Belfast Telegraph

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Me and my health: Paul Stafford discusses his lifestyle


By Helen Carson

The 49-year-old is an award-winning hairdresser who runs a salon with wife Leisa (49). They have two daughters, Joni (16) and Ava (14).

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

A: Running is my thing which I have been doing for about 20 years. I also go the gym a few days a week for strength and conditioning. I'm planning to run the London Marathon next year and will cover anything from five miles to half-marathon distance three to four times a week. Anywhere I travel in the world I take my running gear with me. Running has got me through some difficult times, but mostly I just like getting out onto the towpath in the fresh air and seeing people.

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

A: I've been fortunate with my health, but last year I had to have varicose veins removed. My legs swelled up after I got off a flight from New York and a doctor told me it had become a serious issue. I have suffered from them since I was a kid but didn't worry about it even as an adult. It's not like I was going in for any lovely legs competitions. But having had the surgery I feel a lot better. It took me six months to recover despite the fact I was only in hospital two nights and off work for a fortnight.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: Pretty good. I have a smoothie for breakfast - my own recipe is banana with protein powder, peanut butter and espresso which gives me the energy I need in the morning. Lunch is usually scrambled eggs and we have a home-cooked meal in the evening - whatever the girls want. We don't eat microwave meals and only occasionally get a takeaway pizza if the girls want one.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Too much coffee - I will drink up to five cups during a busy day. I like Americanos but don't like fancy coffee shops where they want to educate me about Columbian beans; that's why I like coffee in America which has been brewing on a pot on the stove for three hours and is really strong.

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

A: I don't do either. I have never smoked and am anti-smoking, but I did take a drink when I was younger which I enjoyed. I know I drank too much, not that it was a problem, but it could have become problematic.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: From time to time. I do take cod liver oil but prefer to get energy from natural sources. I take protein shakes and bars which I always have, although previously I was taking them as a food substitute which isn't what they are.

Paul with wife Leisa

Q: How do you take time out?

A: I don't. I'm a workaholic and there is very little that Leisa and I do outside hairdressing. I love what I do. Running is my getaway from it all. When the time comes around for a family holiday I will fight against it, yet when we go it is always worth it.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Terribly. I have been like that since I was a child. I can manage with five to six hours of sleep a night and am always fighting against it. I like learning about new things, reading books and listening to music. It wouldn't be unusual for me to be walking around my house at 3am reading a book.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: My 40s were difficult but now I am happy with where I am and hope that continues into my 50s. I worry about not being able to do what I do but I have no desire to make myself look younger or be thought of as 'down with the kids'.

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

A: I don't think I have one as I've only started using moisturiser on my skin in the last five years despite being told by make-up artists to do so for years.

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