Why am I not better yet? Six reasons why you may not be reaching your health goals
When we’re not feeling well, we want to get better as quickly as possible. This is particularly true when dealing with symptoms we’re battling a diagnosis for months or even years. Often, when someone comes to a functional medicine doctor, they have been through months or years of testing medications, failed treatments, etc. Most of the time, people have dabbled in trying to change things independently, worked with other functional medicine practitioners, or tried complementary health practices. In some cases, people have made some improvements that didn’t stick or haven’t had any significant change in their health. We understand this and know it can be frustrating and downright depressing sometimes.
When people hear about functional medicine, they’re excited and ready to start with a lot of hope, enthusiasm, and energy to take on the journey. This can sometimes be associated with anxiety, impatience, or urgency to get better as soon as possible, often because we feel we have wasted time and don’t want to spend another minute feeling bad. In other cases, we are incredibly excited and enthusiastic at the start. Still, we feel discouraged when we start to see that progress is slow or sometimes even goes backward before going forward again. Also, we realize that this all requires hard work and a lot of changes that sometimes are only comfortable once we feel the benefits which can take months. Sometimes when our expectations and self-imposed deadlines do not match up with the progress that we are feeling in our health, this can lead to us giving up just when we need to be patient, dig in, and trust the process.
In 10 years of working with people in functional medicine, I have seen specific patterns that can predict whether someone is going to be successful in getting the results that they want versus those who either don’t reach their goals or give up too early before they can reap the benefits of their work. This advice will help you create a better mindset around healing and allow you to have realistic expectations so that you can be better prepared when starting functional medicine. Taking these ideas and guidelines to heart will give you the best chance of reaching your health goals.
#1 Be patient.
I know! Change is so hard, and we live in an age where there is a lot of immediate gratification and messages about miracle cures and get-well-fast remedies. Your cells, organs, and body don’t care about that. They are going to heal at a realistic pace, not what you read on the internet. In most cases, people have been developing an illness for years or decades before it becomes a problem. That means you need to untangle all the imbalances in your biology to start feeling better. This is not going to take a month but many months or longer.
#2 Sometimes, you may feel like nothing is happening, but it is.
Healing can be boring sometimes. It’s like planting grass and trying to watch it grow every day. Just because you aren’t doing something changing daily or fast, enough doesn’t mean it’s not working. Changes in the body can be silent until, one day; you feel better. Having faith that the foods, behavior changes, sleep, and supplements you are using benefitting you is crucial, so you can stick to your plan until you see and feel a shift. Give up too soon, and you won’t allow this is unfolding to happen.
#3 Don’t go down the rabbit hole.
Given that many of us spend hours on social media and news channels daily, it’s hard not to be inundated with advertisements and articles about secret cures and amazing stories from people who have quickly reversed their health with one simple step. Not only are many of these not true, but searching on Google for answers increases our stress hormones and is detrimental to the healing process in time. It creates a massive case of health FOMO. In addition, comparing our health and personal biochemistry to some unknown person is not only harmful but completely ridiculous. Everyone is an individual with their specific genetics and biochemistry. Comparison culture has no place in your healing process.
#4 Avoid self-sabotage.
Sometimes we think we can skip specific steps that we think aren’t important and wonder why we don’t get the desired results. This may be deciding on our own what we will do and what we won’t do based on our preferences and not on what our body needs the most. An example would be someone who likes exercising and is fine taking supplements; they embrace doing these consistently. However, they refuse to give up their addiction to late-night Netflix in bed and decide that despite what their lab tests show, a little gluten here and there won’t hurt. Often the behaviors we hold most tightly are those we need to let go of. In addition, at least try for something significant. Of time the recommended changes, you may never know what may be between you being sick and feeling your best.
#5 Don’t try to be Superwoman – create small goals that you can be consistent with.
If you look at most people who have successfully improved their health, lost weight, overcame a setback, or achieved something great, you will find a consistent effort toward that goal. Consistency can be challenging, but it is the only way to reach a health goal truly. Often our motivation tanks after a while, but if we have a doable system, we will consistently show up for ourselves. Sometimes people bite off more than they can chew because they want to feel better yesterday. Doing this may make you want to change everything in your life simultaneously. This often leads to overwhelm and then giving up altogether. I see this far too often. You must understand change takes time. A better way to do this is to concentrate on 2-3 changes to make in a month. Options could be tracking your fiber daily and creating a bedtime ritual to improve sleep. Once you have been successful, the next month, you may add meditating 5 minutes a day, increasing water intake, and getting 10K steps a day. After 6 -12 months, your life could feel completely different.
#6 Don’t try to do this alone.
Your health and well-being is the most essential thing in the world. But we often think that we always know what’s best for us. Yes, we all have inner intuition, but nobody said you must do this alone. Hiring a coach, finding an accountability partner, and someone who knows more than you will get you there faster. Working with a trained and experienced functional medicine doctor, nutritionist, and health coach is going to give you all the information you need about your personalized biochemistry, what you should be eating, the habits and behaviors that you need to embrace and let go of, along with the accountability and support you need to see it through. After all, you are worth it.
Our six and 12-month medical programs are a 360 approach with medical guidance, individual nutritional care, and health coaching to help you reach your goals and finally feel better.