I put on far too much weight, first when I was in severe pain for a month before being prescribed Pred, and then when I was trying to come to terms with being unfit and "disabled". Comfort eating. Being addicted to chocolate didn't help one little bit. So I'm now considering going on the Fast800 diet. Has anyone else tried this?
Fast 800: I put on far too much weight, first when... - PMRGCAuk
Well done for taking the bull by the horns. We’re all different so it might be fine for you, but not for me. One question though, what is your reason for that plan? Is it to lose it quickly? Or you feel a prescribed regime/system will make it psychologically easier for you to stick to? Or you’ve tried merely giving up choc and carbs and it doesn’t work? Or some other?
Are you intending going the whole hog including paying to join the programme? There is someone on the forum who did it that way:
I think others have done it without the strict guidance.
I also gained weight due to untreated PMR and the immobility that resulted in. I didn't gain much with pred, it just redistributed itself. But I did manage to lose 35lbs over a couple of years after cutting carbs. I regained some and of course lockdown last year didn't help but I have now lost almost all of that again. More to go ...
Many thanks for this. I see both your "examples" have partners. Mine died eight years ago, I'm alone, nearest family five hours' drive away. I really miss the support. I'm also in very rural North Wales, and am wondering if I'm going to be able to get the various ingredients for this diet without spending huge amounts of money on fuel for the car - or going on the bus (eek! no social distancing!) Time will tell.
Which is why I tend to suggest the low carb approach - because that doesn't involve complicated shopping ( if I look at a recipe with more than 5 ingredients I abandon it ...), it is just a shift in the foods you eat, leaving out the processed carbs and added sugar. It's actually just one person - her before and after story. But having a partner makes it more difficult I think - at least, if like mine the last thing they need is to lose weight! On your own you can cook what you like, when you like and don't have to prepare forbidden fruits (or pasta) for your partner.
This site helps make those choices by telling you what has lots of carbs and what doesn't:
If you just count the calories on 2 days a week and use the 5:2 approach that also contributes to weight loss - you eat fairly normally but sensibly on the other 5 days. Finding low calorie meals to stick to 800 calories on the diet days is quite easy.
Very many thanks! I've been having a big salad with a couple of hard boiled eggs quite frequently (it's been the biscuits and chocolate that have done the damage), with my own mayonnaise. I had been wondering about that, whether to substitute olive oil for the cheaper sunflower oil I've been using, and a recipe on one of the sites gives almost exactly the same ingredients as I use, except more mustard. So relieved I can still have my lovely mayonnaise! The trick now is to avoid looking around for something to nibble in the evenings.
Sunflower oil doesn't get off the shelf for me - olive oil only! Or butter - real butter
I'm too lazy to make mayo, my dressing of choice is a large glug of extra virgin olive oil - bought in 5 litre cans. Currently from a small shop that brings it up from the deep south - good current batch! I really like Lake Garda oil but Covid restrictions have rather put the kibosh on that for now!
jinasc recommends cucumber, cut into big enough slices to be able to feel the crunch I find it very satisfying. I also eat late enough to remain full enough not to want nibbles - it's something I don't bother with really. If I do then it is nuts - I keep a big bowl of almonds and hazelnuts on the table - I buy baking ones so there is no salt. I also allow myself a single square of 70%+ chocolate and nibble it in tiny bits - you can make it last a very long time with practise!!!
I have just come across "The Power of Fastercise" by Dr Denis Wilson. It seems to be the answer to my prayers in that it requires very little effort to do. The science behind it is solid as far as I am concerned. He explains that we all like to stretch in the morning and that is sort of the basis of one of the two exercises. I have been into it about 10 days and one of my downfalls has been the munchies mid afternoon when I have always had a snack. Since starting I have done about 30 seconds or less of one of the exercises which has got rid of the hunger pangs and allowed me to wait comfortably until an early evening meal (7ish which is normal for me anyway). Obviously not all diets etc. suit everyone - I go quite well on Low Carb type eating but doing a really short exercise a couple of times a day is definitely working for me. I am not happy feeling hungry.
