‘Size doesn’t matter, as long as you are healthy and happy’ - Model from Kesgrave is urging plus-size women to embrace their bodies

Tracey Haynes is a finalist in a competition to become the face of a plus-size fashion brand.

Tracey Haynes is a finalist in a competition to become the face of a plus-size fashion brand. - Credit: Archant

A pageant star from Kesgrave who has become a global ambassador for body image is encouraging people to put health before waist size.

Tracey Haynes in the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant 2015.

Tracey Haynes in the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant 2015. - Credit: Archant

Tracey Haynes, 35, has struggled with her weight all her life, putting herself through dozens of diets and exercise fads to try and change the way she looks.

The first time she remembers feeling bad about her body was when was 11 years old at high school during one of her first PE classes.

The teacher measured and weighed all of the children and the results were presented on a white board for everyone to see and Miss Haynes said she was the heaviest in the class by a stone.

“I have been chubby my whole life, but it felt like a huge problem when I hit puberty,” Miss Haynes added. “I would often take to exercise and dieting to try to lose weight. I just couldn’t deal with the fact that I was, am and always will be big. This continued throughout my 20s into my 30s. I just hated myself.”

Tracey Haynes is urging people to put health before waist size.

Tracey Haynes is urging people to put health before waist size. - Credit: Archant

By the time Miss Haynes was 29 she said she was the biggest she had ever been weighing nearly 21 stone.

After battling for another two years, Miss Haynes decided she would stop concentrating on losing weight, and start focusing on being healthy.

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Last year Miss Haynes was introduced to the Miss British Beauty Curve pageant by a friend. She entered, and to her surprise, she came third.

The competition received press coverage and Miss Haynes said she was “shocked and saddened” by some of the negative comments that were left by readers.

It was at this point that Miss Haynes started a blog called “big beautiful healthy woman” to show people that plus size is just a measurement and not a lifestyle.

This led to Miss Haynes being elected as an ambassador for a campaign called Body Image Movement, which aims to encourage women to be more accepting of who they are.

Not only this but she is also a finalist in a model competition to become the face of plus size brand Scarlett & Jo.

And this summer Miss Haynes will take to the stage in Brighton for the 2016 Miss British Beauty Curve pageant.

She said: “I learnt getting older to embrace it, as long as you are healthy don’t worry about what’s on the scales or your waist size.

“My fear is other kids will experience that and waste 20 years hating themselves, when they should ignore people’s opinions and love themselves. I had to learn that the hard way.”