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View Full Version : Shifting in bowel habits during IF transition


Garrett Smith
04-25-2007, 02:20 PM
First of all, if there's something that NDs aren't shy about discussing, it's poop.

Anyone noticed any significant shifts in their bowel habits when transitioning to IF (I'm doing the 24-hour version, 3pm to 3pm)?

I'm on my second day of fasting and I've noticed a significant slowdown in my frequency of BMs, along with some constipation/straining. I've definitely been having plenty of herbal tea and even some Gerolsteiner, so I don't think it is related to lack of hydration. I'm still eating plenty of vegetables. While I'm definitely not doubling what I used to eat, I am still eating more than a day's calories on my feeding days. I understand that some slowing in frequency is normal simply due to the fact that I am eating less food in general.

Just looking for confirmation as to whether this is common or not. If it isn't, I'll look to other avenues...

Steve Shafley
04-25-2007, 02:26 PM
If anything, a regular IF (Fasting from 8 PM until 2PM the next day) leaves me even more regular than before.

I enjoyed Dr. Mike Eades take on the whole preoccupation with the bowels. I think it's definitely an area that needs to be re-examined.

Ron Nelson
04-25-2007, 02:38 PM
Where is that 10 foot pole of mine????

Neal Winkler
04-25-2007, 03:10 PM
Since reducing my meal frequency I've experienced most of my movements to be "clean." That is, when I go to wipe there is nothing on the tp, whereas before it always took many wipes. But sometimes I do a have a little strain. I think the clean aspect to them is related to having to strain sometimes, as they have become harder and thus do not need as much wiping.

Coach Rutherford
04-25-2007, 04:20 PM
Dr. G-

I have noticed the same thing when I have practiced intermittent starvation for more than two days.

Thinking about my next BM reminds me of my Nana's constant discussions and therefore will unlikely become on total convert.

Robb Wolf
04-25-2007, 04:46 PM
Garrett-
Mainly I've noticed a more robust digestion...better processing of greens and what not. I suffered pretty severe spleen chi deficiency when I lived in Seattle (damp cold). Hot weather and IF seem to fix that...no problems typically with constipation however.

Chris Forbis
04-25-2007, 05:04 PM
I noticed this as well. Less frequent BM when on IF.

They also seem to be "cleaner" when on IF, as Neal said.

Steve Liberati
04-25-2007, 05:31 PM
Yep, add me to the list as well. Bowel movement comes every other day if I'm lucky...that is when carrying out 20hr fasts EOD. Pretty much in line with my eating schedule. Figure it to be as simple as less food coming in = less waste going out.Also suffered some straining problems as well (which most likely resulted in a minor case of h-roids). Luckily it cleared up on its own without resorting to treatment as mentioned by Dr. Eades on his blog.

Is it possible are digestive system becomes more efficient at processing food and absorbing fiber and nutrients (as our body is inheritly inclined to do so) and holds on to foods longer (to file accordingly) before excreting it right out?

Reminds me of the opposing problem I have after eating some junk food or introducing an odd food to my diet...as fast as it goes in, it comes out. What is considered "normal" bowel movement anyway?

Garrett Smith
04-25-2007, 05:38 PM
Thanks for the responses.

Now that I think about it a little more, these episodes were coming on the tail end (ha) of a week where I had ~7 or fewer hours of sleep 4 out of the 7 days. Not good for the guts in general. That may be the entire culprit, as the types of foods I'm eating on IF have not changed at all.

I'm definitely a spleen qi deficient constitution...you should see my tongue...big, fat, with the tooth markings. I was held out as the "example" tongue for spleen qi deficiency in my TCM classes. Living in Arizona, I always had the hot weather covered.

With the improved nutrient partitioning and the "hungrier" digestion system on IF, it makes complete sense that the volume of stool would be less per volume of food than "normal" eating patterns.

Steve, when I was eating "normally" at 3 square Paleo meals a day, I had 2-3 BMs a day. Optimally, one should have a BM for every meal. Obviously the timeline would shift a bit due to the fasting...

Ron Nelson
04-25-2007, 08:27 PM
What is considered "normal" bowel movement anyway?

"10-12 inches of light brown or beige, earthy smelling stool."
-Paul Chek

A BM after every meal? I don't like to read that much. And, since I've jumped into the shit; I fast 19 hours each day according to the Fast-5 plan.
I take a seat every other day and seem to do just fine, thank you.
Also, according to the Sheryl Crow I'm only using one sheet of TP per BM.

