For many years, I have done a very specific thing when it comes to photos that I am in — I make sure I am camouflaged and that no one can actually see my body at unflattering angles. One of the ways that I am most successful in doing this is by trying to make sure I am the person who is taking the picture, so I am “there” but not in the photo. The introduction of selfies has helped this, too, because getting your whole body in frame is not expected.

Why do I work so hard on this, you ask?

Well, I won’t go deeply into it, but I have received several messages in my life regarding my body shape and size those times that I have posted or shared photos where my full self was shown. These messages generally only tended to be critical, and even the compliments were the type that were veiled insults. Knowing that I probably couldn’t change people’s minds about maybe keeping their judgment to themselves, I decided to limit their access to what they could see of me, which leads us to my strategy above.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t try to change what my body looked like because, boy howdy, I did! I dieted, exercised, attended healthy weight classes, and tried to figure out what was going on with me chemically, all of the things. And while some of them worked for a bit, they never stuck. So not only was I getting the messages from other people, but my own head also started in on me with negative messaging, as well.

I do have some medical factors (PCOS, hypothyroid, and some others) that add to this difficulty, but that isn’t the only thing going on, so even as I address those things and do all of the “right” things, nothing changes for me in a significant way.

Until now.

There was this big missing piece of the puzzle that only really started to be unpacked this year. I have been on this significant healing journey of my heart, mind, body, and soul for the last 4 years, but there was a catalytic event in January where I started to understand the true lack of self-worth that I was carrying. In a week-long training, these major pieces of understanding about the lies that have been growing in my person were revealed. I found out that as a result of these false messages taking root in me that I haven’t been able to be my true, strong, authentic self for a really long time because several of my relationships were not healthy and safe; it just hasn’t been safe to fully express myself after years of being told I am both “too much” and “not enough.”

As I have been wrestling with how to move forward, the introduction of a pandemic has certainly provided some really significant barriers to the healing process, but I am so excited that the last two months have begun to show progress in my healing and growth in self-worth.

I’ll write about this at another time, but there is a proven correlation between trauma, toxic stress, and obesity, which is why there are times where I can be doing everything “right” for my body and health and nothing changes; the cortisol levels in my system have made such an impact on my functioning that my body thinks I need the extra weight for protection and sustenance in the face of potential scarcity. With my progress toward this healing from my trauma and reduction of situations where I experience consistent cortisol floods, my heart, mind, body, and soul have begun a potentially amazing shift!

Because of that, I decided in early December to actually start showing some of the truth of what I am experiencing as I lose weight and continue to gain self-worth!

On December 7th, I launched a YouTube channel called Worth the Weight, and I did something that I thought I would never do…

I posted full-length photos of myself wearing workout gear (read: lots of skin showing) on the INTERNET! That’s right; I let my husband take those photos, and then I put them up in a YouTube video.

“Wait!” you say, “I didn’t see that on your YouTube.”

Yes, I know, because I didn’t put it on my Keeping Your Heart YouTube channel. I made a new one.

It is called Worth the Weight, and it will be my journey as I attempt to lose 50% of my weight and gain more self-worth. Not because I need to look a certain way for anyone else but because I want to emerge from this suit of protection and get to be fully me. A healthy, strong me that can run and play and enjoy more of life.

Before you get all worried about the 50% thing, I want to give you a heads-up that I weigh quite a bit, so even at 50% of that, I’m still going to be on the curvy side, just more able to run and move and stretch. And maybe I will finally be able to do scorpion pose.

I invite you to join me on my journey and check out the Worth the Weight channel. I’ll be posting a video about every week with an update and some information about what things I am trying in my wellness process!


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Renae Dupuis
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