Love Yer Liver

I have thought for several years that I might have liver issues of some sort or another, and done a few things to improve liver health (dandelion tea here and there, milk thistle on occasion – especially while pregnant, etc.) but it was not until a few days ago that I realized it might by my liver’s fault that I am not losing weight!

I began Trim Healthy Mama in earnest in early 2013. It took me about 5 months to lose 17 pounds. That’s not fast weight loss, but I wasn’t complaining. I did join the THM “Turtle” group to be around others that were losing weight slowly. I became pregnant in May of 2013 and had a wonderful THM pregnancy. I ate so much food, so much healthy food, and only gained 17 pounds back! The baby was well-nourished and happy too. Then post-partum hit. I always gain weight during post-partum days, but I had hoped being on THM would be different.

I’ve done THM off and on in the 10 months since giving birth. It seems like my M.O. is to go about 6 to 8 weeks 95% on plan, only to realize I’m not losing weight at all (or to the tune of 3 pounds by the end of 8 weeks). At that point, I tend to think, “Why eat so carefully if it’s not helping me lose weight? Bring on the pizza and McDonald’s and sugar.” And then I feel really gross, and usually gain a lot – like 5-6 pounds in a few days! Then I’ll go back to about 75% on plan and stay there for awhile. Unfortunately, I’m up to full pregnancy weight at this point, plus 1 or 2 pounds depending upon the day.

It’s discouraging.

And because I’m not consistent, I wonder if it is my fault by not doing THM well enough, or if something is wrong with my body. Lots of women claim they just cannot lose weight while nursing. I figured that must be it, and I would resign myself to wait until my hormones normalized a bit. But not having the hope of weight loss definitely makes it easier to cheat.

And then, someone posted this gem on the THM Turtle Facebook page: 3 Steps to Reverse a Slow-Metabolism. (It’s worth a read if you’ve ever struggled with losing weight.) The article in general is promoting eating healthily, not neglecting good carbs (THM E meals), and finding out if there are hidden problems sabotaging your weight loss. One of the possible problems is that your liver may not working properly. Out of the 17 Signs of Impaired Liver Detox, I recognized the following:

  • Sensitive to chemicals (tobacco smoke, fumes, perfume, cleaning agents, etc.)
  • Pain between the shoulder blades (off and on for years)
  • Stomach upset by greasy foods (especially before THM – not at all when I eat on plan)
  • History of nausea, motion sickness, or morning sickness
  • Headache over the eyes (occasionally)
  • Gallbladder attacks (several years ago I thought I was having gallbladder issues but the ultrasounds showed it was fine. I went gluten-free for 2 years and that seemed to stop the attack-like symptoms from happening.)
  • Bitter taste in the mouth, especially after meals (not all the time, but occasionally)
  • Become sick or easily intoxicated if drinking wine (wine makes me feel like crud!)
  • Varicose veins (worse during pregnancy)
  • NutraSweet (aspartame) consumption (faithfully and daily, for over 20 years)

Um, that’s kind of a lot. And I may or may not have left out symptoms that were a bit gross to mention. I’m also sensitive to MSG, another symptom of liver problems.

In just a bit of web research, it turns out that getting back on to Trim Healthy Mama at a 99% on-plan rate might significantly help me. For example, Diet Coke and french fries hurt my liver? Whoops. These are 2 items I have not fully let go of over the 2 years of trying out THM! And, according to Love Your Liver of Austraila, almonds, oats, blueberries, salmon, tea, yogurt, broccoli, and spinach will all improve the quality of my liver function! Each of these ingredients is a star player in the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating!

A few ideas I’ll focus on over the next couple months:

1) Ditch Diet Coke! (Interestingly, I’ve been feeling badly about my Diet Coke addiction recently and decided to take at least 5 months aspartame-free – just about 11 days ago now. How encouraging to think I’ve already, accidentally, made a step toward liver health!)

2) Add in good fruits, especially those with Vitamin C. (I will try to have one E meal each day, and include a fruit with it whenever possible. We have mandarins from my mom and dad right now – yummy!)

3) Add more non-inflammatory proteins. (I will buy and consume beef gelatin, and more fish. Eggs are already on the menu quite a bit.)

4) I will drink Earth Milk, 4 quarts a week (recipe only found in Trim Healthy Mama book – basically juiced greens with oolong tea).

5) I will drink at least 1 quart of Good-girl Moonshine a day (basic and caramel apple). (One of the articles stated that malic acid in apple cider vinegar would help with liver strengthening – and GGMS is yummy! Another article stated that ginger heals the liver, so I’ll be sure to pick the original GGMS which includes ginger at least 50% of the time.)

6) Add in a few supplements. (After Christmas rolls around and we have a bit of money, I’ll order more milk thistle. I have stinging nettle in the cupboard already and will get to using it starting today. I have lots of loose-leaf herbs from my pregnancy tea and plan to drink some of that concoction daily as well (a mix of raspberry leaf, peppermint, rose hips, dandelion, and bilberry). If I were purchasing now, I’d stick with raspberry and dandelion to get the most bang for my buck, but bilberry helps with varicosities and rose hips is full of Vitamin C, so I don’t think they’ll hurt!)

7) Add in beef liver. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, so now seems a good time. I’m going to try to find a good local source of real liver, but if I can’t, I’ll try supplements.

Words cannot express how delighted I am that perhaps I do have something I can DO to lose weight! Not only is there something I can do, much of it will be taken care of just by me being more faithful to the Trim Healthy diet I already love!

To your health and mine!