Building a healthy relationship with food - Diabetes WA
 In Health Professionals, Healthy Hints and Hacks, Lifestyle
Author Jessica Sepel

Author Jessica Sepel

The journey towards self-acceptance is an ever-changing one, but nutritionist Jessica Sepel has built a career on helping others find inner peace when it comes to their relationship with food and their bodies.

Jessica Sepel knows all too well what it’s like to have a broken relationship with food. From an early age, Jessica struggled to accept her body, often resorting to fad diets in an attempt to fit the ‘skinny’ ideal that is often portrayed in the media.

“As a young teenage girl, I was completely stuck on every fad diet and struggled with my body image as a result of that,” she explains.

“So I was that young girl, seeking to be skinny, instead of being healthy, not really understanding what healthy meant.”

“I always felt that being thin, meant being healthy and I always said there’s such a huge difference between being weight conscious and health conscious.”

“So I was latching onto every single fad diet as a means to control my weight and as a result I really struggled with my negative body image and my relationship with food.

I was just kind of struggling to feel good in a simple way and living off artificial sweeteners, diet Coke, and cans of tuna don’t actually make you feel very good.”

“It became my mission to help other young girls and women who have been trapped in the diet world.”

Jessica decided enough was enough after more than a decade following fad diets which led her to struggle with both her physical and mental health.

“I decided to study a Bachelor of Health and then Nutritional Medicine,” she says.

“And that’s when things started to shift for me. And I started kind of healing my broken relationship with food because I was learning and studying about how important nutrients are for the body. And realising as a fad diet, I was treating my body pretty badly.”

“So, it just became my mission to help other young girls and (women) because so many women I know have been trapped in the diet world.”

Now a renowned health blogger and bestselling author, Jessica has dedicated the last decade to helping countless young girls and women on how to nourish their bodies with whole foods through her eponymous health brand, JSHealth.

“The underlying philosophy is just helping women have a better relationship with food and truly understand what balance means when it comes to a healthy diet,” she explains.

“And that’s something I struggled with and I know so many other women do as well. So that’s really the passion project.”

The key to eating healthy is not restricting food, but rather filling your body with wholesome ingredients that are both nutritious and filling.

Jessica says it was through her own health improvement journey that she was able to create practical, and sustainable health habits by exercising.

“It was a slow, progressive journey,” she says of getting her own health back on track after years of fad dieting.

“I started adding healthy foods back into my diet, taking away unhealthy diet food. Starting to be more kind and flexible with my diet, letting go of the guilt around food, practising kindness and moderation with exercise and letting go of that extreme exercise mentality as a fad dieter.”

In her third book, The 12 Step Mind-Body-Food Reset, Jessica wanted to lay out the foundations for healthy living by providing the stepping stones to mending our broken relationship with not just our bodies but also the food we eat. She says the key to eating healthy is not restricting food, but rather filling your body with wholesome ingredients that are both nutritious and filling.

“Fibre, for me, is the most underrated macronutrient and good fats. People who are eating salads at lunchtime that avoid adding good fats, I find those are the people who struggle with sugar cravings in the afternoon,” she says.

“So it’s about adding more macronutrients to your plate and perhaps letting go of some of those foods that would disrupt your blood glucose levels, like caffeine, refined sugars or processed foods.”

“You cannot be mentally healthy without your physical health and you cannot be physically healthy without your mental health.”

Jessica says learning how to be kinder to yourself, is the key to improving your physical and mental health. In The 12 Step Mind-Body-Food Reset, Jessica also includes her tried-and-tested strategies on how to shift your mindset and help transform negative thoughts into positive ones.

“The underlying philosophy of book three is learning how to be kinder to yourself,” she says.

“And I know it sounds a little bit clichéd, but that’s really where I’m at with the health industry at the moment.”

“It’s about that connection between the mind and the body and you need both to live a healthy life. Especially during this [COVID] time, mental health is such a huge focus for me.”

“You cannot be mentally healthy without your physical health and you cannot be physically healthy without your mental health.”

“And when it comes to nutrition, nutrition really does boost both the mind and the body’s health.”

This article is taken from our member magazine Diabetes Matters, Winter 2021 issue

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