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rare condition Today FM DJ Ray Foley's battle to control his weight after major surgery

"To all intents and purposes, it was like an ingrown hair but it took several surgeries to sort it out and I wasn't able to move," he explains.

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Ray Foley returned to Today FM after a stint in Cork

Ray Foley returned to Today FM after a stint in Cork

Ray with Muireann O'Connell and Martin King

Ray with Muireann O'Connell and Martin King

Ray on the Take Me Out set

Ray on the Take Me Out set

Ray ran a 10km at the Rock 'n' Roll event

Ray ran a 10km at the Rock 'n' Roll event

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Ray Foley returned to Today FM after a stint in Cork

TOP broadcaster Ray Foley says his long battle to control his weight was thrown into turmoil after he recently underwent major surgery.

The 6ft 2in radio star currently weighs 16 stone (101kg) and through the years has fluctuated between 12 stone to 17 stone.

"In my early days in Spin and my early days of Today FM I was even bigger; in my early 20s I was 17 stone," Ray recalls. " I decided I was going to lose it and went down to about 12 or 13 stone.

"The five things I gave up were booze, potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. I know we do eat a lot of those things, but if you try and cut as much of them as possible you are then eating a lot less carbs and eat other things instead.

"I'll do it again. After losing it I would keep on saying 'I'll sort myself out now and do it', but I keep eating and drinking at the weekends."

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Ray with his wife Kate, who he met at Spin

Ray with his wife Kate, who he met at Spin

Ray with his wife Kate, who he met at Spin

Ray (41) tried to do bootcamp exercise classes during lockdown but his attempt to get fit was scuppered by a rare medical condition.

"This started about two or three years ago and it arrived again. I wasn't well for the second half of last year. I wasn't able to go and train at all.

"I had a thing, how do I describe it? It was non-life threatening, it was to do with my bum. To all intents and purposes, it was like an ingrown hair but it took several surgeries to sort it out and I wasn't able to move," he explains.

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Ray with Muireann O'Connell and Martin King

Ray with Muireann O'Connell and Martin King

Ray with Muireann O'Connell and Martin King

"It's a full anaesthetic on the table and they put in a thing to clear it out and you need to come back every several weeks. I only got the all-clear on that last month. It might have been not looking after myself, who knows?

"Now that I'm not working breakfast I can get into a routine and plan. Now I'm working afternoons on Today FM, I have no excuse, so at seven o'clock in the morning I'm going to the gym a few times each week."

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Ray returned to the national radio airwaves after an absence of seven years as host of Today FM's afternoon show.

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Ray on the Take Me Out set

Ray on the Take Me Out set

Ray on the Take Me Out set

During that period he had been filling in as guest presenter of the Six O'Clock Show on Virgin Media and at one stage was thinking of changing career.

The Mayoman moved to Dublin at the age of 17 to study journalism in Dublin Institute of Technology and while there he got a job reading the news on several radio shows and pursued his passion for music by DJing with pirate stations.

While working at Spin he fell in love with Dubliner Kate Carolan and they will shortly celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

"She was working in news as well; I would have been only 21 or 22 when I started dating her," he recalls.

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Ray ran a 10km at the Rock 'n' Roll event

Ray ran a 10km at the Rock 'n' Roll event

Ray ran a 10km at the Rock 'n' Roll event

"We got married when I was 26, relatively young. On reflection, it was definitely very young. People said at the time 'are youse a bit young?' But we had been going out together for years."

Kate now works on the newsdesk in RTE and the couple have two young sons, as well as a beloved cockapoo dog.

"Kate calls him a Covid cliché. We only got him last year as the family who had him couldn't keep him as one of their children was allergic to him," he explains.

"Before that we had a mongrel, a bit like a lurcher. She was about 14 or 15 when she died and were devastated. We were saying 'we'll never do this again'. She was our first baby in the house."

During various radio reshuffles in recent years Ray was left in limbo and thought about a career change.

"I spoke to a career coach as well about doing other stuff until a friend asked me to fill in as breakfast presenter on Cork's Red FM for a couple of months," he recalls.

He thought it would be a fun gig to spend a summer in Cork, but then he was offered a two-year contract, which turned into a five year stint on Leeside.

"We had two young kids at home, but Kate's view was 'go and do it'. I was at a stage where I was like 'do I want to be on the radio any more?' I was doing a lot of TV and doing the Six O'Clock Show, and I was wondering if I had finished with radio," he muses.

"I was miserable before I started doing what I was doing and I was miserable at the prospect of not knowing what I was going to do next work-wise and that's why she said 'go and do it if you enjoy it'.

"So I was happy I suppose in my job. I missed the baby miserably. But the time I was home I was fully engaged."

Ray was up at 5.30am every morning and after the show he'd have a nap at around 11am. He's not into sport or nightclubbing, and usually spent his time binge watching TV with his flatmate. Even today he binges a lot of TV, regularly looking at two or three episodes of Peaky Blinders on the 46A bus to his home in Dun Laoghaire.

Just recently he was offered a return to the national airwaves on Today FM.

"It was unbelievably good news," he admits about the offer. "It was like 'who gets to have another go at it, another crack?' You might be listening [to a show] and say 'oh I could have a go at that and here's what I could do if I'm on air'."

Ray got Covid the week before he was due to go back to Today FM. "It was two days of a chesty cough, but I wasn't wasted. One of my kids got it, but my wife and the other lad didn't," he says.

For an hour of his afternoon slot he's up against the 2 Johnnies on 2FM and is pensive when asked about the recent controversy when they were drawn into a row about sexist comments.

"I suppose you just need to be very careful all the time. I started in Today FM when I was 22 or 23 and the world was a very different place.

"I think what we said and did back at the time, we started at ten o'clock at night, we said things back then which one, you wouldn't get away with now, and two, you'd look back and say there's no need for it," he says.

"It was unfortunate for them that they had to learn in their first week that there's a difference between podcasting and broadcasting."

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