Personalised Versus General Health Advice
Is there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years that I’ve been working as a Nutritional Therapist and Health Coach, it’s that there isn’t such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. This, despite what the media, diet ‘systems’, pill manufacturers or even some ‘therapists’ would have you believe.
We all know that the media is rife with advice along the lines of ‘New Discovery into the benefits of XYZ (fill in the blanks)!” which only adds to the plethora of general DIY nutritional tips or products and to the general confusion when ‘XYZ’ does nothing to reduce your pain/discomfort or other symptoms.
I meet hundreds of desperate people each year, who have tried many such approaches to stop their symptoms. From extreme restrictive diets to ingesting dozens of supplements daily or even resorting to painful, invasive surgery with life-altering long-term consequences. They have all followed the trends, hype, fads fuelled by the media and other social media ‘influencers’. Most of these ‘sources’ are in fact paid by specific organisations and companies only looking to increase their own financial gains.
Time for a more personalised approach
When working with individual clients, I take a detailed history of their medical history. This included details about their current life and physical, mental, emotional states. This is a crucial part of beginning to understand where their symptoms and dis-ease may have started. This is of course not something that the media (or even most doctors) carry out, for various reasons.
Subsequently, this lack of deep investigation explains why so many ‘solutions’ and pills given to the patients do not work, or have detrimental effects. These ‘solutions’ are general, and do not take into consideration the many factors that make up a person and that may interfere with the effect of the pills or the prescribed advice.
For instance: An overweight lady in her 50s may be given pills to help with menopausal symptoms but these may exacerbate some other symptoms. She may gain more weight, her insomnia might worsen, as might aches and pains and irritability. A more personalised (and much safer) approach may be to understand these symptoms, find their cause(s) and resolve each one with specific advice, such as certain lifestyle changes, personalised eating guidance and exercise/movement plans.
This happened to ‘Jo’
A lady I worked with recently had similar challenges with this stage of her life. She felt that the hormone replacement meds she was given, plunged her into deep depression and rapid weight gain. We reviewed her current and past habits, looked at her frame of mind, stressors in her life, triggers to her hot flushes and insomnia.
By switching her very restrictive diet to a more nurturing, nourishing enjoyable one, she regained her joy of eating and dramatically reduced her ’emotional’ eating. She also took up walking every day (rain or shine) first thing in the morning. She now journals every day (she wasn’t keen on meditation). She was also deeply dehydrated and didn’t breathe deeply, both of which she swiftly rectified.
After one session: her constant brain fog had disappeared and she had more energy. After 2 weeks: she felt lighter and her hot flushes had gone. After one month: she slept deeply every night. Now three months in: she’s a new person with so much energy and motivation, she now wants to start playing tennis again and take cookery lessons. Her husband and kids are also happy to have got the ‘old’ Jo/Mum again..
Doesn’t ‘personalised’ mean expensive?
It’s obvious that therapists and coaches offering 1-2-1 help will cost more than buying the latest diet book or signing up to an app. Even if the app claims to give you a personalised approach, which is dubious as Ai will not replace a human ‘assessor’ in that way in my view.
However, the way forward may be to pause and analyse for yourself how and why you may be suffering from certain symptoms.
Put together a detailed questionnaire of your medical history, and objective check up list of your symptoms: when they started, how severe they are/were, what was going on at that time in your life (physically, emotionally, mentally).
Then make an honest assessment of what you feel are the habits that make you ill/overweight/insomniac/depressed etc. This will help you to determine what action(s) may need to be taken.
Finally with that information, make a plan of day-by-day actions you can take – specifically. Look at your diary, work, social commitments and be realistic with what you think you can implement with the time and resources you have.
Whether you’re looking to have a healthier gut or lose some weight, remember that the one-size-fits-all approach will only suit a very small proportion of people. Adopt a more personal way of helping yourself or get help from a personal Coach/therapist to make deep and lasting changes to your current health.
Your body and mind already hold all the answers. Listen to yourself or get some personalised help.