SeniorTimes managed to grab a few moments with the popular broadcaster..
As someone who cheerfully admits to have grown up on television, Kathryn Thomas knows her medium of choice can be a demanding one. How demanding? Well, on Valentine Day she ended up working unexpectedly. You sense it might not be the first time.
When SeniorTimes catches up with the popular broadcaster, Kathryn is expecting another film crew in the door any minute – par for the course when she and the other members of the Operation Transformation team are the middle of the season. Indeed, it says much for the Carlow woman and her engaging outlook on life that her priority isn’t that she is up against the clock workwise, but rather the health and travails of the Operation Transformation leaders.
The show, now a new year staple, charts the progress of participants as they battle the bulge, spearheaded by selected ‘leaders’. Except this year one of the leaders, Dan Kennedy, was forced to withdraw from the programme after he was diagnosed with severe colitis, a condition which pre-dated his involvement with the show.
“He is actually doing great, they caught it just in time,” Kathryn relays with typical effervescence. In fact, she believes Dan’s case highlights the importance of health and how some of us can sometimes put off checking up on warning signs. “The doctor had said that it was worst case of colitis he had seen,” she says. “That puts the great of God into you.”
We Irish are, arguably, world class when it comes to not visiting the doctor. We adore procrastination. But as Kathryn says, in this instance: “If he [Dan] had not been on the show, God knows when he would have gone to the doctor. The lesson for viewers is there if something is wrong. He is just glad he still has his bowel, he is great and doing fine.”
In many ways the presenter has always been synonymous with health and well-being. She first appeared on our screens on children’s TV sports show Rapid before then landing the enviable job of jetting around the world presenting RTE’s travel programme No Frontiers. The title was apt as Kathryn seemed to end up anywhere and everywhere.
However, away from images of beach loungers and backpacking, the programme seems to have informed Kathryn’s outlook on other aspects of her life, not least the aforementioned healthy living and a positive outlook on life in general. It also led her nicely to other career posts such as her time co-presenting Winning Streak and then on to Operation Transformation and The Voice.
“Some people say to me do you, when Operation Transformation starts up in January, do you cut the carbs and lose a few pounds as well, and in fact I don’t,” she says. “I think because I sort of grew up on television, where people have kind of seen me grow up and get older and I have gone from flying around the place in a bikini to doing The Voice and Operation Transformation, so I don’t really feel the pressure of looking a certain way because I’m on the telly, because I have always sort of been on telly, if you know what I mean.
“I find it difficult when friends of mine might go to me, ‘Oh my God, you have the live shows, The Voice is starting, do you not get paranoid about that?’, in the same way that they would try and lose a few pounds if they had a wedding coming up. I don’t do that.
“Some days I have good weeks and some days I have bad weeks but I think I have to be conscious of it all the time. I would consider myself quite a foodie, I love my food, going out to dinner is one of my favourite joys in my life, I’m now going out with a restaurateur and a chef, who equally loves his food, and we love going out for dinner and trying new things, so because of that I have to exercise and I have to watch what I eat because I am prone to putting on weight as well. So I am just lucky that I love exercise.”
Read the full interview in this months SeniorTimes magazine, available in all good newsagents, or on subscription