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Constipation

Updated 05 March 2019

How to get your bowels back on track after the holidays

Back at work and … erhm … 'backed up'? Here’s how to regulate your bowels and get your digestive system back on track after the holidays.

Feeling a bit bloated and "backed up" after a holiday full of indulgent food, alcohol and a lack of routine? You're most likely not the only one.

1. Start following an eating schedule as soon as possible

Chances are that your eating was sporadic and all over the place during the holidays, with late breakfasts, grazing on snacks during the day and late, heavy dinners. Once you're back at work, you should be able to return to a regular pattern of eating. Make a point of eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times, and if you have a hard time giving up the snacks, set yourself snack times as well. Your bowels should follow suit.

2. Introduce fibre (but don’t overdo it)

If you’ve been skimping on fruits, vegetables and wholegrain foods, it’s likely that you might be a bit constipated and bloated because of a lack of essential fibre. Start including fresh fruits and vegetables in all your meals. While dietary fibre is essential to keep your digestive system on track, it’s, however, important not to overdo it as too much fibre might upset your stomach and make your constipation even worse.

foods high in fibre

3.  Don’t completely ditch the carbs

Introducing a new diet which eliminates complete food groups with the hope of losing weight may only make you feel more backed up. The type of diet you follow should be suited to your needs, and it may be better not to cut carbs out completely, but simply replace refined carbs such as white bread, cakes, biscuits and pasta with their wholegrain counterparts. This will ensure regular bowel movements and prevent you from feeling deprived and hungry. 

whole grain products

4. Drink (and eat) your water

Get into the habit of drinking enough water asap. If you work in an office, it’s easy to drink enough water, but it might be harder if you work on a construction site or if you teach and can’t go to the bathroom as regularly. In that case, ensure you drink water as soon as you wake up so that you can be adequately hydrated for the day ahead. Also consume fruits and vegetables like cucumbers that contain water and contribute to overall hydration. If you really struggle to break away from fizzy drinks, try enhancing the flavour of your water by adding berries, fruit slices and mint sprigs, or try herbal tea.

man drinking water at office desk

5. Start moving

Exercise is a good way to stimulate your digestive system. This doesn’t mean you need to start an elaborate exercise plan in a gym – a simple walk or swim can be enough to get things going.

happy fit woman

Image credit: iStock