“You have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. This doesn’t surprise me.” My gyno doctor relayed this news to me in the late fall of 2015. I had no idea what that even meant, so I didn’t think, “It’s time to heal your liver.” At the time, I was more concerned about the pain I was experiencing from repeated bouts of ovarian cysts.
(Heal Your Liver published by Woman’s World will be on magazine racks on November 11, 2022.)
But something unsettled me that day because although my gynecologist didn’t seem too concerned, I was. She wasn’t shocked because I was morbidly obese, which I soon learned is a common denominator in overweight individuals.
What is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
NAFLD is the medical acronym used for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. As the name implies, it is a disease of the liver affecting people who don’t often drink alcohol, with the main character being too much fat being stored in the liver.
It is the most common form of liver disease in the western world. It can potentially lead to aggressive liver disease, NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis), which can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and liver failure.
As you can see, NAFLD should be addressed sooner rather than later. Based on my experience, I was able to reverse this condition.
What are the three most common causes of fatty liver disease?
As mentioned, my diagnosis of liver disease included the nonalcoholic description. Three risk factors for those who drink little to no alcohol are:
- A high-fat diet
- Diabetes Mellitus diagnosis
I checked 2.5 of these risk factors as I had been pre-diabetic in the years leading up to this diagnosis.
What are the three signs of a fatty liver?
Fatty liver disease often goes undetected. The only reason mine was diagnosed was because I had an abdominal ultrasound to diagnose my ovarian cysts. But in hindsight, I do believe I experienced these three symptoms:
- Chronic fatigue or weakness (you can read about that here)
- Abdominal discomfort
- Itching palms and soles of feet
How do I make my liver healthy again?
Determined to learn more about fatty liver disease, I began my journey to take back control of my entire health and learned that many of the chronic health issues I was experiencing could be reversed by improving the health of my hormones. I also learned that a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates disrupts hormone health.
In March 2016, just a few months after I learned my liver was full of fat, I set out on my quitting sugar journey, which eventually led me to a new lifestyle of a way of eating (I’ve ditched the word “diet” from my vocabulary).
What foods are suitable for repairing the liver?
Learning the impact of sugar and a diet high in carbohydrates (including the foods I thought were considered healthy, like whole wheat bread and pasta) led me to a way of eating in adopting a low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle with intermittent fasting.
The foods that have helped me reverse NAFLD include the foods you find on the perimeter of the grocery store.
- Meat, poultry, fish
- Dairy, eggs
- Fresh produce
- Limited fruit (berries are the lowest in sugar)
When preparing meals, I focus on filling up through a protein source and eating low-carb veggies as a side dish. To avoid chemicals like glyphosate (which contribute to disease), I also choose organic and grass-fed sources when the budget allows for them! The ultimate goal should be to live sugar-free! I love to share about my sugar-freed lifestyle because it genuinely transformed my health once and for all. In my past decades of dieting failures, I followed the advice that a bit of sugar and starch in moderation wouldn’t harm my health. That advice led me to thirty years of obesity and many chronic health diagnoses, like NAFLD!
How long does it take the liver to heal?
In my health coaching, I remind clients that we are all on unique journeys. Our metabolic health status will differ, so how long it takes the liver to heal is difficult to answer. Keep in mind that our liver damage may be at varying degrees, too. When you receive this diagnosis, it is always best to work with your doctor.
I began working with a functional medicine doctor as soon as I learned that fixing my health would mean fixing my hormones (you can find resources here). One year after I reached my weight loss goals, she ordered a repeat ultrasound to check my liver health. We were both delighted to learn that my liver was healthy and no longer full of fat. I had successfully reversed my NAFLD through my sugar-free, low-carb lifestyle.
It was not too late for me, and very likely that it is not too late for you to take back control of your health and reverse fatty liver disease before it progresses to NASH or cirrhosis. Reach out to a low-carb-friendly health provider today (you can find resources for a doctor here).
To read more about the many chronic health issues my ketogenic lifestyle healed (like obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, insulin resistance, and more), read my Keto Heals Blog Series.
Did you find my story through Woman’s World special edition Heal Your Liver? If yes, please leave me a comment below and let me know where you picked up your copy and what steps you will take to begin the journey to heal your liver.
If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, you can find it on magazine racks and on Amazon (click here).
Not sure where to start? Take my interactive quiz to learn where you are in your health journey! You’ll get your results and we can stay connected through email and future events. Take the quiz here: What Hurdle is Blocking Your Weight Loss Goals?
(Disclaimer from Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Christine Trimpe: I am not a health care professional. I am writing about my personal experiences to encourage others to research a low-carb lifestyle. You should always work closely with a healthcare professional to manage your health. I work with three MDs to manage my health: functional medicine, cardiology, and sleep/pulmonology. They treat my metabolic dysfunctions along with monitoring my important blood markers routinely. Keto or LCHF may not be an appropriate way of eating for your metabolic health or other health needs. Please check with your personal health care professional before making any changes in your diet.)