2 5 diet while on steroids

With steroids causing weight gain, I wondered if anyone had any views on the 2 5 diet. (apparently its 2 days fast (i.e. 500/600 calories) and then 5 days normal diet. Has anyone tried this please. Ive put 2 stone on while on steroids for 4 years. And is it a good idea to try this diet, or would it clash with the steroids. Thanks in advance.

20 Replies

  • I have not tried the 2 5 diet but have lost 2 stone on the Slimming world diet and as far as I can see all ok so far for me , however would say it has taken me 18 months and perhaps because I have done it in a slow way It has been better for me . Have had PMR for two and half years .

  • I would be ill if I had to fast and mhdyomach would be dreadful because of tablets x just do low carb food but do it as a lifestyle change and not a fad x slimming world is good too but they still use a lot of sugar in the menu as in cakes as sins which I don't get x just do without x

  • You don't stop food altogether in the fast days - you are limited to 500 calories and unlimited calorie-free drinks. You can make a very large plateful of food within the calorie count - a big bowl of vegetable soup for lunch can be under 100 calories! A big plate of salad leaves, cucumber etc is also very low in calories.

  • I am doing the 5:2 diet and it really works for me - nothing else ever has. I would say it is up to the individual, there will be cases where it really is not right, but for me it really is and it helps. I did go and check with the Doc first and have also seen a dietitian as well - that might be a good idea - with a compromised system from PMR having that piece of mind might be smart. You don't want to do any damage to yourself with this. I do my fasting days on Monday and Wednesday and then have the rest of the week 'off' - that does not mean binge eating at other times, but sensible items and portions. I actually see the 5:2 more as a whole of lifestyle thing as opposed to just a diet. I had been doing 5:2 before PMR and was down about 14 kg (happy with that) - after PMR onset I stopped for about 2 months and that caused about 6 kg in weight gain, but that is coming off now I do the fasting. So, that is my two-bobs worth, but in summary, it works great - if it is for you - and it is worth a health check first...

  • Ok what is this diet? 5:2?

    I've had a weight problem along time having weighed 250 at 5 ft 2.

    Had gastric bypass in 1995 and have been at normal weight since with a few ups and downs. I have lost two inches and gotten older and now this crap.

    I've been on 12.5 mg prednisone for three weeks with PMR and just stArted having cravings with the old enemy.carbs and sugar.

    I have diabetes too.

    I knew about these side effects and weight gain and am really am getting concerned.

    Does everyone have this battle?

    I will have to lock myself in a closet I guess.

    I hate veggies

    I make great veggie soup but sometimes don't feel like standing and chopping but I will. Yes I will.

    Good luck and thanks for the information

  • The 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting if you want to be technical! Basically you choose 2 days a week, preferably not consecutive ones, where you restrict your food intake to 500 calories for women, 600 for men. The rest of the week you eat a sensible normal diet. Obviously stuffing yourself with doughnuts and KFC dinners isn't a good idea and healthy eating is encouraged!

    The theory is that you don't increase your eating on the other 5 days so much that you eat the same number of calories overall and so you will lose weight. You never have to diet for more than 1 day at a time so you have the psychological comfort that "I can have that tomorrow" so don't feel as deprived. It is also convenient - you only have to think harder about what you eat on 2 days a week, one of which can easily be the weekend or you can shift your 24 hour periods so you start your 500 calories say in the morning on Friday to same time Saturday and morning Sunday to Monday, for example, allowing normal eating on Sat evening.

    In fact, most people trying it find that after being conscientious for a few weeks they start to need less to eat anyway and eat less on the other 5 days too. I combined it with low carb - and when you eat low carb it reduces the cravings for carbs as your blood sugar doesn't spike and fall to trigger them. That is what we often recommend on the forums to reduce the risk of diabetes and the weight gain - and it certainly seems to work for the weight gain. Several authorities are now recommending low carb as a way of managing diabetes - including the American Diabetes Association.

  • Before. PMR the 5:2 worked very well for me. I continued with it for the first 11 months of prednisolone, but by that time had gained a stone. Now doing very low carb, and losing weight.

