Did you know that sluggish bowel movements can get in the way of losing weight? Yes you heard right. Not going to the loo regularly for a number two may mean that the love handles, belly fat and wobbly bits cling on for dear life and become part of the family. Let me connect the no-poop and weight gain dots for you. 

In a simplified nutshell, constipation causes TOXICITY and INFLAMMATION. Toxicity and inflammation affects our ability to lose weight in various ways. The following gives you a better understanding of how.

Bare in mind this list is not exhaustive….

Recycled Garbage Makes Us Toxic

When the bowels are not evacuated regularly, waste material, hormones and toxins are reabsorbed by the body. This recycled garbage leads to toxic build-up in the bowel.

Bacteria Overgrowth 

Bowel pockets otherwise known as “diverticula” of the colon may develop when too much pressure, “straining” is used to push poop out. There is often reduced muscle contraction in the walls of these pockets and it is also a place where food and contents collect to ferment and putrefy (rot). Rotting of food in the bowel encourages the growth of dangerous pathogens such as parasites, bacteria and fungus. Some strains of bacteria also produce their own toxins, one of them being the harmful lipopolysaccharides (LPS). This bacteria overgrowth and overall toxicity leads to inflammation in the gut.

Inflammation & Leaky Gut

Toxins and inflammation in the intestines weaken the intestinal wall and cause a “leaky gut”. As the name states the intestinal lining becomes “leaky” allowing undigested food, proteins, toxins, LPS, cholesterol and fats to pass through into the bloodstream and lymph. The immune system then cranks up  inflammation in response. This toxicity and systemic inflammation goes on to affect the health of other organs, especially those that are weak and has been implicated as an early driver of obesity and insulin resistance.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance

Toxicity and inflammation in the bowel causes dysbiosis. Dysbiosis generally means that there is an unhealthy balance in the gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria have an important role in food metabolism, appetite, hormone regulation, energy use, integrity of the gut lining, mood health, inflammation and insulin resistance.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Insulin is a hormone that regulates our blood sugar levels. One of its roles is to take the sugar (glucose) that we consume and use it for energy. Systemic inflammation blocks insulin receptors which means your body becomes resistant to insulin and as a result has a difficult time converting calories into energy. Instead we accumulate fat. Common signs and symptoms of insulin resistance (IS) are belly fat and weight gain. In addition to this, “belly fat” is biologically active tissue that produces its own hormones and inflammation. So essentially the belly fat creates inflammation and the inflammation creates more fat in a vicious cycle.

Appetite Control 

Systemic Inflammation (of the hypothalamus) can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. When we become resistant to leptin it is hard to satisfy hunger, you feel hungry more often and therefore tend to overconsume and put on weight.

Thyroid health 

The thyroid is very sensitive to toxins. The immune response and inflammation that occurs when toxins and protein molecules pass through a “leaky gut” and into the bloodstream plays a role in the development of autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is the most common form of hypothyroidism. When constipated we do not clear hormones well, including estrogen. Instead the estrogen levels in the body rise. Elevated estrogen in the body raises thyroid-binding globulin (TBG) levels and decreases the amount of thyroid hormones available to the body. In order to have a healthy thyroid you must have a healthy gut. Common signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid and Hashimoto’s are weight gain, slowed metabolism and constipation. 

Poor Energy For Exercise & Digestion 

Toxicity leads to poor delivery of oxygen throughout the body. Without oxygen, our energy levels are depleted. An exhausted body does not digest or remove toxins well. Also how appealing will exercise or making better food choices be when you struggle to get through the day?

After reading this would you agree that moving the bowels regularly and keeping them clean is the first action step to long term weight loss? I most certainly do. So whether you have tried multiple diets and still struggle to shed the unwanted insulation, or if you are about to embark on a weight loss program ask yourself if the bowels need a bit of TLC. Guaranteed if unhappy bowels are not attended to, your results will be unsatisfying or simply non-existent.