Me and my health: Nicola McIlhagger - If I can keep myself active then age is just a number
The 41-year-old is director of leading fat-loss and shapewear companies Cinch Clinic and Cinch Corsets. Married to Stuart and mum to Nina (8), she is also an independent mortgage consultant.
Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
Yes, I do my best to stay active and go out walking two to three times a week. Sometimes, myself and business partner Angela take ourselves on a walking meeting - that's actually where the idea for Cinch Corsets was born. One summer's night while walking from Bangor to Helen's Bay we came up with the idea for a waist slimming corset that would make you look a stone lighter and help you lose weight in the process - a walking meeting is a great way of maximising your time and energy.
In January, I also started a high intensity class with Bayburn Fitness which is held locally at 7.15am in our church hall. I aim to go three times a week - some weeks I just manage one class, or none at all. I like the fact that you can dip in and out, it's done first thing in the morning, before the rest of the house is up and I don't have to think about working out again all day. I find it gives me energy and helps beat brain fog.
What's the worst illness you have had?
In 2009 I was diagnosed with endometriosis which can be pretty debilitating at times. I try to manage this with acupuncture and reflexology. Exercise and diet also play a big role.
How healthy is your diet?
I try my best to be healthy and don't eat processed food (where possible!). I also try not to eat any refined sugars as I find it causes my endometriosis to flare up, though with my sweet tooth this is really difficult at times. I can usually stick to a good diet from Monday to Thursday but I find it difficult to keep to my no sugar rule at the weekends. I've also tried to cut down my bread intake as it bloats me and is probably another trigger for my endometriosis - though it's always easier to cut out bread in warmer weather.
Any bad habits?
Like everyone, I get cravings, so chocolate and crisps would tend to be my bad habits. Again, I try to keep these treats to the weekend.
Do you drink and/or smoke - if so, how much?
I love a gin and tonic - that's my weekend treat. I don't drink Monday to Thursday, but when Friday comes I find that I am more than ready for a drink. I don't smoke.
Do you take any health supplements?
Yes, I take a turmeric supplement as it helps with inflammation and has many other health and antioxidant benefits. I also take a Vitamin D spray every day for healthy bones.
How do you take time out?
My schedule can be pretty hectic from Monday to Friday as I am a mortgage consultant and we also expanded the corset business in July of last year, adding on the Cinch Clinic, which is a holistic fat loss and facial aesthetics clinic specialising in Cryolipolysis (Fat Freezing). I also run Cinch Corsets - which has become one of the leading shapewear brands in the UK. On top of that I have an eight-year-old, so every day is a juggling and balancing act. It is safe to say that when the weekend comes it is time for me to relax and enjoy time with my family. I enjoy setting off early in the morning and seeing where the day takes us. That could be the lighthouse at Whitehead, Portrush or Mount Stewart. I also like dinner and drinks with a few good friends in the evening.
How well do you sleep?
I sleep pretty well, I like getting to bed early and up early. I find that in the mornings I am most productive.
Do you worry about getting old?
Not really. I feel it is something which is denied to many so I try to cherish every day and be thankful for my health and current circumstances. I feel that if I try to stay active both physically and mentally then age is just a number.
What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?
My husband bought a juicer a few years back and makes us nice healthy juices most mornings. We could be having anything from carrots, ginger, kale, spinach and oranges - it is a great way of upping fruit and vegetables intake.
Cinch Clinic is located in Holywood. For further information go to www.cinchclinic.co.uk or visit www.cinchcorsets.co.uk