Please note that my client has given permission to release her story as long as no identifying information is released.
My client is a 59 year old woman who was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver. The two main causes of a fatty liver are a) drinking, b) obesity – her cause is the latter. Left untreated it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver however it can be reversed by diet. Furthermore, “treatment is directed at weight loss”. She sought my help to jumpstart this process.
My short term goal with this client is to clean up her eating habits. My long term goal is for her liver results to come back normal in six months.
The Plan: First I removed and threw out all junk food from her cabinets (Fritos, crackers, sugary cereals, etc.) The not-so-healthy food that her husband enjoys was moved to a cabinet that was out of reach and out of sight. I set up seven index cards as a place for her to record everything she puts in her mouth for the first seven days of my program. I also provided her with some basic sample menus ideas. During our consultation she expressed that she doesn’t eat a lot of junk food or mindlessly eat however, given her long history of obesity I thought the exercise of writing everything down for one week may shed some light on where the calories are coming from and help reveal what is contributing to her problem. We touch base everyday or every other day so she can keep me posted on her daily eats/water intake – she’s even been sending me pictures of her food logs and salads! This amount of support may seem like a little much but I find that accountability, immediate feedback and suggestions help keep this particular client on track. Another health concern/complaint are leg cramps which are often so severe that they wake her up in the middle of the night.
1. Increase water intake.
2. Cut out all fried food – no exceptions.
3. Increase vegetable intake by committing to at least one meal-salad a day (either lunch or dinner) and starting the other meal with a vegetable.
By day four she was no longer waking up with leg cramps (because she was no longer dehydrated). On day six I received the following text message: “I have been THINKING before I put something in my mouth – not just eating to eat”. This is huge progress and I’m really proud of her!
Discussion points: After the initial health consultation my intuition was telling me that she may be overestimating the amount of veggies and underestimating the amount of fake food being consumed. Given the feedback I’ve been receiving, food journaling has been a successful tool with getting her on track.
Despite being overweight, a smoker and a cancer survivor, the fatty liver diagnosis is the first medical evidence that has directly linked her weight to a medical condition. We as a population know that being overweight can lead to bad things, we know smoking is horrendous however, the test results / the proof was the wake up call needed for her to seek health coaching help. Working with a client on a health issue that a) focuses on internal health progress which can be seen in test results and b) allows the vanity portion of weight loss to fall by the wayside is something I enjoy. Her progress: to be continued.