Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Twelve Days of Sabotage

Not a very good picture, but this is my den
December, 2010

Take away all the Christmas decorations in the picture and you'll have a pretty good idea of what I've been staring at since last Friday afternoon.  I am sitting/laying on a sofa that faces the fireplace and matches the one you can see to the right.  What you can't see and is my bright spot, are the huge picture windows that are on the left.  Since I can't be out in nature, at least I can see it!  About all I've seen since Friday is rain, snow, fog or clouds, but at least I can see outside while I continue to wallow in my misery.  The only time I have been dressed and out are the three hours I was gone to the doctor.  Neither Mr. B nor I can remember the last time I was sick for this long!  My ENT with a few questions, pokes, prods and things stuck up my nose and in my ears, pretty quickly identified this as not just a sinus infection, but an entire head infection that was probably viral and related to my severe mold allergy. I know I have some readers who are nurses and other medical types, so if that doesn't makes sense, just remember I felt to bad to care what he told me.  I just wanted relief!  And I got it in the form of a potent anti-viral medication and the dreaded drug from ------ for anyone trying to lose weight - PREDNISONE!  I've been down this road many times before and the good news is that it will work, but the bad news is that it is almost impossible to take prednisone for any length of time and NOT gain weight.  And for some reason (this is all documented online), the weight doesn't just automatically fall off when you stop taking the medication.  You have to lose it the old-fashioned way!  

So how's that for the odds conspiring against me?  Last week, I would've said, "yippee, I have a built-in excuse to let go and I'll just fix it when I'm better."  Well, that's not gonna fly this week, because I have not been this excited about getting back on track in a long time.  Monday's post, your encouraging comments and thoughts of spring have really gotten me motivated.  So armed with lots of information found here and here, I'm going to fight the dreaded Prednisone weight gain for all I'm worth.  After 36 hours, I can already tell I'm feeling a bit better and am hoping to be able to take a short walk sometime today.  In two weeks, I return for a CT scan and long-term plan to prevent this from happening again.  

In a nutshell, Prednisone causes water retention, increased appetite and since it is being taken to combat an illness, there is usually a decrease in physical activity.  The recommendations are to reduce sodium intake, eat several smaller meals instead of three larger ones and do whatever it takes to keep some level of physical activity in your schedule. What struck me is that these are no different than the healthy eating tips we should be following ALL the time.  So, the only changes I plan to make while on the Prednisone are these:  1) no restaurant eating, 2) try my best to eat nothing out of a package or box, 3) no table salt, 4) drink extra water and 5) starting today, find some way to get some physical activity unless it's just not safe to do so - I'm feeling better enough that I should be able to take a short walk.  Eating smaller meals and snacks is not a change because that's what I've been doing anyway.  So we'll see how the great Prednisone Challenge goes for Sharon.  I'll keep you informed!  

Still haven't decided how I'm going to post my accountability on the blog between now and July 30, but for today, I'll just report that I've had several excellent eating days with no problem. Nutritionally, I can already feel my body telling me "thanks!"  l have lost weight each morning since Sunday.  

Just wanted to mention and say "thanks" for the concern of those who were bothered by my setting a specific date (July 30) for reaching goal and who thought my calorie target might be too low.  Those who've read my blog from day 1, know that I set goals frequently and enjoy the challenge, but also don't get bent out of shape if the goals aren't met.  The joy comes in trying and it just seemed significant to me that my "ah-ha" moment came on Mr. B's birthday and its ending could easily be achieved by mine.  What a great story that will be!   As for the daily calorie target, the important thing to see is that I meticulously track both calories and nutrition using and I know that closely monitoring meals and food combinations can net me a "perfect" day nutritionally somewhere around 1200 calories.   Monday, I ended the day at 1243 calories and Tuesday, at 1266.  Both days were "A+" days and met all recommended nutrition values. 

It is January 19 and I cannot believe I've yet to HIKE a single mile in 2011!  Between our horrid weather and now, my illness, it just hasn't been possible.  Here's hoping I may be able to do something short next week.  I'm afraid to mention it in case I jinx it, but our weather is forecasted to be somewhat tranquil over the next couple of weeks.

Well, this has made me tired, so think I'll lay my head down on this pillow and stare out these wonderful windows which BTW, you can watch the sunrise over the hills in the distance.   If only the sun would rise......all I see are more clouds!

Have you ever taken Prednisone?   Did you gain weight?


  1. My daughter had to take prednisone a while back and I remembered hearing so much about the weight gain didn't happen to her at all. In fact, I'm pretty sure that I checked online also and it said that Prednisone is different now than what it was??? Is that possible?
    Anyway, I know what you mean about getting back on track and then getting sick...I'm there too. I have NO energy and have been in bed since Saturday evening. No exercise (my exercise routine is gone to pot now) and have been eating oddly...yesterday I journalled my eating though and I ended up over in calories :( ...(not enough calculating along the way)...anyway, KOKO (keep on keeping on), do your best, and this WILL pass! Try to see the joy around you (outside? birds????) ... we'll be back on the "horsey" soon!

  2. Poor you:( But at least now you will be on the road to recovery. And, you are in good company. Me! Not the prednisone (never done that) but the whole "something out of our control but medically necessary thwarting our efforts" right now. I am on track with my eating too. Been great. But it took me until today to lose what I apparently gained from surgery!!

