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Me & my health: radio and TV presenter Denise Watson

By Helen Carson

Published 09/02/2016

Sore point: Denise Watson injured her ankle while out running
Sore point: Denise Watson injured her ankle while out running
Family time: Denise with daughters Samantha and Beth

The 44-year-old sports reporter and presenter for UTV and radio station U105 lives in Lisburn with her husband David Scott (45) and their two daughters Samantha (11) and Beth (7).

Do you take regular exercise - and if so, what?

I was a big outdoor runner until last year, when I sustained a bad ankle injury. Now I walk the girls to school in the morning, but I need regular physiotherapy and I also see a chiropractor to help me recover. To me, exercise and fitness is about empowering movement, it is not about keeping my body slim - it is about strength and stamina.

What's the worse illness you have had?

Fortunately I have never been very ill, but having played sport since I was in school, then played competitive basketball when I was at Queen's University, I have suffered many injuries over the years. Three years ago I injured the ligament under my left knee and it hurt so bad - now, I know why footballers roll around on the pitch when they get injured. The most recent is the ankle injury which happened when I slipped off a kerb last year when I was running. Sadly for me, I didn't take care of it and ran a 10k soon after, when I shouldn't have. Although I am improving, it is possible I may never be able to run outdoors again, the injury was so bad. I have always had weak ankles; at school I had to wear high top trainers for support. Despite all the injuries I have suffered, though, I wouldn't change a thing - I loved playing sport at that level.

How healthy is your diet?

My diet is pretty healthy now, but after I had my elder daughter Samantha I put on four stones just eating rubbish - I ate everything that was bad for me; crisps, chocolate, fizzy drinks and junk food - things that I previously wouldn't have eaten. At the time I didn't care about what I was eating, I was just thinking about Samantha and ensuring she ate healthy food. Then I did a GI Diet and lost weight, but it took eight months to do it. I wanted my girls to be educated about food too and my husband David is a big influence, as he is a clean eater which involves a diet of whole and locally sourced fresh foods. Now I don't keep fizzy drinks in the house, so it is usually the first thing the girls order when we eat out. I do love cheese though - it is my downfall.

Any bad habits?

I have to really work at not skipping breakfast. I start work at 6am and the last thing I want to do is eat anything, so I wouldn't have anything to eat until lunchtime. If I have anything, it would be two cups of coffee rather than eating something.

Do you drink/smoke - and if so, how much?

I don't smoke, actually I think smoking is a disgusting habit and I simply do not understand its appeal - maybe it's because I played sports all my life and it would affect my training. I do enjoy wine and it has to be Sauvignon Blanc and from New Zealand - I am quite fussy about that. We entertain a lot at home and David is a brilliant cook, so the two things go hand in hand. But I couldn't drink all the time.

Do you take any health supplements?

I don't see the need to take vitamins, as you can get them from your food. I have thought about glucosamine, because it is good for your joints, but I don't take anything. I get my Omega supplements from fresh fish - we have a great fishmonger in Lisburn and he even pickles his own herrings, so I go there for tuna and the herrings, of course. Eating fish is the reason I have reasonably good skin. Generally I don't take tables, not even paracetamol for a headache, as I am allergic to codeine. I find drinking water works, as headaches are usually a result of dehydration.

How do you take time out?

Having a bubble bath every night. When the girls are away to bed I run myself a hot bath and close the door - it's just me and a candle and the radio. Afterwards I will read for half an hour - I love crime novels. I don't watch a lot of TV, but will catch up on crime drama on Amazon Prime; shows like Criminal Minds and Castle are my favourites.

How well do you sleep?

My sleep is reasonably good considering my working hours. There is a shift at U105 which is 11pm-3am - and that is hard the next day when I have to get up to take the girls to school. I go to bed early, though, and am good at grabbing a 10 minute nap on the sofa.

Do you worry about getting old?

Now that I'm in my 40s, I am much more comfortable in my own skin. I don't worry about growing old at all, be that cosmetically or any other way. When I was 12 I was 5ft 9in tall and very self-conscious; now, though, I am happy. There is no embarrassment about telling anyone my age.

What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

Definitely water. I have bottles of water stashed in my car and in my desk at work. I love Clarins make-up, which has skincare benefits - that, and eating fish.

U105 now has 237,000 listeners (RAJAR) which is a record number during its 10-year history. Denise Watson is a cross platform sports journalist at UTV/U105 who aslo fills presenting slots at the radio station

Belfast Telegraph

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