Blog Takeover: Courtenay on Not Having All the Answers

I’m Courtenay Fisher, a reformed lawyer turned functional nutritionist.  Before joining A Balanced Table I was fortunate to further my nutritional and holistic health studies through Restorative Wellness Solutions where I met Ellen, achieved the designation of Master Restorative Wellness Solutions practitioner, and became an instructor. During this time I also evolved my own solo practice which shifted to become 100% virtual (thanks to the pandemic), setting the stage for me to join the ABT team.  You can read more about me here but at the moment Ellen has given me the opportunity to take over this month’s newsletter …

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a piece of nutrition advice that promised to resolve all your health worries, give you the flat stomach you’ve dreamed of and lead you to your zen, all in an easy to use (or follow, or swallow),  program, package or pill.  Sound familiar?  Anyone? 

As I introduce myself here I’d love to say with confidence that I have all the answers about nutrition.  But that would be BS, and I sincerely hope that you would raise an eyebrow.

The truth is, nutrition is a fascinating, yet complex, beast, and there isn’t one person – no matter how flashy his or her marketing – who has mastered every nuance.  

There are certain things that are foundational, and mostly free.  For instance, a nutrient-dense, whole-foods based diet (regardless of the label put on it), will beat a standard-American, processed diet all day, any day.  Approximately zero humans will achieve better health by ingesting more processed sugar.  And most of us, at least in the majority of industrialized nations, need to sleep more and better manage stress.  These proclamations are the ‘easy’ ones, even if unpopular (because, for real, who doesn’t want that donut?).

But the more I’ve learned, the more questions I have – not because I don’t ‘know’, but rather because I don’t want to become so entrenched in my beliefs that I miss the chance to improve.  I am beyond grateful that I was gifted with a relentless desire to answer these questions (big and small), assimilate knowledge gained and ultimately put it to use helping others navigate their health challenges and optimize their enjoyment of life.

Does this mean that I don’t have a plan when I work with clients?  Of course not.  But it does mean that if new, credible research emerges, I am not afraid to re-examine and adjust (read ‘improve’) recommendations.  One of my favorite phrases of late is, “strong convictions loosely-held” (thank you, Dr. Attia).  It’s a reminder to welcome the chance to discern new (even, gasp!, opposing) perspectives so as to continue learning, challenging, and improving upon what we ‘know’.  

I also know that the knowledge I’ve gained in working with countless clients and other practitioners is just as valuable as the theory that comes from reviewing research and studies.  A celebrated theory or intervention is useless if a client can’t tolerate it, for whatever reason, so the ability to shift in a thoughtful and educated manner allows for the best outcomes.  Ultimately the ability to marry these skills – knowledge and practical application – is a crucial factor in determining results.

So will I ever know “all the things”?  I sincerely hope not.  But here’s what I will tell you … 

The more clients I work with, the more convinced (and inspired) I become in the power of tailored nutrition and lifestyle approaches to create life-changing shifts, especially for those who feel ‘unseen’ or misunderstood by well-meaning experts.  This is the truth that keeps me coming back.

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