Constipation can be a Side-Effect of Losing Weight

Difficult pooping

photo credit: Thirteen Of Clubs

Who knew? I’ve looked this up online and if I judge by the amount of links, popular opinion seems to be that you gain weight or can’t lose weight because of being constipated.

However, for me, I was always very regular and now that I’m losing weight, I’m constipated.

I’m not the only one, another friend who is losing weight is having the same problem. And she said that her other friend is having the same problem.

I talked to a friend who has always been thin and said, “You don’t eat very much, do you have trouble with constipation?” She said that she does and she takes fiber supplements to help.

this is where noms go

photo credit: Christina Welsh (Rin)

My Theory
Long, long ago, I used to be a biology geek and I love the digestion process. One thing that I remember is that the bowels contract to get the food moving. I think that when I ate more, the food kind of pushed the other food through, so my bowels didn’t have to do as much work. Now that I’m eating less, and my bowels haven’t gotten re-energized. They don’t know they need to pick up the pace on their own now.

Why I don’t want to use fiber supplements
My theory could be totally off, but its the best I could come up with on my own, and it makes sense to me. Because I’m assuming my above theory is correct, I don’t want to use fiber supplements. What I want to do is to get my bowels contracting at a rate that works with the bulk I eat now. Rather than adding more bulk (in fiber) to make up for the food I’m not eating and letting my bowels rest on the job like they were before. I’m assuming that getting my bowels to contract more is the healthier option.

Go bowels! Energize! SQUEEZE! Give me a “B”!… :)

My experience with losing weight
Like I said earlier, most of the links I found have to do with cleansing your colon so that you can lose weight. I now know that is complete crap. To lose weight and be naturally thin, all you need to do is eat what ever you want, when ever you want, how ever you want, but not why ever you want. Only eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are not hungry.

I’ve been losing weight and its been very fun to wake up every morning and see my body change. At first it was scary because I had loose skin! (I’ll talk about what I learned about tightening skin after weight loss in another post.) Now it is fun. I don’t have a scale, and I don’t have money to buy a scale, so I’ve been measuring myself to see how many inches I’ve lost. Its fun to see my body revealed. (I weigh myself about once a week at a friend’s house.)

I’m looking forward to getting my digestion re-energized. I’m sure eating less is a shocking change to my system. Right now, I have moderate gasses and constipation. I’m not that uncomfortable, but since I’m eating according to my hunger, all those stomach sensations are felt “noise” that mean I have to “listen” more closely to feel the difference between those sensations and hunger. I look forward to my digestion catching up to my new behavior.

What I’ve found online so far
This is a vide promoting aloe. I haven’t tried the aloe tablets. The only reason I’m showing this video is that its one of the few links that validated my experience of constipation being a side-effect of weight loss.

I can think of two ways to get my bowels re-energized:

  1. Using some kind of substance that stimulates the bowels to contract
  2. Using some kind of movement that stimulates the bowels to contract

Please, if you have any insight on this matter, comment! I would love to hear what has worked for you.

I’m going to try some tea I have with Senna in it. I don’t want to use stimulants regularly, because I just want use them to jump start my digestion, I don’t want to rely on them.

For physical stimulation, I’m going to try some yoga movements I saw online. I think these are safe and beneficial to use every day:

I’ll let you know how it all come out (ha ha ha) in another post or in the comments in this post.

Please post your experiences with constipation and weight loss in the comments.

By the way, I’m drinking lots and lots and lots of water. It may be helping- maybe my constipation would be worse otherwise, but it isn’t curing the problem. I also tried some digestive enzymes that I don’t think have particularly helped, and I’ve continued taking the beneficial bacteria that I was taking before I started losing weight, so that hasn’t made a difference, unless I would have had worse constipation if I hadn’t been taking those, which I’ll never know.


17 comments to Constipation can be a Side-Effect of Losing Weight

  • Andrea

    I started upping my fiber intake about ten years ago after hearing about the Weight Watchers Fat and Fiber plan (one of the most sensible yet, raved the nutritionists). Right now I habitually buy the version of everything that has whole grains and fiber (the two are definitely not as synonymous as you’d think) – if my bread, cereal, pasta, and even snacks and fruit/veggies don’t have a respectable amount of fiber, I feel like I’m eating half-empty calories. I want them to work for me! It definitely helps regulate my digestion – when I go on a starch/sweet kick, it protests. Best of luck to you!

  • Kristy

    So did you ever do an article about tightening loose skin? If so, would you be willing to email the link to me???

  • pamsteady

    I have the exact same problem you are having. I have significantly cut down on the carbs (and calories in general) I eat but still eat tons of fruits and veggies everyday and some lean protein. I also drink tons of water, take probiotics, and exercise pretty vigorously 6-7 days a week. I’m with you in that I don’t want to take fiber supplements. It’s been about a month and I think I’ll give it another month or 2 to see if my intestines decide to adjust on their own. I’m thankfully not to the point of being concerned, just a little uncomfortable.

  • [...] Awhile ago I wrote about part of my weight loss journey. I promised to write another article about tightening the loose skin that sometimes comes with weight loss. [...]

