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Celeb nutritionist Jessica Sepel's post-holiday tips - no diet needed

Jessica Sepel
Jessica Sepel smiling with her eyes shut while sitting in a park

We partner with Jess Sepel to help you get back your health

Jessica Sepel smiling with her eyes shut while sitting in a park

You had the best intentions at the start of the year, but maybe it’s not going quite as smoothly as you had hoped.

When it comes to keeping resolutions, it’s important that we don’t place pressure on ourselves to follow the perfect diet – because often this pressure backfires and we give up altogether.

Be proud of the small changes that you are making. So, it’s time to lose the diet!

We need to create positive habits, rituals and routines - and make a few small changes each week. This is the key to long-lasting change that will continue throughout the year.

Embrace a realistic mindset when it comes to setting New Year resolutions, because let’s be honest, putting yourself on a crazy diet, will only last short term.

We have to start thinking of the healthy life as a forever situation and I’m here to show you how.

So, here are my top nine tips to get you started.

1. One thing at a time.

Start small – you don’t need to try and do it all, especially in the first week. Trying to completely overhaul your life overnight is overwhelming, and you’ll likely become so exhausted that you lose your motivation.

So, scale back that list of resolutions, and focus on making one or two small changes each week. Make healthy swaps, instead of attempting to clean up your diet 100%. It’s important you don’t feel deprived in any way for this to work long term. If you love chocolate, go for dark chocolate. If you love bread, go for a wholegrain option. If you love soft drink, enjoy sparkling water with lemon.

The key is to create positive habits, rituals and routines - and make a few small changes each week

2. Balance your meals

Life should be about balance in every way! Enjoy all foods moderately and eat foods that make you feel good. This means including all the main food groups. As a general guide, aim for a palm-sized portion of protein with each meal. Then, a quarter of your plate should be made up of a good-quality carbohydrate (such as brown rice, beans, lentils or sweet potato), and the other half should have green, leafy vegetables (the darker, the better). Add good fats to your meal through the dressing (think good-quality olive oil) or some avocado, nuts, seeds, tahini.

Top tip: If you’re feeling hungry, just eat more greens; at each meal, aim to fill half of your plate with greens.

3. Cook as much as you can

Cooking in bulk is a great way to make healthy eating more affordable and less time consuming, but don't assume that you need to whip-up fancy, complicated meals.

Cooking simple, nourishing food can be quick - grilled protein with some sautéed greens is all you need. My main meals take 15-20 minutes to prepare and you can search for them on my blog or check out some of the exclusive recipes I made for nib on The Check Up.

A smoothie bowl served with banana, raspberries, coconut and granola

4. Drink more water

If you’re healthy, aim for at least two litres a day. If you’re struggling, try to keep a large bottle of water on your desk at work and add lemon juice and fresh mint for a bit of extra flavour. Take a few big gulps on the hour. Being dehydrated can make you feel tired and hungry!

5. Embrace more rest

Stress is the root cause of a lot of issues, especially poor gut health. My suggestion is to spend 10-20 minutes every day in a ‘stress-free’ zone – this could be taking a nap, reading a book, having a bath or going for a bushwalk. Set boundaries with social media and technology. My health rule is to switch off your phone and computer by 8pm!

6. 80/20

Aim to eat well 80% of the time and allow yourself a window of 20% for indulgence or imperfect eating. Putting pressure on yourself to eat well 100% of the time generally backfires – we tend to give up, overeat and binge on the foods we feel we’ve been missing out on. So give yourself permission to indulge in moderation and enjoy one or two treat meals or snacks a week.

Trying to eat well 100% of the time generally backfires - allow yourself to indulge in moderation

7. Don’t follow what your family and friends are doing.

Your friends mean well and they might have great ideas, but what works for them could be vastly different from what you need. Focus on your unique body and nourish it accordingly.

8. Practice gratitude and positive affirmations daily

The power of positive thinking is truly amazing. If you’re thankful for what you have and conscious about the things you’d like to come in to your life, that’s when the good stuff happens! Your body is your temple and it works hard to keep you alive and well. Now it’s time to love it back. Listen to its needs, and then act accordingly - your body will thank you.

9. Be kind to yourself

You may not be able to twist yourself into Crow Pose or run 10 kilometres, but give yourself credit for trying. Love and appreciate yourself for all the amazing things you do, and know that even those things took some time and practice.

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Jessica Sepel smiling in front of vases of greenery

Jessica Sepel

Founder of JSHealth, author of two best-selling books and accredited nutritionist, Jessica Sepel is passionate about taking a balanced approach when it comes to food. Jess believes we need to give up diets to overhaul our relationship with food and advocates for moderation, mindfulness at meals and healthy body image.

Check out more articles by Jess, including the delicious and healthy recipes she’s created exclusively for nib.