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What I’ve Learned During the 6 Months after Being Diagnosed with a Fatty Liver

Today’s article about the things that I’ve learned in the first six months after being diagnosed with NAFLD was written back in 2018. I have updated it a couple of times to keep it as accurate as possible and as useful as possible for you.

It’s actually scary to think about the number of people that get diagnosed with a fatty liver each day. Even though this is unfortunately becoming such a common thing, NAFLD is still downplayed by many doctors and people don’t really know what it is all about.

Over the years, since starting this blog, I met so many people who told me that they had their fatty liver for over a decade. And did nothing about it because their doctors said “everybody has it”. And they got worse.

It’s unbelievable to hear that a trained doctor can ignore such an important disease. Sure, it’s not as bad as many other things out there… but not something to ignore either as it has the potential to get worse if you don’t reverse it.

When I was diagnosed in 2014, I knew absolutely nothing about fatty liver and I was terrified when my doctor told me I can’t reverse it. Best I could do, she said, was to hope it won’t progress into something worse that could become life threatening.

Hearing that at 30 definitely shakes your world and life!

Fortunately, I did my own research and managed to reverse my fatty liver in one year and a half. So it is possible to do it, despite what some doctors say, and more and more people learn that through regular research.

Celebrating success of reversing fatty liver

Today I am sharing an article written by Melissa, one of the moderators of this blog’s Facebook group offering fatty liver support and information (make sure to join it if you haven’t done so already!)

She has been diagnosed with a Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease six months prior to writing this article and, just like most of us, didn’t know that much about this condition.

She was luckier than most as she has experience working in the health industry, but even so there was a lot to learn. (And in the mean time, she managed to fully reverse her fatty liver also!)

She was kind enough to share with us what she has learned during this time and I personally consider this inspiring and 100% accurate.

So read Melissa’s words and understand one important thing: you can do it! You can reverse this! Don’t give up!

Now here is Melissa’s story with NAFLD and the key takeaways from her fight against it:

I was diagnosed in July 2017 with Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. I thought I’d share a synopsis of what I’ve learned over the last 6 months on this crazy journey called liver disease.

1. We’re all terrified upon diagnosis, and many physicians seem dismissing in regards to treatment. Lose weight and exercise.

We’re all kind of left shell shocked with little direction. The terror will subside as you take control and educate yourself. There are no stupid questions. Ask them all.

2. Be insistent that your Dr. explain your specific diagnosis. Then own your diagnosis. People can’t correctly respond to your questions if you they don’t know where you are in the disease process.

3. There is Alcoholic and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. There is NASH, were scarring is forming, then Cirrosshis. There are levels of NASH, and MELD Scores for End Stage Liver Disease requiring transplant.

4. Your liver filters toxins out of your body. When the liver is stressed it will not filter properly leading to inflammation and scarring.

Toxins can be sugar, chemicals, alcohol, antibiotics, viruses, such as Hepatitis A,B, and C, and bacteria. Many people undergoing treatment for cancers, cure the cancer but then end up with liver disease from the toxic treatments.

There are autoimmune issues that can cause liver damage. Alcohol is no longer the most common cause for liver transplant requirements anymore. It’s the common toxins we put in our systems that we never realized could be harmful along with obesity and lack of exercise.

5. Many times fatty liver is discovered by accident when doing an Ultrasound or CAT Scan for something else.

Liver Disease is often silent until so far along that it shows up on lab work, and at that point it’s serious. You’ll see elevated Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Liver enzymes.

6. Liver Disease knows no age limit or geographic boundaries. It’s world wide and becoming epidemic.

7. When caught early, it is reversible with proper diet and exercise.

Fatty Liver: Healthy Eating

8. There is no magic quick fix fad diet, detox, or smoothies. In fact weight loss that is too rapid actually puts more strain on the liver making inflammation worse.

And yes, we all have that achy pain up under our right rib cage that our Drs claim we can’t have.

Proper Diet helps that. Cut out all refined sugar and products that contain them. Cut out over processed foods with preservatives. When the liver is stressed it can not process sugar and turns it into fat and stores it in the liver.

Eat lean meats, bright colorful vegetables and leafy vegetables. Eat whole grains sparingly and cut out all products made with white flour.

Sweeten sparingly with raw honey or pure maple syrup. Eat dairy sparingly. Eat dried beans, legumes, eggs, healthy fats as in olive oil and avocados.

