A chipmunk with extremely puffy cheeks.

Perils of Prednisolone Weight Gain

My weight is always something that has fluctuated over the years. I've had periods where I've been very slim and periods where I've gained quite a few pounds but before I started prednisolone I always found it fairly easy to control.

My journey with prednisolone

I started prednisolone about 5 years ago, and I didn't notice too much of a change with my weight to begin with. Although I did notice at certain times my appetite would increase. It was about 2 years later when I started to notice the pounds creeping on! It seemed that my clothes were becoming tighter and I'd still be trying to squeeze into them. I'd be kidding myself that all was fine when in reality I was becoming quite concerned that my wonder drug was causing me to have this problem.

Don't get me wrong, I could handle insomnia, mood swings, and frequent headaches – which were some of the undesired side effects that prednisolone gave me – but this weight gain was on a whole new level.

Then, I became pregnant in 2017, and this really accelerated the problem for me after my beautiful daughter was born. Just like so many new mums, I was sleep-deprived and exhausted, and I was turning to foods that were sweet and full of carbs for comfort. I knew this was going to be bad for me because the prednisolone was going to make it 10 times harder for me to lose in the long run. I could feel the weight piling on, and then my father passed away. This led me further down the road of comfort eating and I had no motivation to try and get a handle on it.

Why do we gain weight on prednisolone?

Weight gain from prednisolone is usually caused by an increase in appetite but it can also cause water retention. This is due to the drug making the body retain sodium and lose potassium – the latter is something that I have only just discovered!

It can also cause insomnia, and when we don't get enough sleep, we often crave the foods that are bad for us. Therefore, it's easier when we are tired to cave into our cravings!

I can't exercise as I used to and I'm lucky if I can manage a short walk these days. So, there's also the added problem of inactivity leading to weight gain.

Taking action for my health

I finally realized that I needed to take action and weigh myself. I had been avoiding it for so long but I knew from my clothes size that I'd put a lot on. I finally plucked up the courage and stood on the scales and to my horror, I had gained 35 pounds. I knew I needed some help so I reached out to a wonderful nutritionist and weight loss coach who is currently helping me lose the weight. I realize that it's going to be a long road ahead, but I'm actually enjoying the process.

Some of the practices that are now part of my routine are:

  • A low-sodium diet/high potassium (lots of leafy greens, fruits and protein)
  • Drinking 1.5 liters of water a day to flush out toxins
  • Not eating after my evening meal
  • Affirmations and visualisations

How I am doing with weight loss

It's a slow process and after 2 months I've lost 9lbs, but I'm so grateful that it's working for me. Prednisolone is an amazing drug and it has literally given me my life back but there is often a price to pay and it seems weight gain is a big part of that.

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