Let’s Talk About POOP!

I know, it’s soooo taboo! It’s almost like I need to do an exercise with all my clients where they stand up and shout various names of defecation just like they do in 7th grade maturation programs for gender organs:

“POOP! Bowel Movements! Dookie! Sh*t! Defecate! Stool! Feces! Manure! #2! Waste! Dung! Fecal Matter! Excretion! Discharge! Crap!”

stools-chart

Now that we have that out of our system continue reading at your own risk of being offended.  Although, you really shouldn’t.  It’s natural and “Everyone Poops” (excuse my cliché reference to that best-selling toddler book).

As a nutritionist I talk about it on a daily basis.  It’s the topic of one of my most important questions on my “Personal Information Forms” I have my clients fill out before they get a nutrition plan and I ask it again on all of their “Progress Reports.”  The question is:

“Describe your Bowel Movements and how frequently do they occur?”

And I consistently get people who are really hesitant to answer that question.  Or just give me really vague answers like:

“I’m regular.”

But what does that mean? Everyone has such a different idea of what “Regular” is.  Does that mean you are consistent with your own frequency, color, texture?  When I ask them to expand on their answer with an actual number for their daily frequency the most common answer is:

“Once a day.”

WHAT?!?! Once a day? No wonder you are reaching out for a diet plan you must feel so sick and backed up all the time….. Is what I want to say…. But the average American actually struggles to even have one bowel movement a day because our dietary habits are so pour.  The National Average is something like 4 times a week.  I imagine if this is the case there must be a whole event made out of it.  One where, such a special occasion can only be executed from the home, behind a locked door and with mandatory reading material.

So what is Regular Bowel Movement Frequency?

            Clinically “Regular” is considered 3 times a day.  Don’t believe me? Ask your doctor.

3 times a day may sound impossible… But trust me, if you are eating frequently and efficiently with balanced macronutrients, dietary fiber and the recommended fluid intake this should be no problem.  I personally go 4-7 times a day and I am not alone.  Most of the athletes and consistent long term ‘dieters’ I have spoken with are all on that same page.  One of the most common questions I get is:

“Wow doesn’t that take up so much time out of your day?”

“Ummm…. No? Pooping shouldn’t be hard.  It shouldn’t hurt. And it shouldn’t take a long time if you are getting everything you need in your diet.  It honestly takes me about the same amount of time as it does to Urinate.”

Occasionally when I have a dramatic diet change or Travel my bowel movements will suffer.  Whenever this happens and I drop to 2 times a day I feel absolutely miserable! Most Americans who consider “once a day” to be “regular” may be used to how that feels.  I would like to challenge those individuals to look into improving their diet to see how much better they can feel on a daily basis!

Honestly, If you nutritionist or dietitian doesn’t have “The POOP Talk” with you I would like to ask them WHY?! As a nutritionist my client’s bowel movements can tell me so much about their metabolism functioning and how well they are responding to their diets.  For example:

I had conversation with a client who came to me very concerned.  She was working really hard to compete in a bikini competition and had to drop out because of ‘health issues.’  I asked her what type of health issues was she experiencing and she said her stomach has been causing her severe pain, she would sit on the toilet for a long time and was BARELY pooping but when she did it was very dark runny liquid.  I told her, “I don’t think you are having health issues I think it sounds like you aren’t eating carbs…..” Sure enough she told me after that her coach had her on 15% carbohydrates.  I told her to start eating carbs again and her ‘health issues’ will go away.  They did go away immediately and she went on a year later to win 1st place in her Bikini Competition eating a diet consisting of no less than 45% carbohydrates.

When dieting make sure that you FEEL GOOD and POOP OFTEN while reaching your goals!

poop-texture

 

For Personalized Registered Dietitian Certified Plans feel free to Contact me at healthandfitnessmeals@outlook.com or http://healthandfitnessmeals.com/contact 

*About the Author: Ashley Edward-Hansen received her associate’s degree in Exercise Science, then transferred to pursue nutrition and currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Health Education at the University of Utah. Ashley holds over seven years of personal experience, education, and certifications in personal training and nutrition.  Ashley is a Certified Food Safety Manager as well as the primary Personal Trainer, Nutritional Adviser, and Manager for Health and Fitness Meals.  Her personal interest is in competitive bodybuilding.  She has competed and placed in 6 different NGA and NPC Shows.  She is currently a Nationally Qualified NPC Figure Competitor.