  • This is a very interesting subject , before PMR I regularly competed in combat sports so my weight was a constant battle to stay very light to be in the most effective weight division for me which was under 76kg , I have been on steroids for 2yrs now and weigh around 79kg . I am told steroids can put weight on you even if you maintain a strict eating patterns , I agree they can redistribute your body fat but the biggest problem is the increase in appetite , will power is the secret and exercise even with PMR it is imperative to keep your mobility and bone strength, it's hard but that's the way it is once you are stable with your steroids and slowly reducing. Try to exercise even if it's only a small amount , the armchair is the easy option but I don't have to tell you once you are in it how hard it is to get out (been there not fun ) I am done to 3 mg now and use Arcoxia (anti-inflammatory drug ) to get me through the really bad days . Hope it's useful but that's my take on it 👍😀

  • Why are you down to 3mg if you still have bad days?

  • Hi Reet ,

    I also put on 2 stone and am now in my 5th year of PMR . I tried every diet going , the 5.2 was easy for me as I'm not even a big eater so the fasting days were great . Unfortunately I didn't lose weight although my friend lost a stone and had boundless energy.( I've forgotten what that feels like ) .

    Last summer I started having gallbladder attacks and cut out carbs and fats . I couldn't bear the bloating that carbs caused) . Had gallbladder removed and 7 months later I've almost lost the 2 stone in weight gain.

    It's undoubtedly due to all the sweet potatoes and vegetables.

    I don't want to lose anymore and I'm hoping to tone and exercise more once I find the energy.

    Good luck you can lose it .

  • There has been a lot of discussion on the forums about weight management when taking pred. The consensus has been that low carb seems to be the best option - pred changes the way your body processes carbohydrate and can cause blood sugar spikes that are not related to eating carbs. Reducing the normal spikes due to eating carbs reduces your overall BS level - which is what you need to avoid producing the excess insulin that leads to the deposition of fat on face, midriff and back of the neck.

    I gained weight with PMR (not managed so I was unable to exercise as normal) and on prednisolone I didn't gain more weight but what I had already gained redistributed itself to the usual places. Then I was switched to Medrol - and gained a load of weight (amongst other side effects). I was switched again, to a form of prednisone. I was already under a dietician to try to help me lose weight - even at 1100 calories I lost just grams. Then I tried the 5:2 diet. That helped me reassess portion size very well - and I stopped feeling hungry which was a major benefit! Then I limited carbs - and slowly lost weight despite still being on up to 15mg of pred after a flare. If I ate more than a very small amount I didn't lose weight - and if I ate normal amounts of carbs I gained weight again. The weight went first from around my waist, then from my face. Four years on it is still the same - but at the time I lost 36lbs over a period of about 18 months.

    I've been fairly stable since then - although I had another flare this time last year and was back to 15mg. In the summer I was in North America for a month and put on weight as it was very difficult to control what food was offered. I put on about 5 lbs in a week when I couldn't resist cheesecake at a meeting! My bad! However - using low carb I have lost it all again. I don't restrict fat - but when you don't eat carbs you don't eat much butter on other food!

    As Car00b says - Slimming World works for some people but it doesn't have the advantage of also acting to reduce the risk of diabetes developing, also a risk with pred.

  • I have had GCA/PMR since 2010 and am currently taking 7.5mg Prednisolone 20mg Methotrexate. At my heaviest I weighed 104kg and when I look at photographs of myself taken in 2012 I hardly recognise the person I see. It occurred to me one day that if the doctors were doing their best for me then I had to do the best for me too. I had the classic moon face, fat hump at the back of my neck and roll round the middle and had gone up to a size 20 in clothing.

    I got down to 82kg by cutting out bread, cakes, potatoes, sweets and processed food and looked at the fat content of anything I bought. I allowed myself 1 sourdough roll per week as a treat. I also started cycling building up slowly to 5 miles daily and 20 miles at the weekend. I have Osteoarthritis in both knees and one hip and find cycling easier than walking and have found the exercise beneficial for this condition.

