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Celebrity Health - Alison Canavan

A photo of Alison Canavan

Juggling motherhood with healthy living

Alison Canavan is from Dublin and has been an international model since the tender age of 15. She was based in New York until she returned home to Ireland to have her first baby, James, who was born in September 2010. She is a regular on TV shows such as Expose and panelist on Midday on TV3. Alison talks to Rude Health about her healthy life...

What sort of exercise do you do to keep in shape?

“Three times a week I do Reformer Pilates with Sarah Maclachlann in Sandyford who is a Pilates master. The Reformer is a machine where pulleys and springs create resistance and make your exercises really effective. It is really good for giving your body a lean, toned look but it doesn’t build muscle.”

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

“I don’t believe in the word ‘diet’ but I do eat healthily. I love food and do eat well. I eat porridge for breakfast and a balance of meat and vegetables for other meals. I am always on the run with work so I eat out a lot, but I try to choose healthily. I am not a big fan of diet foods and would prefer to cook everything from scratch and eat as naturally as possible. I avoid processed foods, but would eat full fat milk and butter.”

Do you take any natural supplements?

“When I was pregnant I started taking MorEPA Omega 3 supplements as I had heard they ward off post-natal depression. I drink Koya Matcha green tea - it’s a powder that you mix with water and I sip it out of a bottle during the day. I found that I was relying on coffee as I am so busy, but this is better for me. It stabilizes blood sugar and calms the nervous system.”

Did you find it difficult to get back in shape after James (now two) was born?

“It was very, very hard and I put a lot of pressure on myself because I am a model. I found a trainer to make me exercise and did aerobic and weight training exercises in the gym. I looked slim quite quickly because I am tall but it was 18 months before I was back in my jeans. I think it takes nine months to grow a baby and I think twice that to get back to normal.”

Is it difficult juggling motherhood and a busy work schedule?

“It can be hard but I am a single mum so I have to work, and every spare minute I have I spend with James. I try to give him 100% of my attention - washing and housework is done after he is in bed.”

Do you ever worry about your health?

“I think everyone does. I tend to push myself too much and can get run down. I constantly have to make sure I get enough time off.”

How do you keep your skin and hair in great condition?

“I try to keep my hair as natural as possible, so I don’t colour it and don’t blow dry every day. Great skin isn’t really related to the products you put on it, but comes from the inside out so what you eat and drink has a direct effect on how it looks. Finding a good cream that works for you is important and drinking loads of water also helps.”

How do you relax when you are not in the public eye?

“I like to meditate - all I need is 10 minutes every day and it really helps to clear my mind and helps me to focus. It’s hard to find an hour but most people can squeeze in 10 minutes.”

Do you have any healthy tips for Rude Health readers?

“Yes, these tips are good for everybody:

  • Don’t skip breakfast - it’s the most important meal of the day.
  • Eat vegetables and fruits of different colours every day.
  • Stay away from stimulants near bedtime (like tea, coffee or chocolate).
  • Take the stairs and not the lift, or get off the bus or Luas one stop earlier.
  • Always wear SPF to protect skin from the effects of the sun.
  • Increase your fish intake - many of us don’t eat enough.
  • Drink at least 7-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise portion control and keep a food diary.”

                                         

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