Everyone poops! This is common knowledge. But, do you have proper "pooping habits"? Do you know the characteristics of "normal poop"? Today, I want to TALK POOP and shed some light on a typically closed door topic.
Let's start with your POOPING HABITS. Look at the Let's Talk Poop! chart. Are you someone that holds your poop in until you can't wait any longer? Or are you maybe the one sprinting to the bathroom with little warning? Are you possibly feeling the urge to go, but nothing is happening? Do you scroll through your socials while waiting for poop to happen? Or do you effectively go, a normal poop (more on this in a moment), every time you sense the urge?
So how does one make sure to optimize their pooping habits for a better "go-time" experience?
Follow these steps to set yourself up for successful elimination:
consume a healthy diet - Eat a variety of fruits & vegetables, complex carbs (think Quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, lentils, chia seeds, beans, fruits, starchy veggies), lean & clean protein, fiber, & healthy fats daily.
drink plenty of water - Good rule of thumb, drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily.
get quality sleep - Lack of sleep can hamper our bowel's ability to rest and recuperate, further leading to bowel muscle fatigue that can cause reduced bowel movement and function. - Henry Ford Health
exercise regularly - 150 min. of moderate intensity exercise is the minimum per week recommended by the American Heart Association. Lack of exercise can cause constipation.
sit on the potty only when ready to eliminate - "Camping out" on the potty when poop isn't readily coming (within 10 minutes or so) can lead to hemorrhoids and exacerbates constipation.
reduce stress - stress causes reduced movement in the bowels (think fight or flight - no time to poop), so reducing stress can increase bowel activity.
Now, let's talk about NORMAL POOP. Look at the Bristol Stool Chart below. A normal poop is classified as a Type 3 or Type 4. Consider your recent bowel movement. Where are you on this chart? If you are a Type 1 or Type 2, it's possible you are dehydrated, stressed-out, not sleeping well, not exercising, making poor dietary choices. If you are a Type 5, you could be lacking in adequate fiber. Type 6? You may be suffering from malabsorption, Celiac Disease, gluten or other food sensitivity, bacterial infection, virus, parasites, functional problems (like irritable bowel syndrome), intestinal disease (like inflammatory bowel disease), and should be seen by a physician or functional medicine practitioner to get to root cause. In fact, any chronic issues with bowel function should be addressed sooner than later!
A question I often receive from my clients seeking to optimize their gut health is, "How often should I go?" The answer: Functionally speaking, at least... "Everyone should have at least one bowel movement per day. However, it is normal to have up to three bowel movements daily, one after each meal," says Vincent Pedre, M.D., Integrative Gut Health Specialist and mindbodygreen Collective Member.
Being able to optimize your pooping habits to get you to 3 times daily can be challenging. As a gut health coach, trained in Functional Nutrition and behavior change, I am your biggest cheerleader (next to your parents when you were potty training) for cultivating the type of lifestyle and pooping habits that affords you a nice healthy poop experience multiple times per day with no straining and no sprinting to the bathroom!
If you are struggling with "your go-time productivity", you might benefit from working with me, a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, an Allied Health Practitioner and MD Partner. I work with patients and their gastroenterologists to improve lifestyle choices and to optimize gut health through a functional, comprehensive approach. We can work through this together, find out how by booking a 30-minute complimentary Discovery Call, with me today!