Jul 052013

cure-fatty-liver-4If you have been told you have Fatty Liver Disease by a doctor, one thing is a certainty: You will have to lose weight if you are overweight now.

Having to go on a diet and lose weight is no walk in the park for anybody. Living in today’s society has predisposed many of us to gain weight and make it harder to lose it if we do pack on some pounds.

One reason why obesity is of epidemic proportions in the Western world is that so many people lead sedentary lives, especially as compared to our forefathers back a couple of generations ago. They didn’t have television, computers and movies.

Obesity And Lifestyle, Then and Now

For instance, in 2009-2010, an estimated 37.5% of adults in the United States were obese, and a startling 16.9% of children and adolescents were obese, as well.

Back before WWII, a majority of families lived in the country, growing and raising almost everything they ate. Adults and children of the household all worked outside raising food crops, along with the farm animals that furnished meat, eggs and milk.

With so many chores to do, a lot of calories were burned up on a daily basis. You ate fresh, home-baked foods and meat without growth hormones and antibiotics. Your chances of becoming obese back then were slim – no pun intended.

Contrast that to the ordinary lifestyle now, where a majority of us earn our living sitting all day at a desk. We then come home to the couch or kick back in the recliner and watch television. The only chores are putting the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, throwing laundry in the washer, and pressing the remote for the Roomba to clean the house.

Add to this scenario the temptation we’re faced with in the form of fast food, pizza delivery, grocery shelves loaded with every kind of sugary, high calorie treat and goodie imaginable, plus long rows of two liter soft drinks beckoning us to buy.

No wonder it’s so easy to pile on all that extra weight!

So, how are you supposed to avoid all that, especially if overeating has caused your Fatty Liver Disease?

Losing Weight to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

If you have Fatty Liver Disease and you want to reverse it and restore your liver to its normal state of optimal efficiency, the way ahead is clear and unambiguous: You must lose weight. Period.

There are no qualifiers to this statement. If you are overweight or obese and have Fatty Liver Disease, you absolutely, positively HAVE to shed that excess fat. There is no other, easier way. It might not be fun, but you can do it and if you want to be healthy; you will do it.

One thing to stress, however, is that you have to take the extra weight off slowly. Chances are that you didn’t gain those extra pounds overnight, so don’t try to lose them too quickly, either.

With Fatty Liver Disease, too rapid weight loss can actually harm your liver instead of helping it.

This is because a sudden loss of body weight puts your liver on the defense, thinking you are in the midst of a famine (which until recently was often the norm, and which our bodies are designed for.) The liver will actually produce extra fatty acids, making it’s own condition much worse.

There are lifestyle changes that, over a period of time, can bring about a gradual weight loss that will prove beneficial to a healthy liver.

Easy Lifestyle Changes to Lose Weight

Before you go on some crash diet, sit down and realistically evaluate how much weight you need to lose. A minimum of 10% is recommended, though your doctor will know how much you need to lose.

Then, make a plan that will advance you toward that weight loss goal, safely and slowly.

You might be surprised at how little changes can bring about big results! For example, here are a few tips to lose weight:

  • Instead of using the elevator at work or home, take the stairs.
  • Park the farthest away in a parking lot to go shopping.
  • Go grocery shopping on a full stomach.
  • Leave off dessert as a rule, saving it for a special occasion treat.
  • Substitute fresh fruit or veggies instead of candy and chips. Leave it handy in the refrigerator, already washed and prepared.
  • Drink sugar-free flavored water instead of sugary soft drinks.
  • Stay hydrated! It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so drink plenty of liquids.

If you stick to a healthy diet of good, nutritious foods, get at least half an hour of aerobic exercise every day and avoid the foods and drinks that are prone to pile on pounds, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover that losing weight doesn’t have to be an endurance test.

When you have shed that extra weight and lightened up your liver in the process, you will be rewarded with feeling healthier and more energetic as your Fatty Liver Disease becomes a thing of the past.

The Fatty Liver Diet Guide has more in-depth information on changing your lifestyle, including a full menu plan and recipes.

