Prednisone is the medication we love to hate. With many autoimmune illness it is the medication that keeps down the inflammation and keeps us alive. Sounds like an ideal medication right? Well, with Prednisone comes weight gain…. many prednisone depend people have rapid and drastic weight gain. We try and try again not to gain weight with every prednisone increase but like ravenous wolfs we can not help by helping to clear the table by eating everything that is left on everyone’s plates as we ‘clear’ the table.
I have gained weight… a lot of weight while on prednisone for the last 8 years. A few years ago I lost 42 pounds but after a relapse of my Churg Strauss Syndrome (CSS), I ended up gaining it all back. I now go to Weight Watcher’s (WW) meetings in hopes of not only losing some of the gained weight but also to learn to eat more balanced meals so when I am on high doses of prednisone I may not gain as much weight anymore. I am retraining my mind to think about food differently (very hard for a culinary addict like myself). I have lost 20 lbs over the past 8 months but the important part to me is that I am keeping that weight off, even in my bad prednisone times. I hopefully will continue to slowly but surely lose more… but I have learned to be patient and not be hard on myself since I need to be happy to be alive rather than upset when I see my body in the mirror.
All this brings me to today’s moment of guilt when I was in line at a local Mexican Place and I realized my Weight Watcher’s leader and coach was waiting for her food too. I quickly had to think about what I was eating and what she might say to me…. Suddenly extreme guilt came over me and I was feeling the need to justify what I was eating and WHY I skipped the WW meeting yesterday. I ordered a salad type burrito (which I usually don’t eat the flour tortilla wrapper) and a diet soda but I still felt guilty. Then just about as I was to blurt out, “I’m sorry I skipped WW and I have no idea of how many WW points I am eating and I don’t care today…”, I saw her order arrive and I heard her ask for extra sour cream. Suddenly I realized how silly I was being and remembered that weight is gained one day at a time and should be lost one day at a time. What really mattered was that I was eating nutritiously and enjoying my lunch.
Everything changes when you have a chronic illness and weight gain is just one of those changes. Yes, at times I hate what I see in the mirror but I know I am trying. I am wearing my FitBit and have a step goal I attempt to meet on my ‘good’ days and I am realistic that I have at least 1-2 ‘bad’ days a week. (that number fluctuates as does my CSS). I add fruits and veggies to every meal and I am addicted to roasting veggies and eating them as a snack so I know that helps. I plan on being on this earth for a LONG time, so I will be kind to myself and give myself time to lose my prednisone weight while being realistic that I may never be as small as I once was.
I think we sometimes forget to loose sight of the fact that it doesn’t matter how much we weigh, what matters is that we are kickin Vasculitis’ butt and here on the earth to fight another day. Be kind to yourselves.
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