Sarah O'Callaghan from Co Cavan is one of this year's Operation Transformation leaders. She is pictured above with programme host Kathryn Thomas.
Operation Transformation returns to our television screens this week (RTÉ One, Tuesday, 8.30pm). Read on to meet the group of leaders who will be leading the nation on its journey to fitness over the coming month.
Sarah O’ Callaghan
Age: 27; Weight: 12st 3.5lbs; Height: 5ft 3.5; Location: Ballinagh, Co. Cavan
We love Sarah and you will too when you meet her on your TV screens. When it comes to resilience, Sarah has it in spades.
Her life was threatened by aggressive cancer and her weight, body image, confidence and sense of self was rocked to the core. Sarah's capacity to express this and show her overcoming her challenges will brighten up all our New Years.
From a psychological perspective, Sarah wants to rediscover her fun, old self, I know we will have to visit some dark places to unlock and unblock, but oh, the joy that awaits, the flourishing — that’s the journey.
age: 38y; Weight: 19st 4lbs; Height: 5ft 10; Location: Dublin via Tulsk, Roscommon
David is a 38-year-old community sergeant who hails from Roscommon and works in inner city Dublin.
A dad of two children, David has really taken on the provider role in his family as his wife Siobhan stepped down from teaching to being a fulltime carer to their daughter Zoe, who was a premature baby.
This provider role has come at a cost to his own health. He wants to spend more active time with his family. It’s a challenge and juggle that many men and women, including myself, can relate to — finding that balance in an ever-shifting world.
The challenge is about flexibility and moving from perfection and absolutism.
David weighs in at 19st 4lbs and his height is 5ft 10.
Age: 30; Weight: 18st 9lbs; Height: 5ft 7.5; Location: Artane, Dublin
Felicity is a new mum of a beautiful, eight-month-old daughter, Lauren. As an interior designer, she has an eye for fashion, but her weight stops her strutting her style.
Like a lot of new mothers, motherhood has thrown up a mirror for Felicity about her behaviour, attitude and emotions centering around food. She wants to challenge this unhealthy relationship before it is learned by her daughter.
Felicity has experienced aspects of stress and anxiety,an area that I will in particular explore and provide lifelong solutions for.
Certainly putting yourself front and centre in Operation Transformation is one way of confronting fear!
Age: 52; Weight: 13st; Height: 5ft 2; Location: Kiltimagh, Co Mayo
Mary, I reckon, knows everyone in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, as she has nurtured hundreds of children in her Montessori school.
Mary applied for Operation Transformation as she is conscious of her health and longevity for her family members.
Mary is a professional dieter — you name it she has done it!
Mary has an adult child with Down Syndrome. She has particular fears associated with his long-terms care needs. As a psychologist I see this a lot, the fears that parents have about being around for their adult children.
Hopefully, with good health and good planning we will be able to shine a light on these concerns and pose solutions. I predict incredible community support for Mary.
Age: 29; Weight: 17st 12.5lbs; Height: 5ft 9; Location: Mallow, Co Cork
Sometimes it’s called failure to launch when the adult child remains at home, minded to an inch of his life with laundry, cooking, etc, all done for him. All done in a loving, caring way.
We are used to getting adults to take on adult responsibilities.
Wayne has a heart of gold, working in youth counselling services. Wayne, too, has faced challenges, including a serious elbow injury.
I want to explore the impact of this further with Wayne, as he describes this as the lowest period of his life.
I like Wayne’s humour and caring nature, I wonder what he’s like when the pressure comes on and the old crutch of junk food is not available.
This year's OT leaders: Mary Diamond, Wayne O'Donnell, Felicity Moroney, presenter Kathryn Thomas, David Cryan, Sarah O'Callaghan. Picture courtesy of RTÉ
Ireland Lights Up
I am really excited about some of the campaigns Operation Transformation is running this year, including some a great surprises, and I will write about these over the next coming weeks.
Other initiatives we are ready to shout about now.
Take ‘Ireland Lights Up’, for instance in partnership with the GAA.
In order to make exercise more accessible and safer on our dark winter nights, participating GAA clubs will turn on their floodlights between 7pm-9pm each Monday night for six weeks (January 22 – February 26).
Given the power of walking for social, emotional and physical health, now through the GAA club which is like a health hub, club and community members can walk and talk away the winter blues.
Health & Happiness
All our leaders have set goals of health and happiness for 2018, that’s all one we can join in. Let's figure out together the success tools to achieve this. We are all fired up, energy is high. Over the next eight weeks we will follow, fall, fail, fail again, get up and start again and hit the reset button. Build your support network around you. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. For 2018, get out of your comfort zones.