‘Weight dictates me. I just want a normal life’ says Operation Transformation Cork publican

“I just want to live a normal life”. That’s the simple wish of publican Gerard Cahill from Mallow, Co Cork, who weighs almost 27 stone. He is one of 18 people hoping to become to an Operation Transformation leader.

‘Weight dictates me. I just want a normal life’ says Operation Transformation Cork publican

Gerard, 41, has type-2 diabetes and has struggled with his weight for the past 20 years. He has now reached a point where his weight dictates everything he does.

The father-of-three will only park where there are two spaces so he will have enough room to get out of the car and it has been difficult attending matches as he cannot fit through the turnstiles.

Gerard was in Dublin to be physically and emotionally assessed for a possible place in the 10th series RTÉ’s of Operation Transformation to be broadcast next January.

Gerard Cahill, age 41, from Mallow, Co Cork. Picture: Andres Poveda
Gerard Cahill, age 41, from Mallow, Co Cork. Picture: Andres Poveda

He applied to become one of the five leaders so he can live a normal life and go to events with his family.

“It’s difficult trying to get to see matches as I can’t fit through the turnstiles and when attending concerts and shows I always try to get end of row seats,” he said.

Another contender is Lisa Walsh, 30, who weighs 14½ stone and lives with her one-year-old daughter, Mai, in Carrigadrohid, Co Cork.

“I am a mum on a low income, and I want to show people it’s possible to eat healthily while on a budget,” she said.

Marie Lannen, age: 50 From Dungarvan, Co Waterford, pictured at the OT assessment day. Picture: Andres Poveda
Marie Lannen, age: 50 From Dungarvan, Co Waterford, pictured at the OT assessment day. Picture: Andres Poveda

Lisa recently became a vegetarian after she no longer felt comfortable eating meat and now fosters for an animal welfare group in Cork. Her food vices include bread and cheese and at least 10 cups of sugary tea a day. She also smokes up to 10 cigarettes a day.

Lisa said her confidence was at an all-time low and that she had become stuck in a rut.

“I won’t date; I won’t socialise. I won’t go to a shopping centre where I might see someone I know so they don’t see how fat I’ve gotten. I’ve no interest in my appearance, and I feel frustrated at myself for letting myself get like this.”

Marie Grace, age 32, from Pallasgreen, Limerick, is hoping to be chosen as a leader. Picture: Andres Poveda
Marie Grace, age 32, from Pallasgreen, Limerick, is hoping to be chosen as a leader. Picture: Andres Poveda

During a live RTÉ Radio 1 broadcast yesterday, Ray D’Arcy, and his team put the finalists through their paces and sought to find out how their weight affected their lives.

Operation Transformation presenter, Kathryn Thomas, together with four experts, were there to encourage and motivate them. They are fitness expert, Karl Henry, psychologist, Eddie Murphy, dietitian, Aoife Hearne and GP Dr Ciara Kelly.

Operation Transformation presenter Kathryn Thomas and RTÉ Radio 1 host Ray D’Arcy. Picture: Andres Poveda
Operation Transformation presenter Kathryn Thomas and RTÉ Radio 1 host Ray D’Arcy. Picture: Andres Poveda

The five people chosen to be leaders need to be willing to radically change their eating patterns, exercise habits and be prepared to inspire RTÉ viewers and listeners to follow them on their journey over eight weeks in January and February next year.

Last year’s series was broadcast twice a week on RTÉ One with a consolidated average of 465,000 viewers. The Operation Transformation website had over 4.8m page views during the 9th series.

Another contender is Seán Daly, age 25, from Clondalkin, Dublin 22. Picture: Andres Poveda
Another contender is Seán Daly, age 25, from Clondalkin, Dublin 22. Picture: Andres Poveda

Viewers can follow the programme’s food and exercise plan at www.rte.ie/ot.

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