Trisha shares recipes from her new book

Cork chef Trisha Lewis, aka Trisha’s Transformation, has inspired thousands of people with her weight loss story... now she’s launched a new book, writes EMMA CONNOLLY
Trisha shares recipes from her new book
Trisha Lewis, who has launched her new book, Trisha's Transformation.

TRISHA Lewis gained 15lbs in the first three weeks of lockdown — and then she lost it in a week.

The 32-year-old, who has 110,000 followers on her Trisha’s Transformation Instagram account, says that lots of people would feel shame or failure if that happened.

But after coming so far on her weight loss journey, Trisha saw it purely as ‘feedback’ and a reminder to get back on track.

Her book, Trisha’s Transformation, has just hit the shelves and she’s described it as “a dream come true”. With a tag line of ‘Beat the bulge, and still indulge’, it shares her story of hitting rock bottom in February, 2018, when she weighed 26 stone and one pound, to getting the life she had once only dreamed of.

Trisha is at home with her parents Mary and Willie since the COVID-19 lockdown.
Trisha is at home with her parents Mary and Willie since the COVID-19 lockdown.

The head chef at Jacobs on the Mall has been at home with her parents Mary and Willie on the Limerick/Cork/Tipperary boarder since lockdown kicked in.

She’s one of nine sisters, and four of them live nearby, and says she’s luckier than most.

“The first few weeks were hard though as I was missing work, my friends and I’d be going from bawling to saying things were grand. But I’m settled into a routine now and I feel very lucky.”

That routine sees her rise early, get her work-out done in the morning, do some cooking, and then, importantly, deliver it to one of her sisters “If it’s in the house I’ll pick at out!” she says with her typical honesty and humour.

She is also doing an online mindfulness course and says for the first time in years she’s able to really live in the present “It’s really the first time that I don’t have loads of things on, that I’m not tied to work and that each day is my own. I’m enjoying this pace right now. Of course, having said that, if Jacobs were to reopen in the morning, I’d be on that motorway straight away!

“But I’m getting used to my own company and I’ve learned a lot from that — mainly that I don’t need material things or to buy things to be successful,” she said.

Trisha’s initial 15lb weight gain, she says, was relative to her body mass, and partially down to her years of poor eating habits and fad diets.

“These things happen,” she said matter of factly. “I didn’t fail, and I brought it back. I was bored, new habits were popping in, and it was about nipping them fast.”

Staying on track...
Staying on track...

Her main way of keeping on top of her weight is by making sure she has a calorie deficit every day. And she does that by making it the top priority on her daily ‘to do’ list.

Helping her do that is the app My Fitness Pal which tracks exercise and food intake.

“Weight loss is annoying — it’s just about calories in versus calories out. So it’s all about controlling the controllables, like what goes in my mouth, and if nothing else but that gets done in a day, I’m pleased.”

Trisha compares calories to a savings scheme. In the same way you’d bank money, she banks calories and is always aware of her balance, or how many she has left to use at the end of the day.

“It just makes life easier this way,” she says, adding that she’s also a fan of following the same meal plans for two to three weeks.

She’s also strict about making time to get organised, and getting her exercise in.

“It’s about calling it like it is. If you spend half an hour scrolling on your phone, you could have got a work out in. You’ll suffer either way — but don’t let it be from not doing it. Of course it takes work to get there, but when you know how good your body is meant to feel, you will want to keep at it.”

Her starting ambition was to lose 13 stone and one pound — half her body weight — and she’s around halfway there.

She’s adamant that she won’t adjust her goals, but doesn’t mind adjusting the time frame.

“I don’t have to wait for the last pound to be off to be happy. When I reach 12 stone 13lbs I’m going to throw the biggest party ever but I’m already happy in myself. I’m 100% a different person. I feel like I know who I am for the first time ever.”

Trisha's new book.
Trisha's new book.

With such a massive following, Trisha feels like she has been given a platform to use for the greater good and is interested in being a motivational speaker:

“For me, my Instagram isn’t about the swipe ups, but it’s for the person who thinks they can’t do it — to show them they can!”