Please please PMR tell me how to cut on carbs ! It sounds easy and straight forward, but in practice how do you do it ? Do you have a steak for breakfast and a chicken breast for lunch followed by a large fish portion for dinner ? But I have so much fat round the middle now that I can’t get into most of my clothes .do you have a diet which is easy to follow and doesn’t leave you starving ?
I haven't started on the Fast 800 yet, but several people on here have said that it isn't difficult. I find the afternoons and evenings the worst. Once I start eating, at lunchtime (I can ignore the bit of food I have to have to take the Pred), I really don't want to stop. And the fuller I feel, the more I want to snack. How does that work?
It depends what you are eating - carbs tend to do that because eating anything with sugar/simple carbs results in a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. This triggers the release of insulin - and the blood sugar level shoots down to a low level which results in your body craving more carbs to bring it back to where it should be. It overshoots - more insulin is produced and sets the roller coaster off again. This is particularly a problem when you are nibbling carby snacks - the body produces insulin expecting a meal but there isn't as much as it expects and that sends the BS level crashing down. Excess insulin also turns any available glucose into fat stores - which, when you are on pred, tend to be directed at the usual places of face, midriff and the back of the neck. In the long term it also contributes to cells becoming resistant to insulin and Type 2 diabetes develops.
Once you cut the carbs in your diet, you also smooth out these ups and downs of blood sugar levels - and because they don't go up, they also don't plunge as far. Because they don't go so low - you don't crave carbs in the same way.
Also, often when you are craving food it isn't food you need, it is something to drink. When you think you want something, drinking a glass of water - and NOT a diet drink with artificial sweetners - and finding something to do for 15 minutes is often enough to make you forget you wanted to eat.
Beware of artificial sweeteners of any sort in anything - they fool your body into thinking FOOD is on is way and cause production of insulin in anticipation. They are also intensely sweet and it makes you want more sweet things - you have to be disciplined for a time, it takes about 6 weeks to retrain your taste buds and you do have to stick to "no added sugar/sweeteners" to start with. I struggle now with commercially available foods - I only buy plain yoghurt and the like, ready-flavoured are just too sweet. And low fat is even worse - they add sugar to replace the "mouth-experience" of fat. It is almost addictive - and a habit that needs to be broken.
is a good guide to what to avoid and what to go for instead.
Why steak for breakfast? Eggs are an ideal no-carb basis and if you google low carb breakfasts you will get loads of ideas that don't include toast and marmalade! There are a lot of veggies and salad stuffs that are very low on carbs and by careful meal planning you can make up a perfectly normal day to day plan that doesn't have loads of carbs.
A good approach is to stop thinking of any particular food as related to breakfast or dinner - a tour of the world shows you just how different foods from what you are used to are used in other countries. And brunch is a really useful idea too. I always laugh when I see criossants offered as a "continental breakfast" - they are in French-speaking regions but breakfast in other European countries varies widely with cheese and cold meats, fish, tomatoes, cucumber, yoghurt, fruit on offer rather than just baked goods.
You don't need massive amounts of protein either - I never eat more than about 4oz meat and 6oz fish as a portion but the rest of the plate is piled with above ground veg or salad. Feeling full is as much about the bulk as the calories - so a big bowl of salad leaves and cucumber has very few calories or carbs but damps your appetite. The same applies to a bowl of the right sort of soup. But I don't eat root veg including any form of potato except very rarely as a special treat and even then it is one or two tiny new potatoes! Nor pasta, rice, bread or any other baked goods or fruit (lot of sugar hiding in fruit).
In fact, I also don't bother with breakfast - I do TRE, Time Restricted Eating, lunch is about 1.30-2pm, dinner is at 7.30pm and in the morning I just drink a few mugs of tea with a splash of semi-skimmed milk. I never was a breakfast person so that is no hardship.
