Wellness Warrior: Jessica Sepel
Welcome to our latest interview series, where we hear from some of Australia’s most inspiring wellness personalities to learn more about them and their top tips for living well.
We caught up with nutritionist and wellness coach, Jessica Sepel, to talk about developing a healthier relationship with food and her thoughts on reducing stress, working towards a more balanced lifestyle and the importance of creating a morning routine.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I’m a clinical nutritionist and wellness coach with a passion for helping women to find balance and develop a healthier relationship with food. I want to show people that healthy living can be easy and affordable, and I believe in tailoring individual plans for each client by looking at how their lifestyle contributes to their overall wellness, not just their diet.
What was the ‘ah-ha’ moment that helped develop your passion for health and wellness?
I studied health and nutrition for five years after I finished high school. It was around the start of my fourth year that we began to delve deeply into how the body works, and the impact that food has on our health.
During that time I was unhealthily obsessed with my weight. I was focussed on excessive exercise, chronic dieting and calorie counting. As I learnt more I became scared about what I was doing to my body, and it was then that I realized I was weight conscious, not health conscious – there’s a big difference! From there I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle, and a more balanced approach to food and exercise.
What have been your highlights since you started working in the wellness industry?
I love seeing my community respond to the work that I do. It’s really humbling to receive testimonials from people who are reading my blog, book or coming to see me as clients, and who feel that I’ve helped them in some way.
Having a couple of publishing houses want to publish my book was also a really exciting moment for me!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I begin each day with meditation and a glass of water with lemon – it’s a lovely way to get started.
I enjoy exercising in the morning, so I’ll head to the gym for around 45 minutes of weight training and cardio, otherwise I’ll do some yoga or get outside amongst nature for a brisk walk. Then I head home and enjoy a warm cup of coffee – I have one a day, and it’s a ritual I look forward to!
I always make an energy boosting breakfast, which is often my power protein smoothie, oats or gluten free granola and Greek yoghurt.
I start work at around 9am, and that consists of calls and meetings until lunch time. After lunch I’ll create blog content, jot down some new ideas for my next book, or do a bit of recipe testing and reply to emails with my team. I finish up at 4 or 5 and make sure I’ve signed off from emails and social media by 7pm each day, which really helps me to sleep better.
How do you maintain balance and keep your wellbeing a priority when life gets busy?
I’m committed to a healthy lifestyle so my wellbeing is always a priority. When my schedule gets busy, my health is my biggest focus, because I know that in order to function well I’ve got to take care of myself. I do this by getting to bed early, limiting alcohol and caffeine, eating greens at every meal and starting each day with my regular morning routine, which sets me up for a productive day.
When I’m travelling I just make the best choices that are available at that time. It’s important to be able to adapt to a new environment and I loosely go by the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the time I’m more relaxed around nutrition and am happy to treat myself.
What are your top three tips for staying fit and healthy?
-Keep it simple. Say no to processed and packaged foods, and you’ll instantly be making healthier choices. Try to eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible, and start cooking!
-When it comes to movement, sometimes less is more. Australian women are so ambitious, and we tend to over exercise. Pushing our bodies too hard creates an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, and can leave us feeling exhausted, which is counterproductive. 30-40 minutes of exercise is generally enough, and you’ve got to balance the yin with the yang. If you do a high intensity workout one day, go for yoga or a walk the next.
-Monitoring social media use is my top self-care tip. I think it’s best to carry out your morning routine whether that be meditation, exercise, breakfast or getting ready for work before checking emails or social feeds. Looking at social media as soon as we wake up creates a stress response, which isn’t the healthiest way to start the day, so I’ll avoid it for at least an hour after waking up.
For delicious whole food recipes and healthy living ideas, check out Jessica’s blog.