Oprah & me? Well, we cer­tainly have one thing in com­mon!

With a new show, Elaine, in the off­ing, TV3’s self­dep­re­cat­ing pre­sen­ter shies away from any com­par­i­son with her US coun­ter­part... apart from a par­tic­u­lar part of their anatomy! Ms Crowley is look­ing for­ward to the task though, as she tells

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS - Eoin Mur­phy

Ryan Tubridy is a per­form­ing mon­key, he is a lovely man. It is dif­fer­ent and it is amaz­ing that Mid­day lasted as long as it did in that time slot.

‘I had six years pre­sent­ing and pro­duc­ing it and I was ex­hausted from it… To come up with six new top­ics ev­ery day, ev­ery week of the year bar Christ­mas is a big act. I was get­ting a bit tired of it and I wanted to get more be­hind the head­lines and into peo­ples’ sto­ries and I have found that the panel shows of late that worked were when peo­ple talked about their own life ex­pe­ri­ences.’

Elaine is not shy about bring­ing her own strug­gles to the fore. She made head­lines last year when she shifted over a stone in a week on Celebrity Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion. Elaine went from 15st 11lbs to 14st 9lbs in seven days de­spite her ex­er­cise be­ing se­verely lim­ited due to a back in­jury. But now Elaine says she is com­fort­able with her curves.

‘I ate all the pies and all the turkey and all the ham and all the stuff­ing. I am not go­ing to go near a weigh­ing scales un­til Jan­uary 9. Then I will give my­self a week to get the turkey belly off but I don’t think I am as girthy as I was at the start of Christ­mas any­way. Any­one who man­ages to keep weight off over Christ­mas de­serves a medal. The thing I took from the whole Op Trans­for­ma­tion ex­pe­ri­ence was that I worry less than I did be­fore. That’s the only thing. If I put on a stone, it is not the end of the world and con­versely if I drop a stone, it is not a mas­sive mile­stone. It was an in­ter­est­ing life ex­pe­ri­ence and I learned a lot about my­self.

‘I have the tools to tackle any weight gain. I can cook now so that when I get into the rou­tine of healthy eat­ing again it should slowly right the ship. I got loads of cook books for Christ­mas so I have no ex­cuse to try and not burn down the house.’ Elaine hopes to im­prove her health by be­com­ing stronger and fit­ter rather than slim­mer. With her new­found cook­ery skills she hopes to hit her 40th year with a more toned physique and a more re­laxed at­ti­tude to life.

‘This year, I am 39 and I have a big birth­day com­ing up. My back was ban­jaxed for a long time but I have been given the all clear to go back ex­er­cis­ing. So I want to get fit and I don’t mean thin, I mean I want to feel fit­ter and stronger. And that is man­age­able. Be­cause when I don’t ex­er­cise I don’t feel well and I haven’t been ex­er­cis­ing for quite a while. So that is my fo­cus for 2017.’

Fit­ness has also pro­vided Elaine with

‘I want to get fit, and I don’t mean thin’

a ma­jor weapon in her strug­gle against de­pres­sion. It is a con­di­tion that in the past has threat­ened to en­gulf her bub­bly and warm per­son­al­ity. But now, with in­creased fit­ness, she be­lieves she has the tools to stay ahead of the black dog.

Ex­er­cise has be­come im­por­tant for my headspace. The last cou­ple of months I’ve been, well not strug­gling but I haven’t been my­self be­cause of the CBT I did be­fore, even when I was feel­ing down and that lasted maybe two weeks, I had the tools to get out of that funk.

‘The men­tal skills that I have learned to help me feel men­tally fit have been a huge ben­e­fit. Even when I am hav­ing a crap day and I feel like a whale and I am in a bit of a low mood, I know I will get out of it. Whereas be­fore, when I was in the depths of it I never thought I would get out of it again. You have bad days and great days and with my con­di­tion there will al­ways be pe­ri­ods in my life where I don’t feel great about my­self but at least I know now there are ways out of it. ‘Be­fore, the thought of do­ing things like the new show would have freaked me out com­pletely. I wouldn’t have been eat­ing or sleep­ing. But you know what, it will be grand, what will be will be. I am get­ting a bit more Zen in my old age.’ She is also cel­e­brat­ing a year in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship. She is keep­ing her beau’s iden­tity pri­vate as he is not a fan of the lime­light. ‘He is grand,’ she says. ‘He still hasn’t met the mammy yet. He has stuck in for al­most a year now so he is do­ing well. I won’t let him watch me on telly which seems to work well. He bought me driv­ing lessons for Christ­mas. I think he is sick of be­ing a chauf­feur. I am scared, I am afraid of it. ‘I got a big mas­sive hint from him and this is the last step to me be­com­ing a grown up. I am so scared of driv­ing and the worst part is I used to drive but then I came across a bad crash and I parked the car, got out and haven’t driven since. I fell off a horse when I was 12 and I never got back on so it is some­thing in my sub­con­scious. I just need to face the fear. It will be a good year.’ I press her to re­veal a few more de­tails of her mys­tery man. Then, as if on cue, a child ar­rives on the phone in floods of tears. ‘I have to go,’ she says with an au­di­ble grin. Elaine has learned that small chil­dren can be use­ful some of the time.

Elaine, 3pm, TV3 from Mon­day

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