People keep asking me if they can lose weight doing tai chi. There are two answers to this – both yes and no apply:

I myself lost 20kg through doing tai chi and changing my diet. However, my intention hadn't been to lose weight – having tried a conventional diet and been driven mad by counting the minutes until the next bite of food was allowed, I'd given up on those. Also, at that time (ten years ago), I was living a truly unhealthy lifestyle – I'd go home, have a ready meal and flop out in front of the tv in true couch potato style.

My change of diet came about through having a brush with cancer (all clear now), which made me think about what I was eating and change to eating more veg and only healthy stuff on weekdays, while changing to unhealthy stuff at weekends...

The change of diet, together with being up and about doing gentle exercise, meant that after a year I suddenly noticed I was having to pull up my trousers every few minutes and realised that I was thinner.

Soon after that I passed my grading to go up to the next level tai chi class and that's the really important point, because I read somewhere that people lost weight when they viewed themselves differently. At that point I was seeing myself as a person who could achieve at a sport, whereas at school I'd always been class klutz. I was also seeing myself as an active person, rather than as a couch potato.

Tai chi is a great sport to take up, because it is so different from school sports. It isn't intimidating, people can relax into learning it at their own pace and it's so great to be able to be good at physical stuff through just persisting at it.

So don't worry about weight - little changes in lifestyle, together with seeing yourself differently, can lead to weight loss, but the main thing is to learn how to relax into being yourself!