Steroids are extremely effective in relieving pain and inflammation in the body and it can be life saving. 

They are normally administered for conditions such as arthritis, asthma and eczema. However, as with most drugs, they come with side effects such as weight gain.

What are steroids?

Steroids or corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs. There are many types and they are sold under various brand names;

  • prednisone ( Deltasone, Sterapred)
  • methylprednisolone (Medrol)
  • prenisolone ( Prelone, Pediapred)
  • dexamethasone ( Decadron, Hexadron)
  • hydrocortisone (Acticort, Cortef)

How do steroids cause weight gain?

Steroids affect the sodium salt balance and hence, cause increase fluid retention. They weight gain by increase in appetite and re-deposition of fat around the neck and abdomen. Because of chronic inflammation and pain, you will be less active and this will also contribute to weight gain.

How do you manage weight gain?

There is no easy road to weight loss from steroids side effects. Here are 6 steps you can take to manage it:

Step 1 – Plan your meal

Ensure that you are aware of the calories in the food you are eating, then you would be able to control the total calories to be 10-20% less than what you normally eat. You can obtain the calories of the food you normally eat from any websites. Counting calories is a way to weight loss.

Step 2 – Eat a healthy diet

One major side effect is increase in appetite. So, it is important that you eat a healthy diet of low calories but nutrient dense food. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. Start the day with a  high protein breakfast to kick-start the body metabolism. Take plenty of Omega-3 good fat from olive oil, salmon and other oily fish or supplements of Omega-3.

Step 3 – Reduce sugar

Sugar in the diet increase insulin imbalance and fat deposition instead of fat burning. Besides sugary beverages, sugar is normally from simple carbohydrates such as starchy food, white rice, potatoes, noodles, cakes, pastries and biscuits. Hence, eat more complex carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, tapioca and whole grains.

Step 4 – Salt and water

Drink plenty of water to control fluid retention. Also control the amount of sodium salt intake to control fluid retention. Water is also a natural pain-killer. An average of 30ml per every kilogram of body weight

Step 5 – Exercise

The pain from joints or any other areas due to inflammation may determine the type of exercise that is suitable to the particular conditions. Walking, swimming and yoga are the forms that can be considered as they are not high impact and can be low intensity.

If there is no more pain, then weight training, aerobic exercises will help to burn the fats. The key is to do it regularly at least 5 days a week.

Step 6 – Detox

Cleanse the digestive system and detox the liver to reduce the toxins load in the body. Reducing toxin load will help to reduce inflammation and pain, which reduce the requirement for steroids.

Steroids may save lives but the side effects of weight gain must be managed properly. Follow the above steps and you will take the steps towards recovery.

If you need further help on how to lose weight, contact me for further discussion.

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