Kim Dowse
04-25-2007, 08:43 PM
So....my first post here and it's about crap. I've been lurking around here for a while. I recently found out that I am allergic to gluten, so have gone pretty much organic/paleo. Been doing the 15/9 IF for 3 weeks (this Saturday). When I was eating grains and dairy I always had GI/bowel issues. I was never ever regular and lots of gas, etc (yeah, the hubby loved that one:))For the past two weeks I've had 1-2 BMs (per the Paul Chek quote) a day (yippee). There was a bit of an adjustment period. Also, not certain I'll be able to ever get on the Sheryl Crow plan.

Allen Yeh
04-26-2007, 03:31 AM
I've been doing the ~15 hour fasts since January for the most part and I've definitely noticed a slowdown in the total number of BM's over the period of a week, even per day.

Before IF I was eating the whole 6 meals a day and back then I'd be going maybe 2-4 times per day. There were times when I'd think "this can't be normal to go this much!" I also used to be pretty gassy.

Now that I have been IF'ing for a while I typically go once per day mabye twice if my food choices from the day before weren't awesome. The gas comes back if I have a splurge meals but goes away as soon as I get back on track.

Steve Liberati
04-26-2007, 04:48 AM
Optimally, one should have a BM for every meal.

True as infants practice what is to be normal BM (several times a day) as their digestive tracts are pristine in function and housed by loads of friendly bacteria promoted by their mother's milk.

Didn't really stop and think about this one until reading this thread. Now I'm a bit concerned while curious at the same time. Hoping someone can offer an explanation linking the two: constipation and fasting. In the meantime, I'm gonna look into this a little further. Unfortunately not much research or studies to look up on IF, at least not at this point:rolleyes:

Derek Simonds
04-26-2007, 05:26 AM
So i am in the bathroom yesterday and I loo over and there is onmly 1 square left on the roll. All I could think was damn you Sheryl Crow, you and your evil plan.

Garrett Smith
04-26-2007, 05:39 AM
I'm really thinking that the lack of sleep and the increased stress over both the practice transition/takeover and starting the new gym are what created my issues--IF just started around the same time. Glad we were able to start this discussion though, I think it will be valuable for a lot of people.

If anybody should get a seat on the spaceship, it's freaking Paul Chek. Josh Henkin has some funny stories about him...he's gone a bit overboard.

Screw TP, I use wet wipes. Once you go that route, you don't ever go back...

Chuck Kechter
04-26-2007, 09:00 AM
Screw TP, I use wet wipes. Once you go that route, you don't ever go back...

Agreed.

I am "randomly" IFing 12-20hrs at a time, several times a week since January, but haven't noticed much in the way of slowing down BMs. Cleaner for sure though...

Ethan Pack
09-12-2007, 09:59 AM
I just started on September 10, 2007. I'm doing Dr. Eades 24 on/24 off method with feedings starting and ending at 6:30 PM.

On Monday, September 10 - Everything was normal. I'm eating when I'm hungry during the 24 hours (really only around 12 hours, mainly between 6:00 AM and 6:30 PM) and my bowel movements were pretty solid - I take in a good amount of fiber when eating every 2.5 - 3 hours.

On Tuesday, September 11 - I was in fast until 6:30 PM. Only had two BMs and the quantity was very little, but still solid.

Today, September 12 - I've been on the toilet 4 times between 7:00 AM and 12:00 PM. It's quite watery and more like diarrhea. I don't know if it's my body adjusting or cleaning out sludge, but I truly hope it does not show up on September 14, my next feed day.

Has anyone else experienced this?

My diet is pretty balanced and traditional, although I may go Paleo at some point. Over the last few days, I've been eating grilled chicken, Caesar salads, some beef jerky, I had a slice of cheesecake PWO last night, a glass of Pinot Noir, about three turkey and cheese sandwiches, natural peanut butter, eggs, skim milk. I did have a bowl of Fiber One in skim milk, a banana, and a whey protein & skim milk drink this morning - so maybe that contributed in this experience.

