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Atkins Avoids Medicinal Weight Gain

by Elizabeth

The Atkins diet helped me avoid gaining weight. My doctor was starting me on prednisone, and I was desperate to not gain weight this time.

The last time I had to take prednisone, I gained 15 pounds in one month and had a terrible time trying to get rid of it. This time I did some research about what I should do to avoid weight gain this time around.

All the advice I saw said to avoid carbs and salt. I already have a gluten intolerance, so avoiding carbs is something I regularly do.

But this time I decided to be extremely strict and follow the Atkins Diet to help me avoid gaining weight.

It didn't require any special foods, but it did get a little boring due to a lack of variety.

I wasn't very hungry because I was eating high protein foods.

It was pretty easy at first because the forbidden foods -- alcohol, fruit, nuts, etc. -- are already things I don't eat due to medical issues.

And with my gluten problems and a severe lack of gluten-free baked goods where I live, avoiding grains was entirely possible.

I survived by making simple crustless quiches and ham omelets. I ate eggs until I was absolutely sick of them. I ate a lot of fish and cheese.

There were no special foods I had to buy, and I already cooked all my food anyway. I just had to cook slightly different food.

After about a month of this, I hadn't gained any weight. I still had a month or two to go, but I didn't think I could avoid carbs entirely for that long.

I added minimal amounts of carbs, including thin rice pizza crusts, which helped add more vegetables to my diet. I also allowed myself small portions of brown rice.

After two months, I still had not gained weight. I still had another month on the medicine, but I decided that the worst of it was over, since I had finished taking the higher doses that are more likely to cause weight gain.

My face was still fat, as faces get when you take prednisone, but the rest of me was not.

I would consider this diet a success as far as I avoided gaining the weight that I am sure would have packed on if I hadn't been carb-phobic. The high levels of protein also helped me to build muscle mass after my illness.

It was pretty easy to follow the diet because of my own dietary restrictions, but it was a bit difficult to avoid making cookies and other treats.

I already have extreme difficulty with eating out, so that was not a concern, except that I love french fries and they are one of the only things I can eat out now. Avoiding french fries was tough.

I would recommend this diet to other people who are in the same boat as I was as far as prednisone.

Prednisone is well known to cause massive weight gain that is difficult to shed. Avoiding weight gain in the first place is ideal but difficult, as I found out the first time I took it.

It might be difficult to adhere to it for a long time, but it's also difficult to gain lots of weight suddenly and try to lose it.

I don't follow the Atkins diet anymore. But due to my dietary issues, there are times when I do slip back into that Atkins style eating plan and it does take a pound or two off.

I think if someone was very serious about wanting to LOSE weight they could easily do it if they could just avoid beautiful, wonderful, precious bread.


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Note from Dr. Dan


As you know only too well, prednisone is a very powerful steroid. It can be life-saving when it's needed -- like in severe asthma, allergic reactions, failure of the adrenal glands and many other cases.

But it has lots of side effects -- including weight gain.

It's possible -- if you work at it -- to avoid weight gain with prednisone.

But once you gain that weight -- especially when you have health issues -- it can be very difficult to take it off again.

And it can lead to a vicious circle. Prednisone causes weight gain, which makes it hard to exercise, and lack of activity causes more weight gain.

And to make matters worse, those patients with asthma have more trouble breathing when they are overweight. Why?

Partly because of the difficulty with moving the heavier chest wall with breathing. And partly because of a hormonal effect of the fat tissue which causes asthma to be more severe.

Dr. Dan

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I am only 24 and have temporal arteritis!!!!! can u believe it??
by: Anonymous

The sum of my devastating story that I've been recently diagnosed with temporal arteritis, which is a very rare disease only the elderly people above 60 years old devolop.

Now I am on 80 mg prednisone for 4 days and already got my moon face!!! I am sooooo depressed and terrified of the weight gain issue and also I am breastfeeding...

So, could I go for the Atkins right away or should I search some other diet??

Temporal Arteritis, Prednisone And Weight Gain
by: Dr. Dan

Dear Anonymous,

I understand how upset you must feel. Temporal arteritis is very unusual for someone your age.

First of all, is your doctor certain of the diagnosis? If you have had a temporal artery biopsy then the diagnosis is probably clear. If not this should be done.

In temporal arteritis prednisone is required for 1-2 years. That's a long time, but it's not forever. So at least there is the expectation that eventually you'll be able to get off the medication.

As far as the diet goes, I wouldn't recommend Atkins for you. It is too stressful for you metabolism, and it is too hard to follow.

You need to be eating the healthiest diet you can. You need plenty of vegetables in your diet for nutrients and fiber. You should avoid fried foods and eat lean meats.

As far as possible don't use artificial flavorings and artificial colorings. These are foreign to your body and hard to metabolize.

Eat organic produce when you can.

Minimize drugs and alcohol as much as possible.

Get a reasonable amount of sunlight. Try to go outdoors for a walk everyday, but don't get burned by the sun.

You should know what you are putting in your body. The way to do that is read labels, and don't eat things that have ingredients you don't understand.

Ideally you would write down what you eat every meal and every day. It sounds harder than it is. At the end of the day you can add it up. If you do this you'll know if you are getting the right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrate.

Avoid restaurant food. It tends to be greasy and has way too many calories.

Make sure you take a good multivitamin and a good multimineral. You need magnesium and you need trace minerals.

If you do these things you can help your body stay strong and you can come through this in the best shape possible.

Good luck,

Dr. Dan

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