 Posted by at 4:21 pm

  24 Responses to “Step 4: Losing Weight the Proper Way”

  1. Hi I was told I have fatty liver and high cholesterol a week ago, ive also been having high blood pressure. and immdiatly after that i went on a strict diet with lots of veggies, fruits and fish. But today after 6 days of diet and having lost 3 kg was not feeling too well and had high blood pressure again. So I went to a nutritionist that put me back some carbs and dairy products on my diet. I’m just worried I went too extreme during this 6 days and I read the consecuences of fast weight lost can be bad. Can you please advice? Thanks!

  2. Greg,

    I just want to thank you for your articles. I was just told last week over the phone that I had fatty liver disease with little information. They sent me for a CT scan because I also have a lump in my liver and I’m waiting for results. I don’t know what stage yet but I do have pain on my right side, nausea and loss of appetite sometimes. I have been extremely worried knowing nothing about this disease and what changes I would need to make. I do have friends who live healthier lifestyles that have offered great information but they do not have the disease so therefore do not understand it completely. I was determined to find something that would be reliable and easy to understand and I found you! Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned and how you live. I have literally cried tears of joy opposed to the frequent tears from not knowing or understanding! It’s given me hope and some much needed knowledge. Thanks again!

  3. I was just told I have a fatty liver and that it’s gotten worse since my last CT scan (which was for a different issue). I have been a teetotaler my whole life, eat organic, am an icthyarian (the only meat I eat is fish), am not overweight, nor diabetic. I have low blood pressure & do eat a lot of salt. The nurse said that sometimes, it’s just genetic. I feel very discouraged.

    • Yes, sometimes fatty liver isn’t due to diet or lifestyle, unfortunately. Did you check for hepatitis? That’s caused by a virus, and fatty liver is one of the potential results.

  4. hi i m a new student enrolled in phd, yesterday i did medical tests for enrollment, but today when i get reports i shocked by knowing that i have fatty liver, tomorrow i will go for further examination, the whole day i was feeling very depressed, but now reading ur article i m feeling little comfortable nd i hope that i have no severe fatty liver.
    thanks for ur such a nice information

  5. Hi had fatty liver sense I was 12. Know that i am older everything is changing for the worse. Everything I eat taste like salt. I have had Metallic taste. I am over weight. I can’t lose the weight. No matter what I do. If I drink water I get bloated. I am lucky If I go to the bathroom 3 times day. Sometimes twice a day. I have done everything. Nothing is working. when I was younger I weighed 120 know I am 200. I feel lost. Please help.

    • Stephanie,
      I don’t know if you’ll see this since you posted almost 2 years ago. My mother in law had that metallic taste in her mouth and food lost all is taste for 2 years… found out it was a zinc deficincy.
      Good luck!

  6. I was diagnosed with a fatty liver as a result of severe pain on the right side of my abdomen. Along with fatty liver disease I also am diabetic, have hypothyroidism, chronic pain, acid reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease and COPD. I will be changing my diet and taking the suggested supplements. However it is very hard for me to loose weight when a person has a few of the diseases let alone all of the ones mentioned. As you might imagine exercising is difficult at best. I’m at lose in deciding the best exercise program for me especially with the severe liver pain and chronic pain. Lost in Oregon……..Thank you.

  7. Oh I forgot to mention that I’m lactose and fructose intolerant and have small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. Thank you.

    • Hello Dynelle, I would check and see if you have a specialized health club or refit center where special trainers can help you with your goals. Exercising as I suggest would be difficult, but there are ways. Ask your doctor or other people about resources in your area. Take care and I hope all goes well!

  8. I cannot tolerate lemon in warm water early before breakfast. Get discomfort in stomach feel sick. With a NAFL is this normal
    Am on vegetables. Have future life for breakfast vegies for lunch a slice of bread for supper . Any suggestions ? Am 42 years old

    • Sean, this is not an uncommon reaction even in people with healthy livers. Lemon is acidic and may not be tolerated by everyone on an empty stomach. I do not recommend forcing yourself to continue with this regimen if it physically hurts you. As for the rest of your day, yes, veggies are great, as are lean meats and proteins. Don’t limit yourself, there are loads of recipes out there using whole ingredients that are fantastic. Don’t let yourself get bored, mix it up, add spices (as tolerated) and low-fat condiments. Keep up the good work.

