Foodie Jess Sepel On How She Creates And Maintains A Healthy Relationship With Food
Jess Sepel gives us the low-down on her new nutrition book, plus how to create and maintain a healthy relationship with food.
We have a long-standing relationship with Jess Sepel, founder of JSHealth. The famed Aussie food guru and recipe developer actually grew up in Plett before she moved continents – but we’re still claiming her as our own. Obviously. I chatted to her about her new book, The 12-Step Mind-Body-Food Reset, which just came out, so make sure you get your copy asap.
Jess Sepel has produced a new nutrition book
How is this new book different to anything you’ve brought out before and what was the inspiration behind it?
“My first two books, The Healthy Life and Living the Healthy Life, were all about my personal journey. This book is the culmination of everything I’ve learnt so far about health, nutrition and well-being over the past seven years – both personally and professionally – laid out in 12 steps. It’s a handbook that contains all the answers I wish I had when I was struggling with things like body image, sleep and anxiety, and it’s backed by countless hours of consulting and research. I want people to be able to hold on to this handbook forever, and use it to remind themselves that they’re not alone in whatever health issue they’re dealing with. This book is inspired by my beautiful community. They ask me thoughtful questions every day, and I wanted to pool all the resources I had to answer them!”
Jess Sepel on body image
Do you still have “mirror fights” and what do you tell yourself to stop or change that initial negative criticism?
“Of course. I’m only human, but I’m much, much better at shutting down those negative thoughts. Whenever I catch myself looking in my mirror and hating or berating myself, I flip and focus on a part of my body that I feel grateful for. It could be as simple as thanking my legs for carrying me around all day! My hubby taught me this mirror exercise, and there’s so much power in trading in a negative thought for a positive thought. If I’m having a bad body-image moment, I also steer clear of negative triggers, like social media, and I try to spend some time outside. Nature is so grounding and it really helps me to find perspective.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you see with clients/other women? And how do you advise they overcome this?
“By far, the biggest battle is with body image. Thanks to the media and celebrity culture, women feel incredible pressure to be thin and ‘fit.’ We’re bombarded with PhotoShopped images and unrealistic body goals every day, and we compare ourselves to those ‘ideals.’ That pressure manifests as stress in the body, and it can have a really devastating effect on our body image.
“When women come to me with this struggle, I tell them that they have to start by shifting their mindset. It’s easier said than done, but I explain exactly how to do that in my book. I also advise them to change the way they eat and exercise so that everything they do comes from a place of body love – not punishment.”
Jess Sepel’s tips for managing stress
Which of the 12 steps do you find are the most challenging? And how do you advise making it simpler/easier?
“Definitely Step 7: Manage your stress so it doesn’t manage you. Like most people, I live a busy, fast-paced life, and I play a lot of roles. I’m a wife, sister, daughter and friend, and I run a business, and sometimes, the pressure to be ‘perfect’ can creep up on me. But over the years, I’ve learnt how manage those stressful moments.
“Whenever I’m feeling stressed or anxious, the first thing I do is rest. I believe rest is essential to living a healthy, balanced life – but most of us feel guilty about resting! Women, especially. This needs to stop.
“Social media can overwhelm me, too, which is tricky because it’s a huge part of my business. I always feel so much calmer when I step away from the screen, so I set social media boundaries – and I’m strict with them! The big one is logging off by 8pm every night. It’s done wonders for my sleep and anxiety.”
What supplement do you take or recommend to help relieve stress and live a healthier life?
The new JSHealth Vitamins AM + PM Formula has been a game-changer for me. They’re multivitamins that hone in on exactly what our bodies need at that time. In the morning, that’s stress relief, energy and immunity, so that formula is packed with vitamins and minerals that support those systems. The evening formula is my personal favourite, and contains ingredients like lavender and magnesium to promote sleep and calm. It will be available in South Africa soon!”
Takealot.com is already starting to stock the range. Check them out here.