Living well with lupus

What can I do about the weight gain from prednisone?

Dr. Laura Coleman is a Registered Dietitian and an Associate Research Scientist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. She is also a member of the Lupus Now publication advisory board for the Lupus Foundation of America.

See all of Laura Coleman, PhD, RD's answers.

Weight gain is problematic for many people taking steroids for lupus.  In general, a healthy, balanced diet, with fruits and vegetables as the mainstay, is recommended.  Low-fat proteins, such as fish or chicken, are also good choices. 

There are some general suggestions that might help:

  1. Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat meat and dairy products.
  2. Keep a food diary, writing down everything that you eat.  Studies have shown that this can be very helpful for people trying to lose weight because it makes them more aware of their eating.
  3. Develop a schedule for eating and stick to it.  Since steroids can increase your appetite, having a schedule can help prevent overeating;
  4. Shop from a list whenever you go to the grocery store.  This can prevent buying foods that may contribute to weight gain. 
  5. If feasible, exercise is also an important part of health and weight maintenance.  Check with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program. 

Medically reviewed on July 21, 2013