  3. I took prednisone last year because of my mango allergy and it did help with that, and also with my back/si issues. I did gain wait but not too much -- about 5 lbs. I hope you feel better Sharon; being sick sucks.

  4. I've had family members take prednisone and they puffed up like marshmallows. Their ailments responded to the treatment, but their self-esteem took a huge hit with their new marshmallow looks. I hope you're feeling better fast with the head infection. I can relate to your weight challenge so well because I lost and regained 36 pounds in the last 6 months. Talk about disgusted! Feel better soon ...

  5. Hi, Sharon. I'm sorry about my comment re: goal setting. I didn't mean to imply that you set goals ineffectively or were inept.

    Sometimes I can be too helpful. Huh. That's the second time I've written that in two days. It's true what they say, "Old social workers never retire, they just keep answering questions that are no longer being asked."

    Again, I apologize and will try to keep my helpful hints to myself. I meant well.


  6. Sharon, so sorry you are so ill. As I've said before, I had a lifetime of illness and pain and would never trade the healthiness I now feel for youth, fame, money, or even to be slimmer. If you need the prednisone to regain health and you end up gaining any weight as a result of taking it, that's just the way it is. Getting healthy needs to be your top priority. You're watching your calories, and you sound like you will be resuming your exercise as soon as you can, so you have a very good chance of not gaining. Concentrate on getting well.

  7. Oh I do hope you'll be feeling 100% better soon!

    A friend of mine was on massive doses of Prednisone and while she did gain a small amount of weight, it came off quickly when she quit taking it. So fingers crossed!

  8. Sharon,
    I hope the prednisone does the trick for you. You are in a good place mentally and that is most of the battle. You can prevail.

    I'ven not taken prednisone, so I have no words of wisdom to offer, but perhaps you could consider not gaining a success during the treatment days.

    Try to rest and take care of yourself.

    BTW, I'm still waiting for the moderate January predicted in the Farmer's Almanac. We're in for another measureable snow fall tomorrow!

  9. Hi Sharon, I have been thinking of you..didn't know you are sick. ); No, I have no experience with medicine. PTL! I have been watching what I ear for about two weeks and not much success. We hiked on Monday and I thought for sure that would make a difference..I know I should be eating only 1200 calories too. I am not drinking enough water. I reviewed a journal from 2008 and it was when I was riding my bike a lot that the weight finally started to budge.So I will go back to what worked..Get well friend...

  10. Hi Sharon, sorry you're not feeling well and having to take prednisone. I've never taken it but have hear about the weight gain. I'm sure you have quite a challenge ahead of you but like you said, you already have good eating habits.

    I feel your frustration about not getting out and doing some hiking. I too feel the same. Darn weather and health just won't cooperate with us.

    Here's to a speedy recovery friend

  11. Hey Sharon,

    Please take the prednisone to get yourself better, eat as you said in your last post, and keep moving. I think the no added salt is the right idea, too. And drink your fluids. If you gain, then you will know you did everything you could. Please don't fret too much, even though I know you feel sabotaged right when you got it all back together. It's a new year, and you have given yourself half of it to get to goal. You have plenty of time. Relax and enjoy the view!

  12. Hi Sharon-
    Thank you for the kind words. :-) I had to take prednisone a couple years ago for my lungs, and I as well had a terrible time with an increase appetite. I was not in the best place mentally either, so that was rather hard for me. But it did help me get better, so that was a blessing!

  13. I have not taken it, so I am no help here. But the good news is you are starting to feel some relief.

  14. Dear Sharon, You are always sending prayers and concern to others, so let me send some your way. I pray that you feel God's love embrace you and remind you that you are safe and loved and that all is well, even when it doesn't seem like it. I pray for health and vitality for you, and total healing. May you feel strong, alert and light of heart and body. Please take care.... and remember, downtime when we are ill doesn't have to mean we aren't reaching our goals. It can be a great time to really strenghen our spirituality. There is a time for rest, and I am glad you are giving yourself that gift today. Much love, Janelle

  15. Hi Sharon,
    First of all, I hope you feel better soon. Prednisone is no walk in the park :(

    I am your newest follower! I saw your comments on Paula's blog about mindful's what I am learning to do as well.

    I'm sending healthy thoughts your way - take care.

  16. Blessings and prayers to you for healing and the patience to get through this illness.

    I have not taken prednisone but have talked to many who have and they too struggled with the weight gain and the increased appetite.

    It sounds like you have a sound plan in place and a good attitude that will see you through this.

  17. I have not taken prednisone, but I have known people who have. Any weight gained came off after the drug was discontinued. Take it to get better. Take care and there will be better days ahead for you.

  18. I cannot find an email address for you Sharon, so I hope you don't mind me posting here how much I appreciated your comment today. Meant the WORLD to me :)
    My sister took Prednisone recently and she was on it for 10 days. She did not have an increase in appetite however her sleeping habits were off. She was so afraid that she'd gain weight but she never did. Her doc said that the longer you are on it, that's when the side effects start kicking in. Thinking of you, lately and wishing you well.

  19. Ugh, I took it after a surgery and it made me both gain weight and feel incredibly pissy :)

    Hang in there!

  20. I tagged you in a Stylish Blog Award- Check out my blog to see the details.