Help! I don't know who to ask and am too embarrassed to Google this! I recently started exercising daily (elliptical, strength, and cycling) and I have overhauled my diet. I eat lots of veggies and get my protein from white fish or sometimes white meat chicken. No more Ranch dressing on my salads, no more red wine (mostly), no pasta, and little sugar. I've lost weight (8 lbs in two weeks) and feel fantastic! But suddenly, my digestion has ground to a halt! I used to be as regular as dawn, but now I feel so stopped up. In fact, the only few times I've gone easily have been after eating my cheat day junk food; chicken strips & fries or chocolate cake! So what's going on? Do I need more sugar? I even began eating bran cereal with my 2 cups of coffee in the morning, but things are still slow going. Is this a diet thing? And exercise thing? Any ideas? I'm hesitant to take a laxative, especially since this is a new development.
Do not take a laxative! That will cause more havoc on your body than good.
Please note that it always helps to see a medical professional when you experience these kinds of body changes.
Here is my take on what is going on. Your body is adjusting to this new way of living and the lack of non-nutritious junk food it was once used to, that would flow freely from mouth to loo, is now long gone.
Your increase in physical activity has probably dehydrated you, which plays a huge roll in constipation, so you need to up your water intake. You should be drinking 2 litres a day plus another half a litre during your workout and another glass of water for each cup of coffee or glass of wine you have.
You also need to be making sure that you are getting the fibre that your body needs to help things move. There are two different types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. You might want to up your intake of insoluble fibre, which adds bulk to the stool and helps it move through the digestive tract. This can be found in fruit with edible skin, dark leafy vegetables, wheat and whole grains. I am going to assume you have jumped on the gluten free train, meaning wheat has been eliminated from your diet, so add in a serving or two a day of whole grains to help make things move. This is probably why when you eat chocolate cake you find relief because the flour in the cake is insoluble fibre.
Also consider adding healthy bacteria to help your body aid in digestion. You can find good bacteria in yoghurt, but if you are staying away from dairy then opt for an acidophilus supplement, which you can find in a pill form. Whenever I find myself in a situation such as yours, I take a probiotic drink daily, and I quickly find myself back to normal.
Your body should settle itself down soon, but if you are still finding yourself uncomfortable then get in and see your doctor to discuss other reasons for why you may be having a digestive issue. Hopefully though, with an increase in fibre, as well as upping your water intake (especially if you are a coffee drinker) and adding in a good bacteria you should be good “to go” very soon.
Attached - Common heading to the gym yesterday in LA.