Losing weight for people with bowel problems - GoldCare

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Losing weight for people with bowel problems

Thinking about starting your weight loss journey? If you have bowel problems, it can seem daunting.

To help, we’ve come up with some help and advice to get you started on overhauling your lifestyle. From diet tips to exercise advice, it’s good to have a plan ahead when you have issues with your bowels.

It’s not about crash diets and overnight fixes either. To be successful, you need to be realistic with your health and lifestyle for it to work. Take your time and be patient… the slower the weight loss, the more likely it is to stay off. Consistency is key to success.

It’s not just a new year fad either. You can start your weight loss journey whenever feels right for you. If you’re motivated now, let’s get started…

Kick start your exercise:

It’s really important to get the balance between diet and exercise right. There are plenty of exercises which can be done in the comfort of your own home – you don’t have to dash out and enrol in a gym to improve your fitness levels.

Living through the time of Covid-19 has made online exercises classes extremely popular, so if you feel it would be more motivational to exercise in a group, trying enrolling in one of these online classes. There are also plenty of YouTube links to exercise in the privacy of your own living room and you can select the type of exercise to suit your level of fitness.

If you prefer the outdoors, go for a stroll outside to enjoy both nature and scenery. Walking is a great exercise, the main bonus being it is free and you can increase your own pace when you are ready. You can also choose to walk in isolation or with friends or family and make it a social occasion too.

Start slowly and listen to your body as you feel ready to build up.

Dieting with bowel problems:

Good nutritional intake is important for all of us and is very much a part of the advice you may be given to help with your bowel issues. Rather than cutting out whole food groups, you should follow the motto of “everything in moderation”, including occasional treats… this will reduce the feeling of needing to give into cravings.

Eating less saturated fats, processed foods, red meat, sugary foods and increasing your fruit and vegetables is standard advice for all.

Make sure the foods you are eating are compatible with your bowel problem. Suddenly introducing large amounts of vegetables and fruit can cause your bowel problem to worsen, which may not be ideal. Think about adding in fibre slowly, as whilst the high fibre content of some diet plans may help you feel full for longer, it may also make your constipation or diarrhoea worse than usual.

As your bowels adjust to a new diet, you may find that any medications you take (such as laxatives or loperamide) need to be adjusted – speak with your specialist healthcare professional or your GP if you require support in adjusting your medication.

Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, as a rough guide a portion is about the size of your hand– so an apple, a small bunch of grapes or a handful of broccoli, would each equal one portion. There is no need to weigh or to be precise. You can also add extra vegetables to your meals in the form of sauces too (think tomato-based curries and pasta sauces).

Frozen or tinned fruit or vegetables are just as good and can often be cheaper than fresh during these cash-strapped times. Be mindful of avoiding fruit canned in sugary syrups if you are trying to lose weight though.

Up you fluid intake:

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids whether dieting or not.

By drinking plenty of water, it will keep you hydrated and also help you to feel full. It’s often easy to confuse hunger for thirst, so try reaching for a glass of water first. Don’t be alarmed if your urine is a paler colour and a lot clearer as a result, this is a good sign you are hydrated.

As a general rule, most people should be aiming to drink between 1.5 – 2 litres each day.


Don’t purposely skip meals.  Skipping meals such as breakfast will lead to you missing out on essential nutrients and vitamins. You may find you are snacking later because you feel hungry.

Serve meals on a smaller plate, it will help with portion control. You’re less likely to pile up your plate for the sake of it.

Try not to ban any foods from your new diet. It will only make you crave them more and occasional treats are allowed on most diets.

Cut down on alcohol and calories. A large glass of wine can contain as many calories as a chocolate bar. By cutting out alcohol and high calorie drinks, you can say goodbye to empty calories.

Plan your meals and snacks for the week. You are far more likely to stick to it if you have planned and prepared for the meals, instead of grabbing the on the go.

Eat slowly and mindfully. Remember, it takes approx. 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full…. so eat slowly and try to stop eating before you feel full!

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