Also, I think I'm going to start a journal thread or something. I'm currently 285 and around 30-35% body fat. Otherwise, so far, so good. Depending on how my workouts feel and my hunger goes on the 24/24 system, I might switch to the 16/8 or Fast 5 type approach centered around my my training schedule.

Great forum folks!

Mike ODonnell
09-12-2007, 10:07 AM
I've been on the toilet 4 times between 7:00 AM and 12:00 PM. It's quite watery and more like diarrhea. I don't know if it's my body adjusting or cleaning out sludge, but I truly hope it does not show up on September 14, my next feed day.

Bingo...as diarrhea is your body taking water out of your body to flush out bacteria or other toxins it doesn't want!! Great thing the body.....thank god it's way smarter than us otherwise humans would of stopped living long ago! Ha. That's a good sign....as you lose fat too....the toxin storage from the fat cells will increase....again good sign....drink lots and lots of water....keep the system flushing out the crap. It will level off at some point unless you go back on a bad diet....and then it reminds you "Hey...Ummm don't ever put this crap in me again....this is your last warning....".

Ethan Pack
09-12-2007, 10:33 AM
Bingo...as diarrhea is your body taking water out of your body to flush out bacteria or other toxins it doesn't want!! Great thing the body.....thank god it's way smarter than us otherwise humans would of stopped living long ago! Ha. That's a good sign....as you lose fat too....the toxin storage from the fat cells will increase....again good sign....drink lots and lots of water....keep the system flushing out the crap. It will level off at some point unless you go back on a bad diet....and then it reminds you "Hey...Ummm don't ever put this crap in me again....this is your last warning....".

Thanks Mike! Excellent; as I noted before, I'm a heavy guy (for the time being at least,) but over the past couple of years, I've made significant strides in improving my health, strength, and body composition. I slipped a bit due to various factors in the last 6-8 months, and discovering IF when deciding to recommit and put the pedal to the metal seems like it will offer a good physical, mental, and spiritual aspect as well as being a lifestyle change that seems most easily applicable to my life and desires (as I can't cook or otherwise adequately prepare 6-7 meals a day for the rest of my life!)

I felt that today's "flushing" seemed to be a detox, so I'm going to keep up what I've done and gradually shift into a more "pure" Paleo mode of steak, chicken, eggs, milk, salads, almonds, other veggies and fruits. I'm just surprised at how I had bulky stool just yesterday and day before and now coming off my first eat/fast cycle, I've been leaking!

Again, many thanks for your quick and helpful response! :)

Mike ODonnell
09-12-2007, 12:08 PM
I felt that today's "flushing" seemed to be a detox, so I'm going to keep up what I've done and gradually shift into a more "pure" Paleo mode of steak, chicken, eggs, milk, salads, almonds, other veggies and fruits. I'm just surprised at how I had bulky stool just yesterday and day before and now coming off my first eat/fast cycle, I've been leaking!

Well at least you are leaking less than everyone on Alli.....Ha.

Fasting is a healing process...which involves getting the crap out of the body...so you definitely see it more once you start....leak away my friend...leak away! Let us know how it goes.

Stanley Daniel
05-05-2008, 01:25 AM
This is an old thread I know... but found it via a search... because I'm experiencing the same thing... been IF'ing for about a week now...

bowel movements went from 1-2x(usually am/pm) day, normal stool... to now literally not having any bowel movement for the last 3 days... I do not have the "constipated-full feeling" - heck I even ran a mile earlier with a 20lb vest to relieve some stress...

fiber is coming from the veggies mostly, I posted a question about the carbs but didnt get much on that... still worried about that...

the lower/if not, nonexistent carbs... and higer fats and moderate protein... it might be the culprit.... any new insight on this?

meals are pretty much in a 4-6hr window... getting in about ~1gm protein/LBM and 0.5gfat/LBM - so about ~130g pro and ~60-65g fat, about a bit more than half from liquid fish oil (nordic) or avocados/walnuts/enriched egg yolks///

Carbs are pretty much fibrous - paleo veggies... this has to be a factor since there are barely any dense carbs here...

