I've now been a runner for nine months and am training for a marathon but it wasn't until yesterday, chatting to a friend, that I realised what an unlikely journey this has been. I am now stronger, physically and mentally, than I've probably ever been.
It's Cycle to Work day on Thursday so we can expect thousands more people taking power to the pedal as they shake up their daily commute. If you're one of them, good on you. But so you don't feel out of place, here's a quick guide to the other cyclists you're likely to meet on the street...
I promised myself once I'd had baby number two, I'd finally sort it out... Start looking after myself better; eating well, exercising regularly, drinking less wine at breakfast... and other such ridiculousness... *laughs manically whilst knocking back a shot of gin to the face*
Since the start of the new millennium our exposure to chiselled arms, shaved chests and sculpted six-packs has been impossible to avoid, as marketing executives the world over latched on to this aesthetic ideal to promote products and sell services.
Personally, it doesn't feel right for me to be on a "diet" for the rest of my life. It is preferable to live by a set of principles that just feel instinctively but also logically right. So it is a enlightening and actually just rather nice culture to look at things like where the food has come from and how much it benefits us rather than how many calories does this contain.
I lost the weight naturally and without calorie restriction, which seems to be a rarity today if not a total mystery! I'm not a size 12 because I have to be. I made the decision on my weight loss journey to stay curvy, I now consciously maintain my size.
My weight-loss and toning achievements are results of hard work and dedication, not simply sitting around and relying on my gene pool. Yes, having a high fitness level pre-pregnancy does help your body to get active again post-labor but this alone is simply not enough.
Whilst men's gym clothes remain baggy and pretty separate from fashion, women are expected to purchase tight leggings, tighter tops and sports bras designed for appearance rather than just holding the sisters in place whilst you go for a jog.
On Sunday my sporting hero was competing at the World Championships in Beijing, Jessica Ennis Hill represents the best of everything woman can be and in fact are. She is a grafter, she has trained for over 10 years to be the best in the world, she is an Olympian and on Sunday she again retained her World Title.
Utilising this style of eating takes the 'diet' out of your personal nutrition, turning it into a healthy (and enjoyable) part of your lifestyle, rather than a restrictive eating pattern you (perhaps) don't enjoy for the majority of the week that ultimately has a finite lifespan.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at the country retreat in Brinsop Hereford, it was truly beautiful, set in its own grounds complete with a moat and four swans. The all-female attendees stay for a week in total, it's an all-consuming experience. You stay in their accommodation, either shared or private and the rooms were lovely.
While I get where they're coming from - stop trying to starve yourself to look like *insert name of slender popstar*and focus on having a strong, healthy body instead - why do they have to do it by demonising yet another (often healthy, and often genetic) body type? You wouldn't go round calling people fatty, so why is it okay to comment on them being 'skinny'?
Fit indicates effort. More precisely, it indicates effort and reward. This is a good thing to teach ourselves. It is different to the effort/reward cycle for thin as that often involves unhealthy habits and mainly consists of deprivation.
Can you actually use a wriggling, crying baby as a piece of fitness equipment? And should you? They do a bit of sick on you at the best of times. It didn't seem like a brilliant idea to me, but I decided to find out.
Running was never my main sport- it was just something you did to get you from A to B. I didn't actually start running until 2007-2008 and when I did start; I really did have to teach myself how to run. Perhaps in retrospect joining a running club might have been a good idea here.
I have always loved running and it wasn't until starting a family of my own that I truly began to value the simplicity of sticking on some trainers and running out the front door wherever I am in the world. It could be for 15 minutes or three hours - childcare depending of course!