Jan. 3. 2018
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Because feeling really good is never just about what you eat.

While we talk at length about nutrition here — because we believe it to be the core part of feeling really good every day — we also highlight the many other lifestyle choices that help you feel like your best self. After all, there are dozens of things besides healthy food that allow you to function like your best self. These details, no matter how big or small, allow you to move through this world showing up fully and loving your life.

If we start to change the story we have around nourishment, we can see what “feeling amazing” is at its core — it’s a message in the form of nutrients, laughter, movement, love, connection with ourselves, and it’s full picture.

It’s All In The Balance

As part of the NS lifestyle, we talk about ten areas of wellness that make up the full picture as the NS Pillars of Health. These areas are all important parts of a collective, balanced wellbeing that will help you discover more joy and really feel your best. The first 6 are foundational and vital to feeling balanced and living whole, and the other four are supportive pillars that enhance your health once the first 6 are on lock.

  1. Squad: Make time to spend with those you care about the most. Show up for yourself, so that you can show up for them. They’re the support system that will be by your side, through the ups and downs. Nurture this part of your life.
  2. Stress: By definition, stress is your brain’s response to any demand for a change in your lifestyle. This could be a physical stressor like a wound, exercising too much, or healing from a surgery. It could also be an emotional demand from changes in your lifestyle, relationships, finances, etc. Anything that demands your physical, mental or emotional energy can cause stress. Stress is not a good or bad thing; the way we react and handle it is the more important part of the conversation. Adopt these simple habits to de-stress in 10 minutes, and calm anxiety when it hits.
  3. Body: Moving your body will help you avoid health problems, enjoy the power of endorphins, sleep better, and feel like a total badass from the progress you make. It’s an incredibly empowering practice to work past the little voice in your head and work up a good sweat. Not to mention, it’s the ultimate way to show love and gratitude to your working body.
  4. Nourishment: The NS food philosophy is about teaching you how to listen and honor your body by focusing on the best nutrient-dense food nature has to offer (hello hundreds of recipes!) — while enjoying a glass of wine, pizza out with girlfriends, or whatever your jam is. There are hundreds of way to feel nourished. This is the first area of wellbeing to slack when you start a strict diet, detox, or cleanse.
  5. Love: Love can be manifested in many ways, especially beyond the romantic kind. The love between you and your family, friends, yourself, and community is just as important and powerful in helping you feel amazing.  The contagious feeling that love creates can fuel long, hard days and help center you when you start to feel “off track”, and it plays a key role in the support you feel from your squad. Sharing love with your community is also a huge way to spread love to your neighbors. Sharing your time, energy, or resources with those in your local or even global community is so important for staying grounded and sharing the love you have.
  6. Sleep: Sleep is vital to our human functioning, but especially when sleep becomes an issue it feels like a sticky cycle you can’t get out of right? You don’t sleep well one night then the next day you’re not focused, not being as productive, not present, etc., which may cause you eat unhealthier foods, become stressed easily, throw off digestion, and a host of hormonal dominos.
  7. Explore: Traveling gives you the opportunity to learn so many new things about the world and about yourself. It can be as simple as exploring a public park near you or it may be more adventurous like a hiking or camping trip.Getting older and more established doesn’t mean that you stop learning and playing! Exploring a new hobby can really bring out your inner child and bring inspiration and joy.
  8. Center: Sticking to routines is one of the simplest ways to train your body to find its center. There are many different kinds of routines – morning, evening, workout, workday, etc. Find the time where you tend to feel the most off center and create a routine for that time. Don’t know where to start? Learn how to create a morning routine, and don’t forget about your nighttime rituals. Mindfulness and being present is also an important component of feeling centered. If you already have a mindfulness or meditation practice, make it a habit and continue challenging yourself and growing! If you’re new to the whole idea, check out Gabby BernsteinLeo Babuta, and one of my favorite books The Power of Now. You might also try a guided meditation with an app like Calm.comSimple Habit, or Headspace. Just remember that meditation is a tool for staying centered, so don’t get disappointed or frustrated with yourself if you have trouble meditating the first time. You’re training your brain to think a totally different way, so it may be difficult at first.
  9. Manifest: What does manifest mean? Manifesting is a term used when making goals, realizing your dreams, and making your visions a reality. Manifesting can look so different for each of us, and it should. From journaling, meditating, running, reciting positive mantras, talking with friends, having a support group, daydreaming, etc., all of these activities and behaviors can lead to manifesting what you want most in your life.
  10. Nature: Studies have shown that just being around trees and green space can help lower your stress and even lower symptoms of anxiety and depression (1) (2). Research has also shown that living in an area with close proximity to nature and green space has a prolonged positive impact on mental health (3). Get outside; it’ll lower stress, and help you feel like your best self!

Feeling Amazing Is A Beautiful Result of Balance

The ultimate goal is to find a balance of all of these things that make you feel like your best self. Do you have to feel amazing all the time? Absolutely not! I don’t! But I’ve learned through trial and error that when I don’t feel my best, I can take steps and use tools that can get me back on track.

When you do, you’ll find yourself on the path to feeling really good, consistently. Of course, this level of well-being, like all good habits, takes practice and dedication. But when you make the shift in mindset that you’re really just looking out for #1, it’s an easy upgrade for a happier, healthier life.


(1) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204611003665
(2) http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/3/3453
(3) http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/3/3453


I hope this list serves as inspiration and an empowering reminder that you can feel amazing by taking care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Think of the NS Blog, the carefully selected products in the NS Shop, and the NS Guides and digital resources as a blueprint for what “feeling amazing” looks like IRL every day. It’s an ever-evolving, always changing process and it looks different for everyone. But that’s where the beauty lies, right?

Here are several articles for further reading:
How to Find Balance and Feel Amazing Through Your Squad
How to Manage Stress So You Can Find Balance and Feel Amazing
How to Create a Workout Routine to Find Balance and Feel Amazing
How Love Can Make You Live Whole and Feel Amazing
How Nature Can Help You Feel Healthier Today
Five Ways to Explore and How It Can Improve Your Health

Let’s Hear It

How do you prioritize feeling amazing every day? What intentions do you have for the year to choose joy, take care of yourself, and help your body and mind be the best they can be? Share your thoughts in the comment section below for others in the community to read, and connect with NS on Instagram @NutritionStripped and #NutritionStripped.