Tricia Penrose said her mother"s cancer diagnosis was her calorie-counting wake-up call

'I'm finally learning to love my sexy size 12-14 curves,' says Tricia Penrose as she poses nude

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UPDATED:

14:52 GMT, 10 April 2012

She has gone from a size 8 to a size 16 and back again several times over the past few years as she struggled with her weight.

But Tricia Penrose said her obsession with calorie-counting went out the window as soon as her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The actress, 42, has revealed that after years of battling with her weight, getting the devastating news about her mum Sue Gordon was the wake-up call she needed.

Comfortable in her own skin: Yo-yo dieter Tricia Penrose posed nude as she talked about finally being happy with her curves

Comfortable in her own skin: Yo-yo dieter Tricia Penrose posed nude as she talked about finally being happy with her curves

And to prove that she is now happy with her curves, the former Heartbeat star looked fabulous as she posed in nothing but high heels and a smile on her face.

Speaking to Closer magazine in an interview to accompany the shoot, she said: 'I no longer care if I’m a bit bigger.
I’m learning to love my curves. They’re sexy!'

She added: 'I get more
compliments now than I did when I was skinny.'

But she said that her mum's diagnosis
finally made her happy with what she has and said: 'When you find out
your mum has advanced lung cancer, it puts everything into perspective.

That was quick! In 2007, Tricia went from 11st to 8st within the space of a few months

That was quick! In 2007, Tricia went from 11st to 8st within the space of a few months

That was quick! In 2007, Tricia went from 11st to 8st within the space of a few months

'Me and Mum are so close, we’re more
like sisters. She’s always told me I look gorgeous at any size and hated
me dieting. When she was diagnosed in July 2010, I vowed never to diet
again. It made me realise that life’s too short to be constantly calorie
counting.'

Tricia, who has taken time out from acting to spend more time with her TV presenter husband Mark Simpkin, 39, and their two boys, Jake, eight, and Freddy, three., said she happy being a size 12-14.

She was at her thinnest in 2007 when she lost three stone for her fitness DVD, Before And After Body Blitz., and she went from 11st to 8st and a size 8.

Unfazed: Tricia was criticised when she arrived at an event in the same daring dress as Amy Childs last month - but she said it didn't upset her one bit

Unfazed: Tricia was criticised when she arrived at an even in the same daring dress as Amy Childs last month - but she said it didn't upset her one bit

Unfazed: Tricia was criticised when she arrived at an event in the same daring dress as Amy Childs last month – but she said it didn't upset her one bit

But
she said she would hate to be that small again and added: 'I thought I
looked fabulous at the time, but my friends all told me I didn’t look
well. And, looking back at photos, I can see my head looks too big for
my body and my face is drawn.'

But she confessed that dieting took over her life and said: 'If I’d put on a couple of pounds I’d cancel nights out and sometimes drastically restrict my diet.

'Once I counted out five cashew nuts for lunch – that’s how bad it got.

As we know and love her: Tricia in her most well-known role as Gina Ward in Heartbeat and with husband Mark Simpkin

As we know and love her: Tricia in her most well-known role as Gina Ward in Heartbeat and with husband Mark Simpkin

As we know and love her: Tricia in her most well-known role as Gina Ward in Heartbeat and with husband Mark Simpkin

'I’d be at parties with gorgeous celebs
and sneak off to the toilet. I’d stand in there thinking: “I don’t want
to be here, because I feel so fat”.'

The full interview can be seen in this weeks Closer magazine is on sale now

The full interview can be seen in this weeks Closer magazine is on sale now

But now Tricia’s dieting days are behind her, she says she’s much more relaxed: “You can’t live a full life that way. It’s such a relief not to worry if I’ve put on a pound.”

And she said she is much more relaxed now that her calorie-counting days are behind her and said: 'You can’t live a full life that way. It’s such a relief not to worry if I’ve put on a pound.'

Things got a bit awkward last month when she arrived for the the Pia Michi fashion show wearing the same daring leopard-print cutaway dress as former TOWIE star Amy Childs, with one commentator saying she looked like 'a python who’d swallowed a cow'.

But Tricia shrugged it off and said: 'That would have upset me in the past, but not now. I wanted to prove I’ve beaten my diet demons.'

These days she's a lot more relaxed about what she eats and treats are back on the menu.

She said: 'I don’t stress about having fish and chips – I don’t deprive myself. I love cooking and I make lots of healthy stir-fries.'

And she added that husband Mark has been great at boosting her confidence and said: 'He loves me at any size, but he thinks I’m sexier bigger. He’s always saying: ‘I love your jelly belly!'

The full interview can be seen in this week’s Closer magazine is on sale now.