As a working mum-of-two she’s already captured the attention of the nation – encouraging a load of us to get healthy, fit, and active.


Not only that, but Operation Transformation leader Marie Grace has had frank, on-air discussions relating to stillbirth.


“Immediately after that first episode aired, I had around 40 messages on Facebook from different women from all walks of life,” she reveals chatting to MummyPages.



“A lot of them lost a baby at around the same time I did. Some of them had never spoken about their losses before. There have been more messages since then too.”


Marie has two daughters, Lily Mai, 3, and 8-month old Daisy. But in 2014 while six months pregnant, she went into early labour. She later gave birth to Michaela, who sadly died a few days later.


However, and now into week three of the RTE hit show, the 32-year-old is determined to overcome past tragedy. Indeed, she’s already on something of a roll, dropping a total of 5.5lbs to bring her down to 13st 9.5lbs. So far.



“I have a real get-on-with-it approach to the OT programme,” the Limerick woman says. “I knew what I was signing up for when I applied. Now I want to make the most of it.”


And something which has certainly impressed frazzled working mums everywhere is Marie’s dedication to getting up at 6am to complete the workouts that fitness expert Karl Henry has set her.


“That’s just when suits,” she laughs now. “That means getting it all over and done with before the kids are up.” Marie adds that the meal-plans are proving surprisingly delicious, not to mention easy-to-prepare.



“The first week is definitely overwhelming,” she explains. “But even now I’m into a good routine. I like that the meals don’t have loads of ingredients too.”


A part-time hairdresser, the whole Grace family has benefited from the OT plan.


“My husband Ferghal has also lost weight. Even little Lily Mai is having more water – I’m drinking more of it so she is too. Plus as there is no junk in the house, I’m not tempted to give her sweets. Lily Mai’s treat the other evening was a slice of cheese!”


Ferghal gave up smoking more than two months ago – with Marie following in his footsteps once Operation Transformation got underway.



“I haven’t missed them at all,” she says. “A few cravings here and there, but when they come I have a little sip of water and distract myself and I find they vanish easily enough.”


Something which has also pleasantly surprised Marie is how affordable her grocery shop is.


“Yes I am spending a bit more up front – but eliminating the likes of cola and junk food is a saving, not to mention the cigarettes too. No take-aways either. It’s a good way to budget because you know once you buy your food at the beginning of the week that’s you done and you don’t have to spend anything else.”


Marie is back on this week’s Operation Transformation – which airs this evening and tomorrow evening at 8.30pm on RTE One – for her next weigh-in.



She’s also looking forward to the OT 5K Phoenix Park event on February 19, a course she is determined to run. “There’s is a 10K mini-marathon I have my eye on too in Limerick later this year,” she laughs.


In the meantime, Marie will be embracing her admirable ‘get on with it’ approach. “I know after Michaela I cut people out – I started sitting in on the couch eating rubbish. I didn’t want another five years to pass in the same manner, not to mention that five years down the line I could be twice as big.


“This is my time!”


Operation Transformation airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8.30pm on RTÉ One. Anyone wanting to follow Marie's plan will find all the recipes and exercises here