Eat to live, don't live to eat. Easy said, not so easy to do. I suppose really, we should be going the alcoholic route: one drink and they're off the wagon. One bite of chocolate, and it's all ruined. So I'm looking forward to a life of absolutely no chocolate, ever??
Don't be daft - moderation in all things and depriving yourself of treats only leads to falling off the wagon altogether and rolling into the ditch. I eat a square of chocolate and make it last. But only good quality and high cacao - I really don't like milk chocolate at all and you tend not to be tempted to eat a whole bar at a sitting with that.You do get used to it - and it is all about treats being just that, treats, not normal parts of your daily diet. With the 5:2 approach you eat "normally" but sensibly on the other days but I found that after a couple of weeks I just didn't want as much on the other days either. It was a great way to adust portion sizes.
Hi ChrisinNam. I am very new to PMR but fast800 diets I do know a lot about. Last august 2020 long before PMR entered my life I had regular annual blood and HbA1c came back that I was diabetic. My gp said unlikely as no symptoms and last reading perfect. So she did another test and as she expected it came back perfectly normal. So just a lab anomaly she said. Phew. But I was totally freaked at the thought of diabetes and being an evidence based medicine type person checked the latest research and found in diabetes uk really good evidence that rapid weight loss of 15kg can reverse diabetes in86% of people. diabetes.org.uk/research/re... I set about researching best program for this sort of diet and discovered the Micheal Mosley (him off the telly) Fast800 programme. £90 for the course. It looked do-able if tough. I started it on 24th Aug when I weighed and hit my target weighed 81.3kg. By 12 weeks I had hit my target of 66kg which put me just inside the green section of Nhs bmi scale. I moved to 5:2 still following the program. Lost another couple of kilos and now hover just under 64kg. I east carefully have learnt not to binge sugar and carbs did C25k and have never felt fitter. Till PMR hit that is.
I wouldn’t say it was easy but it wasn’t as hard as I thought. The meals and recipes are pretty tasty and you get a weeks menu in advance and you can swap things you don’t like. Most ingredients will be available in most reasonably sized supermarkets and there are helpful alternatives. It’s a lot of vegetables and some meat and fish. Means shopping once a week for the week. And I have kept to that forward Meuse planning and shopping really helps me. And stops me going off piste. It changed my life for the better.
I printed off all the recipes and menus
There are other programs. Also probably best to check with you dr before you start. I did and she was cautious but didn’t say no. But I had no health problems then.
Don’t know how 800cals a day would work with PMR. I don’t need to do that now. So have no experience. But I can say that the real motivation came from feeling lighter really fast (new research is showing more people keep weight off if they loose it faster as it’s better than very delayed reward of slow dieting) and surprisingly discovering that feeling a bit hungry for short periods made eating more pleasurable and wasn’t the worst thing ever.
I’ve gone on long enough now. But let me know if there is anything else that I can help with.
When all is said and done finding a way that works for you and doesn’t impact badly on your overall health.
Thanks, PMRpro and Grannyasbo for all your help. Such encouragement! I'm feeling really blessed. Except that I keep "hitting a wall", when I think I've been doing well. On 11mg a day now, and am wondering whether it's enough. I'm fine for a few hours after taking the Pred, and then completely run out of steam, all-of-a-quick. And some pain comes back at the same time. Anyone had experience of this?
Hi there, I wonder if you have looked into splitting your Pred dose? It really worked well for me. I would suggest 6mg in the morning (as early as you can - I take my morning dose at 4am) and then take your 5mg with your evening meal. You may find that stops the 'running out of steam' that you mentioned.
