View Full Version : Question about weight loss and PREDNISONE

09-09-2004, 10:50 PM
I have had the worst time loosing weight. In fact I seem to just gain gain gain and gain :mad: I know that the prenisone tends to cause a lot of people problems with their weight. It's stressful to me. I am down to 5mgs a day. Althou I have been on way higher doses. Sometimes up over a 100m a day. That's when I packed on all the pounds. In fact I was up to 100 pounds over my normal 140 pound weight. I lost a lot of when my doses went down. :wink: Still, I am 60 pounds over weight. I have joined weight watchers in an effort to loose the pounds. I do as much physical activity as I can. While in flares I can't fo much in the way of exercise. I put an extra 10 to 15lbs during these times. This is also when I take extra prednisone. So my question is has anyone found a good way to combat this :?:Or am I just dommed to live a life over weight. I keep clothes in 4 sizes all for different doses of prednisone. I keep hoping to go off this med completly but chances are I won't ever. Any help will help a lot and thanks ahead of time, Lucy

09-10-2004, 11:36 AM
Hi Lucy - I would like to be able to tell you that prednisone and weight gain are exclusive of one another, but unfortunately they pretty much go hand in hand :cry: . As you have noticed, a reduction in the amount of prednisone also corresponded with weight loss. I have not been able to find a sure fire wheight loss strategy or program for patients on prednisone. I can offer you some suggestions about weight management, perhaps some of them will work for you. First, you might want to consider consulting with a nutritionist in order to begin a healthy weight loss program. Some low stress exercise should help, like walking, swimming or stretching. Exercise can also improve your breathing if begun slowly. Consult with your medical provider before starting any exercise, to see if you can handle this. You should start slowly and be sure that you are under medical supervision at all times.
Here are a few diet tips for weight loss:
*You don't have to finish your plate
*Reduce the quantity of late night meals and snacks, and this will help with weight loss
*Snacking may cause weight gain if snacks are consumed in a non-hungry state.
*Reduce calorie dense foods, they are the most likely source of weight gain
*Substitute Stevia, the no calorie natural sweetener, for sugar.
*Reduce any sugared drinks, such as iced teas and soft drinks. Dilute fruit juices with water.
*Add a teaspoon of sugar-free psylliumpowder (found in all grocery stores) to a glass of water and drink it with each meal. Psyllium absorbs a lot of water and gives you a sense of fullness.
*Eat more protein during the day and reduce intake of simple carbohydrates.
*Find activities, hobbies, sports, games, or work that you enjoy doing, so you won't be thinking about food as a primary source of pleasure.
*Exercise is one of the best things you can do for weight loss. Find an activity that you enjoy.
Some people say that eating half of a grapefruit three times per day before meals appears to help people with weight loss. Moreover, regular grapefruit-eaters experienced a decrease in insulin, which in excess can increase the risk of weight gain and cardiovascular problems.
Modifying the consumption of different food-groups may keep body weight from creeping up over time, new research suggests. The six-year study found that adults who boosted their intake of fruit during the research period put on less weight and body fat than those whose fruit consumption dipped. The same benefit was seen among men and women who started drinking more skim or low-fat milk, or who cut back on fatty foods. Although high-fat, Atkins-style diets have been advocated for weight loss, the new study provides evidence that over the long-term, relatively high fat intake promotes weight gain, according to lead author Vicky Drapeau. The findings support the standard public health recommendation that adults eat more fruits and vegetables and limit fat intake.,
If you maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularily and keep your body as fit as possible, you should not worry about your weight gain. If your weight gain affects your health and if you become inactive, then it will be seen as a problem.
You may, one day, be able to be taken off of prednisone - or at least have the dosage reduced to an amount where you can manage your weight satisfactorily. In the meantime, if the prednisone is helping you with your disease and reducing and/or eliminating serious health problems, consider that a small blessings.
I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted on your progress!
Peace and Blessings

09-11-2004, 09:02 PM
Thanks for the info. I think I will try to eat a grapefruit a day at breakfast and dinner to see if that helps. I was told though early on to avoid any of the sugar subs because the have been linked to lupus flares. I stear clear of most of them. I drink far to much soda. O am a coke classic freak :oops: and I know its not good for me. I am also bad at eating regular meals and sorta just snack whenever I feel hungry. I find I rarely eat food till after 1pm as I am not hungry. I try to limit the junk I eat. But, not cut myself off from anything so I don't feel deprived. Weight Watchers has helped me in the past to loose but I never loose more than 20 pounds. So I am always still 30 to 40 pounds over weight. I hope to someday gt back into my size 7-9 but it seems so impossiable. I know through the WW program to make small goals as to not get overwhelmed. But, still feel like I am going to be a fat person forever. Plus people don't seem to believe me that people on prednisone have trouble with weight. They think I am using it as an excuse not to loose. It's kind of self defeating. I need all the support I can during these hard times. Plus I am headed right into another flare. So chances are I will be taking more prednisone. Thanks again Lucy

