"I was aware even from a very young age that lots of different things would set off my asthma. I never did a cross-country run, I’d often get wheezy during gym exercises and even just being outdoors on nature walks would trigger it.
"I’d get it quite badly in the winter because I’d often get bronchitis as well. Getting emotional could also make me wheeze, after bullying, for instance.
"Getting an inhaler was amazing because as a child there were a number of times I thought I was going to die! It was so frightening when you’re too young to really understand. Even though you’ve got asthma, teachers just say ‘calm down and try and breathe.’ It’s that feeling that you’re almost drowning.
"It takes weeks to recover from a bad attack - it’s not just the attack, but how drained you feel afterwards."
The life-changing experience of Celebrity Fit Club
"I was cautious about taking part. My mum had just died, so it was a hugely emotional time. It was a life-changing experience. I was obviously in a very weird state of mind and it was like: ‘I can either sit in front of the television watching soaps sobbing and comfort eating, or I can chuck myself into that and see what happens.’
"I knew it would be emotional because I think that anybody who’s lost weight or needs to lose weight knows it’s not as simple as eating less and exercising more because otherwise we’d all do it immediately! Winning was brilliant because you get your sash like Miss World! Afterwards, I re-trained to become a fitness instructor and personal trainer."
A new approach to asthma care
"My condition is totally manageable now. I’ve only had one serious asthma attack since getting fit (more than ten years) and that was after a chest infection on a high pollen, high pollution day. I think that’s partly because I lost weight, (three stone) and do regular exercise. I now teach dozens of people with asthma, always checking they bring their reliever inhaler to class.
"If you can, do a bit of exercise - that’s my main piece of advice. Check with your doctor or asthma nurse beforehand then start gently and build up. Also make sure you take your preventative inhaler correctly.
"Another thing I’d say is if you need to lose a bit of weight, make that a priority too. I know that’s hard if you’ve got kids and a job, but you’ve got to try because your health is so important. If your asthma rules you it’s miserable, if you rule your asthma you can lead a normal life."
- Could you do with extra help managing your asthma? Read more to find out how.
- And get our advice on enjoying exercise safely when you have asthma.
Last updated May 2016