Could constipation be contributing to weight gain?

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Throughout our lives, our weight fluctuates. For those wanting to lose weight, seeing that number on the scales up from the week before can be disheartening, but it’s important to remember that that number measures more than just muscle and fat. So, what else could be contributing to our weight?

Could constipation be contributing to weight gain?

Our weight oscillates month by month, day by day, and even hour by hour, and changes in fat are rarely the cause. In fact, our weight is also a measure of our bones, organs, bodily fluids, and waste. So, if you’re constipated, your weight is likely to go up until your body releases everything that’s causing you to be ‘backed up’.

Does constipation cause weight gain?

In short, yes and no. Constipation and weight gain are linked, as factors contributing to constipation, bloating and fullness can cause weight gain, but constipation itself is only likely to cause an increase in weight in the short term (a matter of a few hundred grams per day) until your constipation eases.

Culprits causing constipation, such as a lack of hydration, poor diet, and lack of exercise can contribute to your weight. These can cause your metabolism to slow, meaning you could gain weight quicker.

How can we prevent constipation?

Keep hydrated

Make sure to drink plenty of water each day. Water increases the softness of stool, so the less hydrated you are, the harder your stools can be, resulting in constipation. If you’re not a fan of water, try adding some fruit, and if keeping tabs on how much you’re drinking is a problem, try pre-measured bottles. It’s also recommended to stay clear of soft drinks.

Increase fiber

Increasing your fiber intake is a natural way to ease constipation, gas, and bloating. Fibre works by cleansing the colon and moving waste through your digestive system. A lack of fiber can slow your digestion down, leaving you ‘backed up’ for longer. Aim to get around 30 grams of fiber into your body per day.

Here are some foods that increase fiber:

  • wholewheat cereal (such as Weetabix)
  • wholegrain cereal (such as Shredded wheat)
  • porridge oats
  • wholemeal and granary bread
  • wholewheat pasta
  • bulgar grains
  • pulses, such as beans and lentils
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • unsalted nuts and seeds

Stay active

Muscle tone, particularly those in the diaphragm and abdomen, is crucial in the process of going to the toilet. Spending long periods of time sitting can slow digestion and cause constipation, so in order to ease bloating, try to keep things moving. As guidance, adults should aim to do around 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, such as walking or cycling.

When does constipation become a concern?

If you’re noticing that you are frequently constipated, bloated or full, there could be an underlying issue that might be contributing to weight gain. If you have tried to self-remedy your constipation with limited success, it’s important to speak to your doctor or another medical professional to determine if it’s being caused by something else.

Some possible causes

Turning 30? Here’s what you need to know…

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Reaching milestones in our life can prompt us to think about where we are, where we thought we might be and what the future holds. As Life Coach Emma Wilson explains, turning thirty can be a moment for reflection and ensuring we’re living our lives as WE truly want to

Turning 30? Here’s what you need to know…

Firstly, I want you to know that age is a number and there’s no magic (or tragic) event that will automatically occur the moment the clock takes you from 29 to 30, 39 to 40 and so on. Marketing agencies and the media have been creating a sense of urgency and worry around ageing for years in order to sell products, aspirational living, fertility consultations and to play upon our insecurities, for their own profit.

That being said, ‘milestone’ birthdays can still prompt a period of reflection for many of us, so how can you harness the energy around this occasion for your own development and an increasingly positive sense of self?

Starting with being honest about how you’re feeling is a good place to begin, Emma Wilson, a Life Coach who specialises in conversations around turning 30, explains. “There can be something confronting about a round-figure birthday, be it 30, 40, 50, 60 or beyond. It’s become this big thing, created by society, that can make us go into panic mode.”

Comparison is the main thing people struggle with

“Specifically for women who are turning thirty, there appears to be something very loaded and charged about it,” she continues. “From my clients, I know that the biggest thing is a feeling of being left behind or that everyone else is in a different place to you and then you start to compare. Comparison is the main thing people struggle with.”

We internalise this 'instruction guide' on how our lives should look

To put these expectations and comparisons into context, Emma refers to them as the ‘turning 30 manuals’. “It’s as if we have an instruction manual on what our life should look like, how we should be and what we should feel by our thirties. This comes from many different areas - popular culture, familial expectations, cultural beliefs, songs - everything you can imagine. Then we internalise this 'instruction guide' on how our lives should look.

“The most common instructions  are that we should have a partner, be in a relationship - if not married - have children, be in the process of buying a property and in a stable career with prospects. They are the main things that people really worry about.”

Double Chocolate Brownies (traditional, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes)

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Can a recipe ever go wrong when it starts with the words “double chocolate?”

The first time I made these Double Chocolate Brownies, I took them to the park to share with friends and they disappeared within minutes.

Double Chocolate Brownies

Double Chocolate Brownies

I love the slightly gooey centers, combined with just the right amount of rich chocolate and nuts. The options with this brownie recipe are nearly endless.

Add nuts or skip them if they aren’t your thing. I’ve made these brownies with macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and almonds, they’re honestly delicious however you make them.

