20 Questions on Health and Fitness: Miss Northern Ireland, Emma Carswell
Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Miss Northern Ireland, Emma Carswell
1. Up and at it what is your morning routine?
I always wake up before 9am, even on my days off – after I check the time, I'm straight on to social media. Sometimes I'd be up as early as 5am depending on the job location and time. It takes me roughly two hours to get 'glam' – but it's worth it. On my days off I like to go for a short jog and walk my dog in the morning time. I'm still a student and therefore still live with my parents, so helping around the house is a must before going about my day.
2. What might you eat in a typical working day for...
Breakfast would include Weetibix, Porridge Oats or Granola with fresh fruit.
When I have time I would have chicken salad or chicken wrap, but when busy I grab a piece of fruit. This is an aspect of my diet I really need to improve upon.
Evening meals can range from homemade chicken stack (spring onion mash is my favourite) to spaghetti Bolognese or chicken stir fry. I'm currently off red meat which I'm finding really difficult as I love steak.
3. Is nutrition important to you?
Yes – it's something I'm working on with my personal trainer, Nicola, from Think Fit UK on the Lisburn Road in Belfast. I've cut out red meat; therefore my diet mostly consists of chicken, salmon and tuna. However, I find it so hard to resist sweet treats.
4. Are you a calorie counter?
Yes and no – I take a mental note of calories and would check the packaging before buying an item, but I don't count every single calorie I consume.
5. Best meal ever?
I recently had one of the best meals ever while co-judging the Ulster Tatler Awards restaurant of the year. I can't stop thinking about the delicious dessert. Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait with this one... the winner is announced tomorrow, September 15.
6. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chinese food would be the only takeaway I actually crave: salted chilli chicken and honey chilli crispy chicken are both my favourite dishes – so much so that I like to prepare the dishes myself at home, just to convince myself I'm being healthy. It never tastes quite the same, though.
7. Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?
Yes, I have tried many diets, some successful and others diets not so much – but diets really are just a quick fix. I have recently started a diet plan specifically designed for my calorie intake. I see the diet plan as a way of changing my lifestyle and eating habits, rather than a diet.
8. Do you take health supplements?
I love to have a daily cup of Cha Yi Tea which I purchase from Therapie Clinic NI. For me, the tea definitely increases my energy levels, but it also claims to boost my metabolism and remove harmful toxins – so, it's 'win win'.
9. Teetotal or tipple?
I like everything in moderation; I would have a drink during special occasions but not every weekend.
10. Fruit or fry-up?
Fruit definitely; I really dislike fry-ups.
11. Stairs or lift?
I've always experienced mild anxiety when in a lift, therefore I take the stairs almost always. Unless, of course, I am unable to take the stairs with heavy luggage.
12. Do you have a daily exercise regime?
I don't have a daily exercise regime, but I do try to be as active as possible. I try to squeeze in a Pilates class once a week and I have recently started jogging three times a week. I also attend Think Fit for one hour twice a week – my personal trainer likes to push me beyond my limit, which I love.
13. On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are; how fit would you like to be?
I would say I am currently about a six on the fitness scale, but I would love to be a little higher.
14. Best tip for everyday fitness?
Exercise anywhere. You might not have time for the gym but you can take an hour out at home: exercise inside or in the garden. Any kind of physical activity can really clear your head and help release those all-important endorphins.
15. Do you have a memory from school sport / PE days you would rather forget?
I absolutely hated cross-country running.
16. Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?
No, I just feel much better when I eat well.
17. Best health advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?
Take care of yourself and your appearance; if you look good on the outside, you will feel good on the inside. I love going for a weekly curly blow dry, a weekly jet peel facial and, for the weekend, a professional tan for natural summer glow. However, even just losing a few pounds can dramatically change your body image and increase your self-esteem.
18. Who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness / attitude to life?
19. What time do you get to bed normally and do you think you get enough sleep?
I'm normally in bed at around 10.30pm, as I like to get eight hours' sleep. Sometimes, eight hours is not possible with work and socialising, but I try my best.
20. Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?
Yes, I try to eat well and keep fit throughout my busy schedule as I want to prolong my life. Life is short, but it's important not to stress over the time we have and just enjoy it.