  • al

    Hi there.. I have the same problem too. I’ve been losing weight consistently since the beginning of this year and have been faced with constipation. I agree with your theory on the food being the main pusher in the digestive tract. I myself have noticed I need to fill myself up to a certain quota of food before I even begin to feel the urge to pass. The problem however is this hasn’t changed for the last months and it has actually gotten worse these days.

    I hate to get into gritty details but there are times when it becomes extremely uncomfortable due to the much smaller chunks of stool that can’t be excreted since there is nothing to push it.

    Do dietary fibers really help? Will increasing my fruit intake help as well?

    I know I should see consult a doctor about this, but would like to hear some opinions from people experiencing the same issue as well. I’ve been searching online for cases like this and so far yours is the only source that mentions constipation as a result of weight loss.

    • Braidwood


      Thanks for writing in! Congratulations on losing weight! I have stopped having that problem, so maybe my stomach finally got used to a smaller volume of food. Or maybe I am just eating a lot more fiber now.

      Things that have worked for me:
      drinking a lot of water
      getting a massage that includes your stomach (try a Hawaiian massage)
      massaging your own stomach
      a couple prunes with a lot of water
      I’ve been drinking green smoothies (smoothies with a whole bag of lettuce or spinach thrown in) those have a lot of fiber.
      And, again, drinking a LOT of water.

  • Rena

    I have been this way for three months i had to guite my job. Will my weght come back?

    • Braidwood


      If you had to quit your job, it sounds like you are having a real medical problem. Please go see a doctor, or go to a free community health clinic right away.

      I hope you feel well soon!

  • vicky

    have u happened to eat weight watchers meals? iv found they are the reason im so bad, contant bloating, cannot poop!figured it was there meals!not had any today and feeling better hope a poop comes tomoro x

  • Lisbeth

    2 prunes with a half cup water, microwaved about a minute then smushed up. Eat half now, refrigerate the rest for tomorrow. helps :)

  • jgold

    here’s my take
    toxins are stored in fat cells. when you start breaking down fat these toxins are released back into the body and the body is determined to get them out of the system by myriad ways including urination and sweating (google search “atkins flu”). so the body is determined to excrete these toxins by several means and it will draw moisture out of stools in order to continue to urinate toxins out of the system. and on a long enough timeline your stools will become dried out and difficult to break up and pass. simply drinking lot of water can make the situation worse because water doesn’t go to the colon where the stools are by itself. it has to be drawn in by certain key minerals. also drinking too much water can further deplete sodium levels which are already probably low for people who are having success with fat loss.

  • Sharon

    I had never had a problem with constipation until I started Weight Watchers’ new diet. (Oct 2012) and went from having a normal easy B.M. every day to not having one for a good 6 weeks and that was with a doctor’s Rx of Lactulose 3X a day, Citro-mag, Sennacot, Stool softener and Domperidone. No.that last item is not the champagne Dom Perignon, although I wish it were.:-) Went off W.W. diet and added more fats and oils to foods I ate and that seems to be doing the trick although not as quickly as I would like. Some of us just require more fat/oils in our diet than others. Started reading ‘The Perfect Gene Diet’ where Pamela McDonald. N.P. talks about the Apo-E gene and different types of cholesterol and differing ratios of protein, carbs and fats for different people depending on what type of gene in your DNA. Worth a read. Check out your local library.

  • Dani

    Hi all, here I line up with the diet and constipation!
    Is very uncomfortable, but dangerous!
    I eat siince 3 weeks twice a day flexseeds mixed with apple sauce and yogurt. I drink planty of green tea and water! still constipated. now I added red pepperoni and onions…and I still constipated. I really think we need patience till the intestine adjust! we all do the right thing but…

  • Jeran

    I have the same problem. I have been losing weight through diet and exercise, and as a reward for my efforts, I get the lovely prize of being constipated most of the time. I used to never have any problems with it, but then back then I ate a lot of food and became rather obese. And I now eat lots of things like broccoli, but for some reason I am still constipated.
    The reason I know it is directly related to how much I eat is because if I go to an all you can eat salad bar, I will not be constipated the next day.
    It seems to be the AMOUNT of food eaten, not the KIND of food eaten that makes the difference.
    One trick I have used is to drink a glass of warm water when I first wake up in the morning. Not scalding hot, but very warm. It tends to help get things going.

  • Kate

    I know this thread was from awhile ago but I’m so glad I found it! I’m having this problem now and was just wondering how long it too for your system to get back to normal or if in hindsight you have any more tips. Any help would be amazing. It seems like a cruel joke that the whole time I was eating an unhealthy diet I was regular and now when I’m making a real effort to eat well my body is starting to object.

  • Marty

    Hi. I found this article after experiencing this and searching online. Without getting into too much detail concerning the fruits of my digestive processes, all is generally larger and thicker. I only go every other day. My thought was that maybe what is coming off of me weight wise is being digested by my body differently than food. I want to get my weight down before I exercise because I injured myself earlier this year at a heavy weight. I think my body can adapt to the change and that things will level out when I reach my goal and begin an exercise program. Drink a lot of water and only drink your beer or wine on the weekends.

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