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Celebrity Health – Caroline Foran

Image by Katie Kavanagh

Caroline Foran is a well-known Irish podcaster who addresses wellness issues and has an impressive following of over 4.5 million downloads. Her new podcast is called Stretch Marks and is about motherhood. She is the author of three wellness books, the latest of which is Naked: Ten Truths To Change Your Life. She lives in Dublin with her husband Barry Doyle and son Caelan, who is nearly two.

How did you get into writing these wellness books?

In 2014 I experienced crippling anxiety when I moved from one job to another, but I just kept going and didn't deal with it. Later I started to write about it, looking for reassurance and as a coping mechanism. I also felt that we needed to lift the stigma around talking about these things. Anyway it developed a following and it seemed to help a lot of people as well as myself. After an article in The Irish Times I was approached by a publisher and now I have had three books published – Owning it, about my experiences of anxiety; The Confidence Kit, which looked at our struggles with fear of failure, and Naked: Ten Truths To Change Your Life about the power of vulnerability and how we can create the life we want.

My latest venture is a new weekly podcast with Sinead O'Moore called Stretch Marks, celebrating the stretch of motherhood - not the bounce back. Each week we will dive into a deep stretch - and invite our community on Instagram to get involved through polls, questions boxes and DM chats. Joined by you, experts, friends, we want to own our motherhood whatever shape it might take with compassion and a healthy dose of honest humour.

What was your lockdown experience?

Our son Caelan was born in August 2020, so I became a Covid mammy. I experienced labour without my husband which was hard enough, but the really hard part was post-partum. I don't think I was aware that I was lacking in support because of Covid, I just thought that I was already failing because I was finding it very overwhelming and challenging, but now looking back I would say that had my husband been able to be with us in the hospital in those very fresh postpartum days, I mightn't have felt as overwhelmed as I did. I shared my experience on Instagram and in Owning It: The Anxiety Podcast.

What exercise do you do to keep in shape?

I exercise less to keep in shape and more for pain management. I had pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and was on crutches some of the time. In most cases the pain goes away after the baby is born, but it continued for me. So I do a one-hour personal trainer weights session in the gym once a week, and as much online Pilates as I can fit in to work on my core. I have had lots of physiotherapy. It can flare up if I don't do anything about it. I have found that it is good to make time for exercise and that when I do exercise I feel more balanced. Now it is easier than ever to access decent exercises online and of course it's really good for my mental health.

What sort of foods do you eat to stay healthy?

For breakfast we have porridge with seeds and fruit. I am lactose intolerant so I go for almond milk. For lunch I love smoked salmon and eggs. For dinner we make lots of stir fries and curries and eat a lot of fish. When our toddler goes to bed I am usually exhausted, so my husband does more cooking in the week which helps him wind down after work. I would cook more at the weekends and try to make things we can all eat together.

Do you take any supplements?

I take Skin Accumax to keep my skin clear, as I noticed breakouts when I hadn't had them before. It has vitamins A, C, E and phytonutrients that work from the inside out. I also take Revive Active – I notice a difference in my energy levels when I take it. I have to be careful with my gut health and have tried Alflorex and Symprove over the years. My husband is trying Athletic Greens, so I might try that if he gets benefits from it.

Do you have any tips for rude health readers?

  • Rest is really important for physical and mental health.
  • Take breaks throughout the day – even if only for a minute. Get up from your desk, let yourself daydream. This gives us a chance to breathe and prevents us being too wired to sleep properly at night.
  • Self compassion is crucial, so be kind to yourself. The worst thing you can do is harangue yourself if you don't hit the marks this week that you planned to.
  • Wellness is supposed to be an antidote to being stressed out, not an additional thing that stresses us out. So don't make it another thing to do on your list. If you think about what you need as a person today that takes away all the stress.

insta @stretchmarkspodcast

Naked: Ten Truths To Change Your Life is published by Hachette Books Ireland


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