Weight Loss
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Steroids, how do I lose weight while still on them

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Hello all, I am a complete newbie at this, but am looking for some advice/support.  I have severe eczema on 90% of my body (yes its fun).  Starting in July my dermatologist put me on Predisone for 6 weeks. Now coupled with the fact that at the time I was working at a restaurant (and I am a comfort eater) I really packed on the lbs. A total of 60 since March.  Well, yesterday I went back to the doc. because I am starting to clear up and lo and behold they are keeping me on the steroids for another month. Suffice it to say, I was in tears all day and ate to compensate.

 However, today is a new day and if there is anyone out there that can offer some advice as to losing weight while on the steroids. I know I have a long LONG way to go, but am going to Prague in November and would like to be functioning again. I used to walk 10 miles a day, but with skin flare ups I have been completely bed ridden. Its only been this week that I have been able to start functioning again.

I know this sounds like a sob story, but if there is anyone out there who can offer some light at the end of the tunnel, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Wow, what a tough thing to go through.  I don't know much about the chemistry of steroids, so I don't think I can really help you there...

 But are they helping?  I think it sounds a little to me like a confidence issue.  I know when I was getting heavy for the first time I spiraled downward, felt like I looked bad, so I ate more and it got worse.  It sounds to me like your exzema, being bed ridden, has put you in a similar state of mind.

But if you're clearing up, that's great! are you feeling more like yourself? use the improvement in your skin to your advantage, be happy about it!  I would say try to get active again, walking is great excersize.  Or if you'd rather stay in put on MTV and dance around like a fool (I do this on a daily basis, I laugh at myself, it makes me feel better).

Its ok to have a sob story once and a while, and having 90% of your body itchy and uncomfortable is certainly a legitimate one.  My advice would be to let yourself heal, and enjoy getting your skin/activity back.  BE POSITIVE

Thanks for the post, its nice to get a positive vibe from somone.  I completely appreciate it!

I kinda know what your going thru my daughter has eczema to and when she was a baby and it first flared up it was heart breaking to watch she would just scratch and scratch until she was scratching deep gashes into her legs. and hurt me because no matter how lubricated i tried to keep her it didnt stop the itching till i took her to a dermatologist and we put her in the study for protopic when it was 1st being developed.which cleared it up and now that she's older it is beginning to flare up again a lil bit.  but as for you question (sorry just hearing your story brung back memories) I would just try to keep active and watch your diet. and i hope you dont take this the wrong way but use the steroids to your advantage do some weight training and build muscle for this month .

an alternative to that type of treatment. (i have it sometimes too) is washing with neem soap.

i suggest organix brand. the sweet orange & ylang ylang one smells the best.

i usually only got creams as it was in patches.
but the soap worked better than the creams i think.

I was on steroids for 4 weeks and then received steroid shots for 3 months.  I did continue to lose weight because I didn't change what or how much I was eating.  I plan my meals and snacks for the next day and that was all that I ate.  It really helped to deal with the never-ending case of the munchies that the steroids seem to give you.
ooh.... that sucks.

if it makes you feel better, all that weight is NOT NOT NOT fat -- much of it is water. so when you go off it (ie when your doctor says it's time) that water retention will melt right off.

For now, I'd take it easy -- it sounds like things are really tough for you medically. If you can get out of the house and take a walk, great. I'd plan out your caloric intake according to your BMR, maybe with a 500 cal deficit (sounds like you're basically sedentary/bedridden) if you can stay above 1200.

While part of your weight gain sounds like it's from emotional eating, a decent amount of it is also from the prednisone. My mother was on it when she had chemo and she's teeny tiny (5'4 and ~100lbs) and she gained around 40 pounds of water weight/bloating/prednisone effing up that whole thing. She lost the weight less than 6 months after getting taken off it.

Thanks so much for everyone's input.  I'll see if they have neem soap over here, I've found its a bit difficult to find certain things that are readily available in the US...however it goes both ways.

And thanks a million to rungirl20 for the NOT NOT NOT fat comment, that put a smile on my face. My boyfriend keeps telling me it will all fall off in 4 weeks and not to worry (hard going for a worrywart LOL) but its nice to hear from others as well.

Everyone's input is really appreciated, a major dose of positive thinking.  THANKS A MILLION!

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Due to my Asthma, I was on Prednisone several times during my early youth.  It can really turn you into an eating machine.  You can lose weight while on Prednisone, but it's a bit hard due to your ramped up appetite levels.

Most of the serious side effects of Prednisone require LONG LONG use, so you should be ok once you come off of it, and so should the weight. =)

Sounds like loads of willpower is the key, hasn't been easy, but I can only get what I put into it. Main thing is not to let the next 4 weeks get me down.  And not to turn into the munchie machine of the century LOL.

 I have heard a no salt diet helps as well, anyone know about that?

