Belfast Telegraph

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Me and my health: Ralph McLean discusses his lifestyle


By Helen Carson

The 47-year-old Radio Ulster presenter lives in Ballymoney with wife Kerry, also a presenter on Radio Ulster, and their three children, Tara (9), Dan (8) and Eve (18 months).

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

A: I walk our wheaten terrier Tarka, which I do twice a day. Because I live on the north coast we tend to go along the beach where there are great views like Mussenden Temple. Tarka is really the kids' dog. They pleaded for one and promised they would take it for walks, but like most dads I ended up doing it. I wanted to call the dog Ringo, but no one in the house was having it. I'm not really a gym person and have tried going but I just find it boring.

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

A: I've never been hospitalised, not even for one night, and can't think of a time when I was really ill. Because I'm 6 ft 4in I've suffered with a bad back since I was young.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: I'm very poor at eating food because I just don't like it. Coupled with the fact that I work anti-social hours I eat junk too often. I tend to just grab something on the run from the BBC canteen. In the morning I do try to get my porridge but it is a challenge because I also spend a lot of time driving to and from work. Because I'm not interested in food I will eat lots of chicken and fruit.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: I skip meals if I'm working on something and by the time I come home at night I don't have time for dinner. I also have a sweet tooth and so I will reach for things like sticky toffee pudding - I would eat this for dinner all the time if I could. I also love chocolate and would snack on this when I'm watching TV. Existing outside of a nine-to-five work routine means I end up eating at McDonald's.

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

A: I have never smoked but do take a drink. I cannot stand smoking and I'm so glad our hotels, pubs and clubs are now smoke-free. When I played gigs I would come out stinking of cigarette smoke and, no matter what you did, it was hard to get the smell off your clothes. Since having kids and working in Belfast, having a drink involves a glass of wine now and again and I'm not averse to the odd gin and tonic - which is very middle-class of me.

Q: Do you take any health supplements?

A: I take multi-vitamins although I'm not sure if they do any good or not. If I'm feeing run down I will take vitamin C.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: Because I work freelance I find the idea of time out an alien concept. I never relax and I'm always on there is no off switch. I don't have the luxury of doing nothing when I'm not working as I am always thinking of new ideas for work - even when I'm lying in bed. Walking on Castlerock beach is the nearest I get to letting my mind go elsewhere. My favourite time of the year on the north coast is the winter as the weather then is perfect for clearing your head.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: Terribly. My youngest daughter Eve hasn't slept property since she was born and she is teething at the moment too. She wakes every few hours after being put to bed. I never really slept well as a child so it's probably my fault.

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: Not particularly - I've always been old anyway and have never had a mid-life crisis. I'm not worried about the physical effects of growing old. I haven't had a full head of hair since I was in my 20s and 30s.

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

A: Walking on the beach, getting out in nature and listening to music. Music has always been there for me.

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