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What we eat and how we feel are very closely related. The way we consume food has deep emotional roots. I came to this realization in my early twenties when I found myself combating anxiety and weight loss. The highs, the lows—my feelings influenced what I ate. No matter my food choices, I was in a continual anxious mental state, not allowing my body to digest and absorb nutrients properly.
Then, I made a shift. Instead of just eating to eat without much thought of what I was consuming and where it came from, I began to take a conscious intuitive approach with food. “What actually makes me feel good and gives me energy?” Changing what I ate and my thought process, in general, was a huge puzzle piece in healing—and essentially—eliminating my anxiety.
With that being said, diets scream “one size fits all” to me. We know that isn't the case. The culture of crash diets and fads are seldom long-lasting. It’s time to stop body shaming and trying to look like someone else. What matters most is eating nourishing foods to feel good and being the best version of ourselves we can be! It’s about how you feel on the inside, how you are sleeping, and the energy you get from your meals.
I have learned to live by an intuitive eating lifestyle. With a base of healthy foods that I consume throughout the week, I also allow flexibility to support my mind and body in the present moment. It’s all about listening to your body.
If I feel like coffee is too much, I want a huge salad for lunch, or that I haven't eaten out in a while and pizza sounds amazing, being conscious and checking in with yourself is the cornerstone to intuitive eating. It’s about being your own friend! Self-awareness is essential when we are emotionally eating—maybe even take a few minutes to stretch, meditate, and revisit your food choices after taking a step away!
Some tips I use and that I give to my clients to practice eating intuitively in everyday life is first and foremost, to check in with yourself and how you feel:
With these thoughts, create a plan to support you and what you want to eat that day. Intuitive eating in a healthy way means that you eat until you are full! Yeah, you read that right. Full. If you are eating healthy, nourishing whole foods, there is no need to restrict your diet in fear of counting calories. I am a firm believer that you should never stay hungry in hopes to lose weight. The true purpose of food is to feed your body and soul all the good stuff, to feel good–for you.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.