No one wants to talk about it but it can be one of the biggest problems when trying to lose weight. CONSTIPATION, ok, I said it. Are you going to the bathroom enough? Is it regular? Do you feel like you’ve been emptied out? All questions to ask yourself. You should be able to answer yes to all those questions. You should be able to go everyday at least once.
Let’s go through the regular things that cause constipation. Use this as a check list to make sure you have ruled all of these things out.
- Not drinking enough water. Aim for at least 3L for an active women and 4-5L for active men. This can vary quite a bit depending on body weight, activity, caffeine and stimulant consumption and weather. Drink a litre of water first thing in the morning.
- Not getting enough sleep. If you are not sleeping enough your body will most lightly hold on. Plan to go to sleep earlier if you are always pressing your alarm clock and feeling like you are on the run.
- Did you have to go and then didn’t because you were nervous, in a public place or trapped in your car? Make sure you don’t make holding it a routine. Your body will adapt to that making it harder to go when you should. Don’t be nervous, everyone in the whole world poops so just go when you need to go, no apologies. Get yourself some Pooperie, it’s a little spray that you can get that you spray the toilet with before you go to mask the smell. You can now go and no one will know.
- Rushing after eating a meal. Make sure you are taking time to sit and eat and relax after your meals. Drink water with meals.
- Lack of routine. Try and make a steady routine for yourself. Even if you work shift work try and keep your eating hours regular. Give yourself time to rest and relax while eating. Schedule your breakfast at a time that you can relax and enjoy your coffee (if you are a coffee drinker).
If you have ruled the above out then you may want to consider looking into these, as they can also be a cause for irregularity.
- Hypothyroidism- A slow acting thyroid can be a cause and should be checked with your doctor.
- Medications such as pain killers and antibiotics can cause constipation.
- Food intolerance. This could be anything! Many people with a food allergy will experience constipation or IBS symptoms if the food is eaten regularly. It is important to keep a food journal to say how you feel after each meal you eat. Try to stick to clean natural foods and eat the same things for a while until you can figure out the culprit, then cut it from your diet.
- Vitamins and supplements- Most vitamins are good for you but not all can be taken at the same time and some just don’t agree with you. Even some brands may be to blame. It’s something to look into with your doctor.
- Anxiety and depression on it’s own can cause bowl problems.
- Perception antidepressants can cause constipation
- Diuretics and laxatives. Although these seem to be the go to’s for constipation, but they often cause your body to go into shock. Although you may go the first day after taking them, the next day you may be backed up all over again. This can cause a terrible cycle and your body can become dependant on laxatives. Try and use these as a last resort only after a few days or a week of constipation. Try everything else suggested below first.
Sometimes it’s well known foods that we eat in excess that cause a temporary constipation. Watch out for low fiber high fat foods.
Cheese ( watch out for pizza). A high processed food diet, food that is greasy and high in fat. Too much starchy and sugary carbs. Too many nuts can also cause constipation. You may have your own list of foods that you notice can be hard to digest for your own body. This could be anything, even healthy all natural food. Just because the food is considered healthy doesn’t mean it will be the best option for you.
If you are experiencing this problem, here are a few suggestions.
First rule out the lists above. Secondly make sure you are getting at least 25g-30g of fiber a day. Make sure your fiber sources are natural whole foods. Add a salad a day to your diet, drink water with every meal and journal. Sleep at least 7-9 hours a night. Get exercise everyday, this doesn’t mean you need to have full on workouts just make sure you are walking and doing something active. If you are taking this program you should already be doing those things. If you are still having problems talk to your doctor about getting your thyroid checked.
If stress is the culprit, exercise can help. Of course that is not always the solution but try your best to find ways to relax and take time for yourself. Yoga can be a great way to find that relaxation. There are special yoga poses made to help with a slow digestive track. There are a ton of websites to look this up, here is one: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/1-yoga-poses-to-improve-your-digestion.html
Over eating can cause constipation. After a large meal or vacation where a lot of over indulging can occur, it may be a good idea to detox on small meals of fruits and veggies or smoothies for a day or 2 until things get moving again. Shrinking your stomach by doing this can help your digestive track catch up and reboot.