When you diet, you eat less. Not just fewer calories, but less in terms of total bulk. Over the years your body has adjusted to the quantity of food you've been eating. When you abruptly reduce the volume of food, you're apt to disrupt the normal pace that solids move through the body. In other words, you may wind up full of shit. This isn't pleasant to think about or discuss, but it's even less pleasant when it happens to you unexpectedly, so it merits a brief discussion of how to avoid the problem.
Ideally, what you'd like to do is maintain the same volume of food you were eating before the diet while reducing its calorie content to the level in your diet plan. If you could manage this, you'd never have a problem, since the flow through your digestive system is driven by volume, not calories. Unfortunately, it's rarely possible to achieve this unless you were eating extremely high-calorie, low-residue foods before your diet, but you can come close. What you're looking for is foods with a high fibre content and relatively few calories, and this basically brings us to the vegetable aisle in the supermarket. A whole cup of raw cabbage, shredded, has only 17 calories but the bulk, mostly fibre, fills four ounces of volume. An entire artichoke, thorns and all, comes in at only 67 calories. A head of iceberg lettuce is just 70 calories, for Heaven's sake! Or consider green peppers, just 16 calories apiece.
The best way to avoid clogged pipes and green skin is to include lots of the leafy green stuff in your diet. You get a large amount of bulk per calorie, and not only does it make the digestive system move right along, it also makes for large, satisfying meals because there's lots of volume to munch down at every sitting. Including salads and lots of vegetables is by far the best way to increase the bulk in your diet. In addition, vegetables are rich in nutrients and slow to digest, meaning they'll satisfy you longer after each meal.
If the problem persists, sterner measures may be called for. Some people swear by adding bran to their food, and it may work for you; consider trying it. Personally, I find it gritty and unpalatable as sawdust (which it basically is--both are mostly cellulose). In addition, a one ounce serving of bran (six tablespoons) contains 90 calories, almost as much as Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes (110 calories per ounce). Beyond bran lie a multitude of heavily advertised remedies, most of which are reasonably effective and harmless if used in moderation and infrequently.
By John Walker