Are You Treating Yourself?

Nutrition Advice
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Why is it that when we eat a deliciously decadent food – something that makes us smile and feel good – we bury ourselves in guilt and self-loathing?

I decided to put a big end to this a couple of years ago. I believe that the guilt and stress around food is worse for our health than the food itself. As a nutritionist, my problem is not eating badly all the time, but feeling like I have to eat well all the time. I can become TOO strict with my diet. It’s surprisingly easy because I am exposed to healthy options.

We (myself included!) need to trust our bodies more. Will one indulgent meal cause a skin breakout? A significant weight gain? Destroy our good habits? No. We need to let go. Enjoy the foods we love. Release the idea that we have to eat perfectly all the time.

I often think of the ubiquitous French woman who enjoys a chocolate pastry and coffee most mornings, but maintains good health and a lean physique. Why? Because they listen to their bodies. They indulge in moderation. They eat what they feel like. I have spoken to some French women who have actually said to me “The last thing I feel like eating in the morning is a smoothie. It’s too hard to break down.”

The body is a clever machine, and we need to trust it more. Perhaps these women don’t stress out their bodies with guilty thoughts because they know what feels good. We must tune in and eat what we feel like eating, not what we “should” be eating. I truly believe our body knows best.

My entire teenage life was spent stressing about the foods I “should” eat. So I would restrict myself. So stressful, and it often led to overeating because I felt so deprived. Deprivation always, always leads to something negative.

This is why I have implemented “Treat Yourself Tuesday.” I choose one day a week to enjoy something indulgent. A true treat. Sometimes the perfectionist in me will arise, and feelings of guilt can pop up. I allow them to come in – and then I talk myself out it: “Hello, silly thought. You are past this. You have healed. Your body knows how to break this down. Perfect does not exist.” And that’s why I actually need to ensure I have treat meals – to challenge myself out of this perfectionist mindset. Moderation is key, of course. But when you put an end to the deprivation mentality, something amazing happens. You will find yourself not wanting it so badly. You will find yourself being able to control how much you eat. You will find yourself savouring rather than shaming.

So who is going to join me on #TreatYourselfTuesday (or any day)? And release the guilt? We can support each other through it. I’ll start – this morning I enjoyed a delicious berry and almond spelt scone and a coffee. I truly did not feel any guilt – I listened to my body, and I trust it will take care of me. How will you treat yourself this week? Tag #JSHealthTreatYourself to be part of this gorgeous community!

 

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TESTIMONIALS

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.

@maddy_walters

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!

@mariashealthytaste

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!

@freed_from_foodie

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.

@jungle1978