Make the final handful of chocolate whatever you like: white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Make the brownies with the traditional recipe or turn them into the best ever dairy-free brownies or gluten-free brownies that you’ll ever taste!

Dairy Free Brownies

Dairy Free Brownies

These brownies have been a hit with everyone who tries them. I’ve made them countless times over the past 8-9 years and I’m including tested variations for traditional, dairy-free, and gluten-free recipes.

I’ve been playing with dairy-free baking lately and I’m happy to say that making these brownies dairy free is as simple as swapping coconut oil for the butter in this recipe.

Gluten Free Brownies

Every single gluten-free recipe on this website has been tested side by side with their traditional all-purpose flour counterparts. “Good enough for gluten-free” will never be part of my baking.

I don’t think that I could ever have too many great Gluten Free Dessert Recipes.

For this recipe, making these brownies gluten free is as simple as substituting brown rice flour and tapioca starch for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. The measurements are included at the bottom of the recipe card.

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5 body language hacks to boost your communication

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Keep your communications clear by considering your body language and how you can demonstrate active listening

5 body language hacks to boost your communication

Showing attentiveness to a conversation lets people feel heard, and can open up the door for more meaningful interactions, showing the person you’re engaging with that you’re receptive to what they’re saying.

There are some behaviours you’ll probably be doing naturally, but when we gain awareness of the signals of active listening, we can make a conscious effort to instil them in our communications.

1. Face the person speaking.

By turning towards your conversation partner, you’re clearly displaying that they have your full attention. It could also signify a willingness to be vulnerable, as we’re presenting our chest (and in turn our heart), which might be seen as a symbolic gesture of opening ourselves up.

2. Get closer.

Yes, we’re talking literally. Your physical proximity to each other in a conversation, and in particular leaning forwards, shows your interest and engagement in the discussion. Leaning back could signal that you’re distancing yourself from the chat, so try to proactively lean in where you can.

3. Clear the space between you.

In a practical sense, ensure there are no objects obscuring your view of each other, and in a metaphorical way, keep your arms relaxed and to your side where possible – crossed arms can signify a disinterest in the conversation, or an unwillingness to open up. So try to be aware of how your body is positioned to demonstrate your willing participation.

4. Give encouragement.

This could be in the form of nodding your head to show you’re listening and taking on board what they’re saying, or using facial expressions to react without interrupting them, or small remarks such as ‘yes’ and ‘OK’ which won’t disrupt their flow, but give them confidence that what they’re saying is being heard and processed.

5. Maintain eye contact.

It’s been reported that keeping your eyes focused on each other for 60–70% of the time someone is speaking helps provide the best balance for good rapport. So, next time you’re chatting, keep those eyes locked, and be present.

5 body language hacks to boost your communication

6 tools to help you tap into your emotions

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How can we truly feel our feelings? Here we look at some techniques to help us identify our emotions so we can process them in a healthy way

6 tools to help you tap into your emotions

Do you ever feel full of feelings… but you aren’t quite sure what they are? Perhaps you’re feeling more tearful than usual and the simplest thing sets you off. Or maybe there’s anger simmering, but you don’t know why.

Feeling our feelings should be simple, right? In theory, yes, but sometimes our feelings get trapped under layers of shame, guilt and even denial, making it harder to really identify what’s going on for us. Some of us can also fall into a trap of numbing ourselves to our emotions, using tools like binge-watching TV, scrolling social media, or in some cases abusing substances.

It can seem easier to bury our heads in the sand than deal with our emotions, but when we do this, those emotions fester and turn into something worse. They may stay hidden for a while but, eventually, they pour out (often in unhelpful ways).

Being intentional about identifying our emotions can help us shine a light of awareness on how we’re feeling. It helps us identify and acknowledge our emotions, which ultimately helps us process and understand them. It might not get rid of difficult feelings, but it’s an integral first step to helping us cope better.

So, how can we tap into our emotions? Here are a few ideas to try.

1. Write it out

This is my personal go-to, as someone who’s kept a journal since the age of 13. Writing about how you feel can help you take that tangled web of thoughts and feelings in your mind and put it down on paper. Just the act of putting pen to paper is cathartic to many.

In her article, Getting your thoughts down on paper, writer Katie Conibear shares six prompts to use writing in a therapeutic way.

2. Feel it in your body

Sometimes our emotions present themselves physically, especially if we’re finding it hard to acknowledge or process them. This is something somatic therapy can help with. The approach uses physical techniques and exercises to help you be present in your body and tap into what you’re feeling. Somatic therapy can help with a range of concerns, including anxiety, trauma, chronic pain and depression.

In this video, counsellor Ian Wallace explains what somatic therapy is, including how therapists use the approach in sessions, and how clients may benefit from this type of therapy.

3. Get creative

Taking a more abstract approach to our emotions can sometimes give us the distance we need to tap into them. This is the premise behind many arts therapies and can be very effective. Here are some ideas to get a little creative with:

  • Try painting a landscape of how you feel.
  • Write a short story about a character who feels the same as you.
  • Make a playlist that encapsulates how you feel.

Don’t worry if what comes