    I believe the most important factor in weight loss is the individuals mind set. If you are in the right frame of mind then you will succeed in spite of the Prednisolone. Good luck with whichever diet you choose and be kind to yourself. I still have a long way to go but I'm getting there.

  • daw50,

    your weight loss from 104kg to 82kg is Great . . . it must help with less burden on knees.

  • It worked well for me before steroids so I've started it again and so far so good. I've been back on it for 3 weeks and have lost a couple of kilos. I'm not sticking to it strictly but using as a guideline along with reducing carbs, as PMRpro says. You just have to find your own level.

  • I've been Intermittent Fasting (not 5:2) for over 9 months. Eating from 1pm and nothing after 9pm. Recommended twice a week however I do this every day. Once every couple or so weeks I might have a breakfast day. It works which is why I stick to it. It's now become my norm and if I am away I miss it. It means I can eat whatever I like in the eating hours. I don't have to count calories or miss out on nice foods.

    What attracted me to this regime was the possibility to reverse insulin resistance. I hoped it would help me lose some Kg...and then started Pred, so the fact I have remained almost stable weight wise is good too.

    As for weight loss....I haven't lost and have gained 1Kg. The best bit for me is my Fasting Blood results which are now down again for the 2nd month and I am in normal range. (You should know that I eat homemade cake most afternoons and Rice Pudding for dessert most evenings (I am currently obsessed with Rice Pudding). So there are definitely ways this is working for me. My major worry (being Morbidly Obese) is that I would become diabetic, so I am very happy to be doing what I need to to keep my bloods good.

    Of course it isn't everybody's cup of tea and at 62 I am so pleased to have found something finally that works for me after years of trying different regimes which I have never been able to stick to.

  • I too gained weight, over 2 stone, in the 18 months since I developed PMR. On January 1st. I started following Food Combining For Health....I put aside all thought of losing weight, I just wanted to see if I could feel better. It has worked for me, I have far more energy and each day I look forward to going out for a walk and socialising. I had not done much of these things in the last year. Also I have stopped gaining weight and am pleased to say I have lost just over half a stone... I feel so much better.

  • I did 5:2 a few years ago (pre PMR) and lost 21lbs in about 6mths very easily. Just stick to 500 cals two days a week and be a tiny bit sensible some of the other days. 3 years later, I'd put on 7lbs (and been on pred for18 mnths). Went back to 5:2 and lost 14lbs and still dropping gently. It's not a quick fix but it's very easy and fasting is said to have many other health benefits. There is a very good supportive and motivational Facebook group if you're on FB. It's the one that has the book by Kate Harrison (which I also recommend) on the top of the page. Hope this helps and give it a go!

  • Thank you so much for all the good information and advice about the 5.2 diet. You guys are brilliant and an inspiration. Blessings to you all

  • I lost 2stone on 5:2 diet before pred.It does work.I then put on a stone last year and am now on the slimming world diet although I don't go to classes😉I've lost half a stone in 4 weeks

  • It is very interesting as a newly diagnosed person with PMR on a still relatively 'high' dose of Prednisolone - to read people's experiences with their diets and weight control. I have always been on the overweight side - even as a child and spent the usual years as a young woman trying to reduce my weight by extreme diets and all the fads as they came and went. After decades of this and when still in pretty good health I decided NT to do it anymore and throw the scales away !! Well at least that stabilised my weight and I was reasonably fit doing lots of walking and very physical type gardening. Now with PMR and the spectre of uncontrolled weight gain I have quickly modified my diet reducing carbs, limiting any processed food, reducing sodium and the size of my evening meal. Weight is disappearing already - but I am not 'seduced' my this early 'success' as I know I must accept I am in it for the long haul. I guess people use different methods to do this but ultimately eating a good balanced, fresh food based, lowish carb diet is what most of us would benefit from anyway and it is just about accepting there is a need to make a 'lifestyle change' for our very precious health.

    Great forum - thanks !!

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