Pitfalls in Functional Medicine for Autoimmunity

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

Hey everyone!  I’ve recently gotten back from a mini vacation to Miami Beach, an experience that was much different from last year. The hustle and bustle scene in Miami Beach was gone, with roads closed off and scant vacationers enjoying the beach. This was great for us, but I kept thinking about how different our lives are. It saddens me when I think back to how things were. I compare the present with the past as if the past is the standard.

I liken this to my diagnosis with Lupus, and how my life became so different after my diagnosis.  It wasn’t until I was able to move forward with my new life and let go of the past that I was able to drastically alter my health and life to a state better than what was.

I want to ask you, what if our lives are exactly how they should be?  Good, bad, or indifferent, it’s our brain making it so with its thoughts. If we STOP resisting what is, then all things fall into place. This provides you with the clarity and focus to do exactly what you need to do to achieve the “future” that you want.

But, too many of us don’t think about the future and how we want to live.  In fact, statistically, most of us live our lives and let life happen to us. These are meta concepts that I’m introducing, but if you follow along, you’ll intuitively see that all of this makes sense.

Mindset Change is Key

No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life, whether that’s your health, wealth, education, relationships, weight loss, etc., if your mindset doesn’t change, there will be no long term changes.

I talk about “beliefs” that we hold that we don’t question.  But, remember, beliefs are thoughts that you think over and over habitually that make something “true” for you.  But just because something is “true” for you doesn’t make it the truth. You absolutely can argue against these beliefs, but we don’t because we live our lives shaped by the subconscious beliefs that we hold and live our lives validating them.

What a concept!  For example, I used to believe Lupus was incurable and I would be broken for the rest of my life.  I also believed that my life would be substandard because of Lupus. So, for many years, I lived in a way that validated my beliefs, limiting myself in every facet of my life. Living this way was proving my belief that I would always be broken. By not showing up to my life at all, or in fear and anxiety, I produced the exact life that I believed I was living.

It wasn’t until I was able to “think” differently and shift my mindset that I was able to “create” the exact life I wanted to create. I began to believe Lupus was curable and that I can be healthier and more resilient than ever before. And look at me today! My friends, this is absolutely available to us all. However, we are so stuck in our minds that we refuse, reject, or resist the new belief.

Our brains are wired this way and for good reason.  Our brains like what’s easy, pleasurable, and familiar.  Their design prioritizes efficiency.  Adapting a new belief takes work and we all resist it inherently. If we are up against ourselves, we will always lose this game. That’s why you need to surround yourself with those who cheer you on to seek greatness.

Pitfalls of Functional Medicine

This brings to me to our topic today about Functional Medicine.  I want to share the pitfalls of holistic medicine, especially Functional Medicine.  

I’ve been on the Functional Medicine path for over a decade.  It began with me seeking Functional Medicine, only to be so disappointed. The doctor gave me a pill with a bunch of expensive tests.  No lifestyle intervention, no dietary advice, no nothing.  I know not all Functional Medicine is this way, but the few practitioners that I sought out, as well as those who I trained with, tend to miss the point. Healing is an inside job.

As practitioners, we need to get busy showing you the way, not telling you the way.  

The very premise of seeking a Functional Medicine or any holistic doctor is to figure out the holistic way of living.  What if I told you that they don’t know anymore about why our health went south than us, other than their knowledge on pathology and what metabolic pathways are potentially affected based on systems approach? What I mean is that too often they miss the big picture and get lost in investigating the digestive, neurological, endocrine, metabolic, immunological, or even cardiometabolic systems.

But what runs these systems?  You and your brain first and foremost. Your brain creates thoughts, which then trigger feelings, which then drive action to create results.

Many Functional Medicine doctors are going deep into the rabbit hole to assess exactly what’s wrong with you. This is the getting to the “root” cause approach. They fail to consider you and why you think, feel, and do what you do. There is psychology at the root that dictates psychosomatic effects (your thoughts having a physical effect), ultimately affecting your choice or ability to move, eat, sleep, drink, etc.

Functional Medicine is Lifestyle Medicine

Functional Medicine is really lifestyle medicine. A good doctor should understand that their role is to coach you through making transformative changes that align with your thoughts and feelings. They may “prescribe” a diet, tell you to take supplements, or even provide you with hormones. But, unless they coach you to understand your underlying mindset that drives you to make changes, your actions are only a function of what they “tell” you to do. This ultimately may make you feel better temporarily, but long term you’ll revert back to your patterns or habits just as soon as you are released from their care or when life “circumstances” derail you.

The point of Functional Medicine is to help you to understand yourself so much so that you gain the self healing tools to coach yourself through the derailments over and over again. Clarifying what, why, and how you do what you do now will help to empower you.  Then, it can help you to make the shifts necessary to align your actions with your thoughts and feelings so that you make necessary changes that ultimately transform.

A wise doctor will have you take a small step everyday.  I call this the Kaisen approach.  

Viewing Functional Medicine as lifestyle medicine, we have a moral obligation to help you do all things that you need to do everyday. This requires you to make better food choices (diet), move daily (exercise), manage your stress (individual plan), and have a solid plan to make sure that you do so with the long term goal of creating transformative changes that heal you inside out and leave you empowered.

It’s the self healing journey that we take you through to “know” and understand what works for YOU – including diet, movement, and stress management which includes those life circumstances that tend to make us stressed like relationships, finances, health, etc. We must be the coach, mentor, and guide who takes you through this process. All while knowing that change is hard, but necessary.

Functional Medicine doctors should be providing you with the yin (physiology) to the yang (big picture).  To do any less for you is a disservice to you.  The pitfall to Functional Medicine is that too many practitioners are busy being good at what they do. What I mean by this is that they are busy focusing on Functional Medicine, nutrition, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.  All of these “approaches’ take the focus away from YOU and put the focus onto the tactics.  These tactics will only work if you are on board and follow through, and you may not respond to a certain tactic.  

You need a strategic intervention that is comprehensive. This includes working on psychology (mindset), movement for metabolism, nutrition for anti-inflammatory effect, and deep assessment of your habits. Habits include not only what you do but why you do what you do. By understanding your habits, we can create a plan to get you back on track when life circumstances cause derailment.

So, more than the tactics that most practitioners focus on and the systems approach, you’ll need the big picture approach. This connects all physical systems together with your behavior and psychology so that you set yourself up for success. Once you truly align with your thoughts, feelings, and actions, the results of your life drastically improve.  

What is Health for You?

First, you must define what health looks like for you.  Health should extend beyond the physical, to the health of our relationships with ourselves, with our spouse, kids, friends,  etc.  It’s the whole ecosystem of your life. Health is not just about the nitty gritty of what you eat, taking supplements, exercise, etc.  Such things are the tactics we deploy, but not the ultimate solution.

We aim to enjoy life by having you feel good. We begin within you first and foremost so that we can change the way you see the world.  As you start to get clarity on who you are and why you do what you do, you can then begin to move toward what you want to create in your life and health. Your autoimmunity will improve without you even trying, this I can promise you.  

If this is something that intrigues you or you want to know more, you have options.  I want to help you to transform you life and health.  You can join our FREE Facebook group, Tribe of Autoimmune Health Rebels, where I share all the tips and strategies to live the solution everyday. If you are really serious about taking the next step and are ready to drastically transform your life and health once and for all, I’d love to work with you in my private Functional Medicine Coaching group, the Autoimmune Health Transformation.  

Request a free consult today by clicking HERE.

Have a great day and I’ll talk to you soon.

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