Thursday, April 7, 2011

Everyone poops . . . but not on the same schedule

I am really beginning to believe that the key to not being overweight is pooping.

I'll admit that most of my evidence for this theory is anecdotal, but I can't help but notice that a good deal of the people I know who poop regularly are thin.

My husband Dave's pooping schedule, for instance, is as predictable as the sunrise and sunset—once in the morning and once at night. Without fail. And he has never had a problem with his weight. In fact, I think he has been the same weight all of his adult life.

My dad's the same way—his pooping is in fact so efficient that he can stand up from the dining table, announce that he has to "use the facilities," go take care of business, and be back at the table in five minutes.

On the other hand, my pooping schedule is about as easy to predict as a girl's first period. In other words, you have no idea when it's coming, and inevitably it always arrives at a bad time.

The problem with that is that when it comes at a bad time I have no choice but to hold it, which is not only unhealthy, it also means that my body goes into revolt, either pushing the poop out more vigorously or pulling it back inside like a turtle head (possibly Dave's favorite phrase).

No matter when it comes, it's almost never a good thing, and as a result, I spend most of my life bloated and in pain.

One of my friends once told me that she never understood how anyone could poop in a public place. (Spoken like someone who never has trouble pooping.) But if you're like me, you go where you have to . . . at rest stops, at work (thank God for faculty bathrooms!), at various McDonald's locations, at the Pak-a-sak on Highway 27 in Richmond, Indiana, at almost every Barnes & Noble I've ever been to, and many, many times at the Pizza Hut on Harrison Avenue on the west side of Cincinnati.

(I guess that last example should be explained . . . between our junior and senior years in college, I used to visit Dave at his parents' house in Cincinnati. The only problem was that his parents' house only had one bathroom. And it was centrally located—right between the living room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the den. Smack dab in the middle of the house. So no matter where you were sitting on the first floor, you could hear the person in the bathroom. This meant that, for probably fifteen years, I was unable to poop in their house. And the closest bathroom I could find was at the Pizza Hut on Harrison Avenue on the west side of Cincinnati, which is now—through no fault of my own—closed.)

People who don't "get" pooping in public places are people who don't HAVE to poop in public places. They have no understanding of what it means to be overcome by the sudden urge to take a dump. Their digestive system is regular, they are healthy, and usually they are also slim.

I guess I don't have to tell you that the friend who scoffed at pooping in pubic was, of course, thin.

I read an interview with Whoopi Goldberg about a year ago in which she claimed that losing weight was all about pooping. She had just dropped some serious pounds (which I believe she has now gained back), and she explained that she just had to learn to poop. Once she started pooping regularly, the extra weight disappeared.

I keep waiting for that to happen to me.

It seems like more and more people (including me) have some form of IBS these days, and it makes me wonder if there's a connection between that surge and the increase in obesity. Is it possible that Americans are getting more fat because we simply can't get enough poop out? And is it also possible that the toxins in our environment—our air, our homes, even our food—are messing with our digestive systems?

I have to believe there's some connection.

No matter what the reason, I feel confident that if you can poop regularly, you can also look good in a bathing suit.

And hopefully you can avoid an embarrassing trip to Pizza Hut.


  1. I love this! Just stumbled on your blog and it rang with truth!! My husband - 6'1" - 175 lbs. Poops like clock work.... Me 5'7" - 1?? let's just say am on oreo away from 2???.... Never heard of "regular!"

  2. Assuming you've tried things to make it happen regularly? While pregnant I had flax cereal everyday (pooping can be difficult when prego).

  3. Thanks, Anonymous! I'm glad I'm not the only one with this kind of husband.

    I've tried adding fiber to my diet, Anonymous, and actually had it backfire on me. When I increase my fiber, I become more backed up, not less. But I may try Activia yogurt soon.

  4. Funny and true!

    Here are a few suggestions:
    1. I would say the first thing to do to improve your pooping is to chew your food well. I mean really well, more than you think is necessary. Chew it until there isn't anything left to chew.

    2. Eat yogurt (full-fat, plain, sweetened by you lightly with honey, fruit or maple syrup) and lacto fermented food like pickles (Bubbies is one brand, check the label). I would find a local, organic yogurt instead of going with activia.

    3. Tame your stress. This is a big one. You can't control the amount of stressful events in your life, but you can control how you react to them. To start, when you feel overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and say something like "everything will get done." It sounds silly, but it redirects your brain. I believe that dealing with stress in a positive way is the key to many health problems.

    Plus I really, really think you need to give up gluten for a week or two just to see if you feel differently. It's not something you'll have to give up forever, but your "gut" may been a little "repairing".

    My try at gluten free:

    How to repair your gut:

    Let me know if you try any of these!

  5. You think you have problems? Try having Crohn's Disease. You'll never complain about your bowel movements again. :(