It’s our absolute pleasure to introduce our next guest to the Boody blog with the beautiful Jessica Sepel from JSHealth. Jess is a qualified Sydney nutritionist, author and health blogger. After overcoming years of struggle in her relationship with food and body image, it is now Jess’ passion to help others heal. Jess believes no individual is the same, and commits to showing people with a gentle approach how to eat with a deep sense of enjoyment and nourishment.
I had a catch up with Jess recently and chatted about her healthy life, beliefs and very successful yet authentic biz.
Interview with Jessica Sepel, Founder of JS Health
The health and wellness industry has skyrocketed over the last few years and with so many new trends happening, how do you filter that out when it comes to your lifestyle and your clients?
I am against all of the new extreme fads diets. My philosophy is encouraging people to tune into the individual needs and find a diet and lifestyle that helps them thrive in a way. I try and block out all of the fad diets and phases in the nutrition world again when I'm inundated with new information and try to focus on my needs. This obsession with health and diet culture - women are not connected with themselves and individuals and as humans, they are all biochemically unique. I encourage people to tune into their body.
One of the things you are incredibly passionate about is guilt and emotional eating, where did this all start for you?
My book is manifestation of a very personal story and complicated relationship with food. I was a very bad dieter, emotional eater, binge eater for short periods, and I had lots of guilt around food. There was a high standard I set for myself and I was a self-confessed perfectionist, and when you’re like that guilt becomes very much part of your life. After my studies and lots of therapy I slowly started healing that. I think that guilt has a profound impact on people and stress on their body. Encouraging to eat well will do that but it’s also the relationship with food - guilt extremes and deprivation. Hence why we need to have a more balanced approach with food and nutrition. When we commit to wholefood diet and balanced lifestyle, the guilt will start to decrease when you stop the deprivation and dieting. Guilty eating has become an epidemic, something that we all need to focus on. We have a lot of health bloggers, coaches and nutritionist out there but not enough people helping women through the emotion of guilt.
What inspired your lust for food and travel and what are some of your biggest tips for the conscious traveller?
I love to travel. I’m quite able to maintain my health and have mastered travelling with my healthy lifestyle too. There is nothing worse than being in new city or on a holiday and feeling worse about yourself. I’ve actually written an ebook on this exact topic. It’s not a time to throw everything out of the basket and it’s not a fad, you must always been on the healthy life path. Whether I’m in Sydney or LA I'm going to be committing to eating well, I know it can't always be as good as home but make the best choice available to you in that moment. You have to let that go and trust your body, learn to be a flexible eater and adjust to your environment. I love to become familiar with the place I'm going to and looking up healthy spots. Eating out overseas is about small amounts of everything and really enjoying food and different cultures because that often leads to overeating. Enjoy all the foods of that city in moderation and with mindfulness. For example a bit of pasta and not an entire bowl, a glass or two of red but not a whole bottle, clean spirits instead of sugar filled cocktails. Keep yourself moving and travelling is a great time to see a place - walk wherever you can instead of an uber or go for a night walk after your day. I also like to practise yoga in my hotel room or at the airport even if it’s for ten minutes.
Tell us about the challenges that come with a thriving business, yet still trying to maintain inner-peace and connect with yourself. How do you stay present amongst the chaos?
Social media is a challenge, set boundaries because it can be very draining and exhausting. Between 6-7pm I’m strict about switching off my phone and no computer after 5-6pm. I don't check my phone until after my morning routine - I have my hot lemon water, exercise, get ready for the day, then check social media and emails. If wake up to technology after a restorative sleep it adds stress to my day. The challenge is creating boundaries, as I am constantly available to everyone. There’s also the personal challenges of always striving to be a better blogger, nutritionist and author, and always trying to find new ways to inspire my community and it’s very personal. It’s about being brave and honest enough to share my struggle with people to help them. If I’m on technology non-stop, I can feel my body getting tired.
Your book ‘the healthy life’ has had huge success. What is your advice to fellow health and wellness people in the industry who want to create something like this but are afraid of competition and setting themselves apart?
Block it all out! I don’t focus on other people. There is enough for everyone in the world. Anyone can start a successful blog and must go in knowing that. However you must have your own clear unique message and not repeat what others are saying. People respond to genuine personal stories. Make your blog personal because people will connect to you and be honest about your own struggle, challenges and story. It takes a lot to expose yourself, but don’t focus too much on anyone else or other people’s work. Sometimes though I believe competition is a good thing. I say look at the power of the wellness industry, look how much there is to offer in the health world. It’s important to look at people as inspiration instead of competition.
How do you stay in greater harmony with the earth and continue to be environmentally aware?
I’m really connected to my lifestyle. I’m as chemical free as possible and use all chemical free beauty products. I'm cautious about drinking filtered water only, I recycle everything, and I’m very big on not wasting food. I make food that will last a few meals and make big batches and use leftovers to turn into another meal the next day. I’m good now at quantity - I know how much to buy and how far it will go.
1. You’ll always find in my fridge...
Greens, greek yogurt, tahini, almond milk and almond butter, fruit and berries.
2. If I could have dinner with one inspirational person it would be...
3. My favourite quote is…
The healthy life is the only life.
4. My non-negotiable self-care practice…
8 hours of sleep.
5. My number one wellness tip…
Less stress and more rest.