Steroids can be a very complicated medication. I am currently on 240mg a day for my asthma because I was put on the ventilator twice in a three month span. They are going to use the steroids for over two months and slowly bring me off of them. I have been on them off and on all of my life and my weight can be contributed to the steroids. I don't really comfort or binge eat per se so that has helped. However, the steroids can make you retain water and gain weight without eating out of control. They increase your appetite making you want to eat and thinking you have more emotional eating when it is from the medication itself.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. My highest weight was 297 on the steroids and I am currently 219.2 pounds today. So I have lost weight even on the steroids. It takes a lot of conscious effort to what you are putting in your body and making sure that you drink lots of water to compensate for the water retention. I have talked this over with my doctor on several occasions and unfortunately some things require steroid treatment and there is no way of getting around it. Be careful of the other side effects such as compromised immune system and night sweats and vivid dreams, etc. The biggest thing is to look at what your calorie expenditure is for a sedentary lifestyle and make sure that you maintain a deficit every day. So basically you want to burn more than you eat every day and you should slowly lose the weight. With your treatment not being extremely long your appetite should start to calm down as you are starting to be weaned off of the steroids. If you have any more questions please feel free to pm me or email me. I have done a lot of research and have a lot of personal experience with this subject and it can get very frustrating when you are trying to lose the weight while on steroids.


hello, I just joined and read your information. I am trying to lose weight that i've gained from being on high doses of steroid throughout the past 2 year.


I went from 150-235 lbs. I was denied bariatric surgery and must now lose the weight on my own. I am interested in any information or encouragement that you can give me.

Thank you. 




















I've had to be on pred. a few times. A few pieces of advice and wisdom:

-Firstly, it should be comforting to know that when you go off of them, you will lose some water weight quickly and you will look much less 'puffy.'

-Also, every time I've gone on steroids I've gained less and less weight and have felt less affected by the drugs.

-Most doctors just have a standard dose they give automatically. However, if you are having trouble with the side effects, a lower dose may work for you. You can always increase the dose if you're not getting the desired effects. Ask your doctor!

-For most people, steroids give a surplus of energy as a side effect. Understand that steroids will increase your appetite, but the increased energy means you have no excuse not to exercise! Even on days you are bedridden, try to do what you can, moving your arms around etc.

-Find snacks that keep your hands and mouth active without packing in the calories... Popsicles, grapes, nuts in the shell, celery sticks (dipped in cottage cheese, yum), etc etc. I like to make huge salads and eat them one piece at a time like finger food. I also bulk all my meals with a bed of spinach or other dark greens.

-Eating less sodium and drinking more water will help decrease the water weight you gain.

-When I'm on steroids, I consider it a "win" if I don't gain more than 2-3 pounds (which is usually just water weight anyway). Think of this as a great time to build muscle, which will help you drop the pounds when you're off the meds!

-Remember that clearing up the eczema is going to make you feel healthier and more beautiful. Nothing helps you lose weight or look better overall than a positive self image!


Good luck!!!

Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping that's my story (smile).

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Ok since I don't know your medical history I don't know if this will be of much help, but I have a friend who suffered from severe eczema and her baby daughter did as well. For a few years they tried steroids and topical creams that helped but didn't fix the problem which was under lying food allergies...wheat gluten and sugar (starches, alcohol etc) can make eczema much worse. You might want to experiment with some raw food methods....and eating raw doesn't mean just eating salads all day. Once my friend began eating raw clean foods her eczema went away and so did her daughters and neither of them need medications now. She is not malnourished at all and her complexion is absolutely glowing. Different things work for different people, but a lot of doctors would rather prescribe people medications than address the underlying issues.

Thanks for you reply. I don't have eczema. But thanks anyway!

Ooops, sorry indigotree. I didn't realize how old the first post was!

I was in the same boat you are in many years ago. I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor when I was 10 years old. The damage the tumor caused to the pituitary gland caused it to not produce the hormone cortisol, as well as knocking out the function of my thyroid. I was about 4 feet tall at the time I started taking cortisol, I started taking 30 mg a day. I felt great but I was eating constantly, I would eat a whole pizza, then a can a peanuts, pretty much anything in sight. I gained about 30 pounds in a month. As you can imagine, being 4 ft tall and weighing upwards of 140lbs.  I went back to the doctor and they dropped my doseage down to 20 mg, the food cravings went away, I was tired a lot but I just decided to live with it. Small price to pay I think.  So now after many different dosages and some z packs for allergies, I am up to 300.  

Since cortisol helps the body retain salt, your body is retaining a lot of water, so one of the best things to do is to drink a lot of water and avoid salt.  I may be completely wrong on this because it has been a long time since I have done any research on it but I think that being on excess cortisol blocks the production of leptin, a chemical that tells you your stomach is full.

I think the one thing that has kept me from gaining weight is weight lifting, I don't really follow a strict diet, but I try not to eat things I know are really bad for me.  I started weight lifting when I weighed about 275, I had a BMI of about 50%. I am now 300 lbs, and I have a BMI of just under 30.  Since it is extremely hard to lose weight with steroids, I am pretty happy with my results.  Since cortisol helps the body retain salt, your body is retaining a lot of water, so one of the best things to do is to drink a lot of water and avoid salt. I think that weightlifting and staying active is really the best way to beat it. When I tell people I weight 300 lbs, people don't believe me because I don't have the round stomach like most people that weight 300 lbs.  

Not to contradict you dear. But the kind of steroids she is taking is not the kind you can  use to build muscle on. If it were I would be the most muscle bound woman in my family. Some people have luck with the weight loss. some do not. I gained 33 lbs in 6 months. I eat only a thousand calories a day and exercise an hour a day. but it is still making me stay fat. I am only five feet tall and weigh 143.  Believe me I have had a lot of  experience with steroids since my asthma has become the kind that will not let me breath well without steroids.

unfortunatly if you have to take the steroids for years you loose the energy and really have to fight to keep up your  exercize. My asthma does not allow me to go without my steroids. My doc sayes this is not the kind of steroids that builds muscle( predisone).

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