LOSING weight is a challenge at the best of times but one brave family have decided to share their battle with the bulge with the nation on the RTE programme Operation Transformation.
Aidan Falconer who is a well known hurley maker from Piltown is featuring on the show with his wife Angeline and their three children Kate (9), Luke (6) and Emily (3). The family are on day two of the eight-week programme and have just returned from getting their bloods taken when they meet with the Kilkenny People.
"I applied to go on the show last year. I was listening to the Gerry Ryan show at tthe time and heard that they were looking for a family and I applied. I had a phone interview but never heard anything after that and they didn't feature a family in the end in the show last year. This year I applied online and got a phone call and went on the John Murray show on the radio to explain why we needed to undergo Operation Transformation.
"Both myself and Aidan are overweight and when I heard that the programme was looking for a family I asked Aidan if he would be willing to go on and he said he would have a go. They seem to get great results. I found out that we had been chosen back in November and we have tried to cut back in preparation of it but it was hard with the children at Christmas," she said.
The mother-of-three told the Kilkenny People that she had attempted to lose weight over the years. "I have tried before but this is the first time myself and Aidan are trying it together. Before I tried Weight Watchers, Unislim, the Atkins diet, pretty much everything to be honest but none of them worked in the long term. This time knowing that the cameras are out there and the fact that there are a team of experts on hand to help hopefully we will see the results," she said.
The programme started for the Falconer family on January 5 and the initial few days have run smoothly for the family. We are still eating normal food but the key is that now we are weighing out our food before we cook it and are aware of how much we are eating. It is all about knowing what amounts you can actually eat," said Angeline with Aidan adding that he would finish off 'whatever spuds were left in the pot' prior to starting on the programme.
"I need to lose weight. I want to try and get healthy and I know that the weight I am now is at a dangerous level. I want to watch my children grow up. I also want my children to grow up healthy," said Aidan. Apart from adapting their eating patterns, eliminating junk and fat laden food and becoming aware of portion sizes the family are also following an exercise plan. "We are walking for an hour a day four times a week and rotating the pace at which we walk. I am already starting to feel a difference and have more energy. I am very excited about the programme ," said Angeline. "We got rid of all the junk before we started on the programme," she said adding that she had 'borrowed a box of biscuits' on the day of the interview to offer this reporter and the photographer. "The children were always were good to have fruit and there is a healthy lunch policy at the local school. Chips are out as well as chocolate and biscuits. We never ate a lot of chips, maybe once a week but it all adds up and then we would have a take away once or twice a week. We are staying away for take aways," she added.
Six-year-old Luke who aspires to be a dancer like his idols JLS when it is older explained why he was taking part in the programme in between displaying his dance moves. "We want to be healthy as a family. I want to do more exercise so I can do a backflip like the guys out of JLS," he added.
His older sister Kate added that she was delighted to be part of the programme. "I think it is really good. It helps people to lose weight and makes people healthier and lose weight. I am eating more fruit and vegetables and hopefully by the end of it I will be able to run faster and do more laps," said Kate already plays rugby, soccer, GAA and football and goes Irish dancing once a week. "It is good fun being involved in the programme. The television cameras came up to the school with Anna Nolan. I think we will be filmed once a week and everyone keeps asking me when it is on the television. I am going to try hard to stick to the programme. I have started going for walks with my parents and am learning more about being healthy and have given up chocolate and sweets," she said. Kate, who is in fourth class was part of the team who won the county final last year.
This year the programme is presented by Carlow native Kathryn Thomas along with the three experts; Karl Henry, fitness expert, Dr. Eva Orsmond, Medical Doctor and Dr. Eddie Murphy who will help the participants transform their health and lifestyle.
Operation Transformation is screened every Wednesday and this year, RT Radio 1's The John Murray Show is the radio home for the series and there will be more interactive content available on www.rte.ie
With the help of Karl, Dr. Eva, Eddie, Kathryn and John it is hoped that the participants will radically change their eating and exercise habits, and inspire listeners and viewers to follow them on their journey.
The Falconer family will transform their lives by following a tough exercise regime, a weekly weigh in and by preparing a meal by meal diet plan for two months. For more information on exercise and diet plans see www.rte.ie