Black coffee, green teas, most herbal teas, and lots of water. You can have sugars that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables.

9. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. I’m up to walking 5 miles a day. Start your exercise routine small and increase in achievable steps. But stick to it and never give up, no matter how hard it gets!

10. Many people diagnosed with liver disease are often diagnosed with other debilitating disease processes first like immune disorders, metabolic disorders, diabetes, inflammatory processes, stomach or reflux problems, IBS, thyroid problems, sleep disorders, sleep apnea, or esophageal varices.

11. It sounds impossible, but many stages of liver disease are reversible. So far I’ve lost 35 pounds, no longer suffer from IBS and reflux, and all of my labs are normal.

Still have another 30 pounds to lose and will return for US at the end of this month. Will continue to be tested over the next 3 months to make sure I continue on track.

The founder of this group did it, I’m doing it, and you can too.

The support from this group is awesome. Never stop asking questions. Never stop seeking answers. Never stop reaching out to help others.

41 Comments

  1. I had found out my fatty liver during a Ultrasound check when all my lab works were normal. And back then i had 90 kgs or so.

    ” In fact weight loss that is too rapid actually puts more strain on the liver making inflammation”

    dont worry my weight loss has being normal and not rapid. So far i have lost down to 73 kgs! in four months and still holding. Normal Diet and walking helps alot πŸ™‚

    My Cholesterol has being normal last year, lets hope for a good health!

    1. Good luck, Branco! You’re definitely on the right track and I am sure you will beat this fatty liver in no time. I am actually sure that you might have already done so!

      1. By the way how many slices of whole grain bread are we allowed to eat? could u make a list? i dont feel like paying those fatty liver guides with a heavy price :/

        Also my friend how do we maintain our weight? or gain the weight the healthy? i would love to hear your take on that one πŸ™‚

      2. I don’t really think there’s a set number. I personally try to eat a maximum of 2 slices per meal, but not more than 5 total slices per day.

        As for maintaining weight, you do it by sticking to the diet πŸ™‚

        1. As for Mlik what do you recommend? since i cant stomach cow milk would goat mlik be a better option?

          I have lost some Muscles and look skinny because of my diet do you recommend i should some weight fitting? i dont want stay skinny forever xD

    2. funny I ate the diet of vegs and all healthy, no weight lost and for the 4 months no alcohol! My numbers went from 39 to 18 so my liver got better then it was. my GFR is still 58, should be above 60! The Bad Cholesterol is still very high! I am not going to worry anymore, they never told me my level, or when your numbers get good, they never say great job, they look at me and say you need to lose weight! I am 140, wear a 10 jean, and well I am old, 67 and I think I am fine!

  2. Hi, I’m writing from Mumbai, India. I was diagnosed with a grade 3 fatty liver over 2 years ago.

    I’ve been on and off diets lost and regained even more weight. And find it very difficult to control my food intake. I love carbs and don’t get a sense of satisfaction till I eat some… πŸ™

    I know it is something I have to do myself but find it very, very hard. In my last ultra sound my liver had increased in size from 18 cm to 22…

    Can anyone help me please?

    1. There’s not much we can do, the ball is in your court. You have to do your best to stick to your diet and completely eliminate carbs if you want to be healthy.

  3. I was in ER feeling really out of it, I had blood in my urine, but neg. for infection, so that I why I went to ER I knew they would run all the tests I needed, I have had bad tests for 5 years, High tri’s and high LDL’s , I work cleaning homes for almost 28 years and the chemicals or terrible! But I do drink, so the 2 combined well not good, they found no blood in urine, but a Cat Scan showed Hepatic Liver!
    So since Thursday the 1th 2018 I have been cramming all I can read! I have cut out all salt, don’t add and that alone is a big one for me, and have started eating a diet plan for healthy Liver!
    So I stopped drinking, not that hard as I thought! Should I be scared as I am?

    1. Nancy, a fatty liver is completely reversible if you stick to the diet and exercise, but it won’t be easy. You can do it!

  4. jumped right on the clean ban wagon been now for 5 days, completely changed my diet!
    the Liver was called Hepatic, I don’t know what it means or how serious it is, tests were not high, about the same as before. I am seeing a urologist Wed. to see what’s up!

