Jan. 15. 2020
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

For Kelsey, one of our Mindful Nutrition Method™ members, food was very stressful to her and she realized she spent most of her day thinking about food, which was impacting her life.

As a law student, working part-time and interning, she needed the way she nourished herself to truly support her life and all that she was doing, but she couldn’t shake the need for perfectionism, achieving specific physical results, and the all-or-nothing mentality.

Now, she’s free from all of the stress and mental energy food was taking in her life, she feels much more in tune with her needs, and she looks at her health from a more holistic perspective.

Watch this video to hear her full journey!

The Challenge: A Perfectionist and All-Or-Nothing Mentality 

Kelsey shared that she struggled to find a balanced and consistent way of nourishing herself for most of her life — since she was a teenager.

She realized that this often had to do with her perfectionist and all-or-nothing mindset.

“I was definitely the type of person who was a perfectionist in everything, and especially with eating and food, and definitely on the stop-and-start cycle and feeling like I needed to always restart and jump on that bandwagon again.”

She added how the age of Instagram and social media heightened that with all of the different nutrition advice that’s shared.

“I felt like I had all this different information and had no idea how to utilize it without feeling like I need to be doing this perfectly. And if I’m not doing it perfectly, then it’s not worth it.”

This mindset really impacted Kelsey’s life, beyond just what she was eating and she shared that it was preoccupying all of her mental energy.

“I didn’t realize how consuming eating was in my life and food. And I was thinking about it all the time. Everything was, “Okay, where am I going to eat? What is that meal going to be like? Is it healthy? Is it unhealthy? Is it good or bad food? How can I get back on the wagon? Oh, I’ve fallen off the wagon, therefore I’m going to eat a whole pizza tonight.” 

How She Tried To Overcome This That Wasn’t Truly Supportive

Kelsey tried plan after plan, each time, telling herself that it would be the plan that she would be able to make last and that would work for her. 

I tried everything…I was looking for a solution. I was looking for something that would just give me, here are the 10 steps I need to follow. And I feel like I tried them all and looked into them all and I read them all and followed people that said like, ‘Oh, this is the thing. This will make your life so much better. This will help you lose all the weight that you want and make you the healthiest you’ve ever been.'”

“None of those plans were sustainable for a real lifestyle. It was really hard to even go grocery shopping. I felt like I had a lot of extra food. I was spending a lot of money. I never stuck with the 30 day or six week or two months, whatever it was, plans. I always fell off the wagon and wasn’t able to make them sustainable.

What Supported Kelsey With Finding Ease With The Way She Nourishes Herself

1. Tuning Into Her Body to Uncover What Works Best For Her

One of the things we focus on the inside of the Mindful Nutrition Method™ program is learning to tune your body and trust the messages it’s sending you, so that you can feel confident about the choices you make for yourself.

Learning this skill allowed Kelsey to look at her needs in a different way, day-by-day rather than feeling like she needs to follow a 30-day plan.

The biggest change for me, is really learning and using what you teach to get in touch with myself and not have somebody else tell me what I should be feeling or what I should be doing. I was able to really tune into that, which I had never really been able to do before. Now I’m my best advocate — I know what’s best for me. 

The check-in practices we teach inside of the program guide you to tune into your body, bring awareness to the patterns you have with your eating habits, and learn how to best align your actions with what works best for you.

This inner knowing makes it much easier to make changes because you’re no longer following what someone else is telling you to do, but rather, you’re using your own self-awareness to feel confident in what allows you to feel your best.

2. Shifting Her Focus From a Physical Result to Deeply Caring For Herself

A big shift Kelsey had with her eating habits was letting go of the need to define health by the number on the scale. Instead, she learned to look at it more holistically, which allowed her to release those perfectionist tendencies and simply focus on caring for herself.

“I used to define health by the number on the scale or how I looked, my weight, and that is not how I define it anymore at all.

— It’s do I have the mental clarity?

Do I have the energy to show up in the best way that I can every single day?

— Can I fulfill the goals that I want to have every single day?

— Can I work towards creating a better world for myself and my friends and my family and for everybody?

I feel like I am so much more in tune with what I need, what I need to nourish myself both externally, how does my body look and feel, but also like internally of giving myself the time to really recharge and show up in a way in the world that I’ve always wanted to show up.

So much has changed as far as how I view my health, how I want to take care of myself. It’s much more holistic. Now looking at myself as a whole human being, my health as both physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, all of it. And that’s never something I’ve done before with myself or my health. 


This is such a beautiful transformation Kelsey shared and we’re so grateful to have been part of her journey in making that possible for her.

You can learn exactly how Kelsey, along with so many other members, experienced that transformation with their eating habits using our The Mindful Nutrition Method™ by watching our free workshop!