Call Me The Hulk

Have you ever taken prednisone?

It's a steroid, and it has all sorts of horrible side effects.

One of the most common side effects is bloating and weight gain.  In part, prednisone makes you gain weight because it dramatically increases hunger.

The key word in the above sentence being dramatically.

When I was rushed to the emergency room of our local hospital due to a severe (and completely preventable) allergic reaction, I was given massive doses of prednisone to save my life.

I appreciate that ….!

Yes, I really do.

On the other hand, you can't stop taking prednisone cold turkey.  Since I was put on such a massive dose, I have to be very slowly, gradually, weaned off of it.

Over the course of about six weeks.


Six weeks of feeling jittery, nervous, not sleeping (ugh!), having my *girly* cycle all effed up, along with numerous other unpleasant side effects in addition to being ravenously hungry.

I'm not a toothpick thin woman to start with.  I'm curvy.  I do (normally) eat fairly healthy foods – after all I'm a born and bred Californian and health is important here.  

But now?

If it's edible, it's fair game.


I'm not allowed to exercise for two months.

Can you say recipe for disaster?

I might have eaten the couch the other day, things are THAT bad.

PR came home from school one afternoon and pulled out a brand new carton of chocolate chip ice cream from the freezer.  He opened it up, looked inside and said matter of factly, "Wow, Mom you really did some damage to this!"

I had a momentary flashback of holding the carton on my lap and eating directly from it as fast as I could with a spoon.

"Is there any left?" I queried as he scurried away with the carton.

I rarely ever even think about ice cream – what has happened to me?

Last weekend I woke up and made a loaf of banana bread.  Two big slices, warm from the oven, were delicious with my morning coffee.  I followed it up in the afternoon by making a dinner of meatloaf, creamy mashed potatoes, and provencal vegetables.  I ate hearty portions of everything.

By hearty, I mean about three times more than I normally eat.

It was delicious, by the way.

Everything sounds good to me, and even if it doesn't sound good – I'm starving give it to me anyway!  To give you an idea, even when I was pregnant with my kids, I never ate as much as I have been lately.

It's like the worst case of PMS induced hunger, imaginable.

I can't seem to stop myself.

In an attempt to have some semblance of control, I've tried filling the house with healthy things to choose from.  I snack on baby carrots and hummus, or crisp gala apples.

The problem is, I'm still eating large quantities.


If it's edible and it's within five miles of me, it's fair game – healthy or not.

I'm currently a prednisone-influenced out of control eater.

It's easy to say "Well, just stop eating."

It's easy to say that, that is, if you've never been on massive quantities of prednisone.

Don't mess with me and my food, ya hear?

**  Posts about dieting to follow, sometime in January **

© Twenty Four At Heart

9 Responses to “Call Me The Hulk”

  1. Michelle

    Won’t tell you to stop eating, because that would be wasted words considering the drugs. Hoping that the 6 weeks will fly by and you’ll be able to lose the extra weight once you can start walking, running, boxing, hiking, swimming, taking photos…did I forget anything?
    Also, having healthy food in the house is a great way to limit the damage of the prednisone. I am glad I only ever have to take it short term when my asthma is really bad. (((hugs)))

  2. di

    Oh NO! How many weeks left before you are completely off the prednisone? YIKES!

  3. Jan

    I have taken Prednisone, on more than one occasion. The most recent, of course, was for this damn tonsillectomy – I guess I should be grateful that my sore throat kept me from devouring the kitchen whole.
    The other occasion was for a nasty rash I developed a couple of years ago, and then I DID devour the kitchen whole (I even wrote a post about it). I feel deeply for you, Suzanne, I really, really do. And I’ll be here for you when you’re off the damned stuff and need a helping hand with the diet.

  4. Jenny in MN

    Oh yes! Been there and done that routine too. (several times in fact) I SO feel for you. It is an AMAZING experience to have your brain keep telling you that you need to eat, eat, eat, eat. I would detail out what I ate in a single day on a prednisone frenzy, but anyone reading it would be mortified. My hubby started calling me moommy that day because he was so in awe of the sheer quantity of food I had consumed. I agreed with him.
    The weight will come off when the steroid starts coming out of your system. You will be amazed at how much you’re ‘not’ hungry. The dramatic loss of appetite and ability to move around more will help you drop any weight you are putting on. The steroids usually cause major sugar cravings in addition to all things you can eat. That for me was really odd because I normally don’t eat many sweets. I baked cookies and ate most of what I had made … in a day. 🙁
    Enjoy the food now and love yourself even if you have a little extra weight – it is just one of those things you will look back on and go WOW… I survived that too!
    You are beautiful, kind and oh so funny and fun…even if you did eat the couch.

  5. Kelly

    I understand! I was on just 10 mg of the stuff which I think is the minimum dose and I ate EVERYTHING in sight. I could not stop. I can’t even imagine at higher doses. The good thing is you’ll be off of it by New Years, right? You can join the rest of us with our diets then and, once you’re off the drugs, I be the weight will come off faster than you think.

  6. Rina

    Heh my 3 year old has been on prednisone since birth due to an adrenal disorder and man oh MAN can that kid eat. LOL

  7. Sandra

    I know how awful this is for you!!! I was put on prednisone for my unexplainable hives last year. I gained 8 lbs in 3 weeks because I did just like you and ate everything in site. I could not help myself. It was awful. I never did lose the weight either. 🙁
    I’m so sorry.

  8. goodfather

    OK, I would call you the Incredible Hulk: neither of the ‘Hulk’ movies lived up to the legendary TV show, and, you are incredible.
    Wow, when it rains it really crashes down asteroids on your neck of the woods (went back and read your trip to the ER). I’ve been Hulky myself at one point in my life (more Jabba-the-Hutty), but it was liquor, not prednisone. Candy is dandy, but liquor makes you really fat and an alcoholic.

  9. Maggie

    I was gonna say “welcome to my world”…but I’ve never been on prednisone..I just like to eat 😉
    Good luck, Hulk…hope you do ok!


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