The shape I'm in: Andrea Hayes, TV3 presenter

Presenter of TV3’s Animal A&E and soon-to-be-broadcast Dog Tales, Andrea Hayes is married to David Torpey and they have one daughter, Brooke, aged 5. 

The family live with their 11 year old labrador, Dash in a cottage at Rathmichael, near Shankill that they “remoulded” after they fell head over heels in love with the area and garden.

Andrea’s book Pain Free Life: My Journey to Wellness was published earlier this year and recounts how she developed her own pain-control programme after years of chronic pain. 

Andrea is also a clinical hypnotherapist.

What shape are you in?

Because of my underlying health, I have to be focussed on wellness. I can only do gentle exercise though, so the most I can do is walk the dog every day but I’m consistent and persistent about it. 

I think regular exercise is important for body and mind.

When I did my health overhaul two years ago because I wanted to reduce my medication, I discovered that different foods can be inflammatory and impact negatively on your immune system. I initially went vegan but now I’m vegetarian. 

I really do believe that the increase in fruit and vegetables did help reduce my pain. I buy locally and I buy fresh, only shopping for food that will be eaten in the next day or two. 

If you’re trying to eat healthily, preparation of food is key and as I’m noticing how, that’s definitely more difficult when you’re busy and have a child off preschool to entertain.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I meditate. Its great for mental health. I try to do it three times a day. I don’t need a mat or anything, I’ll just take 15 minutes wherever I am. 

If I’m filming as I am at the moment, I’ll just say ‘can I take 15 minutes?’ and I’ll pop into the car, bring my breathing down and positively reframe whatever thought is making me feel negative or is on my mind.

I learned about this when I went to study clinical hypnotherapy. I can do it now in a minute if needs be. 

I use visualisation too as I think there is a strong link between the power of the mind and intention to be healthy. It was realising this mindset that changed everything for me.

Weight was a bugbear of my mine for years due to the amount of medication that I was on for pain. So I began to visualise myself as thin and healthy.

It worked along with the changes in my positive mental outlook and changes to my diet. It has also made me far more productive and easier on myself.

I congratulate myself a lot more now for getting things done.

What’s your guilty pleasure, food-wise?

I like a glass of wine and I like ice cream. I’d love to give up alcohol though as like others, I’m not processing it as well as I used to.

What would keep you awake at night?

My health keeps me awake. I might lie awake at night if I had concerns that I was losing power in a particular part of my body or if I’ve been experiencing pins and needles.

How did you relax?

I love reading. For the three months of the summer, I have been volunteering as a canine carer five days a week and filming it for ‘Dog Tales three days a week. 

When it finishes and my daughter starts primary school next month, my aim is to read two books.

We don’t socialise massively which isn’t helped by not really having a babysitter. I need to work a bit on that maybe?

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I’d have to bring some people back from the dead. Authors, Maya Angelou and Wayne Dyer. Prince, my husband, David and my great work colleague and friend Conor Cleere.

What would you change about your appearance?

I probably wouldn’t change anything visual just the nerve degeneration that I can see.

When did you last cry?

I cry all the time. I cry at Dog’s Trust; tears of happiness and of sorrow. I cry when I see what the dogs need to go through to become confident and suitable to live in a home environment and I cry when they get there.

What trait do you like least in others?

I dislike dishonesty. Most other things I can accept.

What trait do you like least about yourself?

Maybe my need to please. This means I put myself last and am too often guilty.

Do you pray?

All the time. I used to go to mass everyday at St Anne’s in Shankill and I will again when I stop filming. I’m also part of the Bethany ministry which works with people who have experienced loss. It’s a free listening service at St Anne’s.

What cheers you up?

My daughter’s smile, my husband’s hugs and kennel hugs with the dogs.

  • Andrea’s new series, ‘Dog Tales’ will be aired on TV3 at 8.30pm on August 19.


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