Jan. 14. 2022
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Are you constantly stressed about food? Has food become all-consuming, where you spend most of your day thinking about it?

Well, Kelsey, one of our Mindful Nutrition Method™ students, found that she was feeling this exact way. She was very stressed about food. She realized that she spent most of her day thinking about food, which was really starting to impact her life.

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

The good news is she’s now free from all of the stress that food was causing in her life. She has developed a new, unique, balanced relationship with food. 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 from Kelsey all about her full journey to reclaiming balance!

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 she was so stressed about food because of her perfectionism 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. She shared that it was preoccupying all of her mental energy.

“I didn’t realize how consuming eating was in my life. 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? 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 In An Unsupportive Way

Kelsey tried plan after plan. Each time, she would tell herself that she would be able to make this plan last and it would finally be what she needed. She would finally no longer be stressed about food.

“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, and 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.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. These plans, diets, and detoxes truly aren’t sustainable for real life. That’s exactly why so many individuals continue to struggle with perfectionism and the all-or-nothing cycle. 

These trending diets and plans thrive on individuals that feel this way. On individuals who are stressed about food, overwhelmed by nutrition information, and uncertain about what is truly right for them.

But thankfully, Kelsey sought out something different this time around. She decided to break the cycle and create a new, balanced relationship with food for herself.  

What Supported Kelsey To Stop Being Stressed About Food

In order to get out of the diet cycle, remove the all-or-nothing mentality and stop stressing about food, you need to discover a new way of thinking about food. You need to discover a new relationship with food. 

This new relationship needs to be unique to you and your needs. It needs to be tailored to your individuality. A balanced relationship like this allows you to tune into your body, feel confident in your own choices, and feel free from the stress of the scale. 

It’s all about finding what works for you, rather than making yourself fit into a diet or plan that someone else swears by. So let’s dive into exactly how Kelsey did that!  

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

One of the primary concepts we focus on inside of the Mindful Nutrition Method™ is listening to the body’s cues. Students learn to tune into their body and trust the messages it’s sending so they can feel confident about the choices they make for themselves.

This helps eliminate that feeling of constantly being stressed about food.

Learning this skill allowed Kelsey to look at her needs in a different way. She checked in day by day rather than feeling like she needed to override her cues and follow a 30-day plan. She worked with her body instead of working against it.

“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. They allow you to bring awareness to the patterns you have with your eating habits. You then learn how to best align your actions with what works best for you.

This inner knowing makes it much easier to make changes. You’re no longer following what someone else is telling you to do. Instead, 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. This allowed her to release those perfectionist tendencies and simply focus on caring for herself so she could find her balanced weight.

This took away the pressure, stress, and guilt she was previously feeling daily. 

“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.” 

Learn The Practices Kelsey Used To Stop Being So Stressed About Food

This is such a beautiful transformation from Kelsey. We’re so grateful to have been a part of her journey in making all of this possible for her!

Now you can learn exactly how Kelsey, along with so many other students, experienced that transformation with their eating habits using our The Mindful Nutrition Method™ by watching our free masterclass. 

You’ll learn about the #1 Habit That Keeps You Struggling With Your Weight and Relationship With Food — And How To Break Free From The Diet And Food Obsession Starting Now. 

You don’t need to stress and obsess about food. There is a better way and yes it’s possible to cultivate a positive relationship with food! Join this free balanced eating masterclass to learn how.

Watch The Free Masterclass