How to Become the Healthiest Version of Yourself (Ever), An Interview With Jessica Sepel

How to Become the Healthiest Version of Yourself (Ever), An Interview With Jessica Sepel

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First up, briefly tell us a bit about yourself and what you do!

My name is Jessica Sepel and I’m a clinical nutritionist, best-selling health author and founder of JSHealth. Over the last five years, I’ve been helping people all around the world to give up dieting, re-connect and live a healthy, happy life. This is very close to my heart, as I suffered through 10 years of disordered eating and negative body image.

I dieted from the age of 13 to 23, and this caused me to develop a very complex, damaging relationship with food, my body, and most importantly, myself. I let the number on the scale define my self-worth every single day. I developed an eating disorder that caused me to disconnect from my body and its needs, which led to zero self-confidence. Five years ago, I discovered my love for nutrition and transformed my lifestyle. I made a commitment to give up dieting for life. I threw out the scales, changed my lifestyle, shifted my thoughts and my approach to food. Instead of feeling hateful of my body, I’m now grateful for it. Now, I’m on a mission to help other people who are going through the same issues. I recently launched the JSHealth App which provides everyone access to the simple, realistic and sustainable lifestyle that has helped people around the world to revolutionise their health. 

What’s your morning routine to set you up for a great day?

I’m really passionate about having a consistent morning routine. Dedicating just 15 minutes for yourself in the morning can set your tone for the day. Here are four things that I do every morning:

– Breathing and gratitude practice: As soon as I wake up, I remind myself to take three big, deep belly breaths. This helps you connect with your body. Then, I repeat several affirmations such as ‘I’m grateful for this new day. I’m grateful for the abundance in my life,’ and ‘I love myself just as I am’. As soon as I’m done with this, I have a big glass of water a take my morning probiotic.

– Avoid looking at my phone and checking social media: Waking up and immediately reaching for the phone can put you in a reactive, distracted headspace, so I try to make my mornings mindful.

– Practise gentle movement: I love to exercise moderately in the mornings. I tune into how my body feels and give it what it needs. I alternate between a walk in nature, yoga or a HIIT session.

Describe a typical day of eating for you.

Breakfast: I choose from one of the breakfast options available in the JSHealth App. I alternate between an overnight chia pot, a protein-rich smoothie or a warm bowl of salted caramel oats. After breakfast, I drink my one coffee a day and take my vitamins (read more about that below).

Mid-morning snack: If I’m hungry before lunch, I’ll have some carrot sticks with hummus or a handful of almonds. I also ensure that I’m drinking water throughout the morning.

Lunch: If I’m out between meals, I’ll use the signature JSHealth build-a-meal guide which helps me to create a nourishing meal, no matter where I am. I ensure that it contains plenty of greens, protein, good fats, complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato and finished off with tahini, lemon and a little olive oil.

Mid-afternoon snack: I love having two protein balls or a small bowl of Greek yoghurt topped with berries.

Dinner: Dinner varies on the season and what I feel like, but it’s always fresh and simple. One of my go-to options is my one-pan dinners. I alternate between my salmon, snapper and chicken. Pro tip: I always make leftovers so that I have a healthy lunch the next day.

After dinner: By the time I’ve finished dinner and wound down for the day, I’ve consumed a range of wholefoods and the essential macronutrients – fats, fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates – that our bodies need to thrive, so I don’t need an after-dinner treat every night. That said, I believe that indulgence plays an important part in a balanced diet, so twice a week, I’ll alternate between banana and peanut butter nice-cream, healthy cookies or a brownie with a cup of chai.

Do you take any supplements, vitamins or special wellness elixirs? If so, we’d love to know!

As a clinical nutritionist, I believe that eating nourishing whole foods is the first port of call for consuming vitamins and minerals. That said, I do believe there is room for supplementation. Here’s are my regular supplements:

– Good-quality probiotic: This repopulates the good bacteria in the gut, aids digestion, weight control and immune functioning
– JSHealth vitamins for hair and energy: They’re rich in zinc and iodine which promote overall wellbeing, hair strength, metabolism and improved energy
– Omega-3: Aids mental health, brain function, heart health, skin health and blood sugar control
– B complex: Improves overall health and provides immune and energy support
– Zinc: Essential for cell growth, immune support and thyroid function

Do you have an evening wind-down ritual?

Yes, absolutely. What we do in the lead-up to bedtime directly impacts the quality of our sleep, which is so essential for overall health. No matter how many good foods you eat, if your body isn’t rested, it’s simply not going to perform at its best. Here are a few things I do every night before bed:

– Switch off social media: I make it a habit to check social media in chunks throughout the day and delete my apps after I’ve finished work. Carrying your phone around and constantly replying to messages and comments only heightens your cortisol and doesn’t allow your body the time to rest

– Create space for relaxation: Often, I’ll light some candles, make myself a cup of herbal tea, have a bath or read a few pages of my favourite book. These activities help my body to decompress, which signals time for bed

– Prepare for sleep: I find that putting my legs up against the wall for 10 minutes helps my body to enter the rest and digest state. When you’re in a calm mood, it’s so much easier to sleep soundly.

What are your top 3 wellness non-negotiables?

– Giving up dieting, quick fads and instant ‘fixes’: diets do not work and unfortunately make it harder for us to have a healthy relationship with food
– Prioritising balanced nutrition and mindful eating: eat the JSHealth way!
– Committing to self-love and body love: prioritising yourself and health

You’ve got a big event in 7 days time that you need to look incredible for. What’s your plan of attack to look & feel your absolute best?

I don’t believe in quick fixes or instant makeovers. My philosophy is much more about balance and holistic health. I believe that taking care of yourself, minimising stress, eating a balanced diet and exercising in ways that you love really are they keys to feeling good all year round. That said, I do love a blow-wave before an event. ☺

What’s your dream wellness vacay?

A wellness getaway at my favourite health retreat, Gaia! It’s such a beautiful, nourishing space that offers a host of wellness activities. Plus, it’s located in the serene hinterland of Byron Bay – bliss!

And lastly… do you have any top secret tips you use to keep looking / feeling great?

Balanced nutrition, plenty of water, moderate exercise, good quality sleep and, most importantly, positive thoughts! I always say, “light mind, light body.” Your body really is your temple, so it’s important to take care of it year-round.

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