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Me and my health: Gayle Williamson

Former Miss Northern Ireland Gayle Williamson (28) lives in Crawfordsburn, Co Down, with her son Brandon (2) from her relationship with musician Jim Corr. A vegetarian, her diet consists of fresh fruit and vegetables

Do you get eight hours' sleep a night?

Yes, I do. I love my sleep and I could sleep the clock around. I usually go to bed at 11pm and then I get up at 7.45am when my son Brandon wakes up and that's the day started for me.

Early bird or night owl?

I'm more of a night owl. I don't enjoy getting up early. Brandon's a great sleeper now, but for the first six months he wasn't. When you become a mother, you never really fully switch off when you go to bed. You're always listening out for them and aware that they are there.

Do you have a high pain threshold?

I suppose I have ... I gave birth! The last time I was in pain was probably a toothache. I don't like taking tablets so I tend to just suffer these things out.

When was your immune system at its best?

Ever since I turned vegetarian seven years ago I think my immune system and my general well being is much better. I was never really fond of red meat, but I ate a lot of fish. When I was in Nigeria at the Miss World competition (in 2002) there was a big buffet put on for us one night and I ate some fish which wasn't too good. It put me off it for a long time. I eat fish the odd time, but it took me a while to come back round to it.

When I cut meat out of my diet I noticed that all of a sudden I felt much better within myself. I noticed it especially after eating — I didn't feel bloated, tired or groggy. I began to enjoy my food a lot more.

Have you ever experienced depression?

I think when you have a baby it's such a big change in your life. I did feel a bit low. I don't know if I ever experienced depression. I've had days when I certainly felt low, but it hasn't lasted any longer than a day. I think it was more to do with the lack of sleep.

Old wives' tales or as the doctor ordered?

I try to use natural remedies as much as possible to make myself better before I would go to the doctor and get an antibiotic. If I don't feel well I try to sleep it off. I would rarely take a tablet of any kind. I'd rather struggle on!

When did you last visit the doctor?

I wouldn't go to the doctor unless I really had to. The last time I was at the doctor was probably a year ago with Brandon when he had a wee tummy bug.

The last time that I went personally was just after he was born and he was two on May 10, so that was a while ago.

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

I think I lay on the sofa and wrapped the duvet around me. Actually I was sick on St Valentine's Day this year. I had a very bad flu and was really sick for five or six days. I had to stay in bed and drink Lemsip. It was the worst flu I ever had. Sleep is a great cure for any sickness.

Do you calorie count?

No, not really. I like to watch what I eat but I wouldn't be counting every single calorie as I go along. Before I had Brandon I'd have been a bit more obsessed, but when you become a mum you don't have as much time on your hands for that kind of thing. You eat when you can!

Do you eat your 5 a day?

Yes, definitely. I love avocados and oranges. I have a salad most nights with lettuce, tomato and avocado in it, and in the morning, depending on what I have in the kitchen, I'll have an orange, grapefruit or banana. I always make sure that I have all the fruit and veg that I need.

Do you take any supplements?

No, not really. I sometimes take a Berocca in the morning if I'm feeling under the weather. It's a multi-vitamin drink and it tastes of oranges.

My friends take it and they recommended it to me. I would only ever take one every few months.

Do you exercise?

Yes, I do. Mostly I just walk. I used to be a big gym freak. I'd have gone five times a week. Then I realised that walking does the same job and it's much more enjoyable. I still go to the gym — just not as often.

Do you believe in the mid-life crisis?

I always think I'm having a crisis and then when the day's over and it's on to the next one I look back and think it was just one of those days. I think a crisis can happen at any time. Maybe it's because the person is at a certain time of their life that they decide it's a mid-life crisis they're having!

Organic or ready meals?

I try to eat organic when I can. I buy organic milk, fruit and veg. There's an organic farm in Helen's Bay which I go to once a week. When you tell them what you want to buy, they go off and pull the vegetables fresh out of the ground for you.

They're the freshest vegetables you could possibly get and much cheaper than the supermarket.

I don't eat ready meals if I can help it. I don't think you ever really know what's going into them or what the ingredients actually are.

Is sex vital to overall wellbeing?

No, I don't think so. It's much more important to look after yourself well, make sure you eat properly and get enough sleep.

Best advice ever received?

I suppose the best advice I was ever given was to look after each day as it comes. To just enjoy each day individually, to look after yourself and live it as it comes and not to spend too much time thinking about the future and what it will bring.

Have you ever donated blood?

No, I haven't. I wouldn't say that I love getting my blood taken, but needles wouldn't really bother me. I must look into it in the future.

The Organ Debate — would you?

To be honest, it's something I haven't really thought about. It's a wonderful gift to give to someone else.

Hair of the dog?

Some nice comfort food while lying on the sofa watching telly. I love Indian food on a Sunday so probably a vindaloo. If you can get through your first one, you'll always be able to eat it again. Before I had Brandon, I probably would've gone for the hair of the dog but I definitely wouldn't do it now!

Desert island must have?

Water, I absolutely love it. Next would have to be face cream.

I can't get through the day without it. I use one from L'Occitane.

It's a moisturising mask that I leave on. What else? A nice bottle of wine — sauvignon blanc. And Brandon, of course!

Gráinne McCarry

Belfast Telegraph

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