Posted by: Dee | 2009/07/08

Constipation while dieting

Hi There, I hope you can advise me. 4 weeks ago I changed my diet in order to lose weight for a trip coming up in 3 weeks time.
A typical day wouod be as follows:
Breakfast: weetbix with milk
Mid-moring: apple or banana
Lunch: homemade veg and chicken soup (no fat except maybe a little from chicken stock block)
Mid-afternoon: apple or banana
Dinner: salad (dressing is vinegar only) and a protein prepared with as little fat as possible eg a piece of fish or steak
Through out the day I may have 3 to 4 cups of coffee and about 1 litre of water.
Over the past 4 weeks I have managed to lose 5.5kgs and I still want to desparately lose another 4 or 5 just to look slightly normal (not thin but to be a comfortable size 34!)
3 questions for you:
1. why am I so constipated since the start of my diet? Used to be very regular ie everyday now after two days of no action I use either a glycerine suppository or a laxative (I dont want to get my body used to this)
2. Is this a good eating regime to follow? Do you think I am lacking something or should omit something here?
3. Is there something else I can do to my diet to help excellerate my weightloss - my trip is at the end of July.

I am 34 year old female, starting weight 78kgs, current weight 72.5kgs, height 174cm.
I really appreciate your help here

Thanks Dee

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Dee
The reason why you are so constipated is that except for the Weetbix in the morning, you are not really eating any foods that contain a lot of dietary fibre. We are supposed to ingest 20g of dietary fibre per day and I doubt that you are getting more than about 6 g/day. Instead of getting addicted to laxatives, I would suggest that you sprinkle wheat bran (buy at health shop) over your breakfast and even add it to your soup. But be careful, start out with 1 teaspoon (t) per day and gradually add more fibre 1 t at a time. Suddenly eating vast amounts of fibre can make you bloated and uncomfortable - give your body time to adjust. In addition, you have cut your fat intake so drastically that this could also contribute to constipation. Try having 1 t of olive oil on your salad to lubricate your bowels and ensure that you don't get a deficiency of essential fatty acids. Your diet on the whole is rather unbalanced and should not be used for long. Once you have reached your target weight or go on your trip, I would recommend that you use a more balanced low-fat (not zero fat) diet to lose weight which at least should include more low-fat milk and yoghurt and some high-fibre bread or additional cereal or vegetables. Eating apples with the skin will also help your bowel movements.
I hope you have a wonderful trip.

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