Pop a squat
Remember that time you went to Thailand and were thoroughly horrified at the thought of squat pooping? That definitely happens to everyone, right? Well, joke's on you, because it turns out that's actually way better for your body. But until the day that the US approves squat toilets, consider placing a support 6in high under your feet when sitting on a toilet to flex your hips toward said squatting posture. "This straightens out your anorectal angle to help everything move out easier," says Dr. Ivanina. And a straight anorectal angle is something to which everyone should aspire.
Move. But also chill.
"Increasing physical activity has been shown to improve outcomes in constipation, which may be worsened by stress." So… yoga, anyone?
If things get terrible, see a doc
Constipation equals misery. There's no way around that. It affects everything, including your mood, and no one likes to be all wound up… in every sense of the word. "If you're constipated, make sure you see your doctor and get properly diagnosed," says Dr. Ivanina. "Most importantly, underlying diseases like hypothyroidism, or medications, may be contributing to your pooping woes."
Your doctor may also be able to diagnose any food allergies or sensitivities that have the potential to muck up the pipes, or you could do some self-experimentation -- if you notice you have particular difficulties after eating dairy, for example, you may want to try going without it for a few days and see if you have more luck.
Since we all like our doctor-prescribed regimens, here's what it takes to have a pretty perfect poop… every time:
"Wake up, do 30-60 minutes of yoga or another form of exercise, put a heaping tablespoon of Benefiber into your coffee with breakfast. Make breakfast an apple, peanut butter, and whole-grain toast like Ezekiel. Take a seat on the toilet and let the magic happen. Start every day happy… and empty."