She knows more than anyone that there’s still a lot of stigma attached to being overweight: “When I was 27 stone and morbidly obese I was running one of the busiest restaurants in Cork and I wasn’t lazy or useless. But people can be extra cruel when they know you’re vulnerable. If you’re fat shaming, you’re only reaffirming what that person already feels in their head.”

She recalls being on holiday in a restaurant in Spain and on the first day someone came up to her table and left a card for gastric band services. The rest of the holiday, she said, was, not surprisingly, hellish. But her turning point, a story she’s shared in the Echo before, was accompanying her sister to her baby scan, where she decided she was ready to make a change.

“My nephew Danny is now two and he’s just perfect. His new life, gave me my new life,” she said.

Trisha’s Transformation (Gill Books) €19.99

HERE, TRISHA SHARES SOME RECIPES

Trisha says: “I wanted to help anyone who may have been in my position and show them that you have never gone too far. The recipes in the book are simply, tasty and cost effective.

“I picked them because I find the food you need to eat in the typical diet boring and unsustainable. I would like to lose weight but not flavour.”

Asian-Style Salmon Couscous
Asian-Style Salmon Couscous

ASIAN STYLE SALMON COUSCOUS

200g couscous

1 reduced salt fish stock cube

300ml boiling water

2tsp sesame oil

1tsp garlic puree

400g lean skinless salmon

50g frozen petit-pois

1 red pepper deseeded and diced

1 red onion diced

To garnish: fresh mint, lime wedge

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degres.

Put the couscous in a bowl, crumble in the stock cube and pour over boiling water. Cover tightly with cling film and leave sit for five mins to allow grains absorb water and swell.

Rub your sesame oil and garlic puree on your salmon and bake on a tray in oven for 20 minutes.

Lightly sauté your peas, pepper and onion in a pan until cooked but crunchy. Combine with couscous, pop salmon on top and garnish.

Smoked Turkey Rasher and Mushroom Carbonara.
Smoked Turkey Rasher and Mushroom Carbonara.

SMOKED TURKEY RAHSER AND MUSHROOM

CARBONARA

350g tagliatelle

1tsp oil

6 garlic cloves minced

15g button mushrooms, halved

6 smoked turkey rashers chopped

50ml light cream

100g light cream cheese

1tsp mustard powder

Parsley

salt and black pepper

Method:

Cook pasta as per instructions In a wok lightly fry your shallots an garlic in the oil. Once golden brown, add the mushrooms and turkey rashers.

When cooked, add in cream, cream cheese, and mustard powder. Stir well to combine.

Fold in drained pasta, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with more fresh parsley.

Chicken and sweetcorn soup by Trisha Lewis.
Chicken and sweetcorn soup by Trisha Lewis.

CHICKEN AND SWEETCORN SOUP

3 reduced salt chicken stock cubes

1 litre boiling water

2 skinless chicken breasts diced

260g tinned sweetcorn drained

1tbsp sesame oil (or half the amount and substitute with sesame seeds or tahini)

2 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce

2 free range eggs whisked

5 spring onions thinly sliced and reserve one for garnish

Method:

In a big pot dissolve stock cubes in boiling water, reduce to simmer.

Add in diced chicken and simmer for six mins until turn from pink to white. Add in sweetcorn and simmer for another five ins and add in sesame oil, and soy sauce and stir continuously.

Stir whisked eggs into the mix, this will make it cloudy. Simmer for another two mins.

Add chopped spring onions. Serve in bowls and garnish with more spring onions.

The first few weeks were hard... I’d be going from bawling to saying things were grand. But I’m settled into a routine now and I feel very lucky.

Cork chef Trisha Lewis, aka Trisha’s Transformation, has inspired thousands of people with her weight loss story... now she’s launched a new book, writes EMMA CONNOLLY

It’s really the first time that I don’t have loads of things on, that I’m not tied to work and that each day is my own. I’m enjoying this pace right now

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