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‘I was in and out of hospital because I was starving myself and always trying to be skinny’

A 21-year-old woman is using a beauty pageant to promote body confidence after battling with weight issues herself.

Megan Byrne will be representing Wales in an international pageant after winning the title Miss Voluptuous Wales in February.

Megan, from Wrexham, is also the face behind ‘Body Confidence Always’, a campaign she started with the aim to make as many people as possible feel beautiful and empowered within their own bodies.

She said: “I struggled for a long time in high school with my weight. I was in and out of hospital because I was always trying to be skinnier and I was starving myself and I really wasn’t in a good way.

“I wasn’t eating, I wasn’t really looking after myself – I was just trying to be skinny. Looking back now, I’m like ‘what the hell were you thinking?'”



Megan said that finding this pageant really saved her from falling into a “dark hole”

When Megan gave birth to her son in 2018, she admitted that she struggled to lose the weight she had gained.

“When I was pregnant, I thought it would be alright and I would drop the baby weight once I’ve given birth but it doesn’t work like that,” she added.

“I was in quite a dark place to be honest after I had the baby. I started losing weight and then I’d put it back on.

“I would try fad diets and nothing was working because I was so unhappy with my shape. When I was skinny and I still wanted to be skinnier, so when I put more weight on it was a bit of a kick.

“I didn’t accept it but I was like ‘right’ this is what I’m going to be now, I look ugly, no one is going to love me, I’m disgusting because I look this way.

“I had it in my head ‘you’re this size, you’re not pretty, no one wants you.”

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The pageant, taking place in Nashville, Tennessee in October, celebrates curvy women and works as an empowerment program for plus-size women.

Megan said that finding this pageant saved her from falling into a “dark hole” because she was so down about her appearance.

“I saw this pageant and all the beautiful amazing women that were doing it and they were all plus size but they weren’t letting that stop them, it kind of encouraged me.

‘”I want to help everyone see the beauty in their bodies, whether that body is a size 4 or a size 40.

“It really bugs me the stereotypes towards pageants, they are really not about beauty, it’s about inner beauty more than anything. It’s not just about looking pretty because that’s really shallow.”

Each contestant chooses a charity to raise awareness of, and Megan picked Young Mind, a charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health.

“I chose this because mental health is something I’ve suffered with for a long time. Half of why I was suffering with that was because of how I felt about my weight. I was getting really down.

“I developed these horrible thoughts in my head that just worsened over time. I’m not just doing this for women, I’m doing this for men too.”

Megan said that she once received some hurtful comments online after posting about a body positivity photoshoot.

The 21-year-old said she is not promoting being unhealthy, and actually promotes healthy eating as a tool to help you feel good. What she is trying to show is that no matter your size you should feel beautiful.

“I got some really nasty messages, I was called all the names under the sun,” she added.

“I was told I was disgusting for promoting ‘fat is healthy’, ‘I shouldn’t be ‘promoting eating healthy’ and that ‘I’m disgusting for being fat.

“That’s not what I’m promoting at all.”

Megan said that she now feels like a new person.

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“My advice to anyone else struggling, or younger people seeing this, would be to believe in yourself and to remember you don’t have to fit into the mould that society has made for you.

“That’s just something I wish someone had told me when I was feeling down for being ‘too big.’

“After I gave birth, I really struggled to keep my head above water. On the outside I was trying to be positive – I just felt like I was shrinking almost.

“The thoughts were taking over, I still have doubts, I think everyone does.”

Talking about the pageant in October, Megan added: “I’m very very excited but I’m so nervous.”

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