"It's the best thing I've ever done for myself personally," local Senator Nicky McFadden dubbed her experience of the hit TV show Operation Transformation this week, as the programme reaches its conclusion today (Wednesday) on RTE 1 at 8pm.
Her participation in which has seen her lose a fantastic 22lbs in just eight weeks.
While the weight loss is welcome, the Fine Gael Senator told the Westmeath Independent this week what's even more pleasing is a change in her habits to a more healthy lifestyle, something she intends to press on with in to the future.
"I suppose I take time to shop now, do a cook up at the weekend and stay out of petrol stations where I used to stop to get sandwiches and snacks. I'm also taking time early in the morning to exercise," Nicky commented, praising Ross in the Sheraton Hotel for his help in this regard, with an exercise plan she intends to follow through with even after the programme ends.
"It's a new way of living for me. My blood pressure has gone down, I feel healthier and have more energy. My lifestyle wasn't very good beforehand, often times I'd realise at 11am I had no breakfast, I'd have late dinners or buy chips on the way home from late meetings," she commented.
Although Nicky admitted the nature of political life can make healthy living that bit more difficult, the Senator said she now realises with some planning it can be done, and the whole programme experience has given her a new interest in nutrition, ways to encourage healthy eating and health policy to tackle obesity in this country.
"It's been very beneficial all round but also for me giving good example," she said, pointing out that "there are 4,000 obesity-related deaths in Ireland every year, either from heart disease or diabetes. I'd be more conscious now of how we are rearing our children and I'd love to see vending machines with sweets etc taken out of schools and those with fruit and juices installed instead," she suggested.
Another really pleasing aspect of participation in the programmehas been the camaraderie among the politicians, seven Senators and eight TDs, from all parties taking part,
Nicky explained, adding that their team actually lost the most weight of all the teams, beating the parents and the taxi drivers. The encouragement and interest from the public has also drove her during the difficult times.