How to Deal With Intermittent Fasting Constipation

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How to Deal With Intermittent Fasting Constipation

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Intermittent fasting is a solid practice that benefits any individual who wants to improve their well-being, increase energy levels, and slim down after the feastful holidays.


Fasting is a spiritual practice for many, but it certainly fits into the daily lives of those who practice it outside of the religious sphere. But how do you deal with intermittent fasting constipation? Find out in this article.


What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Fasting excludes food or whole food groups from your diet for a specified period. When practicing intermittent fasting (also called IF), the individual spends most of the day on water, tea, and coffee, then spends the rest of the day without eating.


The windows are different, but most stick to the 16:8 fast, which allows you to fast for 16 hours and eat in an eight-hour window.


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Physical Benefits

Millions of people practice intermittent fasting to help shed weight gain. It works exceptionally well for those on a tight schedule who cannot find the time to work out, but it can also fit into one’s workout regimen.


A fasting diet accommodates weight loss because it encourages one to consume fewer calories than they burn furthermore, IF improves blood circulation, skin suppleness, and energy levels.


Mental Benefits

Many practice intermittent fasting to improve their mental well-being, too. IF assists with self-control. Sixteen hours of food restriction is as much a physical challenge as a mental one. Particularly, it’s challenging when one is accustomed to eating at specific hours of the day every day.


It changes a person’s routine. Moreover, not many feel they can survive the day without mindless nibbling.


Fasting is a method of restraint, which is why it is a widely revered practice in religion and spiritual sectors. It strengthens the mind’s capacity over the body’s desires, helping one unlock a level of accountability and self-control they may not have had before.


Intermittent Fasting Constipation

A larger disadvantage of IF in intermittent fasting is constipation, which generally defines the body’s difficulty in excreting solid waste material. 

Symptoms of Constipation

When you begin your fasting journey, constipation may be a more prominent issue to look out for. Some of the most common symptoms include: 


  • Difficulty or straining while excreting
  • Bleeding when passing stools 
  • Stomach pains 
  • Passing hard abrasive stools
  • Fewer bowel movements than usual


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What Causes Constipation?

Constipation generally means when you cannot eliminate stool or waste effectively. There are various causes of constipation. Mainly, in IF participants, poor fiber intake and lack of water affect the digestive system, thus implicating the person’s bowel movement.  


Drinking enough water is a difficult habit to keep up, whether fasting or not. However, fasting exacerbates the issue, as many receive fluids from food and beverages. 

Poor Dietary Fiber Intake

Due to a lower food intake, your fiber intake is compromised. Generally, people gravitate toward carb-loaded meals after a fasting period, neglecting other crucial food groups, including fiber.  


Additionally, intermittent fasting reduces your visits to the bathroom due to reduced intake.  

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How to Treat Intermittent Fasting Constipation

Increase Your Fiber Intake

Adding more fiber to your diet can help reduce and prevent constipation. Nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens and fruit contain more fiber than others. Create a diet plan that supplements your fiber.


Fiber is also found in large quantities in many carb-loaded foods. Substitute your regulars with healthier fibrous alternatives like traditional oats and unpolished grains. Add these foods to your diet to up your fiber intake.


Stay Hydrated

Water plays a vital role in our digestive tract, not only as a lubricant but as an ingredient in digestive juices that mix with food. Drinking your water throughout the day can improve your body functions, particularly on an empty stomach, and it improves blood flow through the organs. 


If you get bored drinking plain water, spice it up with slices of lemon or mint to add a slight flavor. Additionally, drink warm tea and coffee. Caffeine contains similar components as those of prescribed laxatives. 


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Increase Your Physical Activity

A regular workout regime boosts your metabolic system and thus maintains an efficient digestive system. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you risk a higher chance of obstructive bowel movements. It reduces the amount of time your food works through the digestive tract.


So add a few more steps to your daily movement, or increase your weightlifting. End your workout with additional stretches to help ease your muscles along. If you prefer fasted workouts, ensure that your body can handle the strain of working out and you do not overwork your muscles.


Take Constipation Relief Medication

Pills are also another method of combating IF constipation. The only drawback is that many of them are taken with meals. Thus you are restricted to taking them during your 8-hour eating window. Moreover, it would be best to take lots of water when taking laxatives as it will dehydrate you. 

Other Side-Effects of Intermittent Fasting

As a newcomer to fasting, you may also be curious about the adverse effects of such an eating regimen. As much as the advantages are significant, the drawbacks also impact an individual’s well-being.  

Bad Breath

One of the massive drawbacks of IF is the bad breath that accompanies it. Eating throughout the day prevents the mouth from growing stale and developing that sharp, unpleasant breath. Water and tea are the best ways to mitigate this problem in people who are undergoing prolonged fasting.  

“Hangry” Mood

There is a viable link between our food consumption and our mood. That’s why a lot of us feel better right after a snack. And for many stress eaters, food releases endorphins—happy hormones that make everything seem a bit better. Distracting yourself from your hunger or drinking liquids may reduce symptoms. 

Low Energy Levels

Food, of course, fuels our bodies. When we don’t get the food we need at certain times of day we are used to receiving it, the body tends to go into defensive mode, redirecting energy where it needs to be. 


It is not uncommon to experience fatigue in the first few days. But as you continue fasting, your body learns to use its energy more efficiently, according to its needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does coffee break my fast?

Coffee does not break your fast unless it includes sugar, creams, and other additives. Black coffee alone is an excellent addition to your fasting because it has no calories but still carries a strong flavor while dulling hunger cues.  

You can also drink tea, but it has to be plain, without added ingredients, to maintain its low caloric value. 

Is it better to fast for 12 hours or 16 hours?

Either can efficiently assist you in weight loss. However, the most popular fasting window lasts 16 hours. If you are still starting your fasting journey, you may start at 12 hours and slowly increase them until you manage a 16-hour fast.  

Some go up to 20 hours or 24 hours. However, the 16-hour window offers many a more manageable time frame. 

Who should not do intermittent fasting?

Fasting is not for everyone. There are specific groups of people that should not undergo intermittent fasting. They include pregnant and nursing mothers, sick individuals, and those who suffer from eating disorders or have a history of them. Moreover, people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome should be careful when fasting.


Intermittent fasting is also inappropriate for children as they need proper nutrition as they grow. Moreover, food is a necessary fuel for their bodies to function correctly. 


Why does intermittent fasting work?

IF works weightless because it reduces the calories you consume throughout the day, putting you in a caloric deficit. Through this, your body burns more fat than you consume, thus helping your body lose weight. 


Intermittent fasting is a doorway to self-betterment, improving yourself wholly from the inside out. But though it carries many benefits, it also has some severe disadvantages. 


Constipation as a side-effect of IF is a common reaction of the body. To treat it, one should increase their fluid intake and dietary fiber. That said IF is an easy practice that fits many lifestyles with several benefits for the body.


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