Back in September 2014, almost one month after I was diagnosed with a fatty liver, I launched this blog, convinced that I have what it takes to reverse the condition and get healthy again. Internet is amazing and you can find a lot of help if you want to and you know what to search for: I am saying this because my gastroenterologist at the time told me that I can’t reverse fatty liver and all I can do is keep it at the current levels and hope it won’t turn into cirrhosis and/or even worse.
I will surely remember for the rest of my life that moment – it was the moment when I felt that I was going to die. Literally. I went home and started crying. This is how bad doctors can ruin your life.
So I went online. I spent days, I spent weeks learning about fatty liver, how it works and, most importantly, the great news for me: how it can be reversed. I found a new doctor who indeed told me that I can reverse that if I follow a diet and lose weight and change my lifestyle and that’s exactly what I started doing. And now, 1.5 years later, after my latest visit to my new doctor, I received my great news: I no longer have a fatty liver. I managed to reverse NAFLD!
I hope that everybody who suffers from this reads this article and realizes that IT IS POSSIBLE. It can be done and the feelings that you get when you hear your doctor say: “your liver is clean, everything looks normal” is impossible to describe in words. I managed to do it and I did it just because I wanted to. I didn’t listen to the first doctor that said I can’t cure that, I didn’t care about anything else and stayed focused on my goal: that of losing weight, eating healthy and getting rid of this fatty liver. And I did. But it wasn’t easy.
Yes, it is true that just like most of the people out there, I love to eat. I love to eat all sorts of food, food that is bad for your health, food that gives me comfort. Before being diagnosed with a fatty liver, I didn’t eat to survive, I eat for the taste of it, I ate to feel good. I also drank alcohol moderately, again to feel good. I couldn’t imagine going out and having fun if there was no alcohol involved: I mostly drank beer and not a lot of it because I do get drunk quickly, but I still drank. I was fat. I was obese. I didn’t care. I didn’t care because I didn’t know what that all means.
And then my NAFLD diagnose came and and my entire world changed. My entire life changed. I realized that I have a family to take care of, I have a young son (he was just 1.5 years old at the time) that I want to see grow into a fine adult, I have a life that I want to live longer. And that was the moment when I changed everything about how I live and that was what saved me.
After reading a ton on this matter, I decided to build my own diet, based on the Mediterranean Diet: I still ate moderate amounts of cheese and other dairy products (Even though most people think that they should ban them), but I have NEVER EVER touched anything that was deep fried or very high in fat. I reduced my intake of sugar by probably 90% and today I don’t eat sugar at all, except from the sugar that’s in the store-brought products (and I am always sure to check out the numbers and make sure that they’re low). I am talking here about refined sugar (or brown sugar), as I am still taking a fair amount of carbs from fruits (I eat a lot of those now) and I use raw honey as a sugar substitute. But still, everything is about 70% less sweet than what I used to eat in the past. And trust me, the food is still good.
Talking about sugar, I should say that I recently ate a chocolate cake bought from the store: it seemed so sweet that it was gross. That was my favorite chocolate before I got a fatty liver. That was the kind of crap I was always eating and most of us do. We hit ourselves with tons of sugars and tons of fats which do nothing but please us, but take our health instead. That’s not a fair deal so please always have that in mind!
I believe that my diet was 90% of my reversing of the NAFLD. I stopped drinking alcohol completely. I did not drink, taste, take a sip of any type of alcohol for the past 1.5 years and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Going out and having great deals of fun is still possible and it’s even better: I always have a clear head, there are no hangovers the next morning, it’s really incredibly good!
I wrote more about the diet here (linking to it again), but the basics are pretty common sense: eat everything that’s healthy, home cook your own food from real ingredients, eat less and use less fat and less sugar (ideally, no sugar at all). I am eating a ton of vegetables, I am eating a ton of fruit and very, very small amounts of meat even though I started to eat a bit more lately (I am always careful to eat the leanest meat possible, though). My general rule of thumb was that I am allowed to eat any type of food that’s not completely unhealthy (like fried foods) in moderation. And I think that’s the secret: eat a bit of everything to have a great diet, but don’t eat too much fat and/or too much sugar. It’s as simple as that!
