Functional Medicine focuses on restoring optimal function of the body and its organs, usually involving natural medicine. It’s a journey of working together, a partnership between you and your practitioner that leads you to ideal health.
There are some things you can do to make sure you achieve the very best results possible.
Follow Up Appointments
In many cases, one or two office visits is not going to be enough for you to attain optimal health. During the initial couple of visits, you will learn about the underlying causes behind your symptoms and receive recommendations for what to do about them. Consistent follow up provides a roadmap to optimal wellness.
The benefits to follow up appointments are:
- Systematic measurement of progress and fine-tuning of your health plan;
- Accountability so that you have a much higher probability of attaining your goals;
- Supervision of your supplement regimen. Preventing or correcting mistakes with the dosage and timing of supplements is key. It can be counter-productive to take a supplement for a period of time to only find out it was taken incorrectly or was no longer working for you.
- Supervision of your therapies. There will be some therapies that you are doing at home and you may need coaching to fine-tune what you are doing.
- Correction of dietary and lifestyle mistakes that could block your progress or results;
- Encouragement. Functional Medicine doctors are interested in you not on attaining better health, but they want you to succeed in fulfilling your potential and achieving your goals. They spend time with you. They know you. Through their experience, they provide encouragement when you need it.
- Expertise. There is so much information available now through the internet. It is difficult to navigate that information and know what is best for you and how to apply it. This is where your practitioner comes in to help you find the best path for your unique situation.
Prepare for the Follow-Ups
- Make check-ins and follow-ups a top priority on your calendar, and don’t skip them.
- Be committed to weekly, biweekly, monthly, or bimonthly check-ins or follow-ups, depending on what your plan requires. This isn’t your conventional-medicine yearly doctor visit.
- Be fully transparent with your practitioner about not only your successes, but also your failures since your last meeting. This is a good time to share your detailed food diary.
- Answer your practitioner’s questions fully and honestly. This is so he or she will have the best opportunity to help you succeed.
Implement Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
- Follow your dietary plan, individually customized for you, to accelerate healing and reduce inflammation.
- Keep a food diary, recording what you eat, when you eat, and lifestyle issues (exercise type, time, and duration; sleep times and patterns; etc.) that may be impacting your diet.
- Plan ahead. When there will be a change in routine that could lead to food temptations or conveniences (vacations, parties, holidays, etc.). Take along healthy portable meals or snacks.
- Communicate with your practitioner if you are having any challenges with the dietary plan or the approved foods. Most of the time, appropriate adjustments can be made.
- Don’t introduce new foods (or beverages) without your practitioner’s OK. Even the smallest change can disrupt the entire protocol.
- Don’t get hungry! If you’re getting hungry between meals, talk to your practitioner.
- Be prepared to commit 3–6 months to your dietary plan in order to learn habits and skills that can lead to lifelong dietary success.
Be Open Minded
- Understand that more of the same equals more of the same. The way you’ve always done it has no place in healing your health.
- Commit to changing your mind-set if you wish to succeed.
- Realize that problems don’t fix themselves – the underlying cause must be addressed.
- Don’t stop the program because you feel good one week in or even several weeks later. Feeling good does not mean your problems are solved and your body is healed. You must follow the full protocol to achieve lasting results.
- Optimizing your health should be a personal goal even if you don’t feel you need “healing.” The functional model encompasses all levels of health, even biohackers who just want to push the boundaries of performance.
- Read, learn, and listen to everything your functional medicine practitioner recommends.
Buy the Right Supplements
- Determine the right supplements for you by working with your practitioner who knows your individual needs.
- Purchase the high-quality supplements your doctor recommends. Practitioners prescribe certain brands because they are very familiar with their quality and, through their experience, know the results that should be expected by taking them.
- Don’t take a supplement because of a Facebook Ad, or because a multi-level company says it’s the best, or because a celebrity doctor endorses it. You’re only creating expensive urine, or worse, if you don’t need it.