It’s been almost 14 months since I’ve been diagnosed with a NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver) and have been dieting and eating healthy ever since. My complete change of the way I live had some great results and my fatty liver regressed up to the point that the doctors called me “almost cured” which made me incredibly happy. But one of the real challenges that followed was continuing the diet and living the healthy life that I did to take care of this upsetting disease.
One year after being diagnosed with a fatty liver and a few months after the great news from the doctor’s office, I started to feel what I call “dieting fatigue”: my mind kept telling me that I was cured, that I can now have a little bit more of that greasy, fat type of food, that now I can eat a bit of something I wasn’t allowed to, that I can get more sugar into my body. Which is exactly what you don’t need if you want to stay healthy because that fatty liver can’t wait to get back on you and cause you problems.
And I do see the effects of the dieting fatigue as we speak: although I managed to lose 40 pounds in these 14 months, I also managed to gain 4 pounds in the last month only, by reducing the amount of exercise I was getting (I am healthy anyway, so why do it?) and allowing me the extra portion and even some of the things that I promised myself to never eat again (fried calamari, anyone?). Fortunately, I am still checking my weight daily – which you should do too in order to avoid getting through what I am going through and I am getting back on track. Because staying healthy is a way of life, not something you do just to right the wrongs so you can then mindlessly splurge once you’re done! No, dealing with a fatty liver and staying healthy is a long term commitment. And here is how I manage to beat dieting fatigue and find the strength to keep on going:
1. I am allowed to cheat once per month and special occasions (holidays, birthdays), usually ending up in maybe once every two weeks. When I cheat, I eat stuff that I won’t normally eat, but without going overboard: I’m not jumping into fries and burgers, but I would eat a few slices of pepperoni pizza and greasy/very sweet stuff. Today is my birthday, so I am having pizza and homemade cake. Once you are back on track, I consider that these cheating days are vital for the long term success of your dieting. Just don’t overdo it!
2. I check and write down my weight daily. This helps me a lot in two ways: first, I see the great effects my exercising and dieting have on my body (as if the mirror wasn’t enough!) but also helps me see when I’m starting to slip in the wrong direction. Now, after 14 months, I am actually sad to see the extra 4 pounds added to my weight compared to one month ago. This gives me the motivation to get back on track and start doing what I have to!
3. I read my body’s signs: now, one month after cheating more than I’d usually allow me to, I can read the bad signs on my body: I am bloated on an almost daily basis, my belly is starting to look full and ugly again and I am starting to feel less comfortable in my skin. I am starting to harm my body again and if I keep going, I’ll get back to where I were – or maybe worse. But I’ve been there and now I know what these signs mean. These signs are my body saying: “Stop, you fool!”
4. I think about my loved ones. It’s no secret that when I was diagnosed with this disease and I heard how it can evolve into really nasty and ugly problems, I started crying. I thought I was going to die and I could only think about my family and especially my then 1 year-old son. I promised myself to never get in that situation again and I am now reminding myself the scene each day. The scene when I felt that my world ended and I prayed to God to give me one more chance and allow me to enjoy more time with my family. The moment when I cried like a little, horrified and terrified baby, like I haven’t done in years. I don’t want to get back there. I have to fight for what I promised myself to get – and mostly managed to get.
It is true that there are so many temptations around us, that there are so many ways our brain works against us and even the loved ones who still enjoy fries and greasy things and icecream and cake and candy, but life is more than getting your belly filled up. Life is more than eating and there are so many other ways to enjoy it! And probably the best way to enjoy life is to know that you are healthy. Fight for your health and never give up! Get past these obstacles, leave them behind and fight for your health! You’re fighting for happiness – and this should be enough to keep you going!
Even though not directly related to fatty liver, I found that watching this motivational video below helps me get back on track. Check it out and it might help you too (and please watch it to the end!):
Have you dealt with “dieting fatigue” since you’ve been diagnosed with a fatty liver? How do you find the power to keep on going and do what has to be done?