My View, Mel Hewitt: British bike stars inspired my weight loss

Tour de Yorkshire ceremonial start at Wakefield
Sir Bradley Wiggins lines up on the start line
Tour de Yorkshire ceremonial start at Wakefield Sir Bradley Wiggins lines up on the start line
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My leisure time has never willingly been spent in a gym or running.

My family will tell you that I rarely sit still – except perhaps when I’m writing. I love to be on the go, so I’m certainly not sedentary – but Sport Billy I ain’t.

Sport for me was tinged with the shame and fear of enforced participation in a Yorkshire Comprehensive School in the 1970s. The puppy fat wobbling, freezing thighs, horror of the cross-country run and being chosen last for the netball team, live long in the memory.

I remember so well being stuck in goal at hockey where I think it was felt I could do the least harm. During a cricket match I was placed on the outer reaches of the solar system to field – I don’t think anyone would have noticed if I’d gone home.

Wind forward a few decades and my teenage chubbiness has been replaced – after a shining interlude of slimness and size 10 clothes – with post- pregnancy ‘cuddliness’.

Several valiant souls tried to help me shed the unwanted pounds. I even joined a slimming group. The latter didn’t really work as I found myself celebrating the loss of a pound or two with a sneaky bar of chocolate. I was also a little bored and bemused by the excitement a new variety of rye bread seemed to create.

Joining a gym was a non-starter as well, because I viewed every piece of equipment with hostility and suspicion. I soon found I was skilled at falling off things or inadvertently trapping myself in part of the mechanism of anything that moved.

So, by 2012 I was more than 12 stone – I’m five foot tall - with a distinctive waddle to my walk and an arthritic hip that kept me up at night, or dozing on the sofa.

Something had to give – and it wasn’t the waistband in my elasticated trousers.

I can’t remember the exact moment something flipped in my head, but I do remember watching Team GB’s Olympic cycling team with awe and then remembering I had actually bought a static exercise bike a couple of years before.

Was this the answer? Something I could do in my own home, without the need for any specialist lycra based clothing? No need to make a special trip or brave the changing rooms?

Positioned in front of the telly I peddled – creakily at first – but within a week I was doing 5k every day and increasing my speed.

Eating less and sensibly seemed a natural next step – and at no point did I weigh any food or buy any specialist slimming stuff.

Within a year I reached 8st 7lbs – I have now settled at just under 9 stone for the last four years.

I don’t cycle all the time, but I know I have found my way to exercise when I want to – even in my slippers.