I have had similar experience with the Fast 800 - started it last year in Feb. because of a blood test showing I was pre-diabetic. Working from Roy Taylor's diet (Roy was the fellow who taught Michael Mosley everything he knows. . .) I lost 60 pounds by June of last year and felt brilliant - able to walk miles and ride a bike for the first time in many moons! I went on a careful diet plan as maintenance and felt confident that the weight was gone for good. However, I had a joint replacement in one of my fingers and wasn't able to exercise for about eight weeks - this was last November - and then Christmas came and the weight started creeping on again. In January of this year I was diagnosed with PMR and what with getting the preds going and no exercise I have gained back quite a bit of the weight I had lost and still haven't been able to get going on regular exercise. . .a real blow as feeling great as a trim person was such a confidence booster. Still, I have started again on a reduced calorie/low carb diet and feel sure I can do this and still keep the PMR under control. So, give the Fast 800 a try and, PMRpro says, maybe work a 5:2 plan into it all and see if that suits you. Good luck!
The sad truth is that having found a way to lose weight - you have to stick to something similar for life or the weight goes back on. Especially with the twin handicaps of PMR and pred!
I followed it for 12 weeks last March and lost 3 stone which helped helped mobility and flairs. I have since followed the 5 2 and Mediterranean diet and have maintained the weight loss. I am not a fan of no carbs at all, eat lots of fruit and veg, lentils rice and beans and no ill effects on PMR symptoms
Thanks Susan 1705. I seem to be slipping into the "start the diet tomorrow" mindset. Not good at all, but afternoons and evenings seem to be much harder than mornings. A suggestion to split the Pred dose seems sensible, maybe that will help. This disease is a horror.
You may not need to split it as a 12/12 hour gap - sometimes just taking part in the morning and the rest about lunchtime is enough to make it better and doesn't interfere with sleep as much.
I think finding the motivation to stick to a regime to lose weight is hard at the best of times. Especially so if you have PMR. (I’ve done 5:2 for several years but find fast days really hard now as I get tired so much quicker.)
The 800 diet, if you can cope with the big reduction, should help with some early motivational weight loss to keep you going. An advantage to being on your own is that you can eat what you want (within the diet parameters obviously) when you want with no OH to accommodate/please. And if it’s just you, you can remove all “bad” stuff from the kitchen.
With regard to oil, olive is the one to use -extra Virgin. I’m a fan of Dr Rupy and listen to his podcasts. He had someone on recently talking about it. Fascinating.
Are you doing 5:2 from the original regime of 600 cals per day (I think it was).
Michael Mosley and his team have changed it to 800 per day (as in the Fast 800 which is daily) . When we did 5:2 years ago it was such a struggle. 800 cals per day much easier to manage.
Yes we still do the original 5:2 limiting to 600 on the two fast days. I think it suits us better at the moment as when we get to Thursdays it’s like the weekend starting. It’s about the only structure we have in our week at present 😂
Originally it was 500 for women and 600 for men - 500 was truly hard!!!!
Wow! I bet it was, especially in this era, now that we're all very used to eating so much more food than we used to many years ago.
I know ALL about the "I'll start the diet tomorrow" mindset - you're talking to the expert here!
I have put on 15 kilos since starting on pred for PMR four years ago. It's made me unhappy but I don't seem to be able to develop the discipline to diet it off. I have just bought a 5/2 eating plan book hoping for some motivation!
I think part of my problem was telling myself I was going to gain weight anyway and so it became a self fulfilling prophesy!
I have never been good at dieting and have always relied on eating well which I still do. I grow my own vegetables and make my own bread (which I rarely allow myself!)
Pred makes me SO hungry especially for sweet things!!! I try not to have them in the house but I look after Grandchildren twice a week and the temptation there is to make them healthy cakes and biscuits and GUESS WHO has some as well? I know I should just stick to giving them fruit.
Anyway GOOD LUCK with it and who knows perhaps I'll be boasting on this lovely forum one day that I've lost lots of weight!!??
Good luck Louisa, you will eat healthily on these diets & enjoy your own vegetables all the more. X
One of the additional benefits is that by cutting carbs, especially processed things and added sugar, the roller coaster effect on blood sugar levels is calmed - and it is that roller coaster that leads to the cravings for sweet stuff as the insulin that is produced sends the blood sugar level plummeting to very low levels.