Still would have a peace of mind to take a dump once in a while... and no long-term GI problems would be nice too :)

Chris Bardwell
05-05-2008, 02:34 AM
This is an old thread I know... but found it via a search... because I'm experiencing the same thing... been IF'ing for about a week now...

bowel movements went from 1-2x(usually am/pm) day, normal stool... to now literally not having any bowel movement for the last 3 days... I do not have the "constipated-full feeling" - heck I even ran a mile earlier with a 20lb vest to relieve some stress...

fiber is coming from the veggies mostly, I posted a question about the carbs but didnt get much on that... still worried about that...

the lower/if not, nonexistent carbs... and higer fats and moderate protein... it might be the culprit.... any new insight on this?

meals are pretty much in a 4-6hr window... getting in about ~1gm protein/LBM and 0.5gfat/LBM - so about ~130g pro and ~60-65g fat, about a bit more than half from liquid fish oil (nordic) or avocados/walnuts/enriched egg yolks///

Carbs are pretty much fibrous - paleo veggies... this has to be a factor since there are barely any dense carbs here...

Still would have a peace of mind to take a dump once in a while... and no long-term GI problems would be nice too :)

Sometimes happens to me but I have sluggish bowels anyway. I would try a good dose of Milk of Magnesia first thing in the morning with 500ml of water, should get things flowing.....
Not sure why your bowel movements transitioned though, maybe someone more IF experienced can get to the root of things....

C.

sarena kopciel
05-05-2008, 05:40 AM
Hey all, I too have been having this situation, problem, since starting IF! I always thought it was me...Steve Liberati's situation rings true with me as well.
And my diet/nutrition really is top notch.Generally, coffee gets the movt going in the am, but not always....

Garrett Smith
05-05-2008, 05:52 AM
Some easy things that might help.

Make sure you are getting enough water (I prefer herbal teas).

Good coffee in the morning.

Magnesium citrate (I prefer Natural Calm), take it to bowel tolerance then back off a teaspoon.

Do some direct abdominal / hip flexor work.

Mike ODonnell
05-05-2008, 07:15 AM
When in doubt...start tweaking...less fish oil...more water....are you eating much dairy? Want to poop more...dose up on some probiotics.

Or you can read the infamous "poop" post (http://projectfit.org/iflifeblog/2008/04/27/why-you-need-to-look-before-you-flush/) and see if anything seems familiar

constipation usually indicates dehydration....but that's just my #2 guess...

Stanley Daniel
05-06-2008, 08:51 AM
Hmmm thanks for the input. I'm on day 4 and still not moving... pissing me off actually! I even went out and bought some benefiber last night....

I usually drink around 3L water a day....
Heck, I was so pissed that I had a half cup of oats and some whey and about 8 grams of benefiber - still no luck....


I then was thinking this has to be something else.... something I have modified in my diet. I asked a while back for some suitable paleo friendly carbs but never got some clear answers on it....

so I looked for the higher "veggie dense" carbs if you want to call it that.... kale / cauliflower / brussel sprouts - for the past 3 weeks, I have been eating a LOT of that. I was trying to get at least more so when I switched to the paleo/IF from zone (4-6 meals). My bowel movements were totally fine up until this past weekend... and last night I had 7oz chicken/2 cups brussels and maybe 2cups cauliflower/half a cup mushrooms with 8 grams benefiber - still didnt crap in the AM

anyways, this constipation has to be "goitrogenic" related to the foods I ate with resulting "lower thyroid output" and constipation - I think I developed a pseudo-hypothyroidism - which would also explain my weight not dropping much as I was hoping - still CF'ing or lifting heavy 3-4 days/week,

I even did notice some cold intolerance the past few days - 29years old and never had constipation like this to my knowledge ever....
Constipation happens in hypothyroidism... and no family Hx of anything related...

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=47

broccoli I use to consume mainly for years as my veggie(almost 4-5 cups for about 5-6meals pre-zone/paleo era,) I'd have cauliflower occasionally too - so it must be the copious amounts of kale and sprouts -

I dropped my dairy intake which was mainly cheese or cottage cheese about 3 weeks ago too...

I've got a huge exam coming up next week, and I didnt want to worry about this now...

Anyways - I am definitely staying away from those veggies for now...t I really hope I can reverse this - and didnt do any permanent damage.... upon self palpation, didn't feel any glandular enlargement....

gonna look for the mag sulfate.... did about 50 burpees todays and also a bunch of hanging knee raises - and that's before the oats and whey...

Mike ODonnell
05-06-2008, 08:55 AM
worst case scenario....go to Krystals/White Castle...eat a bunch of their little burgers with no buns...and wash it down with a large coffee.....seriously I would do some damage with that.....

