If you haven’t yet heard, Wednesdays are our Guest Blogger Series day! It’s a day where Matt and I get a bit of a mid-week break while getting to share with you some of our favorite online bloggers. And for their hard work, they get the benefit of your readership – we encourage you to please show all of them your support by visiting their blog and social media links at the end of this post!
Today’s post is by Brianne of FemFusion Fitness. You may remember her as the pelvic floor exercise expert that wrote FemFusion Fitness for Intimacy, which we reviewed here. She is my favorite blogger in all of Germany and we are very grateful that she has contributed for us. I found this post surprising, intriguing, and interesting, and I know you will, too.
The number one secret to getting (and keeping!) a flat tummy isn’t a specific exercise, “miracle pill,” or diet plan… Want to know what it is? Check it out:
Yes, I’m talking about poop. Going “number two.”
If you know me personally or via my blog, you know that I have no shame when it comes to subjects that are typically “socially unacceptable” such as pelvic floor health, bowel movements, continence (or incontinence), and sexual health. As a women’s health physical therapist I’ve had extensive training and clinical experience related to these subjects. But more importantly, I have loads of personal experience with them as well. Particularly constipation.
A little bit about me…
I grew up eating the Standard American Diet, although my family and I did our best to eat “healthily” (or what was perceived as healthy at the time). We limited our fat intake, we always ate whole grain breads, and I ate dairy products every day to “get enough calcium!” We also limited our meat intake, which I continued throughout my college years. I went back and forth between vegetarianism and veganism many times, and soy was my go-to protein source. In fact, my favorite treat was tofu coated in flour and then deep-fried. My mouth still waters when I think of it… But my guts twist.
Unknowingly, I was living with celiac disease as well as intolerances to casein and soy. I grew up skinny, eating a TON of food and never feeling satisfied, and with a “touchy tummy” that always gave me problems including debilitating pain and serious issues related to constipation. One time I went nearly ONE FULL MONTH without having a bowel movement… And not for lack of trying! This was on a college trip to South America, where our main sustenance was bread and cheese. Hmmm… Little wonder.
My issues did not go unnoticed by my parents — we visited doctors on several occasions, and I underwent a colonoscopy at the tender age of 19. Upon review of the colonoscopy, the GI specialist stated what every other doc had said: That I had irritable bowel syndrome (constipation prone), and that I should eat more fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains. They recommended prunes, whole-wheat bread/bagels, etc.
At the time, I remember thinking “there is NO WAY I can eat more grains, beans, and produce!” At the time, I was in a vegetarian phase and I was stuffing myself with legumes and whole grains. And I couldn’t poop.
Despite my small frame, I always felt bloated and weighed down. When I finally learned about my celiac disease, and then discovered my casein and soy intolerances, I felt so much better: Happier, mentally “clearer,” and less bloated. However, I was eating a lot of rice, gluten free pasta, corn, and
gluten free baked goods and I still had difficulty going “number two.” It was always a struggle, and when it did happen I had to strain. As a pelvic floor specialist, and as a sufferer of mild pelvic organ prolapse, I knew that straining to complete my bowel movements HAD TO STOP… But I didn’t know
what to do.
Time went by and my family and I discovered the Paleo diet. The Paleo theory made sense, but I definitely felt sorry for myself: “Poor me! I thought I had it bad eliminating gluten, dairy, and soy! Now I have to cut out EVEN MORE!!!”
But amazingly, after trying Paleo, I started pooping. Every day. It was easy — no straining, no issues. My tummy was FINALLY flat, and I was able to show off the abdominal muscles that I had worked so hard for. I felt better about myself and my body, and I felt I could more comfortably promote myself as a health and fitness expert.
(Brianne at right, with FemFusion Fitness class participants last Christmas)
(Brianne at a recent belly-dancing event)
My entire family feels better after a shift to the Paleo diet. Recently, my husband wrote a guest post on my website about our transition to the Paleo diet (and various “detoxes” we’ve done together) — he documents his nearly 40 pound weight loss as well as feelings of increased energy, vitality, and even sex appeal!
Here’s the thing: I do NOT promote the Paleo diet as the “only” way to eat. Everyone is different and I truly believe that everyone reacts differently to different foods. I have friends who thrive on a diet of whole grains and legumes! But I don’t. And if you’re reading this blog post, YOU probably don’t either.
If you suffer from constipation, and if you’re on the fence about Paleo, give it a try — full-force. See what happens with your bowel movements! Constipation is incredibly common, and not only is it uncomfortable, it can also lead to serious health issues. Besides, an intestine full of backed-up feces never looks good. No matter how many ab-blasting exercises you do, you will not have a flat tummy until you’re able to eliminate on a regular basis. Please don’t feel embarrassed thinking about (and addressing, if needed) your bowel movements!
If you are interested in the subject of constipation (I mean, who isn’t, right??!) please stop by my website next week. I will be posting a series of articles about preventing and treating constipation, including my favorite grain-free (get-things-moving) breakfast cereal, and a review of the Squatty Potty… The best way to go number two.