09-18-2004, 08:26 AM
Hi Lucy :lol:
Hang in there...yes, you have a harder battle with your weight because of the prednisone. However, you have done your homework in that you have identified your problem areas (concerning food). I know that through WW, you have been taught all of the little secrets of weight management (like eating a good breakfast, reduce snacking throughout the day, eat dinner earlier in the evening, eat fruit instead of sweets, etc. etc.). Keep following their advise, eliminate the sodas (very high in sugar content which is notorious for turning into fat) and try to drink lots and lots of water. Force yourself to exercise, even if you can only do 10 minutes at a time, if you do that 2-3 times per day, you are getting great benefits! Even if the 10 minutes is just a short walk!!!
I wish you all of the best and please know that you are not alone!!

Peace and Blessings

09-20-2004, 07:28 PM
how fast after you start decreasing the prednisone do people typically start losing weight? i am now down to 15mg as of last week. started at 80mg at the end of may. i have gained about 55 pounds during this time. it's terrible. and i also wonder when this moon face will go away. i hope i will not be on prednisone forever, because it makes me miserable. i worked out 5 times a week (step aerobics and running) before this Lupus diagnosis. now i still exercise, and it feels like it's going to kill me everytime, and of course i can't workout the way i used to. i cry a lot, because my body has freaked out on me. the worst part is the back pain that i have. i can only think that it has to be from that rapid weight gain in my stomach...my back muscles just can't support it. i only drink water all day...it's pretty easy for me, because one (or several) of my NUMEROUS meds gives me dry mouth. but even at 15mg, i still feel terribly hungry like i've never been before in my life. i keep wondering when that part is going to go away, (although it's much better than when i was on 80mg--back then i had some sort of food in my mouth all day and night long!!!!) i'm new to all of this, and if you can't tell from my post....i'm a WRECK! this has really interrupted my life. i went from an optimistic HAPPY girl to being very depressed.

09-20-2004, 08:23 PM

I know your pain like it was my own. I have been where you are. In the early days of my illness I gained 100 pounds in just a few months. I thought I was going to die! Sometimes I still feel very defeated. I have 60 pounds to go to get back to my pre-lupus weight. I can't seem to even get close :cry: I have got down to 165 at one point. I was 140 when this all started. At 200 pounds I feel like a whale on my good days. :roll:

The lower you go on prednisone the fewer side effects you should have. Like the night sweats for me nearly stopped after 15mgs a day. The angry wanna destroy something feelings seemed to disapear at about 25-35mgs daily. The moon face goes away around 15mgs a day for me....though this varies from person to person. Some people seem to have far more side effects than others. Some have very few side effects no matter how much prednisone they take.

The post from the moderater posted to my first question has some very useful info on how to try and control some of the weight gain. I also joined weight watchers as a means of accountability. Going with a friend also helps. Extra support is very important also. The more supportive people you surround yourself with, the better you will feel about yourself.

I am sorry that you are going through this. It's very frightening and very stressful. Talk to your doctor. They may also have some ideas for you. They may also be able to help you with the depression. They may prescribe you anti-depressants. I am not sure how long you have been sick or how long you have be depressed.

I hope this was of a little comfort for you. Please keep posting and getting support when you feel down. Here is a good place to find answers. Hang in there lots of ~HUGGS~ Lucy

09-21-2004, 04:27 AM
I lost 100 pounds in one year while on prednisone. I started in a 24-26W and now am an 8-10....I was supposed to have gastric bypass surgery and my husband was against it. He insisted that I try to diet, really try, before I did it. Well, whaddya know it worked, and yes I did consider putting the weight I had lost back on to have the gastro...but here is how I did it. The first month, I was on 900 calories a day. The reason for this drastic move was to shrink my stomach, how much it would hold so that I would not be hungry and over eat. It was awful....but it worked. I was so strict that I wouldn't even use a cough drop, didn't want the 15 extra calories. The trick was, after the first month I bumped it to 1000-1200 calories a day. BUT, one day a week on my days off I would go out to eat, and eat whatever I wanted. If I could just make it to the one day, I was ok. And, now it took less for me to feel full so I wouldn't cheat too badly. If you can handle Olean, snack on WOW potato chips. There is a HUGE difference between WOW and Baked Lays, the WOW chips average 70 calories for a bowl...now consider, a can of coke is equal to 2 bowls of WOW chips, and will not fill you up so switch to diet. If you want me to write out exactly what I did feel free to email me at juliekent@bellsouth.net.

