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Radical Responsibility To Achieve Sustainable Weight Loss

Michele DeJesus, PhD, NBC-HWC is a board-certified & Mayo Clinic-certified Health Coach and an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with a PhD. in Holistic Nutrition. She is the CEO of a 26-year coaching business, successfully guiding adults in transforming their health, fitness and weight loss. Michele has been featured in the IDEA Health & Fitness online magazine as well as numerous television appearances speaking about fitness, weight loss and health.

 
Executive Contributor Michele DeJesus

What if I told you that the key to achieving lasting results lies not in external methods, but in a radical shift in mindset? Welcome to the world of radical responsibility, where you reclaim control over your health and well-being by acknowledging your power to create change from within. We'll explore how embracing radical responsibility can transform your approach to weight loss and lead you towards sustainable success.


A woman eating spaghetti.


Understanding radical responsibility

Radical responsibility is the concept of fully accepting ownership of your life, actions, and outcomes. It's about recognizing that you have the power to shape your reality, regardless of external circumstances. When applied to weight loss, radical responsibility means acknowledging that you are responsible for the state of your health and body. Instead of blaming genetics, metabolism, or external factors, you take full accountability for your choices and behaviors.


I know this one is difficult to accept. After years of trying to accomplish a specific goal like weight loss and being unsuccessful, we can convince ourselves there are external factors preventing us from achieving our goal. "It's the belief," teaches Fleet Maull, PhD, "that your current situation, whatever it is, has the power to determine your future." In other words~


  1. “I can’t lose weight because my spouse doesn’t want to eat the way that my diet requires.”

  2. “I can’t lose weight because I can’t exercise.”

  3. “I can’t lose weight because I can’t afford it.”

In reality, when my clients accept their role in making choices, their perspective about weight loss and their success starts to shift. They start to change. This is not self-blame. It’s about realizing that our ability to achieve is not determined by our circumstances, but by our response to those circumstances. This is empowerment.


Shifting from helplessness to empowerment

One of the most profound aspects of radical responsibility is the shift from a helpless mentality to one of empowerment. Rather than viewing yourself as helpless or at the mercy of external forces, you reclaim your agency and recognize that you have the ability to change your circumstances. This shift in perspective is crucial for sustainable weight loss because it empowers you to take proactive steps towards your goals.


A small UK survey found that women tried 61 diets by the time they reached 45 years of age. I have found this to be true in my own coaching practice. Diets don’t address the brain’s programming and thought processes around food, dieting, life circumstances and emotions. Diets don’t show you how to identify and shift away from the sabotaging thoughts and beliefs that make staying on a diet almost impossible. The more aware we become of how we’re thinking and reacting to life in ways that are counterproductive, the better we’ll become at staying on track to reach our goals.


Embracing self-awareness

Central to radical responsibility is self-awareness – the ability to honestly assess your habits, beliefs, and patterns. By cultivating self-awareness, you can identify the underlying factors contributing to your weight struggles, whether it's emotional eating, sedentary lifestyle, or unhealthy coping mechanisms. With this awareness, you can then begin to make conscious choices that align with your health and weight loss goals.


  1. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings helps you detect your emotional reactions. Being mindful enables you to recognize the thought patterns that promote drama and the ‘diet mentality’ coding that is ruling your behavior. 

  2. Challenging those thoughts and feelings is helpful in interrupting their control over your behaviors and allowing you to disrupt the usual patterns of sabotage that currently interfere with your success.

  3. Redirect those thoughts, impulses and beliefs. Like redirecting a child who is crying with a toy, we need to redirect our impulses. Short-term–going out for a walk, listening to soothing music, or reading a favorite book can be a solution. I recommend putting on some upbeat music and dancing. Simple, doable and effective. Long-term–journaling, deep introspection, or getting help from a health coach or therapist will bring to the surface all the ways your thoughts, beliefs, and patterning are preventing you from achieving sustainable weight loss and health practices. You can then make decisions that support your goals instead.

Creating sustainable habits

Radical responsibility isn't about quick fixes or temporary solutions. It's about making sustainable lifestyle changes that support your long-term well-being. This means adopting healthy habits such as mindful eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management. Rather than focusing solely on the number on the scale, you prioritize overall health and vitality, knowing that weight loss will naturally follow as a byproduct of a healthy lifestyle.


Two simple behavior changes that have radical effects on my clients’ weight loss journey are:


  1. Mindful eating: Mindful eating aims to help an individual focus on their food experience without judgment. The intention is to encourage the individual to choose foods that nourish the body, pay attention to the experience of eating and enjoy every mouthful. 

  2. Create an environment that supports your goal: Stock your home with nutritious foods, encourage your friends and family to join you in improving their lifestyles and model healthy living.

Overcoming challenges with resilience

No weight loss journey is without its challenges, but radical responsibility equips you with the resilience to overcome obstacles along the way. Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, you see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Whether it's a plateau, temptation, or a moment you choose that slice of cake, you approach it with a mindset of curiosity and determination, knowing that you have the power to course-correct, it’s not necessary to be ‘perfect’ and keep moving forward.


Celebrating progress, not perfection

Finally, with radical responsibility, celebrate progress over perfection. You understand that sustainable weight loss is a gradual process that requires patience, consistency, and self-compassion. Rather than striving for unrealistic ideals or comparing yourself to others, you focus on your own journey and acknowledge every small victory along the way. Whether it's fitting into an old pair of jeans or making healthier food choices, each step forward is a cause for celebration.


Embracing radical responsibility is not just a mindset shift – it's a revolution in how you approach weight loss and overall well-being. By taking ownership of your choices, behaviors, and outcomes, you reclaim control over your health and empower yourself to create lasting change. I know the journey to sustainable weight loss is not always easy. It’s why I’m a health coach focusing on weight loss. Taking responsibility for our choices is difficult. The more support and tools I can give my clients, the easier it becomes. With diligence, patience and self-compassion, each woman hones the power to transform her body, mind, and life to be how she envisions. She reaches diet freedom. 


 

Michele DeJesus, PhD, NBC-HWC, Health Coach/Weight Loss Specialist

Michele DeJesus, PhD, NBC-HWC is a board-certified & Mayo Clinic-certified Health Coach and an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with a PhD. in Holistic Nutrition. She is the CEO of a 26-year coaching business, successfully guiding adults in transforming their health, fitness and weight loss. Michele has been featured in the IDEA Health & Fitness online magazine as well as numerous television appearances speaking about fitness, weight loss and health. She is the host of the Facebook group, MIDLIFE CONFIDENCE: Women Conquering Weight Loss and the creator of an online 12-week weight loss intensive for midlife women. Her mission is to support midlife women in creating their own health & wellness Renaissance.

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