Are you struggling from information overload syndrome? Sometimes it can feel like you are swimming in a vast ocean of wellness information. Each day, a new wave of solutions crashes down on you. It’s like a tsunami of books and magazines, daytime TV shows, nightly newscasts, friends, relatives, celebrities, doctors, trainers, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, and health summits. And all with suggestions on the best way to eat, drink, move, and live. Do this, don’t do that, eat this, not that, take this pill, stay away from that supplement. Treading through it all can be exhausting and confusing. You’d think this wealth of information would empower us to be the healthiest generation to date. Instead, quite the opposite is true: We are more stressed, overweight and suffering from more chronic stress-related disease than our “less-informed” ancestors.
Sometimes more information isn’t what you need
Too much health and wellness information can lead to anxiety, confusion, and lack of motivation to follow any of the advice, which is often conflicting. Ultimately, this information overload is doing us more harm than good. Culturally, we are bred to believe that more is better, but science has found this to be false when it comes to most things. Work, food, stress, exercise, and yes, even information, are better in smaller packages.
What we really need is guidance
People can make great strides in terms of general health by the basic tenets echoed in the functional health world. Eat real food, walk more, lift heavy things, manage stress, eliminate known toxins, and get good quality sleep are all great tips that almost everyone can benefit from. However, for those who have specific health complaints, finding the right advice gets a little tricky. There are lots of great programs out there, and there is more than one path to ultimate health. The good news is you need not learn them all. All you need is proper guidance to find the path that is right for you.
It’s easy to get lost
Imagine that you are going on a road trip. Your destination is “Optimal Wellness.” Motivation to get there is high. Since you haven’t been there in ages, you start asking for directions. You ask 5 different people, each of whom has made many successful trips to “Optimal Wellness.” You now have five solid sets of directions; however, each one takes a completely different route. You have some great information, but it is more than you really need. Let’s say you follow the first set of directions for a couple of turns. But when you don’t see your destination on the horizon, you decide to move on to the next person’s directions for a few turns. When you still don’t see your destination you switch over to the third set of directions. Chances are you’d get pretty lost. You should have stuck with one complete set of directions from start to finish, since each step was written to build upon the one before it.
Where are you?
To make things even worse, not one of your five sets of directions took into account your original starting point. When each of the five experts told you how to get to “Optimal Wellness,” none of them bothered to ask your current location. No matter how diligently you followed the directions, your chances of arriving at your intended destination would be slim. It sounds so elementary. Yet, millions of us try to plot a course to our desired health destinations without ever truly knowing our starting point. Without this fundamental piece of information, no amount of health and wellness knowledge will deliver you to “Optimal Wellness.”
Identify Your Starting Point
The first step is figuring out exactly where you are in relation to where you want to be. Perhaps you have tried to identify this on your own. After all, you know how you are feeling, and you can explain your symptoms. Symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight gain, skin rashes,headaches, joint pain, brain fog, and low libido. Unfortunately, these descriptions do little to identify your starting point. The same descriptions can be used to describe a variety of very different starting points. In fact, the symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, and joint pain are associated with over 70 different health conditions. Symptoms do not tell us what is wrong, only that something is wrong.
How do you find your starting point?
Your doctor is a good place to start. He or she will be able to narrow things down by telling you where you are not. Basically, he or she will rule out any serious life-threatening condition needing immediate attention. But your doctor may not always dig deep enough to identify your starting point. This is an important first step in your health journey. A doctor’s job is to diagnose disease and treat symptoms. He or she might run some tests to determine if your condition poses any immediate threats to your life (i.e. tumors, infectious diseases, organ failure). If no immediate danger is found, the doctor might write a prescription or two to make your symptoms more bearable and request you return again if things get worse.
The Cycle of Trial and Error
With lethal illness and major health complications ruled out, the real work can begin. There is still a lot of digging that needs to be done to uncover what is causing your health complaints. Some may seek answers from additional doctors and specialists. This may provide some answers, but might not produce the results you desire. A vast majority of others turn to the internet, books, magazines, and the media desperately seeking answers to their health struggles. After spending tons of time and money, more times than not, they too end up frustrated, disappointed, and often sicker than before. Some people may get lucky and make some positive lifestyle changes that produce modest results. The vast majority, however, simply get caught in the frustrating cycle of trial and error.
The reason is simple. Three people with the very same symptoms might have three very different types of dysfunction causing those symptoms. On the surface, they seem to be having the same problems, for instance, weight gain, fatigue, and brain fog. The problem is that these symptoms are all stemming from very different origins.
