The head of Operation Transformation hopes to regain long-lost confidence and apply for the dream job of coaching football

Operation Transformation returned to our screens last Wednesday with five notable leaders and a refreshed visual identity.

he core goal of the RTÉ show is to inspire audiences to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

One of the show’s leaders is Stephanie Bowden. The 31-year-old, who lives in Clondalkin, Dublin, is in the second week of her weight loss journey.

She lives with her partner Brian and their two children Jack and Aoife. Mrs Bowden hopes to bring some sparkle back into her life. She wants to believe in herself again and help others do the same.

With her love of sport, soccer is the biggest passion in her life outside of the family.

She holds a UEFA coaching license and uses it at Crumlin United where she works as a coach.

However, Ms Bowden is still young and wants to get back on the field.

She gave birth to Jack four years ago and Aoife last year. While they were moments of deep joy, she lost her mojo during this time.

After Jack’s arrival, she had a health scare. This forced her to stop playing soccer because she was afraid of having a heart attack.

“I stopped showing up to things,” says Ms Bowden, “I was so scared to move I thought I was going to have a heart attack.

“In the meantime, I haven’t helped my mental health and obviously physically my body in terms of my overall well-being.”

After completing her UEFA B license, Ms Bowden had an exciting job opportunity.

“People texted me and told me to do this. [They were] say it’s close to me that I know the role.

“I worked as an assistant coach. I did these programs. This was an opportunity to coordinate everything and I have the personality to do it.

“I really think we have a world star in this country, I think the talent is there. And it’s my job to find, help and encourage that.

“So I was like, ‘Great, I’ll do the job.’ I put the kids to bed, wrote the cover letter, edited the resume, went over everything to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

“But before I turned it in, I took a shower, came out, looked in the mirror and I saw myself and what I was – and that was a very, very unhealthy young woman.

“I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m going into this job to do that… How can I tell elite players, encourage them, or get a player to believe what you’re asking them to do?’

“If I ask the players to give 100 percent, then of course I have to show it. So I never applied for the job.

“It killed the dream. I allowed fear to kill a dream. Fear kept me from taking care of myself, but hopefully that dream will come back one day.

“A few weeks went by, some good friends got in touch and asked if I got the interview and I just said I didn’t apply. And a friend asked me why and I just said, ‘I need help’.”

This prompted Ms Bowden to apply Operation Transformation. She hopes it can give her the help and support she needed.

“I’m so looking forward to the trip. I’m really excited,” she says with a smile.

“I’m in the first week. I looked at the nutrition plan, I followed it to the smallest detail. I look at it and I’m kind of angry and I’m like, ‘Why didn’t I do it this year? Before?’ Of course I had to work on the mental side, but it’s so easy and I enjoy it – it’s satisfying.

“I spent the week learning how to do things. I’m a bit pedantic and kill myself with it.

“I buy the food, cook the vegetables, sort them out and throw them in the oven. I go for a run and when I come back I have dinner. It’s also a family approach.”

While the prospect of documenting her weight loss journey on television is daunting, this part of it is also a major motivator.

Executives will conduct a weekly health check monitoring 14 health indicators. These include upper body strength, balance, lower body strength and cardio.

Key areas are monitored including hydration, blood pressure, metabolic age, weight, general health, diet and exercise, among others.

“It makes me more determined because I like to take on responsibility. What it did reconnected me to the community.

“I’ll think about the gut feeling I had. At the moment I feel good – it’s the contentment.

“I know I’m taking care of myself, so I’m pretty content. So when I’m lagging behind – like the other day, I had a really busy day and dinner came and I didn’t want to do it – but I just got carried away to the day before.

“Karl Henry gave me a great tip: Live simply for the day, just go for the day. If it’s day five, just stay in day five. Don’t worry about day six or what you didn’t do on day four—just work on day five.

“My overall goal is to get better mentally, my overall well-being is better that way.

“Whether I’m under- or over-qualified for a job, I want to be able to click the submit button. They are all stepping stones.” The head of Operation Transformation hopes to regain long-lost confidence and apply for the dream job of coaching football

Fry Electronics Team

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