Have you been looking at your wellness goals all wrong?

Once again we come to the time of year where we are getting ready for shorts and tanks tops! It’s inevitable that every year we think the same thing, “I need to set a weight loss goal to have the hottest bod by June 1st so I can finally feel comfortable in my swimsuit.” I’ve been there with you. There’s only one small problem: We often look at our wellness goals incorrectly, which leads to short-term yo-yo dieting and not long-term success.

To be successful on any journey, wellness or otherwise, we need to set goals but in a way that makes sense. I have some guidelines that I’ve shared with my online class look and I’m going to share them with you. They require a new perspective on wellness to redefine how long-term success is created. I’m going to give you the same guidelines and rules that I have for my team because if you’re reading this, you are officially a part of team Clean & Lean.

On social media, we are bombarded by before and after pics and “Motivation Monday” booty selfies. Social media is a success because we are visual people and we like a good storyline. So, naturally, we get sucked in and want to join whatever challenge is being promoted or protein shake that’s being highlighted. I mean, who doesn’t want a great butt?!

Please don’t think I’m saying you shouldn’t join a team or buy protein shakes from your bestie. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is to evaluate your goals before joining anything or buying a new product.

My first and most important rule for success is that anything that’s going to last is going to take time. Like, a lot of time. Slow, controlled change is truly the only change that lasts. Programs that promise the best booty you’ve ever had in just four weeks do not work unless you’re already a size six or you plan on eating 500 calories a day and working out two hours per day. Let me take that back. They do work, but the second you realize you’re starving and you get sick for three days and stuck in bed, you’re going to gain it all back, plus more, and in weird places. So please don’t be distracted by the fast pitch. Join a program or purchase product because it makes sense for you long-term, not for a short-term quick fix.

My second rule is to listen to your body. People often ask me if I eat dairy or gluten, and if I think they’re healthy foods? There is so much research to support the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly of pretty much any food group, including both of those. If you truly want to be successful, you need to become a student of your own body and actually listen to what it’s telling you. If you become lethargic or extremely bloated after eating a specific food, chances are good that your body doesn’t like it, or that you might be missing out on some digestive enzymes. Certainly try different things, but don’t look to your neighbor for the answers that only your body can give you. When setting your goals, it’s important to offer yourself the opportunity to learn what your body likes and doesn’t like. There are not fast and hard rules that work for every single body.

My third rule is to not become overwhelmed by the wellness information being thrown at us. Because of our advanced technology, wellness information can change daily. One day eggs are the best thing to eat, and the next day they are killing Americans (they aren’t, so don’t be alarmed). We have new health and wellness information thrown at us daily and it can seem difficult to digest it all. I can wholeheartedly say that becoming fixated and scared of food is as unhealthy as eating fast food everyday would be. Allow yourself to become educated, but don’t try to consume every new idea at once. I always suggest that when creating your goals, find one thing to learn about weekly or monthly, create a healthy habit based around that one thing, and move on from there.

My last rule is to stop measuring your success on the scale. I know, I know, we’ve all heard it before, but here’s a really good example of why. If you’re doing things right, you might actually gain weight before you start losing weight. If you’re building muscle (natural metabolism burners), and since muscle weighs more than fat, your pounds might actually go up or stay the same for the first few weeks. If you’re putting a ton of effort into a new fitness and eating routine and you’re measuring your success by the scale, you’ll likely get frustrated within the first three weeks and quit.

Instead, why not measure your success by your mental clarity, your energy, and your mood? If you’re focused on changing those three things for at least the first two months of your wellness journey instead of what the scale says, the body will follow. When you give your body healthy food, your body starts to respond the way it was created to respond—but it needs time. Be patient and focus on that slow, controlled pace.

From here on out, wellness should be about wellness, not booty selfies or how you compare to someone else’s before and after picture. Love the body God gave you so much that you want to treat it and feed it well.

I have so much more to share with you! I can’t wait to keep giving you my secrets for a successful wellness journey on this blog.

As a regular Fox 9 contributor, Carisa Rasmussen has also made appearances on WCCO, KARE 11, and Twin Cities Live. A passionate advocate for health and wellness, Carisa is a motivational speaker at state and national events and the official personal trainer for Miss Minnesota, a certified personal trainer, and a certified nutrition consultant. Through her work, Carisa has created an online program to help women understand the fundamentals of wellness and how to truly love the body they were created with. You can find more from Carisa on her website or on Facebook.