The Scoop on Your After 50 Poop

Working in fitness for 30 years I’ve listened to a lot of potty talk. There’s the taboo topic of gas and avoiding exercise classes that would help due to embarrassment of “letting one” in the middle of a roll up.

Then there’s the whisper by a client whose begun to changer her habits about the fact that she’s pooping green poop from all the fresh food. (This too shall pass).  It’s euphoria suddenly for someone who hasn’t shared that she’s always been a little constipated and now she’s loving the way she feels: no more bloated, heavy feeling.

One thing is for sure, if you can eliminate better you can potentially lose the bloating, heaviness, and fullness.

First, what is constipation?

You’re straining to go or don’t feel like you go completely. You’re going less than once a day. You’re probably not getting enough fiber.

Not enough regularity to your poo can indicate other functions not working. Thyroid might be sluggish. But before you get concerned, look at the rest of your lifestyle habits and make sure you’re helping yourself feel best.

First things first.  Are you drinking enough water? Often someone will tell me their constipated and then respond that they’re only drinking 2 or 3 glasses of water a day. You’re not constipated your dehydrated.

Next, take a look at your diet. Have you recently changed something? Have you, for instance, increased your protein intake? Make sure you also have increased your vegetable intake. Fibrous foods like berries, green leafy vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables can get you back on track. They should fill ¾ of your plate.

Are you taking supplements? Iron and calcium supplements that many women need can cause constipation. Be sure to increase your fluid intake, particularly water and veggies. You may want to look at magnesium supplementation in the evening (best with food).

Avoid resorting to harsh chemicals laxatives if you can get relief in other ways. On the other hand, don’t go too long without eliminating.

Work your way to 35-50 grams of fiber a day (slowly) along with an increase in water. I have clients track their average daily fiber intake for a week and then increase by about 5 grams each week, steadily increasing water too. Give your body a chance to adjust and you will be most comfortable along the way. You can add prunes to your smoothies have two or three after dinner to get things moving.

Hot liquid, caffeinated or not, can help get things moving. Peppermint tea can also. On a trip to Munich decades ago my husband and I were a mess. He was suffering from symptoms of an ulcer and I was constipated from travel and being thrown out of routine.

Out I went into the streets while he lie in the hotel room wishing I had been a better student in high school German. Guten Morgan wasn’t going to cut it. Can you imagine pantomiming constipation and ulcer? As I went from one apothecary to the next it was the same: no one spoke English and I evidently will be the last picked in a game of charades.

What I got though was peppermint essential oil. I couldn’t figure out the connection at the time (1993), but since have learned about the power of essential oils.

Movement helps. Resistance training can be more comfortable than aerobic exercise or intervals if you’re backed up. Both work however.  Improving your core strength can help you eliminate better too. Though you may have great cardiovascular fitness, maybe your core needs a tune up.

Eliminate (which is the end goal any way, right?) processed foods and sugars. They can have a real slowing effect and be detrimental to your gut health.

Anyone can get a little off at times. If you’ve been on antibiotics, been ill, or traveling, this is most likely just a temporary thing. But if it happens more often than not, and you’ve addressed the food, fluid, and activity changes above without results, it may be time to make sure that there’s not something else going on.

There are other things you might notice about your poo.

Floating can result from excess gas from overgrowth of bad bacteria. You might see it more after an illness or stomach flu. Oily, slick bowels can indicate you’re not absorbing fat well.

A word you want to get familiar with – microbiome. Your gut is full of them, and some are good, some are bad. When you improve the balance of microbes in your gut.

You can of course go too much. When you switch to a better diet, your changing internally and toxins are being escorted out of your body faster. We don’t want you to have uncontrolled urgent trips to the bathroom, but the regularity you experience might change as you improve your diet. Usually, unless you’ve had diarrhea issues, your frequency will increase and the ease will also increase. It’s all good.

One thing about fitness and your need to “go”…

If you were full of it. you will be less so. Though, no worries, you won’t lose that sassy attitude!

If you’re loosy-goosy too often something about your diet or supplements needs adjusting. Your gut may not have an ideal balance of microbiome. Don’t tolerated it, and do seek a functional medicine physician who can work with you after testing on how to get your microbiome working in your favor.

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