Meet the Cork mum on First Dates who lost 10 stone in one year

The mother-of-three said her weight loss journey began when she was denied a visa to New Zealand as she was deemed a 'health hazard' 
Meet the Cork mum on First Dates who lost 10 stone in one year

Togher native Effy Murphy is on the show tonight 

A Cork mum who shed 10 stone in one year after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery will appear on First Dates Ireland this week.

Togher native Effy Murphy will appear on this week’s episode of the show— and discuss her drastic weight loss and her passion for pageantry.

The 37-year-old, who will represent Ireland at the upcoming Regency International pageant, first got into pageantry a decade ago when her then six-year-old daughter Aisling saw Toddlers and Tiaras and decided she wanted to be a pageant queen.

“Aisling was flying with them,” she explains, “we were travelling the world for competitions.” 

“When a division opened up for Mrs Ireland she was like, "Mammy, mammy, you do it!"

At size 24, Effy says her first thought was “no way.” 

“I thought, there is no way on earth I will ever get up on stage and do that.” 

But, she says, her daughter “twisted her arm” and she ended up entering.

Effy Murphy competing in a pageant Picture: @effysjourney / Instagram
Effy Murphy competing in a pageant Picture: @effysjourney / Instagram

“I didn't even think I'd place, but I ended up getting first runner up.

“I went back the following year to compete and won Mrs Ireland in 2017. Then I was hooked.” 

Effy says the experience of competing in pageants is “the complete opposite” of what most people would expect.

“When people think about pageants, they think about Toddlers & Tiaras, but that’s just the controversial side of it to sell stories and produce good TV. Behind it all, there’s a lot of charity work and the community itself is amazing.

“Everyone keeps in touch after the events. I have friends now in America, Australia — and it’s not just skinny blonde women. There are women of colour queens, transgender people, it’s open to all.” 

Effy, who now lives in Youghal with her three children Aisling, 17, Cian, 14, and Ollie, 7, says she experienced nothing but positivity as a plus size woman in pageantry, and her weight loss came not as a result of any pressure to conform in pageantry, but rather, down to the experience she had trying to emigrate to New Zealand.

Effy Murphy has lost 11 stone in just over a year  Picture: @effysjourney / Instagram
Effy Murphy has lost 11 stone in just over a year  Picture: @effysjourney / Instagram

“I was trying to get a visa for New Zealand, but the government wouldn’t grant the visa because they said I was a health hazard.

“I had no health problems bar asthma. It was just because I was overweight.

“They gave me three months to lose some weight.” 

Effy then went on a shake diet for three months and lost three stone — but it wasn’t sustainable and following a tough time after separating from her husbands it all piled back on, and more.

“I had a major food addiction and I just wasn't on top of it,” she shares.

Deciding she had to do something once and for all, she made the massive decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in a hospital in Turkey in 2019.

The surgery involved having 90% of her stomach removed, as well as the glands that signal hunger.

Getting used to her life post-surgery was “very tough” she admits.

“People have this idea that weight-loss surgery is the ‘easy option,’ but it’s really not.

“You're completely changing your eating habits, you can only eat tiny amounts of food.” 

“You have to do a lot of research and make sure you're mentally prepared for it. I was at breaking point, so I was.” 

Effy with her blind date traffic manager Paul (40) from Wexford 
Effy with her blind date traffic manager Paul (40) from Wexford 

Her weight loss journey is something that comes up on tonight’s date we can assume — but Effy is tight-lipped on how her blind date with Paul went.

She did however reveal that she spotted maitre d' Mateo Saina in the hotel prior — and was hoping he was her date!

“I didn’t recognise him at first, he was wearing this gorgeous blue suit and I thought oh I hope he’s my date,” she laughs, “he is just sex on legs!”

Overall, her experience on the show was “fantastic” she says, and if she had to do it all over again she would.

“I am still in contact with the fella,” she says teasingly, but as to whether that’s romantically, well we’ll just have to watch to find out.

First Dates Ireland airs Thursdays 9:30pm on RTÉ2 & RTÉ Player

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