5 Things We Can Do About Weight Gain When Taking Prednisone
What can we do about the weight gain? Here is my plan. So far it’s worked for me. In my heart I know I could have gained a hell of a lot more at this point. I’ve been working hard to just keep the madness down to the occasional Oreo orgy.
1. Start with patient maintenance. This is a most important thing. If your on a high dose of prednisone don’t stress yourself out trying to lose weight. You are taking the stuff because you are sick so pay attention to that. See your doctor, follow directions, take the damn tests, blah, blah, blah… and when you can, pamper yourself. Let others pamper you too.
The best you can do when you are in the higher doses is to keep a food journal just to maintain and keep the habit. Just by writing down what goes into your mouth you subconsciously reduce the amount you eat, even a little. Besides, you will need this habit later when you can and want to lose weight, so may as well start now if you’ve never done it before. Be honest, which can be hard when what you ate in one day could feed a whole colony of hungry hungry hippos.
2. Choose your food thoughtfully. Avoid salt and simple carbs. Embrace fruits and vegetables. Not only are these foods lower calorie tummy fillers, they are packed with antioxidants, nature’s own anti-inflammatory. When my appetite was at its most wicked worst I binged on stuff like French fries, sure, but there were also occasions when I binged on fruit. Weird but true.
3. Exercise. If you can, if your illness allows it, try to move every day. Twenty minutes to half an hour of some kind of exercise will keep your metabolism revved up and keep your muscles from going to mush. I find mixing up activities, from walking, riding my stationary bike, yoga, weight training, keeps me from getting bored. And I’m lucky; my body likes it. You may need to talk with your doctor about this. You may need a physical therapist to recommend a routine. Don’t let this hurdle stop you, though, please. Also don’t do aerobic exercise in the evening. You need your rest.
4. Plan meals, plan snacks, plan mini-meals, whatever your style is – Plan It! The more you plan ahead, and shop accordingly, the less apt you are to succumb to gotcha! eating. Do not have a bag of sea-salted, kettle-fried chips in the cupboard! I do not care how many teenagers are in the house insisting they need this basic food group.
5. Count calories Phase 2. As the dosage is tapered down you will begin to feel more in control of your appetite. Start lowering your calorie budget a little at a time. The app on my iPhone called Lose It! lets me adjust my calorie budget so that I don’t stress myself out restricting my calories beyond what I can realistically manage. My Fitness Pal is another popular program.
The good news is that at the lower doses the insanity of the worst side effects ease their grip. The thing I find the most challenging is to believe that this is temporary. The weight-loss I fought so hard for over the last two years is my permanent, natural place to be. It may take several months, it might be years, but I can’t wait to be whining about those extra five pounds again. What about you? Have you been dealing with the side effects of prednisone? Have you had any success managing your weight on it? Perhaps you have a completely different perspective. Please share your thoughts.