A program that might work for one may not work for the other two. One person might be suffering from a candida overgrowth, another might have a thyroid condition, and the third might have a chemical intolerance, yet, all three present with very similar symptoms. Identifying and understanding the dysfunction and imbalances causing these symptoms is essential when creating an effective health-building plan. Each individual must start their health journey from a very different place and will likely need a customized route to lead them to optimal health.
Your health is your most important asset, and you don’t want to lose it. If the thing you cherish most in this world (like a child, parent, spouse, or pet) went missing, would you simply read a book or search online for advice on how to find him or her? No, of course not! You would make sure that the best investigator was put on the case to find them. Guess what? The same is true for your health. You need a skilled investigator on the case.
A health detective will be able to pinpoint your true starting point, identify healing opportunities, and ultimately guide you on the correct path to “Optimal Wellness.” A good health detective will identify hidden causes of your health condition, instead of just treating your symptoms. Once the causes are identified, it’s easy to determine exactly where to start on your journey to optimal health. Now that you know exactly where you are AND exactly where you want to go, all you need to do is find the best possible route for you to get there. The last thing you want to do is get back on that frustrating cycle of trial and error or start fishing in the tumultuous sea of information.
You need a G.P.S. (Guided Personalized Support)
A surefire way to stay on course and reach your destination is to use your G.P.S. In this case, we are talking about the guided personalized support that you will get from your health detective. It makes perfect sense that the clever investigator who uncovered the hidden causes of your symptoms is also the best choice to guide you all the way to optimal wellness.
Getting Past Information Overload Syndrome with Guidance
During the initial investigation, your health detective learned quite a bit about you. Lifestyle clues like eating and sleeping habits, work schedules, activity levels, family life and hobbies, as well as, hormonal balance, immune health, digestion, detoxification, environmental stressors, neurotransmitter functioning, and health history all played a part in their understanding of how your body functions.
These same clues can be used to plot your unique course to your final destination. With your health coach as your guide, you don’t need to worry about all of the latest supplements in the news, tuning into the newest health summit, or staying on top of every health expert blog and podcast. All you need to worry about is your own personal health building. An FDN Functional Health Coach will guide you through a system of proven, potent protocols to ensure forward progress.
Obstacles and Course Correction
As in any journey, there are bound to be some detours, distractions, and unexpected roadblocks. As you set out on your journey to optimal health, some roads may be paved and clear, while others can be rocky and littered with obstacles. You might also encounter unexpected hazards, accidents, or road closures along the way. Your health coach is prepared to guide you through these barriers. There may be times when a course correction is necessary or days when you simply make a wrong turn. Rather than getting lost and frustrated, with the guidance of your health coach, you will be empowered by your ability to handle those hurdles and stay on track.
Even the strongest and smartest need support. Batman had Robin, Lewis had Clark, pro-athletes have coaches and trainers, and you should have your own personal health detective and coach. Knowing what you need to do to overcome your health challenges is only half the equation. Implementing the necessary lifestyle changes is the second, and is often the more difficult part. Change can be scary, difficult, and confusing (especially for those dealing with brain fog, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating). You may even experience a “healing crisis” while detoxing and cleaning up your diet, which can range from headaches to nausea to flu-like symptoms. It will seem as if you are getting worse, but it is actually a sign that your protocol is working.
This is where you would probably throw in the towel on your own. Symptoms generally subside in a few days, and a good functional health coach will not only prepare you for this, but will also help you through it. Preparing new foods, adjusting your sleep schedule, taking new supplements, practicing stress reduction, or adding exercise to your daily routine can all be a struggle in the beginning. You’ll have questions and you’ll second guess yourself. And if you are like most people, you will stumble and fall. Having a coach to pick you up can make all the difference in the world. A few words of encouragement, creative adjustments to suit your tastes and moods, and caring support could be just what you need to stick to the plan.
Aside from the mental and emotional support your health coach will provide, each system in your body will be supported through the essential pillars of health. Using targeted diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation, your body will have the support that it needs to start healing itself.
A Lifetime of Health
Perhaps the best part about the journey is how much you will learn. Each step of your journey will give you a greater awareness of what your body needs to function at its best. For, quite possibly, the first time in your life, you’ll be in control of your own health (instead of your health controlling you). So feel free to tune out, turn off, and unplug the endless flow of health information. The odds of you finding your way to optimal health are much better when you search within yourself, rather than online.