Garrett Smith
05-06-2008, 05:22 PM
Magnesium *citrate*, not sulfate.

Definitely lay off the cruciferous veggies for a while, a good long while.

Stanley Daniel
05-06-2008, 09:05 PM
Ah right on Garret - I was thinking of something else at the time - but yes, I bought the mag citrate $3 lemon flavored from Rite Aid (branded by rite aid) ~2pm ET today... been replenishing the fluids throughout to prevent the excessive water loss along with some "semisolid matter."

I chugged the whole damn thing at the parking lot - with .5L water... it took about 2 hrs to kick in first - and then I felt everything coming out - it was such a relief - thanks for the heads up and everyone else's comments...
whew - had plenty of bowel movements throughout the day...

threw in some "iodized" salt to my last meal which was avacado's/mushrooms/asparagus/onions/evoo/chicken breast and some egg whites and a yolk/ - i've read that putting back the iodine that was inhibited by goitrogens in thyroid uptake plus some coconut oil might help the process of bringing thyroid function back up.... it was the kale for sure... i only steamed that and ate some raw (tastes like crap) time to time... most goitrogens from reading are disseminated or greatly reduced when cooking... probably why eating steamed broccoli all this time never became an issue..

Yes, I'll definitely staying the hell away from them for a bit... it only began as mentioned since I replaced them as my main carb source - so imagine trying to get 100grams of carbs from kale and cauliflower... since half the other starchy carbs or other non-starchy "nightshades" sources are a no no on paleo - damn where the hell does everyone get their carbs from??? don't like the ketosis-like eating....



Thanks again for the thoughts and concerns! :)

Darryl Shaw
05-07-2008, 06:23 AM
.....so imagine trying to get 100grams of carbs from kale and cauliflower... since half the other starchy carbs or other non-starchy "nightshades" sources are a no no on paleo - damn where the hell does everyone get their carbs from??? don't like the ketosis-like eating...

If you're struggling to get enough carbs in your diet try eating more fruit, berries and starchy root vegetables and if constipation is a problem dried fruit such as figs and prunes will sort things out in no time.

Mike ODonnell
05-07-2008, 08:00 AM
Isn't benefiber mostly psyllium which is soluble fiber?? (aka sucks up water and can cause constipation?) If any fiber supplement I would say just use ground flaxseeds that are mostly insoluble. If Kyrstals made a flaxssed burger coffee combo meal...that would do it too

Stanley Daniel
05-07-2008, 09:25 AM
Wheat Dextrin is the main ingredient in Benefiber - but yeah, they work the same way... you're right about the absorbing water functions... the benefit being that a little would help in creating peristalsis (bowel contractions) and softens up any compacted stool matter - it helps in diarrhea too where it will help form more solid-like waste, by removing the excess water in watery, non-bloody diarrhea...

taken from benefiber's site :
Wheat Dextrin is a natural soluble fiber. Wheat Dextrin is considered "Gluten-Free" which means it contains only a trace amount of gluten ( i.e., less than 10 ppm gluten).

That magnesium citrate is still kicking in a little bit- I had to come home hehe... :rolleyes: anyways good review because I have an exam related to all this stuff next week! We actually have a few constipation and diarrhea cases for pediatrics/adults... it's for a medical licensing exam where we get 12 standardized patients - presenting with common complaints like - chest pain, shortness of breath, bowel/urinary issues.... we have do a history/ focused physical and counsel them all in 15 mins and write a patient note in 10 minutes...

Scott Kustes
05-07-2008, 12:32 PM
Mike, that sounds absolutely horrible at any time other than after about 15 beers.

Mike ODonnell
05-07-2008, 01:24 PM
Mike, that sounds absolutely horrible at any time other than after about 15 beers.

Pretty sure that is the only time I have ever been to Krystals! (they are open 24/7)

Scott Kustes
05-08-2008, 08:06 AM
Yeah, it's White Castle here. I can't recall the last time I was there. I've always wondered what it is about those little burgers that makes them so...potent.

Mike ODonnell
05-08-2008, 08:51 AM
Yeah, it's White Castle here. I can't recall the last time I was there. I've always wondered what it is about those little burgers that makes them so...potent.

I usually "don't recall" being there....it's just the aftermath of the empty wrappers in the morning that give it away....