If your scale has become your least favorite place to stand AND you’re dealing with digestive symptoms, this article may hold some big time answers for you. Most people feel like they have all these issues adding up and they must be falling apart and getting too old. They never stop to think that some of those issues may be connected. My goal here is to help you understand how some digestive symptoms can have the ability to lead to weight gain, and what you can do about them.
Understanding the underlying cause for YOUR digestive issues.
Most digestive symptoms can have 3 or 4 different underlying causes. That is why you’ve likely tried a remedy that worked for a friend who was dealing with the same problem, only to see zero results for yourself. You first need to understand what is causing the issue for you, and then you have a starting place. Instead of throwing darts at the “please let me poop” dartboard, if you can get an idea of what is causing your constipation (or diarrhea, or bloating, or acid reflux, or nausea…), you’ll have a better chance of taking the right steps to correct it. What may be even more exciting for some, when these digestive symptoms improve, many of you will have an easier time dropping any extra girth that may no longer be welcome.
And you thought your weight gain was just genetic…
Understanding the Signs and Symptoms
If you’ve been dealing with chronic issues like constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, nausea, or bloating, odds are great that someone has led you to believe that these problems are genetic, or you just drew the short straw and are stuck with these issues. It’s time to be excited. You’re about to gain a better understanding of why you’re dealing with digestive issues and what you can do about them. Buckle up! It’s about to get jazzy.
Assessing Your Digestion
We hear from people on a daily basis who have used this information to not only understand their digestive troubles but also take steps to improve them, even when they have been dealing with the problems for years or decades.
The first step is to understand the most common causes for each symptom. You can then start to figure out which underlying cause is creating problems for you. In this article, I explain how to look at your symptoms to gain more information. If you’re unable to improve your issues with the information in this quick article, take our almost free digestion course to better understand how to fix those problems. The course was created as a free course for our book readers, but since we now have more advanced courses that we charge for, our new system requires a charge for all registrations. 50 cents was the lowest amount we could set, and 50 cents is probably worth improving issues you may have been dealing with for a lifetime. We hear from people every day who say that the videos made everything much easier to understand. If this short article isn’t enough for you to improve your issues, take the time to go through this easy course. It will make sense to you. In this almost free course, we teach simple tests you can do at home to get a better idea of how your body is operating and what steps may help you improve your issues.
Now we’ll look at some common symptoms to better understand the underlying causes that most frequently create them. We’ll also touch on ways each symptom can lead to unwanted weight gain.
We need stomach acid to digest our food properly. The fact that drug companies promote turning off that stomach acid, or treating it like it’s the problem, is a huge mistake. Food that is not properly digested, or is too alkaline (due to a lack of stomach acid) will move too slowly through our digestive tract. A stool that is too acid will move too quickly and is one cause of diarrhea issues. There is an acid and alkaline side to digestion and both must be working properly for us to pull all the nutrients out of the food we eat. A lack of proper stomach acid is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation. A stool that is too alkaline can move too slowly, get backed-up, and result in constipation.
The second most common cause of constipation is an insufficient amount of water going to the bowels. In this scenario, the stool becomes too dry and hard and does not move through the bowels effectively. Consuming insufficient water could certainly create this problem, but more often than not, it is an imbalance at the cellular level that is causing the body to send more of its water through the kidneys, and less through the bowels.
You’ll notice I never mentioned fiber or probiotics. Though both of these tools can be a very small piece of the puzzle and can benefit some who try them, most commonly the major underlying cause of constipation is either a lack of stomach acid or the body sending too much of its water to the wrong place. Those who read our books, or take our almost free digestion course learn how to look at their own chemistry to get a better idea if improving their stomach acid levels could help, or if they may benefit more from improving an Anabolic Imbalance that is sending too much of the body’s water to the kidneys, and not enough to the bowels.
The Fat Connection: We poop to remove waste, so if we’re not pooping, where do you think that waste goes? It doesn’t just disappear like that sock you lose in the dryer. Something has to happen to it. As junk accumulates in the body, and the ability to filter this junk is diminished as the body becomes overwhelmed, some of this junk can be stored in fat cells for safe keeping.