My diabetic friend recommended making chocolate brownies, but substituting half the sugar with almond flour. It worked well, and they were really good. But still contain quite a bit of sugar, and plenty of carbs. But better than shop bought brownies.
They reckon that most recipes you can cut sugar to half and it will still work.
But if you are using white flour - remember it is a simple carb and just turns to glucose in the body. Almond flour is better in terms of carbs - was the brownie recipe using flour? There are wonderful brownie recipes using almond flour so they are gluten-free.
I opted for the older 5:2 diet and have lost three quarters of a stone in 8 weeks. However I have four stone to lose as I put on 2 stone with steroids for asthma then 2 stone during my pmr journey! This diet is dr Mosley’s older one and I was unaware of the newer fast 800 diet. I will read about that when I have time! But the 5:2 doesn’t affect my pmr much, maybe more tired in the evenings but I’m tired then anyway! Good luck, S x
I've been doing the Fast800 since Feb and have lost just over a stone. I do the 5:2 so I fast on Tues and Thurs and keep my calories below 800. I haven't bought any special food. On a fast day I have porridge at about 11am and then something like filet steak and a huge salad for dinner about 7pm. It was hard at first but now I don't feel so hungry on fast days. My trick is to have a treat like steak on fast days so that it's something to look forward to. I also have little pots of sugar free jelly (buy or make them yourself) which are 4cals and these are great as a sweet snack :). I am happy with the slow weight loss and see this as the best way for me to keep weight off long term.
I lost 4 stone in weight by going in the low carb high fat diet. I am also a lot healthier now. My type 2 diabetes is in remission and my cholesterol is good. My exercise is plent6 of walking. Good luck to you
I find it isn’t easy to get motivated when one has soooo much to lose - in my case about 4 stone. I have decided to start using a meal replacement (shake) diet. I know it is a lot of money for something I should be able to do myself but somehow, I am just not doing it. My PMR is under control again - I do well at pred dosage of 5 and can get to 4 but the wheels fall off below that.
The thing is that all this extra weight is obviously causing more wear and tear and one hip has been acting up now. I don’t think it is PMR related.
I am hoping that 3 weeks will be a great kick start and then I will be able to slowly go back to my pre PMR sort of way of eating which I would describe as balanced and healthy with maybe one meal replacement working down to none.
We all have to find things that work for us but the main thing is to agree that carrying extra weight is not healthy.
Go for it and feel better....I was putting this off but find the shakes work very well. I have one at breakfast and lunch then eat normally in the evening. Avoid potatoes and bread and have stopped my small glass of red in the evening plus no snacking/bisquits of course!. Have lost 9lb in 3 weeks. I dilute the shake with half water/semi skimmed milk and add a big dollop of 5% greek live yoghurt...delicious and fills you up. probably more like 1000 cals
its an easy way to loose weight and gain all the benefits.
Exercise if you can..I struggle with RA feet and knees.
Im sure you will start to feel much better all round...Goodluck
I'm hovering at the 4.25mg mark, alternating 4mg and 4.5mg prednisone diagnosed August 2019. I've just started Fast 800 hoping that it may help my adrenals start working. Eating between 12pm and 6pm works well for me
I did The Fast 800 from late October to February.
I had lost 17kg by last week and am currently heading back up as we've had a carby blow out few days.
I know for me I wouldn't have achieved this success without the full package of meal plans/shopping lists/ forum/health coach availability etc. The speed of the initial weight loss was incredibly motivating and the meals were really easy and tasty.
I need to point out that we had been TRE Time Restricted Eating(16:8) which I am sure helped us lose fast. We still had 3 meals per day (it was recommended to make sure you got all the calories and nutrients). We tended to have dinner at midday, breakfast at 5pm and a lighter meal at between 7-8pm.
I also started walking. I'd not really been able to up until October. My PMR seemed to have diminished enough to make walking a possibility and I am now walking 3-4 miles a day.
