DR EDDIE GIVES HIS ADVICE: Steps matter - a good week on Operation Transformation

Mental Health Matters

Dr Eddie Murphy


Dr Eddie Murphy



DR EDDIE GIVES HIS ADVICE: Steps matter - a good week on Operation Transformation

Five very nervous leaders were present in Ballbriggan castle for their first weigh-in last week.

Normally week one goes very well and it was the same this year.

Both Cathal and Paul lost one stone with Pamela, Jean and Siobhan shifting half a stone. That’s very good going, but for me transformation is about what’s happening on the inside.

Let’s get to that soon — but first I am going to talk about our level of physical activity.

10,000 STEPS

All this year’s Operation Transformation leaders are fitted with Fitbits which are a great aid to looking at health and physical activity.

Walking 10,000 steps per day for health and weight loss was popularized originally in Japan.

The question is, is this myth or is there any research that shows that it works?

Research studies show that 10,000 steps per day isn't a magic number, but it is a good indicator of how much activity a person is achieving in a day.

Walking more steps per day is also associated with being thinner. A study of steps per day and weight, body mass index (BMI), and other indicators for men and women showed that the people who logged more pedometer steps per day weighed less, on average, and had a lower BMI.

There is growing evidence that 10,000 steps is the average number.

Paul, who manages a supermarket is on his feet a lot duing the day and does over 15,000 steps a day — which probably shows that he was eating too much of his favourite chocolate and fizzy drinks.

Cathal was on the other side of matters, with very low activity levels and it tells with his increasing weight gain.

Yesterday I saw Joan (mammy!) and Billy (84-year-old dad) wrapped up and heading out for a walk.

More and more I am convinced that mobility and flexibility are key to ageing well.

Maintaining our mobility through aiming for 10,000 steps per day is critical.

I am in a sedentary job and need to be mindful to step away from the chair and desk.

My invitation to you is to — keep moving.

Now let’s look at how this year’s Operation Transformation leaders did in their first week

Jean Tierney. Age: 33. Bruff, Co Limerick.
Lost 7lbs

I was down in Lough Gur with Jean where 1,350 turned out to support their local leader for the annual Operation Transformation walk.

It was an inspiring day where all generations and all physical levels met in health.

Karl is going to work closely with Jean and body sculpt her into her size 10 wedding dress.

This period is a tough time for Jean and Paddy as its the anniversary of baby Sloane’s death. I trust Jean, Paddy and their extended family to manage this profound loss.

Cathal Gallagher. Age: 48. Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. Lost 1 Stone 2lbs

Cathal is a paramedic who has diabetes.

He will need to look at the impact of his diabetes on his feet and eyes. He lost a pile of weight.

There was a discussion with Cathal to ensure the weight is lost gradually. 10% of body weight is what is aimed for for over the series.

We don’t want big losses each week but safe weight losses.

On his 3k walk with Karl, Cathal had to stop 4-5 times. That’s fine. Remember slow and steady wins the race of life.

Siobhán O'Brien. Age: 30. Clonsilla, Dublin
Lost 6lb

Siobhan’s mood has lifted greatly. This is associated with the mood lift through the power of exercise and support.

Her concerns about how pupils would judge her was replaced by the support they have given her. The whole school community, teachers, support staff and pupils are with Siobhan.

Paul Murphy. Age: 41. Tubbercurry, Co Sligo. Lost 1 Stone

I think I will see Paul first on my house visits. His life, I think, is out of kilter. I might think that but I don’t think Paul really does.

He has no hobbies. I am unclear what gives him pleasure and meaning.

Paul is too busy “doing and not being”.

I think he will find getting balance into his lifestyle a bigger challenge than losing weight.

Pamela Swayne. Age: 36. Youghal, Co Cork.
Lost 7lbs

Pamela’s week was characterised by a busy household. Planning and structure is the key skill that Pamela needs to embrace.

She had a few failed attempts at giving up smoking, trying cold turkey.

However with a planned approach and contacting the HSE via www.quit.ie she will be more likely to be a successful quitter. Stopping smoking is the biggest gift to her future health.

Come along and join us on the Operation Transformation Journey each Wednesday on RTE 1 at 9.30pm

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychological and counselling service in Portarlington, Co Laois. If you are organising a speaker or training for school, community, voluntary, sporting or work groups, call Dr Eddie on 087 1302899 or go to www.facebook.com/ dr.eddie.murphy.psychologist