More trouble can occur when the constipation is caused by a lack of stomach acid. Without enough stomach acid to properly pull the nutrients out of the food you’re eating, nutrient deficiencies can lead to sugar and carb cravings. What better way to gain weight then to give into an insane craving for a gallon of Chubby Hubby ice cream every night?
Diarrhea can be as simple as a gut infection. But let’s look at the 3 most common causes of chronic diarrhea. Again, not the only causes, just the most common.
- In the same way that constipation can sometimes be caused by a stool that is too alkaline (due to a lack of stomach acid), diarrhea can be caused by a stool that is too acidic. When the acidic food leaves our stomach and enters the small intestine, the gallbladder drops bile onto that acidic food product to neutralize those acids. When those acids are not neutralized (due to bile not flowing properly), the acids can basically digest your intestinal lining. The body hates that so it brings any available water to the bowels to cool it off and rushes the stool out the back door as fast as possible…hence the urgent diarrhea. It’s very common for a person’s bile to become too thick and sticky to flow properly. If this is the cause of your diarrhea, taking steps to improve bile flow could be the answer for you. I just don’t want you to think that since constipation can be the result of a lack of stomach acid that diarrhea must come from too much stomach acid. A person rarely has too much stomach acid, like we are told in pharmaceutical commercials. It’s the inability for bile to neutralize that acid that normally creates the trouble.
- In the same way that an anabolic imbalance can cause the body to send too much of the body’s water to the kidneys, and not enough to the bowels (creating constipation), a catabolic imbalance can send too much water to the bowels and cause diarrhea. In our almost free digestion course we teach people how to look at their own chemistry to figure out if they are dealing with a catabolic imbalance or not. If you are, taking steps to improve that imbalance could change where your body is sending most of its water and that could result in a firmer stool.
- Food sensitivities are another common cause of chronic diarrhea. When food is not properly digested (due to a lack of stomach acid OR a lack of bile flow), instead of being broken down into usable nutrients, the food we eat keeps its identity. If it then makes its way into the blood stream, it is viewed as an invader and attacked. Anytime you eat food that is viewed as an invader, the body may try to rush it through the system and push it out the back door as fast as possible. Diarrhea is only one possible result of food sensitivities, but we do see loose stools improve for some people when they take steps to improve this issue. If you have my book, Kick Your Fat in the Nuts, read chapter nine to learn more about how to fix this. If you don’t, I added the entire chapter to my site so anyone can read it for free here: http://kickitinthenuts.com/remove-trouble-new-chapter-nine/
One, or any combination of these problems may cause diarrhea. Looking at your own chemistry is the best way to figure out which steps may help the fastest.
The Fat Connection: If nutrients are screaming through the system too quickly to be absorbed, this can also lead to nutrient deficiencies and more cravings. But the real trouble can result from the lack of bile flow. The liver takes all the garbage that gets filtered out of the system and places that garbage in the bile. Junk goes into the bile so this garbage can be removed out the back door (I’m talking about your butt here). When bile is too thick and sticky to flow properly, not only are not fully breaking down your food, you’re also not taking out the garbage. As the system becomes toxic, some of this junk can be stored in fat cells for safe keeping.
We all know acid reflux is caused by excess stomach acid. Yes, we all know this, and we’re all wrong. This is one of the biggest mistakes made in the medical world. The reality is, 90% of reflux cases are caused by NOT ENOUGH stomach acid. At the bottom of our esophagus is an LES (or Lower Esophageal Sphincter). It opens as food comes in, and then closes as we start to digest that food so nothing comes back up the esophagus. The problem is that valve is triggered by the production of stomach acid. If our body isn’t producing ENOUGH stomach acid (which is very common and can happen for a wide variety of reasons), that valve is never triggered to close, and the small amount of acid we do make gets pushed back up the esophagus and burns us. That sucks! So, we take a drug that turns off stomach acid altogether. Now, we don’t feel that reflux anymore because there’s no acid to burn us. But we didn’t actually fix the problem. We actually made things worse by turning off digestion altogether. Sure, the acid is no longer damaging your esophagus and that’s great, but we still make digestive enzymes that can be pushed up the esophagus and damage the lining. After all, those enzymes are made to break down protein (Oops! Our esophagus is made of protein).
