Making lifestyle changes: ten ideas to get started

Losing excess weight together with an active lifestyle helps with the management of NASH, but where to begin?

Categories: For Potential Participants, [Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), Diet, Lifestyle changes, Physical activity, Weight loss]

It is alarming to learn you have fatty liver disease. Many newly diagnosed people report having no significant symptoms or even knowing what the condition is. Cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, known as NASH, are rising quickly around the world. In response, new treatment approaches are being evaluated in numerous clinical trials.

As for what doctors typically recommend today as a first course of action, weight loss is near the top of the list. Many people will have heard this before and have the desire to lose weight, but not sure how to start. The mindset is always a good place: every long journey starts with a single step. And small steps achieve the same end as big ones.

If you are thinking about how and where to start in losing weight, here are ten ideas to get you going. 

  1. Write it down. Take pen to paper and make a daily list of goals or action items. Place a checkbox next to each so you can feel the satisfaction of checking each item off. Commit yourself to each goal and do your best to make it happen.
  2. The buddy system. Look at your circle of friends and family neighborhood, and dinner table and ask yourself, who might lean in to adopting some healthier behaviors? From challenging each other on step counts to sharing recipes, who can help make the journey more motivating?
  3. Orchestrate your success. Make sure you have the tools you need and set a realistic timeline for yourself and keep your goals small and obtainable. Identify potential pitfalls ahead for your plan (i.e., a special event with limited food options) and have a strategy to overcome.
  4. Adopt a fitness mindset. When you are out, park in the spot furthest away from the entrance and seek out the stairs. Before you know it, you’ve added an extra 1,000 steps without much additional effort. Actively seek easy opportunities to up your step count.
  5. Check your soles. Invest in a pair of sneakers that provide structure and support. In the warm weather it is tempting to wear sandals or slides which offer bones and muscles little by way of shock absorption. Make a habit of proper footwear and your back and feet will thank you.
  6. Take a stand. If you work at a computer and typically sit for much of the day, look into getting a standing desk or rising display. Decide to stand for one meeting a day, then increase that time as your stamina and comfort improves.
  7. Change the soda habit. Research links soda consumption (high fructose corn syrup) to nonalcoholic fatty disease. Reducing sugary beverage intake by swapping a cola for a sparkling water; this is a strategy that maintains the habit of holding a can and enjoying the sensation of carbonation.
  8. Ask about vitamins. Other research into fatty liver disease indicates that vitamin B12 might help reduce the inflammation of NASH. If you do not take a multivitamin, ask your doctor for advice on adding one into your daily routine.
  9. Have a ball. Think back to the joys of childhood and get outside to throw, catch, kick, hit, and/or pass a ball. Maybe a furry companion might like to tag along.
  10. Reward yourself. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back for your achievements. Put a few dollars away each time you hit a milestone and then reinvest them into your wellness efforts. Get a massage, a new water bottle or hooded fleece.

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