Years ago when I first started steroid therapy, the weight crept on pretty quickly. I was not doing anything different and I live a healthy lifestyle, so this was certainly something I wanted to figure out and get on top of. The good news is that I figured out some things to do to keep the weight gain with corticosteroids to a minimum.
Skip the Sugar
First, corticosteroids can increase blood sugar levels so it is important to be careful with the amount of sugar we are consuming when taking this type of drug. Next, when foods have added sugar, they also tend to pack far more calories. For example, grabbing a sugar-free fudge pop will save us 110 calories versus grabbing one with sugar. The same goes for our coffee. I personally drink a lot of coffee and have been using artificial sweetener for as long as I can remember. However, if I was using regular sugar in each cup, I would be adding 15 to 30 calories to each cup of coffee. If you are drinking two to three cups a day, seven days a week, switching to an artificial sweetener saves a lot of calories.
Check Your Mayo
I am a big fan of mayo, especially on turkey sandwiches. However, a serving of mayo is about 100 calories. Switching to light mayo will save us about 50 calories. If we switch to mustard, we save 100 calories because mustard has no calories.
Kick Soda to the Curb
Regular soda has about 150 calories per can. Diet soda has none. If you want to avoid soda altogether, you can opt for sparkling water and put some fruit in this for flavor. I personally like plain water and unsweetened teas. You can jazz these up too with fruit for each of these, or just add some sweetener to iced tea.
Pump It Up
I have always exercised, but I knew that once I started on the steroids that I would need to do more to keep the pounds off. I went from about 45 minutes a day to two 45-minute sessions. Now before increasing your exercising or changing the type that you do, talk to your doctor. My doctor said no running, so I had to find other things to do for cardio, but I had no other restrictions.
How Well Do These Changes Work?
Well, this will likely depend on the person. For me, they saved me from gaining a lot of weight. Between these dietary changes and upping my exercise routine, I was able to keep the weight gain to seven pounds, verses about 75 from the first time around.