Hopping on the bathroom scale to weigh yourself before and after you have a bowel movement might be tempting, but unless your scale is highly accurate, you won't likely notice a difference in your body weight. Even if you did, emptying your bowels doesn't count as true weight loss. Although regular bowel movements are part of your overall health, losing weight depends on your caloric intake and expenditure.
Bowel Movements and Digestion
Bowel movements might not typically come up in adult conversation, but their overall nature provides an indication of how quickly your digestive system is working. If you have diarrhea, for example, during which your bowel movements are runny and frequent, your digested food is moving through your system too quickly. In the case of constipation, in which your stools are hard and infrequent, your digested food isn't moving quickly enough.
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Weight Loss and Calories
Your caloric intake and expenditure, rather than your bowel movements, are tied to healthy weight loss. Throughout the day, you consume calories in the form of food and drinks, which your body uses for energy. At the same time, your body burns calories at various rates, depending on the activities you perform. When your caloric intake and expenditure are equal, you maintain your weight. For weight loss to take place, you must adjust your lifestyle to ensure your caloric expenditure exceeds your caloric intake.
Bowel Movement Frequency
It's not cause for concern if your bowels don't move at the same rate as the bowels of your family members, since there is no firm definition of bowel regularity. It can be normal to have one bowel movement every day or two, or to have three bowel movements in a single day. It is a concern if you don't have more than three bowels movements in a week, however. You can often alleviate constipation by eating fiber, increasing your water intake and exercising daily.
Fiber and Health
Eating a high-fiber diet contributes not only to healthy bowel movements; it can also help you lose weight and positively affect your overall health. Getting 25 to 38 grams of total dietary fiber per day helps you maintain regularity, while also scrubbing your intestines to keep them healthy, while also reducing your risk of colon cancer. Fiber also helps regulate your blood sugar, which prevents food cravings, and sends your brain the signal that you're full.
- MedlinePlus: Bowel Movement
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- KidsHealth: Are Your Bowels Moving?
- MedlinePlus: Constipation
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Total Water and Macronutrients
- University of California at San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital: Why Fiber Is So Good for You