09-21-2004, 08:07 AM
Julie, Congrats to you for such successful weight loss!!! That is amazing without being on prednisone. To think you did it while taking prednisone!!!

Lucy, Thank you so much it is encouraging to see that other people have had to endure this, and that I'm not the only one. I can relate to being mad, I have felt so irritable all the time!! I used to want to punch the mirror every day when I was getting ready. I have already been prescribed anti-depressants. Hard for me to tell if they are working, I guess I do cry less. My mom and several friends have suggested counseling. Of course I feel like I'm already overwhelmed by my busy life--one more commitment-can't do it, and my medical bills are too much as it is!! But maybe I'm just making excuses.

I am going to a new Rheumatologist this friday, and I'm excited about that, because I feel like the one I have been seeing doesn't listen. I also want to ask if anybody feels like standing up is so hard...my legs feel like they are rubber bands...very tight, is the only way I know how to describe it. It's so hard for me to stand up waiting in line at the grocery store, etc. I also feel clumsy...trip sometimes. I'm not aware of my new size, and I have to do a double-take if I see myself in the mirror. Who is that person? Has anyone tried water aerobics? Of course that would mean getting into a bathing suit...which would mean shopping for one that fits!! Oh shopping, that used to be one of my favorite activities!!! I can't believe I was wearing a bikini in May!
Okay maybe it just helps to write it down! Especially to people who understand vs. people who think I'm making excuses for being fat, tired, etc!

09-21-2004, 09:06 AM
Bathing suites! Yes, I remember fondly wearing slinky cute little numbers. But not anymore. I simply find a basic black one peice. I have done both water arobics and water physical therapy. It feels wonderful. As long as you find a theraputic pool. Meaning well heated pool otherwise you my find that you are to stiff. It's like being in a big bathtub! When I was in water arobics I was with a group of mostly 60-somethings. They were all very kind and fun. I went with a girlfriend who has a degenerative knee disease. We had a great time!

Juliepoo, yes huge congrats to you on you succsesful weight loss! You did it! Wow. I know you must feel great! What doses of prednisone were you taking during the weight loss? I was wondering if you still carried water weight? The moon face? All symptoms I can't seem to shake. Plus I am still breastfeeding and cannot go on such a low cal diet. As she eats what I eat. I wish I could eat WOW chips. However I have severe IBS and those seem to only aggravate that condition. :mad:

I was also told by my rheummie to avoid artafical sweeteners. As they have been linked to many health problems including lupus flares. Basically I need to cut back on the junk. I know that. Doing is a harder thing. It's very hard on a very limited income to prepare seperate meals for me. I must eat what the rest of my VERY large family eats. I have gone to eating on smaller plates to cut down on my serving sizes. I guess I just need to do better.

Anyhow , thanks everyone for responding. Prednisone or not I am going to make the best of what I have been given :P ~Lucy

09-24-2004, 08:43 PM
hi lucy

i too know the tortures of the weight gain with prednisone. i personally did the atkins diet and exercised. i lost 50 pounds in less than 6 months. if your kidney function is normal this would be an excellent diet to speak to your doctor about. prednisone is really a pain in that area but as a whole it's one of the absolute BEST drugs in getting our flares down QUICKLY when you compare it to allllll the other drugs used to treat lupus. everything else takes a while to work-prednisone works pretty darn quick! i really hope this helps. good luck to you!

09-26-2004, 11:25 PM
Hi, I too went through the whole Prednisone BLAH period. I gained 60 pounds in 3 months - unheard of for my size 4 frame. And of course, had to be around the time of my wedding, yeah!!!

I did go off the Prednisone, tapered off and went on Methotrexate (chemo) injections, which has it's own demons as well. None of these medications are great but I had tons of the mood altering and didn't sleep for days on end etc on Prednisone and bone density etc...

But, anyway, the good news is that I lost it all, healthy!!! I just ate healthy, healthy and exercised as I could and drank a only water. I ate NOTHING past 7:30pm at all until the next morning.

