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Me and my health: Alison Fleming

By Gráinne McCarry

The 36-year-old UTV presenter lives in Holywood, Co Down, with her husband Damian and their two children, Annie (4) and Finn (3)

Do you get eight hours sleep every night?

Yes, easily. I'm a great sleeper, I could easily sleep on a clothes line. I like to be in bed for about 10pm and I usually get up at 6.30am or 7am with the kids.

Early bird or night owl?

Neither really. I'm not one for sitting up late. I have to gauge myself to get up early in the morning.

When I'm up around 6.30am, it's a nice peaceful time of the day because there's no-one else up. I do have to set the alarm though, it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm not one of those people who gets up when the sun comes up.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

I suppose I must have, when I was in labour with my second child I didn't realise!

I had pains, but I thought they were ok. Having said that, I had an epidural once I got to hospital and then I didn't feel a thing. I was in labour for eight hours.

When was your immune system at its best?

Probably about five years ago, before I had my daughter. I was doing a lot of exercise to get into shape and I was following a detox diet. It was a healthy eating plan with no alcohol or coffee allowed and lots of fruit and vegetables. I drank lots of water, too. I felt absolutely brilliant then.

Have you ever experienced depression?

I found the period between my two pregnancies difficult. There's only 13 months between my two kids and I was quite low at that time.

I think it was a combination of adjusting to becoming a new mum and being pregnant again. My energy levels were really low and I was extremely tired, also.

Then, on top of that I was pregnant. I don't know if it was clinical depression or not.

Old wives tales or as the doctor ordered?

A healthy balance of the two. If I really needed medical treatment I would take it, but an antibiotic would be the last resort. I think a good combination of exercise and trying to eat well strengthens the immune system.

When did you last visit the doctor?

Around eight months ago. I was feeling very tired all the time and I went to the doctor for a blood test. I was fine.

Last time you were feeling under the weather — what did you do?

(laughs) When you're under the weather, you still have to run the house and mind the kids!

The last time I didn't feel well I had a flu-like cold, so as a total one-off the kids went to stay at their grandparents' house in the country for the night.

I took my duvet and lay on the settee with a couple of DVDs and lots of Lemsip and tissues.

Do you calorie count?

No, but I am careful about what I eat. If I've been indulging a bit too much one week then I try and make up for it the following week.

Do you eat your 5 a day?

I try to. I'm not great at it. My favourites are bananas and spinach — but not together!

Do you take any supplements?

Sporadically. I'm not very good at remembering to take tablets. I have evening primrose oil which I take when I remember. I usually open the cupboard, find them there and think to myself, 'Oh. I must start taking them again.'

Organic or ready meals?

I try to eat organic as much as possible, especially vegetables that are grown in the soil and are full of nutrients, such as potatoes, mushrooms and carrots. I prefer to cook from scratch as much as I can.

I'm not a big fan of ready meals although sometimes when needs must, there's nothing like sticking a pizza into the oven.

Do you exercise?

I do. I run and I walk a lot as well. I try to walk every day and run every other day.

Do you believe in the mid-life crisis?

Well, I haven't got there yet so I'll have to wait and see.

Is sex vital to overall wellbeing?

I think so. A good relationship makes you feel good.

Best advice ever received?

If it's for you it'll not go past you.

Have you ever donated blood?

I've tried so many times to give blood, but I'm a bit squeamish. I'm determined to try again soon though.

The Organ Debate — would you?

Absolutely, no question. I've had a donor card since I was at university.

Hair of the dog?

My hangover cure is not to drink the night before! If I do, I drink plenty of water during the night and take a couple of paracetamol the next day, if I need them.

Desert island must have?

My husband Damian and my kids.

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