  5. Hi, my mother was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis in December 2017, as her abdomen was swollen and she had confusion. After numerous tests and bloodwork her ascities and confusion were tied to liver cirrhosis. She was put on medication to help manage it as well as a low sodium diet. She was doing well, lost a lot of the water weight and got her energy back. But two months later, she started vomiting blood. After more tests, she had esophageal varices. She had two endoscopy banding procedures done since. Since this is all new to us, I wanted to see if you had any information on what I need to ask the DRs or what I need to look out for. Any information would help.

    1. Hello Chris,

      I am really sorry to hear about your mother. Unfortunately, this is the first time that I hear about esophageal varices, so I can’t help on this matter. I hope that your doctors will be able to guide you to treat your mother fast.

  6. I have a fatty liver and have straight away chaged and reduced foods. The only thing i have reduced moblity and suffer with foot pains and exercise is very diffcult.

  7. Hi guys I’m new here..I also found out I had a fatty liver about 2 weeks ago afther going to the emergency room because I keep having pains on my right side..now I’m trying my hardest on eating right no fatty foods or sugers..but I’m getting really tired of drinking my green juices for breafst every morning.. any suggestions?? I also eat white rice at times with liver but is white rice bad to eat!?

    1. Jovana, you can search this website for some breakfast suggestions that I am sure you will find extremely helpful. Also, even though white rice is bad for you, you can still have a bit every now and then (maybe twice a month or fewer). You can also try healthier rice options like red or black rice which is a bit healthier.

  8. I was diagnosed with fatty liver over 3 years ago and the only thing my doctor told me at the time was that I was no longer allowed alcohol. I was at the doctors and had blood work done again, and new doctor said my liver is worse and I didn’t understand because I had cut out alcohol out of my system for so long. The new doctor informed me that the problem was not from alcohol but from hi-cholesterol. Had this been explained 3 years ago maybe it could have been corrected by now. However I have made a life style change and on the road to better health. I notice all of you refer to fixing this is diet and exercise but a diet ends and a life style change is forever and that’s what we need not a diet so we go back to the same problem over and over again. So make a life style change and make that change that exercise a part of that change and we can all be healthy again.

    1. Exactly, well said! We have to completely change our way of living in order to reverse it and stay healthy afterwards as well.

  9. Hi everyone
    From my recent ultrasound scan, i found out that I have grade 1 fatty liver.
    Im very upset about it. Im 18 and have a normal, healthy BMI
    I dont drink ( Not even soft drinks) and I don’t consume much junk food either.
    The thing I’m guilty of is having a sedentary lifestyle.
    The doctor said its not much of a concern but I really want to cure this and I just want to be healthy.
    The article is great and I would really appreciate any more advice on what to do, as I am very much upset with this revelation

    1. If your diet is indeed not the problem (maybe you are eating much sugar or foods high in fat? or maybe highly processed foods?), then the only thing to do is to start excersing. A bit of exercise does make wonders, although I do believe there should be something about the foods that you eat which caused it.

  10. I was so glad that Melissa’s post mentioned the achy pain under right rib cage. I have that symptom too, but after reading quite a bit had not found any other mention of it with fatty liver. As Melissa says too, Dr. does not seem to believe.
    I wonder how long it takes Melissa to walk five miles each day?
    Should I reach for more intense workout or is medium-fast walking ok? Thank you.

    1. Janice,

      Doctors usually say that the liver itself does not hurt (which is probably true). But as our fatty livers are enlarged, they press on other organs and that’s what causes the pain – this is the explanation that makes most sense.

      Regarding the walking and workout sessions – the faster you go, the better as more intense workouts help burn more fat.

  11. Hi all
    I am new to this forum and just found out Friday 10/19/2018 I have Fatty Liver Disease and Thyroid nodules.
    I am not sure what stage I am in and have an appointment on Monday to see my family doctor.
    They found this with an abdomen ultrasound and blood work. The nurse who told me I had this condition asked me to schedule an appointment with a Gastro specialist. I have extreme pain in my abdomen and find that when I sit to long it is painful. I don’t drink alcohols am about 80 pounds overweight but love carbs and don’t work out. I have been searching the Internet for informatuo when stumbling onto this page. This started because I went to my family doctor about having difficulty swallowing and stomach pain. I had Boo’d drawn, stool examined , a barium swallow which the doctor at hospital said I was swallowing fine and a thyroid and abdomen ultrasound. I also was asked to see an ear nose and throat specialist. He stuck a tube down my nose and said he saw inflammation in the throat but no polyps. He thinks it’s acid reflux and prescribe a medicine called protix. I was also scheduled for an upper GI scope but the ENT specialist said to wait until we try this medicine first. I haven’t started it yet and am going to wait until I speak to my doctor since it sounds like it’s all related. Can anyone explain the stages? Or have suggestions as to where to start to get healthy? Thanks

    1. This is a bit more difficult since there are other problems involved as well. I am not a doctor and I believe that in this case, it’s best to leave it to the specialists.

