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Kiltimagh’s Mary shines bright like a Diamond


STARTING A JOURNEYKiltimagh’s Mary Diamond enjoyed her Operation Transformation experience.

Edwin McGreal

It’s Monday afternoon when we ring Mary Diamond and she is just finishing a run around Clare Lake in Claremorris.
The cameras might not be rolling anymore after the completion of RTÉ’s Operation Transformation on Wednesday last but Mary is refusing to rest on her laurels.
One of five leaders in this year’s show, Mary (52) went from 12 stone, ten and a half pounds down to 11 stone, three pounds.
But she’s determined this is only the start of her own personal journey, not the end of it.
“It is even more important to keep going now. During the show you were in front of a camera all the time and that keeps you well behaved. I want to push the boundaries that bit further now so that I do not go back to the way I was.
“I’m absolutely buzzing now too, I want to keep this feeling. I got great support too locally, I don’t want that to be for nothing,” Mary told The Mayo News.
Mary, who runs her own Montessori, admits she was an unlikely candidate for what she describes as ‘an incredible journey’.
“This time last year there was no way in the world I would do something like this. I couldn’t get a handle on my weight. I had tried all the different diets and I was resigned that this was my weight and this was going to be it. I had changed my life around my weight and so I wasn’t going out. I wasn’t fit anymore,” Mary admitted.
Mary knew she needed to change. Living in Cordarragh, Kiltimagh, Mary (nee Caulfield) is a native of Kilkelly and is married to Joe. They have three children, Gary, Robbie and Paul. Gary has Down’s Syndrome and realising she was not fit anymore hit hard.
“That scared me because I want to be around for Gary. I felt I was letting him down by not looking after myself.
“Then out of the blue I saw an ad on the RTÉ news feed. I clicked into it, filled out the form and suddenly it was all systems go. I never thought ‘what have I let myself in for’. It felt right.”
As part of the show, the leaders have to walk out for their weigh-in wearing only lycra. It can be a daunting experience but Mary found it cathartic.  
“Coming out in lycra the first night for the weigh in is not nice. But there is something symbolic about it. After years of hiding your weight you are saying ‘here I am’. It is liberating,” she said.
Her target was simple – lose weight and get fit but as the show developed, she discovered how interwoven psychological issues could be with personal health and fitness.
There are four experts who assess the leaders and Mary and fellow leader, Roscommon man David Cryan, were most afraid of Dr Eddie Murphy, the programme’s psychologist.
“The mental side of things ties in way more than I thought. I initially was doing it just to get fit and lose weight but that’s all interlinked with the mental side of things.
“Myself and Davy used to fear Eddie the most! We said he’d get inside our minds. But it is all for your long term good.”
Speaking of which, what does the future hold? Mary is going to be the Grand Marshall at the Kiltimagh St Patrick’s Day Parade and is staying in regular contact with her fellow leaders. They shared ‘a great bond’ and are planning the next step on the journey.
“What we have agreed to do is each of us will pick an activity in our own area and the other four will come there and we will all do it. In Mayo it will have to be Croagh Patrick.”
Climbing higher all the time.

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