Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Diabetes Has Given Me Even More of a Reason to Get Active and Make Changes; PROFESSIONAL Musician with the Royal Northern Sinfonia Mike Gerrard Knew He Was Going to Have to Make Some Big Changes in His Lifestyle If He Was to See His Two Young Children Grown Up. He Talks to Health Reporter Craig Thompson

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Diabetes Has Given Me Even More of a Reason to Get Active and Make Changes; PROFESSIONAL Musician with the Royal Northern Sinfonia Mike Gerrard Knew He Was Going to Have to Make Some Big Changes in His Lifestyle If He Was to See His Two Young Children Grown Up. He Talks to Health Reporter Craig Thompson

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Thompson

MIKE Gerrard weighed 26st, had sky-high blood pressure and developed Type 2 diabetes as a result of his lack of exercise.

The dad-of-two decided a radical lifestyle change was needed if he was to see his two young boys reach their teenage years.

Never one to do things by halves, Mike took inspiration from a famous North Easterner in his quest to bring about a major fitness U-turn.

Mike said: "When first diagnosed with diabetes I was useless at remembering to take my medication and I didn't do much exercise.

"I have two boys, Joseph, seven, and five-year-old Ben, and I realised that if I didn't do something I might not be around to see them grow up."

Knowing he needed to lose weight, the 56-year-old who is a professional musician with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, bought a bike and started to cycle the two and a half miles from his home in Gateshead to work at the Sage.

It was around this time that he also discovered the TV diet series from the Hairy Bikers.

He said: "I'd always been overweight and had tried dieting before, but always ended up heavier. I started using the Bikers' slim line recipes, which helped me control my calorie intake."

"Then with cycling, I really found an exercise that was for me. I started cycling further and on tougher routes and so the weight started to drop off.

"Cycling has become a big part of my life, but in recent months due to a busy lifestyle I've noticed the weight starting to creep back on, but I'm determined to not return to the old me."

Mike is now using that motivation to help him complete a year full of cycling challenges which will culminate with a Land's End to John O'Groat's bike ride next summer.

His efforts have seen him shed a staggering 10st, massively improving his once-dire health.

As well as the drive to turn his life around, Mike cites the support of his wife, Iona, also a musician with the Sinfonia, as the reason he has achieved so much. …

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