To fix reflux, most people can actually increase their level of stomach acid; trigger the valve to close properly and food can’t be pushed up the esophagus. Of course, with a lack of stomach acid in the stomach, this also opens the door for bacteria to set up camp in your stomach, make the stomach even more alkaline, and create gases that can create pressure and push more food back up the esophagus. If this is the case for you, you may need to take steps to wipe out some of those bacteria as you work to raise your stomach acid. Otherwise, the gases can still push food back up the esophagus. Food that you just added more acid to, so that heartburn may hurt even more. I’ve heard from a lot of people who did this wrong and quit because they say it made their heartburn worse. They didn’t take the right steps to make the stomach acidic enough to trigger the valve to close. They used just enough to simply make the reflux more acidic and more painful. At bottom of this page, I will add our Kick It Naturally podcast episode on acid reflux so you can listen and gain a better understanding of how to fix this problem the right way.
These steps work in just about every case unless a person has a hiatal hernia that is blocking the LES from closing properly. In these cases, steps need to be taken to fix a hiatal hernia first.
But if you’re dealing with acid reflux, that can be a very strong indication of a lack of stomach acid.
The Fat Connection: See under Bloating
For decades we watched commercials about INDI…GESTION. Well, indigestion means a lack of digestion…a lack of the ability to properly acidify and break down our food. Yet, to improve this indigestion, they sell us remedies that further turn off acidification. They turn off the digestion process.
Bloating is almost always caused by one of two things:
- A lack of stomach acid.
- Bacteria in the stomach that are creating gases that cause our stomach or intestines to expand.
But both go back to a lack of stomach acid. The acid produced in the stomach is the barrier to the body. It’s what fries any bad critters that try to sneak in. When bad guys come in through the food we eat, they die in an acid bath. Without enough acid, bacteria and other bad guys can come in and set up a keg party. Food that is not properly broken down will partially digest by rotting and fermenting. This rotting and fermenting can create gas that causes our stomach or intestines to expand. We then feel bloated. Now that bacteria are thriving in the stomach, their waste also creates gasses, causing us to feel even more bloated. It’s a vicious cycle that many get caught in for years or even decades.
If you’re bloating, it’s not just the lousy symptoms that you need to worry about. If you’re bloating, you’re very likely not breaking down your food properly and pulling all the nutrients out of what you’re eating. Can this lead to nutrient deficiencies? Of course, and any number of other problems.
To improve bloating issues, we see people succeed by wiping out bacteria that may be living in their stomach (not in their gut, that’s different.), and then improving stomach acid levels so they can properly break down the food they are eating. But it’s very important to supplement with HCL (Hydrochloric acid) the right way. Follow the link below for our bloating episode to learn more.
The Fat Connection: For both acid reflux and bloating, the weight gain trouble is similar, and usually has to do with all the problems that can result from a lack of stomach acid.
In most cases, nausea can be thought of like there is something that is making the system too toxic. One example could be when an individual is not properly breaking down their food and everything that is coming in is being broken down by process of rotting and fermenting. This rotting and fermenting can create gasses and toxins. The nausea is like the body’s way of saying, “Please don’t send anything else down here, we can’t deal with all the junk that we have already!”
This can be magnified when poor bile flow is part of the equation. Not only can you not digest your food correctly without proper bile flow, but remember that bile is the body’s main exit strategy for filth. As filth accumulates, the system becomes more and more toxic. The worst part is, bile is what the body uses to emulsify the fats we eat so those fats can be used by the body. If you can’t break down your fats, those fats can become toxic. Now instead of providing your body with the fats it needs, those fats have now become a burden the body has to deal with. Toxic, undigested fats are often a big piece of the nausea puzzle.
The Fat Factor: All of the toxic, fat storing problems that can come from a lack of bile flow are often the biggest culprits for weight gain in this scenario. If you can improve nausea, any weight loss efforts can result in much greater success.
To better understand these common digestive issues, listen to our two-part episode on “Understanding Digestive Issues” at the link below:
• Our Constipation Episode: http://kickitnaturally.com/constipation/
• Videos and an episode on Diarrhea: http://kickitnaturally.com/chronic-diarrhea/
• Our Acid Reflux Episode: http://kickitnaturally.com/acid-reflux-heartburn-gerd/
• Our episode on Bloating: http://kickitnaturally.com/bloating-and-stomach-discomfort-2/
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