Transforming a nation

We met the Health and Children Committee in Dail Eireann last week and put forward a seven point plan to address the obesity crisis.

We met the Health and Children Committee in Dail Eireann last week and put forward a seven point plan to address the obesity crisis.

Operation Transformation Watchwith Dr Eddie Murphy


These include posting calories up where price is displayed, replacing sweets with fruit at shop counters, teaching children five basic meals and getting them to take 15000 steps a day. Hopefully we can nudge our legislators to make good decisions towards our better health. The final show is just about to come out and the Leaders (fingers crossed) will have completed their first ever 5k in their lives. But let’s look in detail at their overall transformation from a psychological perspective. It feels like I am writing an end of term report!

Gavin – Kildare

By the end of 8 weeks Gavin will have shifted almost three stone. What’s even more exciting is when I first met Gavin in November he had extremely low mood and was experiencing crushing loneliness to the point that he was opening the window in his apartment to hear the traffic noise from the road. Gavin is a sincere, concerned, wonderful father who self-medicated loss associated with his marital separation through alcohol. What a turnaround, now he has great spirit and energy, and through exercise and simple tools from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy his mood is lifted. He has engaged with his old martial art hobby of Taekwondo. His humour is shining through and he has learned to cook instead of eating processed meals and takeaways. Over the year Gavin’s goals are to reduce his weight further to 14 stone, do a cooking course and run a half marathon.

Lessons Learnt: Tackle low mood with exercise three times per week 45mins

Deirdre – Cork

Deirdre had some incredible challenges, trying to manage the regime of Operation Transformation with two children under 2 years. At times we saw her struggle with balancing these competing demands while still placing unrealistic expectations on herself. How often do we do that? For Deirdre, self-image and finding a compassionate voice was her internal journey. She is now in the 12st somethings! This is an incredible achievement, her lowest weight ever in her adult life and she has found a more compassionate voice that instead of being critical is supportive.

Lessons Learnt: Find your internal compassionate voice that will support you

Greg - Tipperary

Ex air corps Greg took on Operation Transformation with gusto, week after week hitting and exceeded his targets. What impressed me was his capacity to build a team around him, wife, family and community, to support him in achieving his goals. He has also lost about 3 stone, and shown his ability to be organised. He always showed up prepared with lunch box, filler soup etc. Over the years on Operation Transformation I have never see someone more organised. Previously many of our Leaders had difficulties with planning, not Gavin. It might have been the army influence but it works.

Lessons Learnt: Being organised and having support around you will make you achieve your goals

Charlotte – Cavan

As our youngest leader Charlotte ran the gauntlet of Dr Eva around week 4. An over the top reaction by Dr Eva who subsequently apologised. What I found was that Charlotte had a powerful assertive voice and could stand up for herself. I did a life coaching session with Charlotte who has a degree in early childhood studies and wants to be a teacher. She was lucky, she knew what she wanted but did not really have the small goals identified to get to her big goal. Also we worked on focusing her energies to get to that goal and not settle for second best. When you see Charlotte you will see a massive difference in her body shape. Knowing your future pathways in life takes out uncertainty, stress and anxiety and increases your capacity for engaging with all that life holds.

Lessons Learnt: To achieve your dreams it takes big goals broken into little goals and a lot of hard work.

Monica – Carlow

One of the most remarkable transformations ever on the program. When I first met Monica I met a mum who was the taxi service to her children ferrying them to football, table tennis, etc. A woman who in 13 years who never took a day off work for herself. Now look at Monica’s life, she has put herself in the centre of it and by looking after herself in a more balanced way, she is able to liberate herself of unnecessary responsibilities and crushing guilt. Monica has taken the chance of the ultimate transformation, taking redundancy at work she is seeking a future that fulfils the person she wants to be, not the person that others think she should be.

Lessons Learnt: Answer this question; What would you do if you were not afraid? Then do it.

Parent your children for the age they are not as they were when 3 or 4 yrs.

Going Forward

Some of the leaders have already discussed going back to Day one of the food plan and starting it again while maintaining and building up from their 5k. All the leaders are targeting the 10k at the Curragh Race Course in the Run Kildare Event on May 12, details on

For me I am struggling with the question of doing the half or full marathon. So I need to do what I am asking you to do, namely refocus and create new goals for 2013.


As well as his counselling practice, Dr Eddie does talks, training and workshops for school, community, voluntary, sporting and work groups. Call 087 1302899 or visit


Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychology and counselling practice in Portarlington, helping with panic attacks, anxiety, anger, depression, PTSD, etc for children, adults and families. Call 087 1302899 or visit