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Me and my health: Gareth Wilkinson on his lifestyle


By Leona O'Neill

The 40-year-old is the North West reporter for UTV. He is engaged to Fiona and the couple have two children, Ben (6) and Dara (3).

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: I'm getting married to my long-term partner Fiona in July and I've quite a few pounds to shed before I can squeeze into my wedding suit! After years of not getting enough regular exercise I've recently joined an early morning boot camp-style exercise class. It's a big shock to the system, but I'm feeling much fitter, healthier and my weight is starting to go down. I've a long way to go yet!

Q: What's the worst illness you have had?

A: I've been very lucky with my health over the years. Apart from the usual colds and flus, I've rarely been ill.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: At home we eat healthily. Most of our family meals are cooked from scratch, with fresh ingredients. We try not to eat too many processed foods, especially for the kids' sake, but we'll often have a takeaway as a treat on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: It's when I'm working that my bad eating habits kick in. My job as a reporter can be hectic at times. I often grab lunch on the run and frequently it's stuff that isn't kind to the waistline. However, with the wedding fast approaching I'm more conscious of what I eat during working hours and I'm trying to take healthier options, but it's a struggle to keep on track.

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

A: With two young children, I never seem to have the time for a drink any more these days. When I do have a big night out I struggle to get over it now. I used to smoke, but kicked the habit when the children came along. Since I gave up I've found I do eat more snacks, especially crisps.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take no supplements at all.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Life is extremely busy at the moment so there's not much downtime, but I like to relax by watching boxsets on Netflix. From time to time I play a bit of five-a-side football with friends. It's really the 'over 30's' team only. At the weekends we try to get out with the boys for a walk or cycle, or a paddle on the beach. In terms of beautiful places to go, we're spoilt for choice in the North West.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I'm a bit of a night owl, so I never go to bed early enough, but when I do, I sleep very well.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: My grandad lived until he was 99-years-old. He was a renowned, fabulous singer. He says the singing gave him the heart of a lion and kept his lungs healthy and helped him feel alive. I don't sing myself, but maybe I'll take up singing in my middle age years for longevity. I don't really do anything to keep me feeling or staying young. I think as a journalist I'm in totally the wrong job for hoping to stay young. I always say I donated my hair to UTV. I rarely worry about getting older, but as I head into middle age I would like to be fitter and healthier and try to set a good example for my two boys.

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

A: Nothing beats a good walk on one of Donegal's beautiful beaches to give you that feelgood feeling. There are also loads of places along the north coast of Northern Ireland that are great for walks - that's the area where my family originated from, so I know it well. There's nothing quite like getting up on a Saturday morning and taking the kids for a bracing walk along Marble Hill or Rathmullan beaches. It blows away the cobwebs and sets you up for a great weekend. I love it.

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