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How to Not Gain Weight on Steroids? 5 Tips to Get Rid of Extra Fat in Your Body!

No matter your reason for taking steroids, whether aesthetic or medical, you will most likely have to face the side effects of steroids, especially weight gain. This synthetic form of the hormone “cortisol” is an excellent prescription against inflammation and auto-immune disorders.

Besides, steroids are often referred to as man-made performance enhancers. The anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) increase muscle mass and strength but also have a few side effects. Of course, one of those side effects is increased body fat.

Don’t get us wrong! There is nothing wrong with being on steroids, but with the right knowledge, you can easily minimize the damage. That is where this guide on how to not gain weight on steroids comes in. 

Read on to learn everything about steroid use, including cycle advice, steroid effects, and side effects. This blog mainly focuses on how can you prevent weight gain on steroids.

When you gain weight on steroids, it can affect some areas of your body more than others, such as your neck, shoulders, and abdomen.

Table of Content

Do You Gain Weight When on Steroids? 3 Common Causes!

A study of people on low dosage corticosteroids for two years showed a 4-8 % increase in their total body weight. What is worth noting here is that the period and dose of steroids significantly affected the weight gain.

This means that a higher dose and duration of medicine are more likely to affect your weight than a lower dose. But how long does steroid weight gain last? As long as you are on your medications, you will have to face it. However, once you are off, the changes reverse back, and you can lose the extra weight. 


Nonetheless, your health is the most important factor here, and everything else comes next. So focus on your health first and your weight later! Read on to find out how steroids make you gain weight to have a better chance of losing those stubborn pounds. 

Water Retention

According to research, taking steroids affects your body’s electrolyte balance, resulting in a higher osmolarity and thus greater fluid retention. This means that your body stores more sodium and less potassium than required, leading to more water being stored. 

Do steroids make you gain water weight? Well, as a whole, Yes! However, the good news is you can easily shed it off through a few changes in your diet. 

How long does it take for water retention to go away after stopping prednisone? Fortunately, all the changes reverse as soon as you stop the medications, including the water retention. 

Increased Appetite

The steroid binds to the hunger centre in your brain’s hypothalamus, increasing your appetite. This leads to frequent bouts of hunger, forcing you to give in to your cravings and increasing your calorie intake. 


Fat Redistribution

When you gain weight on steroids, it can affect some areas of your body more than others, such as your neck, shoulders, and abdomen. Hence, no matter how less of weight you gain, most of it will be centered around your face, giving you a chubby appearance. 

How to Not Gain Weight on Steroids?

Does everyone gain weight on steroids? It varies from person to person and their respective metabolism and lifestyle, but most people face weight gain, especially on Prednisone. 


But don’t worry! Weight gain can easily be prevented through mindful lifestyle changes. Here are some tried and tested tips you can incorporate into your life to prevent weight gain.

Alter Your Diet

You are what you eat! In other words, if you want to lose weight or gain weight, it is down to the food you put into your body. Since being on steroids increase the sodium content in your body and reduces potassium, you need to fix it up through your diet. 

Can you avoid weight gain on steroids? Of course! In fact, just staying off salty, sodium-rich food and incorporating fruits high in Potassium, such as apricots and dates, is all you need. 

Steroids may also affect your bone density, making it more porous. Hence, you need calcium supplements to make that up for you. Opt for low-fat supplements such as chia seeds and green, leafy vegetables instead of high-fat whole milk. 

Portion Control 

To lose weight, the key is to control the number of calories you take in and burn more calories than you consume. This does not in any way means you need to deprive yourself of the food you like. Nor does it call for zero carbs, zero fats, or any such diet.


Learning portion control and substituting unhealthy carbs, fats, and proteins is an excellent way to keep your appetite in control. You can also break down your meals into smaller ones throughout the day, so you are always full.

If you are craving something sweet, go for fresh fruits and juices instead of refined sugar and sweets. You do not have to do this all at once. Start slow and steady, and be consistent with your diet to see quick results!

Proper Dosage

Will 20mg of prednisone cause weight gain? There is no fixed answer to it. It all depends on how long you plan on being on it and your dosage. However, weight gain is reported in majority of the cases, which is why it is important you discuss this aspect with your doctor. 

Once it starts working, your doctor may get you on another steroid, such as Budenoside, which shows fewer side effects compared to Prednisone. 

Do not ever change or stop your medications by yourself! Your doctor should be the one to alter your regimen. This is done gradually, so you do not face any consequences after being on it for long. 

Stay Hydrated

Increasing your daily water intake not only helps you lose more weight but also cuts down your appetite. This is among the easiest solution to how not to gain weight on oral steroids. All you have to do is drink a glass of water every hour, and you will see a difference in record time. 

Exercise Actively

When you are sick, exercising seems like a hard task. With steroids, it becomes even more difficult to get out of bed and get going. But you must understand the amount of difference exercising will make on your weight as well as overall health. 


Start with light training with a friend and gradually increase the intensity as you feel better. Make sure you include aerobic as well as weight lifting training to strengthen your muscles and lose weight at the same time. 


How do you lose weight when on steroids?

Although it is hard losing weight when on steroids, it is not impossible. With a clean diet and regular exercise, you can easily lose the extra pounds. You will feel hungry more often, but you must learn to control it. Make sure your diet consists of low sodium and high potassium food items to manage the electrolyte disbalance and avoid bloating. 

Do you always gain weight on steroids?

If you have been on steroids for a long time, chances are you may be gaining weight from it. However, short courses do not generally produce many side effects. It all depends on what steroid you have been taking, the dosage, and the duration. People taking low doses of Prednisone for two years have reported a 4 to 8% increase in their body weight. 

Is it possible to not gain weight on prednisone?

Depending on your metabolism, it is possible to not gain weight on prednisone. However, most people show an increase in body mass, especially when using steroids for a long time. Once you are off the medications, the weight gain stops as well. You can also avoid weight gain when on medications by taking a low sodium-high potassium diet, low-fat supplements, and exercising regularly. 

How much weight do you gain with steroids?

The weight gain on steroids depends a lot on how long you have been on steroids and the dosage. It usually ranges from 4 to 8% or approximately 1 to 2 kg of the total body weight. Besides the weight gain, there is fat redistribution in your entire body such that fat mainly concentrates around your face and neck giving you a “Moon face.”  

Final Verdict 

There is no denying the fact that no matter what you do, how you eat, or how much you exercise, you will gain weight if you take steroids. The only thing you can do is find ways to prevent the side effects of these drugs.

The ideal solution on how to not gain weight on steroids is to follow a proper diet and exercise routine. Give a thought to what your daily diet is? Does it consist of healthy foods? Do you skip meals or eat too much? Do you exercise daily? 

Make a schedule for yourself including a low-sodium, high-potassium diet plan and exercise routine, and then stick to it to see results!

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