WHEN producers asked Triona McCarthy to get involved in RTÉ TV show Celebrity Operation Transformation, she thought it was to help style the leaders — not to be one herself.
One of the country’s top beauty journalists, Triona, who grew up in Schull, is surrounded by the latest trends, but says she isn’t even remotely vain herself — which is possibly her downfall.
“I actually feel I have the opposite of body dysmorphia,” she said. “I always think I look alright and that it’s other people who seem to be more concerned about my weight. My mum or my sisters are always saying to me ‘Triona, if you just lost a few pounds your life would be so much easier’ and I don’t see it.
“I’m not at all self-obsessed. I prefer writing about other people’s beauty but for myself, I think I need to be more vain.”
Having recently celebrated her 44th birthday, the mum of two toddlers, Maxi and Mini, has never actually seen the popular TV series presented by Kathryn Thomas and wasn’t sure what she had let herself in for. But what she is sure of is that she doesn’t want to be “headed for 50 and fat”.
“I thought that we’d get our food delivered to us and have a trainer come to our house — I’m only getting to grips with the whole thing now!” she said.
The beauty guru enjoys a large social media following, where she regularly bemoans succumbing to the temptations of chocolate while working from home.
Weighing 12 stone six pounds and at 5ft 6in, she is representative of a lot of women who find themselves on the slippery slope of seeing the scales moving slowly but surely in the wrong direction.
“If I see a photo where I look particularly heavy, I think ‘Oh, that’s just a bad angle’ but then it can get a bit embarrassing if I have to do a photo shoot for something and somebody asks me what size I am and I’ll say I think I’m maybe a 10 or 12, and the clothes arrive and the dress can’t get zipped up or the buttons are all open at the back,” said Triona, the eldest of eight.
“My downfalls are cappuccinos and chocolate and basically all sweet things as well as eating between meals.
“When I’m working from home I’ll have a coffee and chocolate to get started; then more to give me energy and get the creative juices flowing and more as a reward!
Given the nature of her job, she is also regularly wined and dined.
‘Depending on what I’m doing on a given day, I could be on an early flight and have a coffee and slice of toast before leaving the house; then when I’d land whatever event I’m at would have cappuccinos and croissants; there could then be a three course lunch and afternoon tea. And of course in the hotel I’ll go straight for the mini bar!’
Back home, her partner Will is an “incredible cook” so all in all temptation is everywhere “Temptation tempts me,” she jokes.
She was 9 and a half stone when she met Will six years ago but said: “Ten stone is my happy weight, but I just really want to get the scales moving in the right direction and upgrade my life.
Triona has only been buying things like bags, shoes and jewellery of late as her weight crept up.
And for now she’s holding off on buying new jeans while looking forward to getting back into some of her old clothes and generally upgrading her life.
But one thing she won’t be wearing are the unforgiving Lycra belly tops sported by OT leaders.
“Absolutely no way — there’s no one ready for that!” she said.
Other celebs taking part are X Factor singer Mary Byrne, chef Gary O’Hanlon, social media ‘influencer’ James Patrice and singer Kayleigh Cullinan. Four one-hour episodes will air in September, with the leaders starting their food and fitness plan on August 28.
“We have five brilliant leaders on our hands this year,” said Kathryn Thomas, “who are brave enough to let cameras into their homes and lives as they face this struggle head on and set about losing the weight they feel is holding them back.
“Lots of people across the country will have put on weight over the summer holidays so join us — choose a celebrity to follow and start losing the pounds together. We’ve got a determined bunch of leaders this year and I have every confidence that they will inspire the nation to get up and get moving this autumn.”
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