Welcome to the third installment of my eight-part blog series – “Keto Heals”. This series highlights the top health markers improved, reversed, managed, or completely healed through my Keto and Intermittent Fasting lifestyle.
When I started out on my journey, I absolutely loved reading success stories. The stories, like mine, on Diet Doctor kept me going throughout my entire journey. I hope my story will inspire you on your journey to better health and wellness.
(Disclaimer: 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 health care 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.)
I used to dread the idea of heading to the doctor. Every appointment was humiliating. “Lose weight! Eat less! Move More!” Yadda, yadda, yadda!
But in the fall of 2015, I felt horrible with abdominal pain and bloating. Bad enough to have me scheduling an appointment with the doctor.
Off I went to my gynecologist. She ordered an ultrasound which revealed what I had suspected – ovarian cysts. The other finding surprised me:
Fatty infiltration of the liver parenchyma.
Google “fatty infiltration of the liver parenchyma” and you will find lots about NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). NAFLD is a common disorder and refers to a group of conditions where there is accumulation of excess fat in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol.
My gynecologist took one look at my obese body and wasn’t surprised by excess fat in my liver. She really didn’t even say much about it, other than reiterating the facts from the abdominal ultrasound. In her defense, her concern focused on the ovarian cysts.
So, my curious mind wanted to know more about this fat in my liver. The more I read, the more concerned I became. Heading the path of liver disease I realized I needed to do something to reverse this. I didn’t want cirrhosis or cancer of the liver. No thank you!
Have you heard of NAFLD? Most people have not. You can go down a rabbit hole of reading about NAFLD on the Diet Doctor website here: US Experts Raise Red Flag Over Fatty Liver Disease.
If you’re walking around with belly fat, I would guess you have fat accumulating in your liver. A diagnosis can be made through ultrasound, CT, or MRI of the abdomen. Sometimes your liver enzyme bloodwork might indicate a problem, but imaging will confirm.
So, what did I do? I spent two months researching (and partly in denial…). Then I FINALLY made the life changing decision to QUIT SUGAR. On March 10, 2016, I took my very first “quitting sugar” baby step and gave up flavored creamer in my coffee. In fact, I gave up coffee that day, too. I couldn’t imagine drinking coffee without my sugar-laden flavored creamer.
This began my the process of choosing what I put in my mouth! Quitting coffee cold turkey – can you imagine?!? I did it! I quit coffee for nine months until I discovered I could drink it with heavy whipping cream when I discovered Keto in January 2017.
Every day I added a new “sugar” to quit. Within six weeks I successfully told people “I quit sugar”!
Quitting sugar led to feeling well, having control over my cravings and no more pain from cysts and bloating! I now didn’t need to worry about the suggested hysterectomy as those symptoms disappeared. A wonderful first result on my journey.
However, losing the belly fat seemed slow and frustrating. Thankfully, I learned about Keto and Intermittent Fasting in January 2017. Exactly what I needed to attack belly fat and the key to reverse my fatty liver.
As you know, Keto has a higher ratio of healthy fats in the diet. Most people have a hard time understanding how you can eat more fat to lose fat!?! The exact opposite of all we have been taught.
That’s exactly what I did though. I ate more healthy fat and reversed the accumulation of fat stored in my liver. Fat burning for the win!
I knew reversing fatty liver would take some time. My functional medicine doctor gave me a prescription for a repeat abdominal ultrasound. She told me to wait until I have been Keto for a year and then schedule the test.
In January 2018, I scheduled the ultrasound – held my breath, crossed my fingers and toes, and waited for the results. I knew deep down what the results would be:
Unremarkable abdominal ultrasound.
No findings of excess fat in my liver! Woohoo!
As one of my top health goals, getting this under control in one year on Keto confirmed my choice in this way of life. It will continue as a top motivator for continuing low-carb for life!
I’d like to see this condition discussed more often. A lot of people have never heard of it when I mention it as one of my improved health markers. It goes hand in hand with our current obesity epidemic. I really encourage you to learn about NAFLD and discuss it with your doctor.
I’ll leave you with one more resource. I always enjoy listening to Dr. Berry discuss the hot topics in the low-carb world. Here’s a short video where he discusses fatty liver: Fatty Liver, How to Fix it (2018)
Dr. Berry’s advice? “Stop fructose. Stop sugar. Stop starches. Stop simple carbs. Stop grains. Stop vegetable oils! Those are poisoning your body.”
I did this! After one-year Keto, the results were an “unremarkable” liver ultrasound compared to the previous one which indicated “fatty infiltration”! I am relieved and have no doubt I have prevented any future liver disease from a high-carb diet.
Keto has allowed me to manage my liver health! No going back.
I’ve heard from quite a few of you with this same diagnosis. Keep on plugging away and look forward to your “all clear” imaging results!
Have you jumped on board the Keto or LCHF train? How can I help? Leave a comment below.
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