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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.

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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!

    Reply

    Braidwood Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea!

    Reply

  • Kristy

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

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

  • […] 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.

    Reply

    Braidwood Reply:

    Al,

    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
    exer­cise
    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.

    Reply

  • Rena

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

    Reply

    Braidwood Reply:

    Rena,

    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!

    Reply

  • 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

    Reply

  • Lisbeth

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

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

  • 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…

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

  • 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.

    Reply

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