Constipation is a horrible feeling. You feel weighed down, like there is a ton of bricks in your stomach and when you finally feel like you might be able to poop, you have to strain and strain and spend a lot of time on the toilet.
Constipation is a symptom that there is a larger problem happening in your body. Usually there are lifestyle reasons that we suffer from chronic constipation. I know, I used to suffer with frequent constipation. There were times when my stomach was so bloated because I couldn't go to the bathroom.
I felt nauseous, fatigued and gassy. Nothing would help when I got to this point. I just had to suffer and when I finally could poop, it was so hard and scratchy I felt like I was being ripped open from the inside out. But I no longer suffer from constipation. I made lifestyle changes and have a very easy poop every morning. It is rare that I go one day without a bowel movement.
If you are suffering from chronic constipation, wouldn't it be great not to suffer anymore? How would eliminating constipation improve your life? You could: ✅Be more present with your children ✅Thrive in your career ✅Improve your communication and your relationships ✅Have more fun! ✅Move your body and improve your fitness ✅Lose weight and feel better about yourself ✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family ✅Take an active vacation ✅Reclaim your life!
Not sure where to start? I am here to help! I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing effects of an unhealthy gut, such as constipation, so you can get back to living. The TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK coaching call is a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Gut Health program. Simply Great Gut Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle. Book your call directly here. It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE. If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now. If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
Here are the top 10 reasons you are constipated:
#1 LACK OF MOVEMENT
Our bodies were never meant to sit at a desk for 8 to 12 hours a day. When we have a sedentary life, our bowel movements suffer. Moving our bodies actually promotes having a bowel movement by reducing the amount of time it takes food to move through the large intestines. Now I get it, with our busy lifestyle it can be hard to find the time to move. But there are a few things you can do to move more often.
Take a short walk every couple of hours. This is easy to do if you are in an office building. Walk away from your desk and walk around the building. If you can get outside, great! If not, walk a couple of flight of stairs. No stairs? Walk around the floor you work on.
Get a standing desk. Alternating standing and sitting for 30 minutes can really help your digestion and eventually your bowel movements. When we sit for a long period of time, there is increased pressure on our abdominal cavity. Standing allows your abdominal cavity to lengthen and help move food through the digestive tract more efficiently.
Find an activity you like to do. Do you like to play pickle ball or ride a bike? Find something you like that is active. When you like an activity you are more likely to do it. Once you find something you like to do, schedule it. Writing down when you will do the activity will help you stick to a schedule.
#2 EATING NON-ORGANIC FOOD
Chemicals and pesticides that are used to grow our food do not just stay on the outside. The food absorbs the chemicals and it becomes part of its DNA. So you just can't wash the damage off the food before eating it.
When we eat foods with chemicals and pesticides in it, the body's natural bacteria becomes imbalanced, making it more difficult to have regular bowel movements. This imbalance can be the source of inflammation, allergy, autoimmune diseases and cancer. (Source: Natural Medicine Journal)
Organic food helps you avoid chemicals and pesticides, making it easier to digest and to keep things moving. By avoiding chemicals, your body can truly focus on the breakdown and absorption of nutrients.
The biggest myth about organic foods is they are more expensive than non-organic. That is not the case anymore! Since the demand for organic food has increased, prices have come down. Some weeks the organic option is lower priced than the non-organic in my local food store! It is like anything, know your prices and opt for organic.
We are all dehydrated, every single day. When we wake up in the morning, we've gone 6 to 9 hours without any liquids. Our bodies need water to keep bowel movements happening. Our poop is 75% water! If we aren't replenishing the water in our bodies, we will be constipated.
The general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces every single day. If you get bored with plain water, add some fruit or vegetables or herbs to it for flavor. Herbal tea also counts towards our daily water intake goals. Just don't buy it already made which will have a ton of sugar.
Stress has so many negative side effects and constipation is one of them. When we are stressed, the body diverts blood flow away from the intestines and sends it to vital organs, such as the heart and lungs. When this happens, the body responds by sending a hormone to the bowels to slow them down and and they become inflamed.
There are several ways you can help reduce stress. When you are in a stressful situation, taking a few deep breaths will help relieve the immediate stress and start returning your body to normal. The key is to take slow long breaths and use your belly (which is the exact opposite of how we are taught to breathe in our society).
