EXTERNALLY, Clare Scanlan is the same as the rest of us – she is weary of the daily grind and struggling with a dose of the January blues.
Internally, Clare is carrying a heavy weight in her heart – it’s a weight that she is hoping the Operation Transformation process may ease.
Clare’s son Darra, a joyful boy, died at the age of 15 on December 12th 2011 from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and it caused her heart to fracture. She said: ‘The emptiness is with you all the time – it impacts everything.’
Her family – her wonderfully supportive husband Tom and their two lovely children Caoímhe and Liam – are, as Clare said herself, ‘not without’ her love and support. But she admits: ‘I am just not me anymore.’
Clare (39) is originally from Castlefreke in West Cork, but she is now living in Monagea in Co Limerick, where she works for a food distribution company.
Her debut on the hugely popular TV programme was raw, but as Clare said: ‘I was going to be me. I was going to be honest because there is a lot of healing to be done.’
Clare stood on the scales at 17stone exactly and with one week down she has already pulled out all the stops: ‘I followed the recipes. I followed the plan. I did my exercises.’
Week one has been busy. The TV programme showed Clare busy at home with her household duties, busy with her children’s afterschool schedules, and busy at work with what seems like a large, gregarious and friendly bunch of people.
Having a TV crew around from Tuesday to Saturday, plus a day of filming in Dublin on a Monday is, Clare said, ‘like having another full-time job.’ But she’s in. She’s invested. And she is not without support.
Clare said: ‘Tom is marvellous. He’s doing it with me. He is on board with the food and the exercise. Tom wants to see me happier.’
The sight of Tom on TV with his eyes red from stinging, unshed tears was in itself a powerful pledge to help Clare start a new chapter in her life.
The trainers and advisers on the TV programme said Clare is in survival mode. Over the next eight weeks they – and everyone else in the country who is being led by her example – want to see her switch from surviving to thriving. Go Clare!