  9. I have had pain in my right side next to my belly button since 2003 they did ultrasound and found nothing.I was told I had Fatty Liver in 2013 and was not given any advice but to lose weight. I also have herniated disc in my back which makes it hard to exercise. I can’t stand for only a few minutes at a time. I recently changed doctors and she has told me i have elevated liver levels checked for Hep C and I do not have it. I am set to see gastroenterologist. The pain got so bad and my stomach bloated up real bad. Do you think I have waited to long that it has now gotten to bad to reverse it? I read the Mayo Clinic signs and symptoms and the one thing I have always wondered is why I had red palms and never knew why. That is one of the symptoms of liver damage, but I have had red palms as long as I can remember. So I was wondering do you have an actual daily diet plan that I could follow and what should I do about the exercise? Thank you for all your help.

    • I never believe there’s anything that you can not at least try to reverse. Don’t give up hope. 13 years is a LONG time to be going through pain. This may sound simplistic but have you tried an elimination diet to see if perhaps you have a food intolerance?

  10. So first, my new antidepressant (FINALLY after years found one that worked) has a side effect of suppressing appetite, so I started to slowly lose weight. Then I got a part time job as a gymnastics coach– while it’s not all aerobic all the time, it’s very active and I’m certainly soaked with sweat while I’m doing it (even in air conditioning)– that is now at 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. (Before that, partially due to the depression & anxiety, I was very sedentary.)

    THEN I was diagnosed with both non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and gastroparesis. Because of the gastroparesis, I now know that eating too much at a time is part of what causes me to feel so sick later– my stomach is too slow at contracting again after it expands for food, so I *have* to eat a little many times a day. Because of the fatty liver disease, I cut out drinking, and while I didn’t drink HEAVILY before I usually had one or two beers an evening.

    Between all that, in the 2 weeks since the doctor diagnosed me with those two things, I’ve lost 11 pounds. That’s 5% of my body weight– the doctor said to lose 15-20% of my body weight in 6 MONTHS.

    But the thing is, for the first time in my life, I’m not even TRYING to lose the weight. No calorie restriction or anything. I’m just trying not to feel sick.

    I’m not sure what I should do! Having too much fat in one’s diet is bad for gastroparesis, so I can’t use fatty foods to slow my weight loss. I’m looking for a nutritionist, but the only ones my gastroenterologist rec’d are over an hour’s drive away, and my PCP JUST moved away to New Jersey and I don’t have a new one yet, so I don’t know who to ask for a referral.

    How much extra damage is being done to my liver with 5.5 lb/week weight loss? How much time/wiggle room do I have?

    Thank you!

  11. hi there!! I was diagnosed with fatty liver. I have lost 50 pounds in a year. however I feel really awful . I have developed very bad anxiety…. hair loss cant sleep at night. wondering if anyone has had this happen to them ? and if so anything that might help or why it is happening? thanks & much love

    • It is possible there has been an alteration in your hormone profile due to the fat loss. *Usually* that will be for the better, but 50 lbs. is significant (congratulations!) and it’s possible your body isn’t handling the change well in some ways. Have you seen your doctor?

  12. wondering if anyone had pain in right side while loosing weight? also feeling tied and blahhhhhhhhhhhhh?

  13. Hi Greg,

    I was diagnosed of having NAFLD stage one going into stage 2 after a liver biopsy. I don’t drink or do drugs. I don’t have hepatitis. My diet is the problem according to my GI doc. It seems like the closer I get to 50 years old, I just cant get the weight off. I now I need to go on a low fat and low carb diet. I know I have to lose 50lbs. Do you recommend a diet?
    I know that there are only for stages of liver disease and you cannot live with a liver. And yes my liver enzymes are up every time I get my blood drawn and I have right side pain all the time.

    • I can’t and won’t go against your doctor’s recommendations, but I would not, personally, suggest low carb AND low fat. Low carb is incredibly hard to do when combining it with low-fat and under average circumstances, low fat should be unnecessary while you’re doing low-carb.

      Do you have dietary restrictions against fat?

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