My food basically consists of a sugar free or low sugar cereal for breakfast with some strawberries on top and 1% milk. Lunch is usually homemade soup, a turkey sandwich on 100%whole wheat bread and I'll have an apple with that or something and a healthy dinner just smaller portions. Snacks for me are usually yogurt, granola and fruit salad, a boiled egg or something small but healthy.

At first I REALLY limited sugar, processed foods, all beverages other then water, obviously high fat, high carb foods. I just watched what I ate and ate less of it and now I'm good weight wise.

Since then, I have run in to some gastro problems - nausea - completely seperate and so am trying to keep some weight on but my problem with Prednisone was over 2 years ago and I'm happy those days are over!

09-27-2004, 08:34 AM

I'm so glad you have been able to get off the prednisone. I have always hoped I'd be able to get off it myself. I have been on it now I guess 5 years w/o a skipped day and the 3 years before that on and off, well mostly on. My rheumy seems to think I will continue on some form of prednidone for the rest of my life. I have had to triple my dose recently do to a new flare and I think I will have to go on another chemo type drug. I did MTX almost 3 years. But it's been 3 years since I was on it last. I had a good run!~ I have to admitt I am trying super hard to limit my "junk" foods and sodas but I find it very hard when I want to eat everything in site. And, the prednisone dose just goes up and up, as does my never failing weight gain :mad: Thanks for the encouragement everyone. ~Lucy

09-30-2004, 10:31 AM
is it common for people to stay on prednisone the rest of their lives? i have gotten so frustrated by it, i swear that i'm not gonna take it anymore!! but i know i have to. it's funny to me how i hate it so much, and it also happens to taste SO bad!!! i have to take so many meds each day, and for some reason i always get the prednisone stuck, and end up tasting it!!! i know it must be some psychological thing i have with it!! i read how so many people are doing so good with their diets, etc. i do exercise, but it's the hardest thing i've ever done, now. and i do feel like now that i'm taking this med, i really do want more junk food than ever before. i wish i could be good and disciplined about what i eat. i stare at my closet full of clothes and wonder if i will ever get to wear them again. :mad:

09-30-2004, 02:31 PM

NO! it's not psychological! prednisone tastes awful! LOL! very very bitter. i hate the taste as well. it's not just you. in all the meds i take i ONLY taste the prednisone. and yes it ALWAYS gets stuck on your tongue forcing you to taste it. LOL. so believe me i feel your pain...when you go in remission you shouldn't have to take it anymore. at least i didn't once i got in remission. and YES the amount of junk food you can put down on that drug is unbelieveable! my biggest thing was frosted flakes! LOL! i ate soooo much frosted flakes AND i put a little bit of sugar in them as if they weren't sweet enough ya know? i didn't try to diet until after i was off of the prednisone. it would have been too much torture to do that. but when i got off of it i tried a low carb diet and lost all the weight. anyway i just wanted you to know that i feel your pain and everything will get better in due time. take care!! :lol:

09-30-2004, 04:28 PM

i am glad you responded!! it made me laugh to know that someone else has experienced the exact same thing!! i went threw a frosted flakes stage, too! but now it's frosted mini wheats. not sure why, but i want to eat them all of the time. i haven't added any extra sugar, but when i was on 80mg of prednisone, i had two states...either i was asleep or i had food in my mouth. yuck. it makes me grossed out just thinking about those days.

10-01-2004, 12:29 AM
PREDNISONE yuck! OMG it tastes like something real awful and dandaloins. I usually take a hand full of pills all at once! Of course the only ones I taste is the prednisone. It's truly nasty. :rofl: I agree that you can get off the prednisone. Most people can and do. There are some people who just simply luck out and have to stay on it as part of their daily meds for life :mad: Like myself. I have to be on it at a low dose for partly lupus and then there's the asthma. Both have a way of going completely out of control as soon as I get on doses lower than 5mg a day :bad-words: Hey, the med keeps me breathing litually. Breathing happens to be a fairly important thing to do :lol: I did happen to loose 2.8 pounds this week :!: I know that may not seem like much to most people, but since I am now taking 65mg a day right now that feels like a HUGE deal :multi: I am not sure at the moment if I will be staying on this dose or if my MD's will be tapering it over the next month or so. It's just one of those things. I am so blessed to be here and be mostly well. A little bit of bad tasting prednisone and a lot of extra weight is a small price to pay to be alive :P Lots of ~HUGGIES~Lucy