Grandma gets fit and starts modelling after weight gain following a cancer scare

Charlene Farnsworth. Image by Mediadrumworld/ Ian Harris/ Magazine Features
Charlene Farnsworth. Image by Mediadrumworld/ Ian Harris/ Magazine Features
Mediadrumworld/ Ian
  • Charlene Farnsworth, a cleaner, painter, and model, says when she hit her forties, she started to struggle with her weight.
  • After she had a false alarm and thought she had cancer, Charlene started to indulge in food and gained weight. 
  • She's now shed the weight, started modelling and is living her best life at 50.

Charlene, a mum of two and grandmother of one, had a throat cancer scare in 2011 which luckily turned out to be Hashimoto's disease - a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

The momentary prospect of an early death meant that Charlene decided life was too short to be a slave to healthy eating and working out.

She spent the best part of seven years indulging in her favourite unhealthy food. 

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All images courtesy Mediadrumworld/ Ian Harris/ Magazine Features

"This may sound strange, but after facing the possibility of early death, I went through a long phase of thinking why should I limit myself when I could just die suddenly anyway, but it caught up with me," she says.

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Approaching her 48th birthday, she was unhappy with how she had let her health go and decided to embark on a fitness journey where she adopted an 80:20 approach to her diet - 80 percent of the time she ate healthily and 20 percent of the time she treated herself.


She bought herself a Fitbit and started doing weekly step competitions with her friends. Before long, she felt fitter than ever and decided to give bodybuilding a try, hiring a personal trainer.

This gave her level of fitness an extra boost and she started working out five to six days a week. When Charlene turned 50 in January this year, she felt she was in the shape of her life. 

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"I am so happy that I've taken back control of my body. I used to dread bathing suit shopping, and now I probably spend too much time bathing suit shopping," she says. 

After sharing pictures of her incredible physique on Instagram and earning an impressive 19.7K followers on the social media platform, Charlene has started modelling. 


"I was never very confident. That is another perk of my health and fitness. I have great confidence now. When I was in my teens and early twenties - before I had my children - I did a bit of runway modelling. Then I didn't model again until I was forty-nine. That started with being asked to be in a fitness calendar."

She still can't believe the following she's reached. 

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"Getting positive messages from people wanting to know what I do to keep in shape or telling me that I inspire them makes me so happy. I love to tell others my story and let them know that it's never too late to start." 

Charlene says, "My advice to others who want to start their fitness journey later in life is to speak with a dietitian. Get your eating habits on track. It all comes down to calories in versus calories out. Abs are made in the kitchen. Second, put yourself first. Make sure that your workouts are a priority. Once you get a workout routine going, it becomes a habit and before you know it, you'll be getting results that others will start to notice and you'll notice it as well."

What's your wellness routine? Tell us about it here.

Story by Mediadrumworld/ Ian Harris/ Magazine Features

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