I remember so vividly the feeling when I was standing in the kitchen one afternoon after my weekly visit to the dietician.
At just 18 years old, I wasn’t overweight.
I was trying to be perfect.
Losing those 3 kilos, to me, meant perfect. And oh – seeing a dietician was a trend amongst my girlfriends. It was a popular luxury.
That day, her telling me I had gained 400g affected me. It really did. I came home that day feeling betrayed by my own body. I was so disappointed with myself. I felt like a failure.
I was studying health, after all, and I felt I couldn’t even fix my own health.
These visits to the dietician would forever change and impact my relationship with food. Because, back then, being thin meant healthy to me. How come I couldn’t just lose the weight?
It’s something I’ve thought about a lot in preparation for my wedding. As a bride-to-be, the assumption is that of course you’ll be trying to lose weight. So many guides and articles are geared toward that. There are bride-specific diet and exercise regimes, programs promising you’ll drop weight fast in time for your wedding, and then general expectation that you need to improve your body in order to be the perfect bride.
This is why I’m so grateful for the day in my kitchen. In that moment, I jolted myself out of that state. It scared me to my core just how ridiculous it was that a few hundred grams (that could have just been water weight, PMS fluid, whatever) was affecting my daily life. My weight would make or break my mood for the whole day. It somehow defined me.
And that, of course, had an incredibly negative impact on my relationship with food. To manage my weight (for it to be perfect) I had become restrictive and obsessive with my diet – like so many women today.
I remember standing in my kitchen and having a real uha moment. I realized I would rather be overweight than do this to myself anymore. It was torturous being weighed every week and have the loss or gain of a few hundred grams define me – or define my mood for the week.
It was also in this moment that I decided to jot down my thoughts and feelings into a blog – and show people how I wanted to fight this desire to be perfect and express my journey to heal this broken relationship I had developed with food and my weight.
That is how the JSHealth blog was born. And it’s also my secret to being a stress-free bride. I know that if I was still caught up in that mentality I would never have gotten to where I am now.
I wouldn’t be able to let go and let things unfold the way they are supposed to. Because when we’re trying to control our food and our diets, we’re inevitably trying to control other parts of our lives too.
I wouldn’t be able to focus on all the incredible love and support my fiancé and I have received as we prepare for the big day.
And I get it. As a bride-to-be you can feel enormous pressure to look and feel perfect for the special day – I still feel this. But I also know that the complicated relationship with food that results from this doesn’t help me or make my body feel good.
Healthy eating is the key to healthy and happy living. If you know you are taking care of your body and giving it what it needs, it is so good to you in return. Don’t try to look or eat perfect – eat in tune with your body and I promise you will see results. Most importantly, you will feel the best you ever had.
Our relationship with food has a huge impact on our emotional and physical health – and the relationship we have with everyone around us too. I choose to have a balanced relationship with food so that I can focus my energy on the relationships that really matter.
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
Let me know your email address so I can send you an eBook '7 Days on my plate' - a little gift from me to you!