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Fighting Fit Ciara Kelly insists Operation Transformation is 'positive' and 'well-motivated'

The RTÉ series, which returned to screens last night, follows participants as they try to lose weight and get fit with the expert help of a personal dietician, fitness instructor, and psychologist.

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Dr Ciara Kelly was the medical expert on Operation Transformation for 5 years. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

Dr Ciara Kelly was the medical expert on Operation Transformation for 5 years. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

Dr Ciara Kelly was the medical expert on Operation Transformation for 5 years. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

Radio host Ciara Kelly has said that we should “acknowledge the benefits” of Operation Transformation after concern was raised about its “triggering” messages.

The RTÉ series, which returned to screens last night, follows participants as they try to lose weight and get fit with the expert help of a personal dietician, fitness instructor, and psychologist.

Ahead of its return, Irish eating disorder support organisation Bodywhys issued a statement highlighting the negative impact it has had on people suffering with disordered eating.

It said that the show's “considerable emphasis on dieting, body weight and shape” promotes a dangerous and distressing dieting culture that “impacts negatively” on mental health.

It claimed that this approach “does little to achieve long-lasting weight loss or health promotion.”

But Dr Ciara Kelly, who was Operation Transformation’s medical expert for 5 years, argued that the programme has been “a huge positive” overall.

Speaking on Newstalk today, she said: “From working on it, overall, I think it was a huge positive.

“That's not to dismiss the concerns of people who might be upset by any talk of weight loss if you have an eating disorder, and those things can be triggering - and I would suggest it's not the show for you.

“But the vast majority of people who engaged with the show, the communities that got out active, walking - we turned on the lights on GAA pitches so people would have somewhere to go at night to exercise.

“Supermarkets came on board in terms of highlighting healthy options - get the fruit and veg into you.”

She said that the positive aspects of the show should be recognised as those involved are genuinely “trying to help people.”

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“I think you have to acknowledge the benefits that that show does too.

“And I know there's something of a fashion online to attack things... but I do believe that it's well-motivated,” she added.

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