I also started going to the gym and I did it pretty irregularly, unfortunately. I try to go there three times a week, but I also had large breaks during the 1.5 years since being diagnosed. Still, I believe that the gym helps you a lot, even though you will honestly lose most of your weight from the change of diet alone, especially if you are like me: I spend about 50-90 minutes at the gym, and that’s not a lot. But it helps, so do it: not necessarily for losing weight, but for getting back in shape. You will feel amazing, trust me!
I lost, since I was diagnosed, about 44 pounds. I am still planning to lose 6.5 pounds more because I want to be as thin as possible and because I feel amazing in my new body. However, these last pounds are really difficult to lose: I think I only lost 1 pound in the past couple of months. But I’m not in a hurry. I will get there, slowly and let my body accept the new lifestyle change. I will get there. You can get there too.
I did have problems adjusting to the new lifestyle and my new way of eating. The first couple of months were very difficult because food didn’t taste just as good, because I had cravings. My body was begging me to feed it sugars and fried stuff, but I said no. I didn’t allow myself to go hungry for too long and I always had some snacks around. I didn’t want to lose it after a few weeks and risk it all – but even without going hungry I was still losing a ton of weight EACH DAY. That’s because, even though I was eating a ton of vegetables and fruits, I was still way under the tons of calories that I was feeding my body before: hamburgers, candy, cakes, greasy and fat stuff… so you DON’T have to go hungry to reverse it! You won’t starve and trust me, after the first month or two, you will love your new way of eating.
I now look at large steaks, at french fries and I hate them. I feel sorry for the people who eat them constantly and I look around and I observe that everybody around me is overweight. That is unhealthy – but just like I was before getting sick, the people don’t know or don’t care. The system gets our money, gets us sick and allows us to die. But we die with the impression of happiness, because we had that great burger that packed 2,500 calories alone. Now I look at that burger that I used to consider the yummiest thing in the world and all I can feel is disgust. That’s not food. That’s illness.
But I did cheat, don’t get me wrong! I couldn’t have made it without cheating. Not in the first few months, but I did cheat. I love pizza, so I allowed myself to eat some pizza every now and then. But even then, I made sure to go for the one with fewer toppings and less fats (I usually go for the vegetarian one which still tastes good, especially after you get used with all the vegetables). I did eat a couple of times at KFC. I did eat large portions at some parties, I had cookies. I was very close of slipping away from my plan this Christmas when all the goodies and the food and the people’s mood around me was different and I gain four extra pounds during the holidays. But I just considered this a small bump in the road. I got back on track and back to eating healthy. And I still do.
I got the great news that I managed to reverse fatty liver almost two weeks ago. I didn’t want to rush and write about it, I wanted to let it settle in a bit otherwise this article would’ve had a completely different tone. I was excited and I believe I had all the rights to be so, but there is one very important thing to keep doing: remain the new you, even after reversing it. Even though cured, I believe that my liver – and that goes for everybody who has this problem – now is weakened a bit. The fatty liver can come back if we change our diets again. And I was afraid I might do that – but I didn’t. I understand the risks and I won’t do it – I no longer consider my NAFLD diet a diet, but a better way of living. I am living healthy, I am feeling a million times better, I love to look at my thin body in the mirror… why change that?
The disease was not the fatty liver. I was the disease and my body had no other way to tell me that. It told me and I listened. You can do to. And have faith – if you do, your body will react. You will reverse your fatty liver. You will get healthy again. Maybe it will happen faster than in my case, maybe it will be slower. But you will reverse it. I did it, everybody can! NEVER forget that!
PS: If you have any questions for me or suggestions for articles that I should write, let me know in the comment section below – I want to be as helpful as possible!