After battling cancer and going through a messy divorce, Susan Farnworth found comfort in food.
But as a result, she piled on the pounds, weighing 13 stone 5lb.
With her 60th birthday under her belt and her son’s wedding looming, she decided she needed major lifestyle change and began to take her health seriously.
She joined Weight Watchers in Bamber Bridge a few weeks before Christmas last year and dropped from a size 16 to 12.
Susan, of Hoghton, says: “Life before Weight Watchers was a depressing slippery slope. I was tired and overweight after losing my mojo.
“I had lost myself over the last 10 years as more and more weight went on and I hated looking in mirrors or shop windows or seeing myself on a photo.
“I was just not happy in my skin anymore and this made me very sad and reluctant to live my life fully.
“I had breast cancer at the age of 37 and had two young children, so it was very scary. A couple of years later, my mum, Marie Hayes, was
diagnosed with breast cancer, when she was 82. She had the BRCA 1 gene and so do I. She has since died, aged 68.
“I had both my breasts removed and a hysterectomy and my ovaries removed.
“I also had a messy divorce and as a single parent bringing two children up whilst I was working full time to make ends meet was very hard.
“I guess I compensated with food and over the following 20 years, my weight crept up and up and with it my self-confidence went down and down.
“I teach children to dance at Reeda’s Dance Studio, in Deepdale, and I had got to the point where I thought I needed to stop doing this as I thought the image I was portraying was so wrong.
“My partner, who is a dance teacher, wanted me to go dancing with him but all I could think of was how everybody would be looking at me and thinking how fat I was. So dancing which makes me very happy was something I shied away from for all these last 10 years because of being overweight.”
Read related stories: Preston mum says slimming class saved her life and ‘I’ve lost eight stone... to be able to save my son’s life’
Susan took her weight seriously and took up running. She even managed to lose weight over the festive period and whilst on holiday in Vietnam.
She is now a healthy 10 stone, 10lbs.
She adds: “I only recently started to think more about healthy living. When I had cancer I was focusing on my treatment and carrying on.
“I never questioned changing my lifestyle or my diet back then.
“But as I was approaching 60, I started to rethink. I recently completed a two-year nutritional course and realised the impact of nutrition and nourishing your body well.
“I have increased my exercise also to go with the healthy eating plan and I have been so inspired by one of my fellow Weight Watchers who runs half marathons, that at the age of 60, I have started the Couch to 5km running programme.
“I have joined Revolution Running club in Bamber Bridge which has helped me improve my stamina.
“I have done a couple of park runs and I have signed up to doing the 10k Manchester Great Run in May.
“At one time, I could barely walk without being out of breath but now I feel absolutely amazing and I am loving all the comments of encouragement from everyone I meet.”
Susan also credits Weight Watchers flex plan in helping her with her lifestyle changes.
She adds: “I cannot put into words how this has impacted on my life. I feel amazing. Health issues I had whilst overweight have simply vanished and now I feel so much happier and energised to do more and live my life to the max.
“With flex you are in control. You are not told what to eat it is your choice as long as you track your food. This flexible plan means that life can continue and you do not need to feel deprived.
With high praise for the plan, Susan is also keen to shout about the support received from both her meeting and Coach Kim Robinson, saying: “Everybody helps everyone else with ideas for meal plans or social events. My coach has been there for me and everyone else with thought provoking chats and inspirational sayings, always gently encouraging but firm in her belief of flex and its successes.”
Kim, who runs seven meetings a week in Ingol, Fulwood, Leyland, Ribbleton and Bamber Bridge, says: “I am so proud of Susan. It’s great to see her look so happy and healthy. I am proud of her starting to run.”