Laura and her girls on their active school run in Hartcliffe.

Image: Laura and her girls, running/biking the school run in Hartcliffe.

I was terrified of exercising – it seemed to be for other people. Fit-bodied Lycra-clad types: what on earth would they make of someone like me in their world?

When I got diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I realised things had hit critical. At nearly 23 stone, I took the first step. Terrified, but determined, I waddled around the block, my eldest cheering me on. The next step was easier. I began to walk quickly, then jog, building it up slowly. I joined a local gym and took up yoga too, following YouTube videos in my living room. And I tackled my portion size. Within ten months I’d lost 8 stone, and my diabetes.

Then the pandemic hit. I carried on exercising at home, but the weight crept up. I discovered I needed a reason to run. Once the schools opened, I began to run with my children. Our school run is perfect – 2 miles up to 4 times a day. I’m not fit-bodied or Lycra-clad, but I am running. And I’ve discovered that the fear of what others would think of me was far more to do with me than them.

The children cycle with me, it has brought us closer together and they’re learning early that exercise is actually enjoyable. For me now, it’s about the feeling I get from exercise. The joy it has given me means even more than the weight being shed. My focus isn’t about being slim, it’s being healthy as well as having fun.

Meet the Girls