RSVP Magazine

PEEK INSIDE THE FRIDGE with Brenda Donohue

This month, RTÉ Radio 1 presenter BRENDA DONOHUE gives us a sneak peek into her refrigerator and tells us about her average daily dietary pattern and exercise regime

Brenda Donohue-02

Weight: 11st 13ibs (down from 13.3)

Dress size: 12/14

Height: 5ft1in

BREAKFAST: Soft boiled egg, slice of brown bread with butter (probably too much!) and a cup of coffee.

11AM: Another Americano coffee with a 95 calorie Rocky Road rice cake bar.

LUNCH: Two Ryvita, hummus and some tomatoes plus a cup of tea.

AFTERNOON: If driving with work I would be tempted to have a packet of the 99 calorie crisps.

DINNER: I have four or five dishes that I have taken from Operation Transformation. Tonight, I will have creamy, mushroom pasta with baby spinach, mushrooms and lemon juice. I weigh the food now so I know how much I am having. This particular dish has no meat. I wouldn’t be a great meat fan.

Do you struggle with your weight?

Yes, I yo-yo like so many women. I get down to my target weight and then in the space of a month I have it all back on. Now I am really trying to work on it, and I find if I stand on the scales every day it works for me, physiologically, it gives me the motivation to try to be good and consistent.

Do you go to the gym or exercise at home?

I hate the gym and always will, no matter what anyone does! You could have Bernard Brogan standing there all sweaty, I will never like it! I am walking, not as much as I should, but I have an old treadmill in the house and I am getting on it three times a week for 35 minutes and going at a good pace.

How often do you drink alcohol?

Roughly a bottle of wine a week across a Friday and Saturday night so I’m not too bad. I love a glass of wine in the evening but have been trying to stop that.

What would your weakness be?

Overall, I would have to say picking. I pick at the kids’ dinners, their treats, and then think I haven’t eaten anything. I am more of a carbs than dessert person.

What supplements do you take?

When I remember I take glucosamine, vitamin D and Centrum for women.

What would your hangover dinner be?

A big country-style dish with veg, meat, potatoes, the whole works or a garlic cheese chips with the fire on, some crap television and no children!

What would your final meal be?

My husband makes a lovely Nevin Maguire ham so that with the whole works, or his vodka pasta bake is lovely too. He is very handy!







Hi Brenda, 

Firstly, well done on your weight loss so far. You have taken great steps to change your body composition and improve your health and how you feel significantly; all you have to do is keep the focus and try and make this a lifestyle rather than something to achieve short term. However, looking at what you are eating at the moment, I would say you are eating too little food.

BREAKFAST: My advice would be if you are not in the gym training much to keep carbs low during the day to keep your blood sugar steady. So perhaps an omelette or scrambled eggs made with one whole egg and six egg whites with some turkey rashers if you like! Add in a shot of apple cider vinegar (if you can stomach it), it’s amazing for your health, boosts immune system, makes your skin glow but, most importantly, it’s great for digestion and also stabilising your blood sugar.

11AM: A 95 calorie Rice Cake bar won’t fill you and will only give you a temporary sugar high, followed by a low. Ideally, you could snack on some protein/fats like a few nuts or smoked salmon or just some plain chicken. But if you must have a sweet hit, Mother Nature’s Candy is much more beneficial for your health and will energise you as opposed to making you feel tired.

LUNCH: This is a very small lunch! I’d like to see you add some chicken to this and some healthy fats like avocado and a large salad to boost your green intake and your metabolism. 

AFTERNOON: Prepping some healthy on-the-go snacks like carrot and celery sticks would be a great alternative to crisps here. I sprinkle rock salt on chopped-up celery; I know it sounds horrible, but it’s an amazing alternative to crisps! 

DINNER: It’s great that you are weighing everything now, that’s really important to stay on track. Try adding chicken to your evening meal as it will help fill and satisfy you so you don’t snack. Also try and bulk up your meals with green veg. They are very low in calories so it’s almost impossible to overeat on them.

It’s important to not restrict yourself to get to that target weight or dress size, because when you get there, you have nowhere to go when you come off the diet. Try and focus more on making new lifestyle choices, than a diet that is not maintainable longterm. Consistent smart choices will get you there, and there will be no post diet weight gain as you never come off the diet! Standing on the scales can be a good measure of your progress but maybe every day is not ideal as things like water, salt and carbs can have a drastic effect on your weight. Once a week would be more accurate, and at the same time every week. Also, if you put on muscle it weighs more than fat so it can be discouraging. I’d suggest taking your measurements instead and also maybe trying on a pair of jeans that don’t fit well any more and use them as a guide.

My top tips for staying on track and maintaining a healthy weight:

1. PREPARE – Healthy food choices. Easy to grab when you are on the go.

2. MOVE – The more you move your body, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn the more food you can eat!

3. GOALS – Keep setting new goals.

4. WHOLE FOODS – Eat as whole and as simply as possible.

5. SELF TALK – Speak to yourself kindly and in a positive way. 

Yours in fitness, Claire McGrath

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