11 steps to Rebuild your Relationship with Food

Lifestyle, Nutrition Advice

I spent most of my teenage life feeling very out of control with my food and weight. My body never responded the way I wanted it to. I was a fad dieter and found myself trying out every local dietician like they were on some kind of dress rehearsal.

Looking back, it’s clear to me now what a turbulent and negative relationship I was having with my very own body. I was hating on it. Your body cannot give you what you need when there is constant battle and emotional despair. Your body takes on all the negative banter and self doubt and manifests it into stress. It cannot function optimally when there is such stress and pain.

Over the last few years I have tried my very best to release any negative feeling associated with food and weight. These are some of the rules that I use when I feel a negative thought coming along.


1. Stop punishing yourself for what you ate yesterday. 

It’s not serving you or your body! In fact, your body listens to this negative clutter, which creates unwanted stress within the body! Stress is the number one health killer.

2. Practice mindful eating: sit, chew, and breathe with your food! 

Actually look at it. Taste it. Smell it. Use your senses! Appreciate what is on the plate. This way your brain will signal “satiety” and you’ll be less likely to overeat.

3. Have gratitude for your food! 

I hate to sound like another airy-fairy health preacher, but this word gratitude can change your life. Stop and think about how this food got to your plate and how lucky you are to have access to it. It is a gift: about to nourish your body with so much goodness. Your heart, hormones, brain, and cells need the nutrients to function for you.

4. Enjoy your food. 

Do not cloud your eating experience with negative thoughts like, “I should not be eating this” or “I’m a failure that I couldn’t control what I ate.” Your body will manifest those thoughts into bodily stress! Hello, cortisol!!! Goodbye to optimal digestion! Please, be at peace with your plate.

5. Stop the vicious cycle of all-or-nothing.  

If you make a bad food choice, try to let it go! Your body listens to what you do most of the time, not sometimes! Most of us think “well I ate that donut so I may as well just keep going” this usually turns into what is known as a ‘food binge’. Now see that’s where the problem arises… your body does not mind the donut so much but it will start to mind all the rest that you fill it with. It simply does not know what to do with it all at once.

6. Practice positive affirmations. 

Affirmations are a powerful tool to reverse negative thoughts and reprogram your beliefs, behavior and actions. They can change the way you see the world and most definitely helped me improve my relationship with my body. Practice statement like this:

  • This plate of food is so good for me.
  • My body knows how to use this food.
  • My cells are about to be not nourished with so much goodness.

7. Let go of the need to be and eat perfectly. 

I promise you, no one eats perfectly. Not even me! Perfect does not exist! Try release that need and remember you are good enough.

8. Stop comparing!

Your body and nutritional needs are different from those of your friends, your sister and your mother! Their relationship with food has nothing to do with you. They have an entirely separate and complex body mechanism. You cannot take their relationship with their food personally, my loves!

9. Don’t be difficult with food. 

It’s important not to let your healthy lifestyle get in the way of your social life. (I try very hard with this one!) If you’re out with family and friends, do not worry about the food options. It’s not important. Simply choose the best available to you. Otherwise, you will only complicate your relationship with food.

10. If you’re reaching for food when you’re not hungry then something emotional is going on. 

I invite you to stop and ask yourself what it could be. Why are you reaching for that comfort? Just identify it. If you realize you’re not actually hungry, I encourage you to then do something else that’s pleasurable!

Go for a walk, massage, hot bath, paint your nails, be intimate with your partner, watch your favorite TV show with a cuppa, have a chat to your bestie or go stalk some health blogs and write down your fave recipes! Anything!

11. Remember: this is it. One life. One body! Treasure it. Look after it. 

Feed it because it needs the nutrients. Your body is depending on you for the love and care in order to function and proceed with all its biochemical actions! It works so damn hard!! I think it deserves our respect. I see my body as my baby.

Love your body, it can’t wait to love you back!




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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

- Jacinta

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.

– Sophie

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).

– Helene

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

Michelle Curtis

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.