Jul. 14. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A big part of the Nutrition Stripped lifestyle is not only taking care of your physical body, but also taking care of your mental and emotional wellbeing too. I’ve shared how I practice self care and self love, both of which are super important to me for staying balanced with a busy lifestyle. A big part of self care is spending time to nurture things that keep you feeling self love and that also impacts your body image. I’m often asked by clients and especially young women about how to have a healthy body image and not get bogged down with all of these “bikini diets”, “5 day beach body detox”, “beach babe workouts”, etc. that praise the notion of correcting or fixing something with your physical body before you can go to the beach. In actuality, so much of achieving this ideal body image all starts with our mental and emotional perspective! I wanted to chat a bit today with my good friend Nitika Chopra, who is a self love guru and healthy body image rockstar, chime in with her amazing tips. Her and I chat about these things on FaceTime often and it’s about time we share some of our conversation with you guys in hopes it’ll make you feel better and more confident.

When you are working towards living a healthy lifestyle and eating whole, you can spend a lot of mental energy on what you put in your body. Some of us may put a little too much energy towards our bodies that can lead to negative feelings about yourself and your body. Practicing mindful eating and self care is an important way to find balance in our mental states as well as physical. I’ll let Nitika take it from here!

Right now, every lifestyle magazine, health and wellness website, and local gym is shouting about bikini season. Cue high amounts of anxiety, 30-day juice cleanses, and 5-day a week stinks at the gym.


I don’t know about you, but I’m so tired of being told how much I should weigh. Seriously! My body is curvy and beautiful and I am cool with that. So fitting into a tiny bikini (although that would be nice) is a not a goal I shoot for once the summer arrives. One of the things I love the most here on Nutrition Stripped is that my girl McKel focuses on holistic health and not fast fixes and hard core results.

Here’s why. When I was at my peak of suffering with psoriasis and arthritis, I was a size 00. I was thin, yes. But I was in constant pain and totally depressed. Then, one day, my miracle medication arrived. My skin began to clear up. And my pain began to subside. So I started going to lots of delicious restaurants. I took long walks and met up with friends. I went on romantic dates with cute boys. Finally, freedom! Soon, I became a much healthier weight. Of course, like any other woman, I would get self-conscious about my shape; that I wasn’t as skinny as I used to be. But I kept reminding myself that I’d rather be happy and healthy than striving to be unrealistically thin. I’m not gonna lie. My body confidence is still a work in progress, but I have made amazing strides in accepting it just the way it is. Using websites like Nutrition Stripped as a resource for nourishing and loving your body is a great way to support yourself on your own body acceptance journey.

Here are 3 ways to love your body no matter what this summer:

  1. Find a bathing suit that isn’t about fitting in, but about feeling great. So many of us would love to confidently wear a string bikini to the beach. But let’s be honest, who is actually comfortable showing that much skin? If wearing something revealing doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. There are so many beautiful one-piece suits out there, so pick one that makes you feel beautiful. Simple as that.
  2. Become one with nature. Have you ever noticed how imperfect nature is? Almost every tree is missing a branch. Grass isn’t always completely green. When I see these things, I’m always reminded that those imperfections are what make nature beautiful and whole. We all have flaws, but it is possible to find beauty in those flaws. So let the natural world be your mirror for practicing radical self-love even if your thighs don’t look like Gisele’s!
  3. Surround yourself with positive people. There’s nothing worse than being surrounded by girlfriends who are constantly complaining about being fat or comparing themselves to skinny girls. What you need is to hang out with friends who embrace their true selves and their bodies so that you can do the same. Consider this your body confidence cocoon.

So yes, body confidence is a daily practice for us all. And speaking for myself, it doesn’t always come easily. But this summer consider how much more freedom you would have if you just focused on having fun and make happiness your ultimate goal, not the size of your waist. Now, I’d love to hear from you. How does the summer make you feel about your figure?  Are you able to embrace your bathing suit size or do you shy away from being in public when it’s time to wear one?  If you have tips of your own for body confidence – I would love for you to join our #LoveEntourage in the comments below and share your wisdom.  

Love is vital to our wellbeing– self love, loving others, and finding compassion in all. I hope that these words from Nitika help you to find love for yourself and your body. After all, our bodies are incredible machines that manage complex bodily processes every single minute of every day from digestion to muscle recovery.

How do you practice self care? Do you struggle with a healthy body image, and if so is the advice in this post helpful? Let me know in the comments so I’ll know what to write more of on the blog!

xx McKel