Dear Basya,

I recently had a steroid injection for back pain, and suddenly my appetite is out of control! How do I handle this?

Suddenly Starved

Dear Suddenly Starved,

This is a great question, and I see this often, with all sorts of medications ranging from antibiotics to antidepressants and everything in between. Starting or changing a medication can definitely affect the appetite, but it will often be a short-term issue, until your body gets used to the dosage. Knowing that you will soon adjust should help you tough it out, but here a few more tips to help you during this harder time:

1. Choose the most filling options. Often, we make our meal and snack choices based on what we enjoy or what’s convenient. For the next few days or weeks, try to prioritize choosing the most filling options. For example, a pack of Melba toast with a can of tuna and vegetables is more filling than a slice of bread and an ounce or two of cheese.

2. Eat loads of vegetables. Grill mushrooms and peppers. Sauté some riced cauliflower. Have a few extra bowls of vegetable soup. This will help you keep your appetite in check without adding too many extra calories.

3. If you do feel that you really need extra food, try to get the most “bang for your buck.” A few extra egg whites, a pack of turkey slices, or an 80-calorie yogurt will take the edge off your hunger with fewer calories and cravings than a cookie or some chocolate.

4. Distract yourself. Make a list of ways to distract yourself, such as reading, napping, or calling a friend.

You may need to adjust your expectations and focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing, until you feel back to normal. Hopefully these ideas will help you until the worst of it has passed! Of course, if the problem persists, speak to your healthcare practitioner.


 Basya Kovacs is a nutrition counselor at Nutrition by Tanya, and is a co-manager of the Five Town location. Nutrition by Tanya offers personalized and practical weight management and nutrition counseling for men, women, and children. Nutrition by Tanya has locations in Boro Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg, Monsey, Lakewood, Crown Heights, Five Towns, Monroe, and Upper West Side. The office can be reached at 844-TANYA DIET.


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