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Dublin: 1 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

'When it comes to our weekly weigh-in, all five of us are really nervous'

This week, Celebrity Operation Transformation participant Brenda Donohue talks about how the most convenient food often isn’t the most healthy.

Brenda Donohue

RTÉ’s Celebrity Operation Transformation returns for its second episode tonight. Each week, one of the participants will write a diary piece for about their experiences trying to lose weight. This morning it’s the turn of RTÉ radio broadcaster Brenda Donohue:

FOR THE LAST 25 years, I’ve been working as a reporter and presenter on RTÉ 2fm and now RTÉ Radio 1.

Like most working parents, my week is incredibly busy between looking after three children, working full-time and commuting from Kildare to Dublin. I spend a lot of time in the car and eating on the go.

Over the years I’ve experienced weight-loss and weight-gain so when the opportunity to take part in Operation Transformation came along I thought it was my chance to put myself first and make some healthy changes.

Making better choices on-the-go

By far the most challenging part of the OT plan so far has been the amount of cooking involved. When it comes to recipes, four steps is my limit. Once it gets more complicated, I’m totally lost.

This week dietician Aoife Hearne called to the house to give me a masterclass in cooking. I’m not Gordon Ramsey yet, but I have a few new tricks.

When I’m travelling all over the country for The Marty Squad and CountryWide, it isn’t always possible for me to have lunch pre-prepared. I needed advice from Aoife about making better choices at the service station deli counter.

I thought wraps were a lighter choice, and I was shocked to learn about all the sugar in them. It’s brown bread for me when on the road in future.

Celebrity Operation Transformation leaders with Kathryn Thomas,


In last week’s episode, we saw how much support I’ve got from the local community in Johnstown and Kill. I’ve been out walking with huge groups a few nights a week. I can’t go anywhere without people stopping to ask me about the OT plan and how I’m getting on.

The support is really great and, to be honest, I just love the social aspect of group walks. The park run on Saturday in Naas with Dr Eddie Murphy was a real howl. Thanks to all the people who took part in the 5km with us.

We will announce at the end of tonight’s episode which People’s Challenge all five leaders will do for the final episode next week. These are special events held by groups, workplaces and communities to promote fitness. I can’t wait to get together with Katherine, Gerald, Elaine and Karl and to do something fun.

When it comes to our weekly weigh-in, all five of us are really nervous. I was already a fan of the regular series of Operation Transformation, but now I have even more respect for the leaders from all the previous series. It takes real guts to get on scales in front of the nation.

I just hope I can inspire more women to make a change.

Brenda Donohue – vital stats

  • Age: 50
  • Height: 5′ 1
  • Occupation: Radio broadcaster
  • Starting Weight: 13 stone 3.5 pounds
  • Weight after first weigh-in: 12 stone 9.5 pounds 
  • Weight loss to date: 8 pounds

Celebrity Operation Transformation is on tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One. Follow Brenda’s food and exercise plan on the Operation Transformation website.  

Read: ‘I was one of those people who hammered himself in the gym and still ate all the wrong foods’

Read: What do politicians eat in Leinster House?

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