Functional Nutrition Tip: The Power of STORY
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
If I were to ask you how you got interested in the field of nutrition, you’d likely tell me a story.
Maybe you were sick.
Or you watched your partner, child, parent, or dearest friend suffer.
Perhaps you’re motivated by global pain and suffering, and, for your own unique reasons, you felt called to be a part of the solution.
(For me, it’s all of the above!)
If I were to listen to your story with a discerning ear, I’d better understand your passion—what brought you to practice, who you most want to help, and why.
I’d also understand how I can most help you to achieve your goals. That’s because I’d know some key facts about who you are, where you’re coming from, and what’s led you to your current circumstances.
It’s the same with your clients and their health issues.
There is gold in your client’s stories—clues as to:
- why they’re suffering
- what the root causes are for their most pressing symptoms and
- which areas to focus on first to bring them the most relief
BUT, as you likely know, there’s a dark side to story too…
We’d be fooling ourselves if we simply said to pay heed to all the stories.
People can wallow in their narratives, focus on their wounds, reinforce their negative emotions, and bolster their belief that they are victims. (We all do it!)
Some of your clients might even spend time and energy spinning stories about why they can’t follow your recommendations. (Time to serve, not please!)
Because of this, you may have grown to dread the story.
You may find yourself drained after sessions, trapped in feeling more like a friend than a professional.
But I assure you, with the right tools, story can be what sets you apart as a practitioner who gets results.
The Functional Reframe—The Power of Story
“Without story, people are just a pile of symptoms.”
These are the words that one of our Functional Nutrition Lab heroes, Certified Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP) and FxNA Clinic Concierge Amber Robertson, shared during one of our graduate roundtables.
And she’s spot on!
Without your story you’re just another practitioner to the people who don’t know you. But with your story, you’re a real person. Someone with a history, a dream, and likely a lot of powerful events both behind you and in front of you — events that have shaped who you are and enable you to make connections with those you serve (and want to serve).
Again, the same is true with your clients.
What STORY can tell you…
There are events in their past, ancestral factors, and culprits in their diet and lifestyle (past and present) that make up the environment in which their dis-ease and dysfunction have thrived.
And while you can have them fill out questionnaires until the cows come home, some of the most important pieces of information won’t come out until they tell you their story.
Unfortunately, without the right tools, and the right lens, you and your clients could sink into the dark side of story.
The solution is to listen for 3 key things in your client’s story.
One of them is called a MEDIATOR.
A mediator is something that makes your client’s symptoms better or worse.
It could be a certain food, the quality of her sleep, fighting with her partner, her level of physical activity, or a multitude of other factors.
Can you see how clues to your client’s mediators are hidden in her story?
She likely won’t be able to tell you that her arthritis flared up after she had an emotional encounter with her father, but you can pick that out of her story, if you learn to listen for it.
And you can direct the conversation towards finding more clues (and spinning fewer yarns) when you look through this Functional lens.
Functional Nutrition is a way of practicing that uses proven systems and tools to get to the root causes of your clients’ issues.
It doesn’t mask symptoms, but rather gets to the heart of why they’re there.
It’s not a formula that works sometimes, but rather a SYSTEM that works all the time.
If you, like me, recognize that cookie cutter solutions just aren’t cutting it, then Functional Nutrition is your answer. You can begin to implement one of the key practices today by beginning to listen for MEDIATORS. You’ll be amazed at the power this gives both you and your clients.
Be sure to ask this important question: What makes you feel better or worse?
And then capture that information on their Functional Nutrition Matrix, in the bottom left corner where it says MEDIATORS.
Chew on this: Your job isn’t to fix your client or patient. Instead your job is to help them identify, uncover and learn to pay heed to their MEDIATORS.
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