The silly season can undoubtedly be a challenging time of year. Not only can the holidays be a time of added financial pressure and tying up of loose ends at work, but it can also be a period of see-sawing between enjoyment and guilt with each party, feast and celebration.
Is it possible to indulge and enjoy without the guilt? Nutritionist Jessica Sepel says yes, and in fact, she encourages everyone to not only allow room for indulgence, but to commit to it.
Given her line of work, she laughs that it’s common for people to keep their treats and wine out of sight whenever she is around, thinking that as a health professional, she will be quick to wag her finger in disapproval.
But after years of seeing clients struggling with their relationship to food, indulgence has become a crucial part of her philosophy. Indulgence, she believes, is essential for a healthy lifestyle to be both sustainable and joyful, and is one of the steps in her new book, The 12 Step Mind-Body-Food Reset.
The book is a guide to speaking to yourself with kindness, forgetting about the scales and calories, managing stress, combating sugar cravings and developing a healthy, flexible relationship with food, with recipes, activities and helpful tips.
Ditching the diets
With long blonde locks and glowing skin, Jess is a vibrant picture of health, but getting to this point was a long and difficult journey that started in her early childhood, looking down at her stomach and feeling unhappy with what she saw. Combined with a comment from a family member, the experience marked the beginning of many years of fad-dieting, negative body image and an obsession with being thin that continued into her twenties.
It wasn’t until she finally ditched the scales and saw a therapist that she was able to rewire her belief system, and learned to look after her body with a greater sense of care.
“It’s challenging to talk about it and I definitely wrote this book with a lot of tears, but good tears,” she reflects. “I’ve come such a long way with my own body image and my relationship with myself.
“I also think the more vulnerable and honest I am, and the more willing I am to share my own struggles, the more opportunity for connection there is.”
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