Another way to relieve stress is to practice yoga, meditation or journaling. Finding ways to relieve stress that are enjoyable to you will help you continue doing it. The key is to do the activity frequently to manage your stress load. Finally, unplug. By constantly checking social media or watching the news you are creating a stressful environment for yourself. Make sure to take some time to put down the phone, turn off the TV or computer and relax.
#5 HAVING A NEGATIVE MIND SET
What our mind thinks, our body believes. When we have a negative outlook, our bodies respond. Maybe our bodies have frequent colds, allergies, constipation, diarrhea or anxiety. The point is if we have a negative mindset, our bodies will never get better.
One way to think more positively is to practice gratitude. And it only takes 5 minutes a day! From Inc. magazine:
Start every morning with saying Thank You. This helps you focus on the things you have going for you (how about those beautiful kids or grand kids?) and starts your day positively.
Find 3 things to be thankful for. It can be that you simply slept really well or that you have a great herbal tea you are starting your day with. It can be that the sun is shining. Don't stress on right or wrong answers.
Be specific. If the one thing you are thankful for is the great sleep you just had, why? Does it allow you to be more focused at work? Does it allow you to take care of the kid's breakfast without feeling stressed? Identifying the things about the specific thing you are thankful for will help you be more positive.
#6 UNDERLYING GASTROINTESTINAL ISSUE
Chronic constipation may be the result of an underlying gastrointestinal issue. If you have diabetes, a thyroid disorder or the colon is narrowing, it will be harder to solve the chronic constipation on your own. Working with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist can help manage the constipation while you are taking medications for other medical conditions.
#7 FOOD SENSITIVITIES OR ALLERGIES
Our bodies change every 5 to 7 years. Nobody tells us this. It means that what has worked for you in the past, may no longer work for you. If you find that you are becoming more chronically constipated all of a sudden, then you may have developed a food sensitivity or allergy. The easiest way to find out is to take an at-home test.
Everly Well and The Great Plains Laboratory both provide tests for 96 ingredients that you may be sensitive or allergic to. Once you identify the foods that are causing the issue, eliminate them from your diet for the next 30 days. If your constipation resolves, then the key is to keep the routine you just developed. You can still have the offending ingredient once or twice a month but you will know what the potential side effects will be.
I am not just talking pharmaceuticals, there are over the counter medications that can cause constipation. Did you know over the counter medicines for acid reflux cause constipation? If you have acid reflux, you need help figuring out what is causing it. Either from a food allergy test or an elimination diet. This is just one example. Make sure to read side effects if you take over the counter medicines.
Unfortunately, we are trained in our lives to think about our body as single parts. We go to eye doctors, dentists, gynecologists, gastroenterologists and the list goes on and on. Since that is how our medical system is built, that is how we are taught to look at our bodies. But we have to become wiser than the medical system. After all, the doctor's and nurses are human just like us! If we think about the total health of our body and mind, we have a better chance of getting into balance which will result in really great health.
#9 NOT EATING ENOUGH FIBER
Not eating enough fiber may seem like the wrong advice. Doesn't fiber bulk up our stool? Won't it make it harder to poop? Actually, it is just the opposite. When you eat enough fiber, you will have daily bowel movements. Foods high in fiber have two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Even though your body can't digest fiber, eating enough of it is thought to be very important for your gut health. This is partly because dietary fiber increases the size of your stools and makes them softer. Larger, softer stools help keep you regular, as they move more quickly through your bowels and are easier to pass. (Source: Healthline)
What foods are high in fiber? Fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and nuts. We should aim to have 12 grams of fiber for every major meal that is eaten. Unfortunately, most people only get 12 grams a day.
#10 NOT ENOUGH VITAMIN D
In addition to fiber, there are key nutrients that help keep bowels moving regularly. Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent and has been linked to chronic constipation. A study performed in 2019 identified low vitamin D levels as contributing to chronic constipation. (Source: NIH)
Those are the top 10 reasons why you are constipated. Making changes in your lifestyle to overcome these reasons can get you back on track and having regular bowel movements.
Do you think you will try to change any of the above in your daily routine so your not constipated? Let me know by commenting below.