Operation Transformation: Deirdre Hosford’s success revisited
Two weeks after giving birth to her second son, Deirdre decided she needed to shed the weight that had been affecting her confidence since her early 20s. At 14 stone 6Ibs, the Cork native was ready for change so she applied to become a leader on the Operation Transformation.
But perhaps her greatest achievement is managing to maintain and continue her new healthy lifestyle after the cameras stopped rolling. “I finished the show on 12 stone 10Ibs and I went on to lose a further 1 stone 4Ibs afterwards,” she says.
“I had been overweight my entire adult life. l had enough of feeling horrible about myself and not being happy in my own skin. My middle son, who is now four years old, was only two weeks old when I decided to apply for the show.”
For Deirdre, Operation Transformation was a learning curve like no other and it gave her the opportunity to gain a new perspective on diet, life and exercise.
She admits that she was at her heaviest – 17 stone – when she was in her 20s, but it was the mental barrier of failure that was initially holding her back when it came to achieving her weight loss goals.
“I learned a lot from my experience on OT. Firstly, you can’t do exercise on a bad diet, so it has to be a combination of diet and exercise together. The second thing I learned was to give myself a break and to stop negative thoughts about ‘bad’ foods or that I had somehow failed by being overweight. They were some of the hardest hurdles to overcome in succeeding with my weight loss,” she recalls.
While she is one of the programme’s success stories, the mother-of-three admits she would have mixed feelings about appearing on a similar type of television show again. She found it “draining” being followed by a cameraman day in, day out.
“The support I received from the public was amazing and very humbling. They were with me every step of the way and of course the show changed my life completely,” says Deirdre.
“But on the down side, it is very full-on with a cameraman with you five days a week, 10-12 hours a day, and then filming in RTÉ Dublin for the other two days. I still watch the show with so much sympathy and empathy for the leaders.”
The busy mum was so delighted with her weight loss both on and off Operation Transformation that it spurred her on to become a personal trainer so she could help others fulfill their goals.
But it is not all about the physical results and simply looking good, her main priority is feeling healthy in both mind and body.
“Right now, being a personal trainer, I don’t strive for the perfect body. I aim to be healthy for my family and lead a balanced life,” admits Deirdre.
“I have also learned to come to terms with my body. I know that I will never be a size 8, but I am happy with the way I look now and the hard work I have put in to get here.”
According to Deirdre, it’s thanks to shows like Operation Transformation – which aims to cull the growing problem of obesity and poor diets that are causing havoc in our health system – that the nation is getting active again.
She explains: “If Ireland continues on its current trajectory we would be one of the fattest countries in the world in five years. That is a scary prospect when you consider that our children are now becoming affected too and also our hospitals are filling up with people with diseases that are directly linked to obesity.
“I think shows like OT are important to raise awareness for this issue. Take one look at the amount of people who watch that show and get out in groups to go walking every year – it is fantastic awareness and correct information is the key to helping the nation be more aware.”
Refusing to focus on the show’s negatives, Deirdre walked away from Operation Transformation a changed woman.
“For me, the biggest positive was the new-found confidence in myself,” she admits.
“Being a leader allowed me to do things that challenged and scared me. I couldn’t take a back seat because I would feel everyone was looking at me.”