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Functional Nutrition Tip: The Truth About Compliance - Blog Image

Functional Nutrition Tip: The Truth About Compliance

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2019-11-05

Listen to this post instead!

I’m often asked just how I get my clients to comply with my recommendations.

Practitioners want to know how to create compliance even when what they’re asking their clients to do is difficult, complicated, or restrictive. (And let’s be honest, more and more cases are requiring complex steps to find resolution!)

How to get clients to comply is a great question.

But before I dive into the answer, I want to reframe the question for you…

In fact, I want to bring your attention to the fact that so many of my answers for clinical success lie in changing the question. It’s asking the functional question that often reveals the answer you’re looking for.

The original question was, “How can I get my clients to comply?”

The Functional question is:

How can I get my clients to want to follow the instructions and recommendations I know will best serve and support them?

The Functional Reframe—Look for Inspiration, not Compliance

You can eliminate your need to create compliance altogether by doing one thing:

Find your client’s Inspiring Factor.

The Functional Reframe—Look for inspiration, not compliance with clients #functionalnutrition

Your client’s Inspiring Factor is her outcome and vision for herself.

It’s what she wants.

It’s why she wants to feel better.

It makes her the leader in her own health, as opposed to the follower of your suggestions.

And while the inspiration is something you model for her—like the guide on her hero’s journey—the inspiration actually comes from within (from within her!)

Note: This is often different than what you want for her. Or more specific. And it likely has a more emotional connection to her dreams and purpose.

You may want to see more color in her cheeks, or for her to have solid BMs twice a day, or to see signs that her diabetes is reversing with better serum lab markers.

Your client wants the energy to play with her grandkids, or the strength to play tennis like she used to, or to be free of the fear and shame associated with having accidents in public because of her Irritable Bowel Disease. She wants to feel like herself again and not be tethered by the signs and symptoms that led her to seek your help.

She’s not inspired to go through the trouble of changing her current diet and lifestyle just because you said so or think it should be done. Instead, she’s inspired when she connects those changes she needs to make with the results she’s after.

Your ability to draw those connections for her is the key to eliminating the need for “compliance.”

Are you starting to see the distinction—to really appreciate what this one reframe in your practice can make for your clients’ results—not to mention yours?!

Connect Her Inspiration to Your Recommendations

For your client, a list of to-dos is boring at best, and daunting at worst.

But learning how your recommendations will lead to her desired outcomes… that’s inspiring! It’s empowering. It might even be exciting. And it’s sure to create hope, which she may have lost and which is also an essential ingredient for healing.

When you connect those dots, you build a bridge between what she needs to do and why she wants to do it.

And you help her realize that, with your help, she can actually get where she wants to be.

No more need for compliance.

Or willpower.

Your client becomes empowered with the tools to help herself feel better. She becomes a leader in her own recovery. And you get better results, happier clients (and more of them!) Best of all, you no longer have to worry about whether your clients will follow through.

Here’s what this process looks like:

Your client's outcome and vision by Andrea Nakayama for Functional Nutrition Lab

Now you and your client are partners.

Your success will skyrocket.

Your clients will feel better.

And nobody feels pressured or coerced.


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Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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