I am currently on 7mg of Pred and wonder how my weight would be without them.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
Forgot a very important bit. I am now a lapsed Diabetic Keeping an eye on HbA1c but not now needing meds.
Many thanks, IdasMum. I'm reading through Dr Michael Mosley's book Fast800, and getting towards the recipes part. I have a Tesco delivery booked on 8th June, so will make sure to order things I need for the meals. Keeping fingers crossed that the wretched Pred keeps it's hands off my mood!
Yes , with great success , I recommend reading Dr Michael Mosleys book ( Amazon next day delivery!) as the science behind it is really interesting.
Failing that we have been having Mindful Chef deliveries , main meals average about 650 calories, I was really poorly at the beginning of the year with a pneumothorax and ordered to rest , my husband has lost a steady amount of weight as he’s had to prepare meals , under supervision ! Hope this helps .
Also have PMR & Fibromyalgia and still coping with an incredibly slow taper. I find this site invaluable with advice and shared experiences.
Yes! I’m also rather addicted to chocolate .... I joined the Fast 800 programme 25/1 it had been at the back of my mind since Dr Moseley’s online talk to us last year. I was stuck & worried about becoming diabetic. I enjoyed the online support of the people starting on the same day (from all over the world). We had a prep week starting to use the recipes & sorting out our cupboards! I cooked for 2 & added in extra carbs for my husband who didn’t need to loose weight but actually did a little & onthe whole enjoyed the tasty meals. I mostly used online shopping & planned each week in advance. What I realised was ... I had been eating more than I was using up in calories, especially over the winter. It’s very much good fats, lots of greens, no wine (I had a odd glass of red & discovered Gordon’s 0.2% gin 😉) plenty of protein. It was a bit of a re-education I suppose & after 10 weeks I lost 7.5 kilos. The programme runs for 12 weeks plus 4 free weeks. Exercise is also built in & encouraged. I think most people felt a bit headachey after 2/3 weeks & mid afternoon was my danger point so nibbled on nuts or fruit. Now I’m back to a piece of cake or flapjack but home made so I know what’s in it! Good luck if you do it, if not I can recommend the cookbooks anyway. I feel so much better, it’s helped my arthritic knees & I’m enjoying looking better in a size smaller! X
Portion sizes was a lesson learned. One I'd needed for a long time. I think now, even though we're not being as strict, I am dishing up more suitable portions.
Hi ChrisinNam, I recognise all of that, especially chocolate addiction. I put on weight when I was diagnosed with GCA and put on prednisolone. This is a drug that is also given to some non PMRGCA patients who need to eat.My consultant said that I would never lose weight whilst taking prednisolone! So I joined a well known slimming organisation and lost 4 stone! The group environment and being able to eat most things really suited me.
Good luck in whatever you choose to try. S x
I trust you made him eat his words
Even Sarah Mackie seemed surprised and wondered whether diet should be included in recpmmendations. Of course it should because by saying to a patient they will gain weight it gives them carte blanche with what they eat and they can blame the pred.
Consultants do say a lot of things, don't they?
My consultant knows me better.. He was very surprised how much I lost and was concerned in case I was unwell.
I agree diet advice should be given to anyone on steroids. I believe GPs were able go provide a free 12wk program with Slimming World.
We have a few people on the forum who lost weight on pred! I wish ... Though I had gained weight with PMR and inactivity and didn't really gain weight on prednisone - it just all redistributed itself. I then gained while on methyl prednisolone but having come of that and switched to prednisone and cut carbs I lost 35lbs while still on above 15mg pred.
I personally find it easier to do continuous low-carb eating which stabilises your blood sugar levels and hunger pangs rather than yo-yoing between low calories and 'normal' higher calorie eating as the low-calorie days are hard when on Pred. Many friends do the 5:2/Fast 800 very successfully for weight loss but they're not on steroids. Try it and see if it suits your lifestyle and you can keep it up, we're all different and the key is finding something you can stick to. I gave up breakfast many years ago and so have a long overnight fast.
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