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Me and my health: BBC broadcaster Nicola Weir


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Keeping busy: Nicola Weir

Keeping busy: Nicola Weir

With husband Peter and their two children, George and Imogen

With husband Peter and their two children, George and Imogen

Keeping busy: Nicola Weir

The 44-year-old broadcaster from Ballymena presents BBC Radio Ulster's farming and rural affairs show, Farming Matters, and is also the reporter for the Stephen Nolan Show. She is married to Peter and has two children, George (17) and Imogen (15).

Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

On January 1, 2018, I did what many others do - made a New Year's resolution that I was going to get fit and lose weight, and I was determined to stick with it. Like a lot of people, I'd become comfortable and my weight had crept up without me really noticing. When I started my new health drive I weighed in at 11-and-a-half stone. I nearly cried when I got on the scales at my local slimming club. And for someone who is only five feet tall that was a lot to be carrying around. Cue a total overhaul in my diet and exercise regime. I joined a spin studio and put my running shoes back on. Three-and-a-half stone off later, I'm now a qualified spin, fitness and Pilates instructor and really enjoying my new-found career outside of the studio.

What is the worst illness you've had?

Touch wood, I've been very lucky with my health. My worst illness would probably be chicken pox when I was eight. I'm hoping that I'll be able to maintain this level of health way into my old age.

How healthy is your diet?

I'm extremely disciplined when it comes to my diet - just ask my work colleagues. They are constantly laughing at the 'ice cream' tubs of fruit I bring in every day. Breakfast and lunch normally consists of fresh fruit with fat-free natural yoghurt. If I intend to run in the morning, I would normally replace the lunchtime fruit with chicken or fish and salad. Tea would normally be based around potatoes, rice or pasta with some salad and protein. If I'm in a rush it would be a quick three-egg omelette with smoked salmon and loads of salad with capers and olives. I don't have a sweet tooth at all so I can resist chocolate, cakes and buns no problem. However if I'm going to overindulge it would definitely be on crisps and nuts. I can't stay away from them, particularly at the weekend.

Any bad habits?

Not keeping an eye on myself. I think there's a tendency to do this as you get older because you never want to go to the doctor and hear bad news. For instance I recently went for a Chest Heart and Stroke well check for a report I was doing for the show and I was shocked to discover I had slightly high blood pressure. It then dawned on me I hadn't been anywhere near a doctor to check on this for years. In my mind I'm still in my 20s but it did give me a warning to not neglect my general health.

Do you drink and smoke? If so, how much?

I used to smoke, but never heavily. I do love my wine but I save it for a Saturday night. It's not only helped my waistline but my wallet, too.

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With husband Peter and their two children, George and Imogen

With husband Peter and their two children, George and Imogen

With husband Peter and their two children, George and Imogen

Do you take any supplements?

I don't take supplements at all. They're overpriced and I'm not 100% convinced about the benefits. I think if you have a good diet filled with fresh food then that's all the body needs - unless you have underlying health complaints or deficiencies.

How do you take time out?

I never take time out. I don't think I would know what to do with myself if someone said "take the day off and do nothing". I'd go stir crazy! Before the lockdown, I took spin, Pilates or fitness classes most evenings after work. Now I live stream them online - sometimes in my back garden - as I don't want my clients to neglect their health and fitness during this time. Being stuck in the house or contained around the home means exercise and time out to concentrate on yourself is more important than ever before.

How well do you sleep?

I've never been a great sleeper. If I get five uninterrupted hours then that's a good night's sleep for me. I start work very early in the morning during the week so I'm usually up around 5.30am.

Unfortunately, my body doesn't realise when it's Saturday and Sunday, so I'm usually wide awake at that time at the weekends. The only plus side is that I can get the ironing and some housework done and cook up a mean mixed grill before the kids get up.

Do you worry about getting old?

I never used to worry about getting old but now that I'm in my mid 40s, it does bother me. I think there comes a time when you have to really examine what you are doing regarding your health and what impact it will have on you in your later years.

I'm taking the route of diet and exercise to help ward off illness and also keep the muscles, joints and bones lubricated. I strongly believe in the saying 'If you don't use it, you'll lose it'. I intend to still be alive and kicking way past 80 and no one else can help me achieve this other than me. As for the passing of time on my face - well there's always Botox and fillers for that. I'll be the Joan Rivers of Ballymena!

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

Just water. It's highly under-rated. Your body really struggles if you are dehydrated - from thought processing to muscle function, skin condition to the optimum workings of your internal organs. So drink up!

Nicola presents Farming Matters on BBC Radio Ulster, Tuesday evenings, 6pm to 7pm

Belfast Telegraph