Weighing in at a sizeable 21st and desperately struggling to shed the pounds, Marie Woodward felt lost.
The 41-year-old mum-of-three had failed to consistently lose weight for years and was even in line for extreme gastric band surgery.
But Marie, of Hall Green, Wakefield, could not meet her target weight for surgery and, at her wit’s end, she joined her local Slimming World club in Kettlethorpe in April 2012.
Through strong willpower she managed to shed pound after pound through dieting alone until at 15st she hit a brick wall, and cycling rolled into her life.
She took up mountain biking in June last year and has never looked back, riding four-times-a-week along the South Pennine Trails.
Marie, who is a housewife and carer, said: “I get on those trails and I don’t think about anything at all and all my problems are back here.
“I would encourage other people to do the same, especially for women who don’t get on a bike.”
Now aiming to help beginners back in the saddle at Wakefield District Cycle Forum, Marie now weighs just 13st – two-thirds of what she did two years ago – and she’s not done yet.
Having taken part in a charity distance ride last year, raising £190 for Wakefield Hospice in doing so, Marie now goes on regular bike rides with her family.
She said: “It’s unbelievable looking back 12 months – I’m a different person, I’m a better person.”
Cycling is the third most popular recreational activity in the UK, with an estimated 3.1m people riding a bicycle each month.
The NHS recommends that the best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on a bike is to ride for at least 150 minutes per week.