll see some hose rolling and ladder climbing again this year.

It’s horrific, really.

As I said in the comments of this Facebook post all these people will benefit from exercise but to blame a lack of exercise as one of the contributing factors of their initial weight gain, is just wrong.

Will they be placed on restrictive diets that they will be shown to struggle with – absolutely.

Will they be “trained” within an inch of their breaking point physically and mentally – absolutely.

All for ratings. It’s wrong.

If ever there was a time for this program to focus on mental health – this is it.


PS It’s gas that I’m giving publicity to a show I hate which could make more people watch but the more people who watch through an informed point of view, the better.

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Padraig O'Halloran

Manager of Spirit Leisure Centre