      I am sure that a proper diet won’t hurt at all – on the contrary, but apart from that, I can’t say more, unfortunately. So start eating as healthy as possible (considering not just the fatty liver, but the thyroid problems and acid reflux as well – these limit your options quite a bit) and thoroughly discuss everything with your doctors, then maybe see a dietician if not satisfied or you still have questions.

  12. Hello,
    I have a question about almond and almond butter. I have stage 3 fatty liver and I have lost 50pounds
    My liver heals a little but I still have pain under my rips.
    I eat a lot of almond butter it’s actully helped me to lose the weight however my friend telling me that it has a lot of fat and might hurt my liver
    Is that true ?
    Please help

    1. It is true that almond butter has a lot of fat, but since you lost 50 pounds, I believe you’re safe to eat it. Try not to eat a lot of it, though. The pain under the right rib will go away eventually. It just takes time – imagine that it took years for your liver to get into stage 3, it won’t heal completely over night. But you are doing great so keep it up!

  13. Upto what stage of fatty liver is reversible? Is it even possible to reverse fatty lever once it enters into NASH stage?
    Waiting for your reply Lynn

  14. So, I’m on month number four of strange under-the-ribs (back and front) pain. From time to time, I take two Aleve before bed, and the pain subsides for almost 24 hours. Sonogram of liver, not much to report. Liver enzymes whipsawing back and forth for the last four tests over the last four months. Cholesterol….a little bit above average. The pain is sometimes under the front rib (more of discomfort), then under the back rib (feels like someone pushing their thumb in my back) and sometimes on my side (like the old stitch you’d get from running). Sometimes it’s just a strange “nervy” sensation. No issues with urine discoloration or stool issues. I haven’t really changed my diet yet…..though I guess I’m going to have to try that since there seems to be some escalation. I’m going to have a CAT scan next. This side ache is annoying, distressing and panic creating! ANY IDEA HOW LONG IT WOULD TAKE FOR PAIN TO GO AWAY IF I MADE THE CHANGE???? Sincerely……Mr. Liver Worst!

    1. It won’t go away if you don’t change your diet. You should start seeing improvements as fast as 1-2 weeks after starting the diet, but how long it will take basically depends on how advanced your fatty liver is and how fast it heals.

      So it could be anything between a couple of months to a couple of years. But things will get better fast, the discomfort will become less and less noticeable and eventually it will only occur every now and then before disappearing completely. So even if “a couple of years” might seem a lot, it won’t be a constant pain like you’re experiencing now: it will get better and better over time, until it will disappear completely.

      But do change your diet and stick to it. That’s the only way to do it – the anti-pain medication you’re taking is probably putting your liver under even more pleasure, making things worse in the long term.

  15. How fast is rapid to lose weight? I am in grade one with elevated one of the liver enzymes. I had already started loosing weight when I found out about my liver. In decreases it from 83 to 75 KGs in about 2 months. Which is about 4 KGs per month. It is a good pace or fast?

    1. I would say that it was a good speed to lose weight. You will most likely slow down now – don’t worry about that either! Just get to your ideal weight and stay there.

  16. I read cane sugar was good for your liver…right. does bad everyday diarrhea , go with having a fatty liver? TY. Dianna

  17. Hi
    I have some questions. Does a person having a NAFLD always overweight?
    When you have this disease do people get a few pimple that is itchy but not with puss and it goes away within a day or two. Please let me know if anyone has this problem. I noticed also that my ankle are red like a rash but it’s not itchy is that from that non alcoholic fatty liver disease? Looking forward for all answers. Thank you

    1. Suzanne, not all people with a fatty liver are overweight, but most (or many) are. However, if you are not overweight, you can still have a fatty liver. Regarding your problems, I heard of people having rashes like the ones that you describe and they were considering they were related to the fatty liver, but it could also be an allergic reaction or something else. Probably it’s best to take that to your doctor.

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