Dec. 10. 2021
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 struggling to maintain a balanced weight? Do you find yourself mindlessly eating or overeating unintentionally?

If so, know that you’re not alone and that you’ve come to the right place. Kim, one of our Mindful Nutrition Method™ students, found that she was experiencing this, too. She was overeating mindlessly and felt really out of control. 

She tried her best to respond to this lack of control by setting boundaries and creating rules around what to eat and when, but kept finding herself back in the same situation. Overeating frequently and subsequently feeling really upset and guilty after the fact. 

Thankfully, Kim has an entirely new relationship with food now. She no longer has to rely on setting those boundaries and creating rules. She has the tools she needs in her toolbox to work through mindless eating and significantly reduce the frequency. 

The Challenge: Mindless Eating 

Kim shared with us that her greatest ailment with food was the lack of control she felt. The sensation of feeling out of control and overeating as a response to her emotions. 

I was experiencing a lot of emotional eating, and borderline binge eating where I was overeating and feeling out of control.”

She went on to explain that there were specific foods she felt as though were particularly difficult for her to eat without feeling out of control.

How She Tried To Overcome This In An Unsupportive Way

In response to this sensation and experience, Kim told me about how she unintentionally restricted and created food rules without even realizing it at the time. 

I even had a lockbox in our house with foods that I didn’t want to be eating regularly or didn’t feel like I could have control over. I didn’t feel like I was labeling food, but obviously now, looking back, seeing that I had like a lockbox with these foods that were only allowed at certain times, there definitely were labels I was putting on things.”

Kim isn’t alone in this experience, this is so common when navigating a difficult relationship with food. Oftentimes when individuals experience a lack of control, their knee-jerk reaction is to exert more control in response. For Kim, this presented itself through the lockbox and related rules. 

For others, it may be an eating schedule, a new diet protocol, food rules, or a generalized reduction of intake. While there are many ways to go about it, they’re really all just examples of restriction. 

How Her Food Rules and Restriction Lead to Mindless Eating 

As Kim reflected on her experience, she began to come to terms with the fact that her methods of addressing the mindless eating perpetuated the cycle even further. 

“…there definitely were labels I was putting on things and ways that I was maybe restricting that I didn’t really realize that we’re driving some of those binges or emotional eating urges.”

This cycle between mindless eating and restricting can really take a toll on an individual’s physical and mental health. It can make it feel as though you’re powerless and lacking in some way. When in reality, it’s just that we’re approaching the situation in an unsupportive way. 

Thankfully, Kim sought out a supportive approach. She decided to break the cycle and create a new, balanced relationship with food for herself.  

What Supported Kim To Stop Mindless Eating And Find Her Balanced Weight

In order to get out of the binging and restricting cycle, stop feeling out of control and anxious around food, you need to discover a new way of thinking about food. You need to discover a new relationship with food. 

Your new relationship with food needs to be void of food rules, regulations, and restrictions. And instead, embody awareness, compassion, and mindfulness. A combination of nutrition knowledge, mindset shifts, and reframes allow for this balance and mindfulness to manifest over time. 

After joining our Mindful Nutrition Method™ program and working with one of our Registered Dietitians, Kim was able to accomplish just that.

“So much has changed. I feel like it’s night and day. I don’t have a lockbox anymore. My binges happen super-less frequently, and when they do, I have tools now that I can use, and I’m still working on using them all of the time, but tools that I can use to work through them. I just feel like, in general, I have a lot less anxiety around food choices.” 

Let’s dive into how exactly Kim got here.

1. Learning How To Build Balanced Meals With Confidence

When we’re not confident in building meals, we can second guess ourselves and unintentionally make poor choices. Over time, this can lead to mindless eating and overeating episodes as a result. It can also lead to food stress or anxiety.

Kim explained how the Foundational Five Framework helped her to overcome this. 

“With the Foundational Five Framework, that’s really given me a way to balance my meals so I don’t feel like I’m restricting or having to binge and get it all in in this one time period, because I know that there’s always that balance. So I feel like I have a much more peaceful relationship with food “

Introducing confidence and removing the ambiguity really allowed Kim to find peace and ease with her eating. 

2. Shifting Away From Perfection And Towards Compassion

The perfectionist mindset is what compels so many restrictive food choices. When we feel as though everything needs to be perfect, extremes start to get introduced to our eating habits. Balance is no longer feasible, we’re either eating perfectly all the time or telling ourselves, “Why even bother?.

Kim started to realize this as she made her way through The Method and learn that health really is a daily practice. 

“…and also recognize that it is something that is, like you say, it’s a daily practice, always, and that it’s never going to be at a point where everything’s perfect, but it is something that’s, yeah, daily and that I can choose to balance daily.”

Introducing this compassion and understanding takes all the pressure off. It makes eating approachable, feasible, and enjoyable again. It’s such an important part of removing good guilt and moving away from mindless eating. 

She even noticed how this compassion helped her when she got out of her usual routines with eating. 

“I’ve gone on vacations and things and had times where things were a little bit less balanced, but now, having all these tools, I feel like I can come back from those times and get back to where I was”

3. Removing Emphasis From The Scale And Finding Her Balanced Weight

Kim’s words say it best. 

“Well, one other thing I did want to share that’s really changed for me is the relationship with the scale and my body that I mentioned at the beginning, that is just so improved, with Erica’s help. That’s something, I think, that kind of contributed, maybe, to my binge eating too, just seeing that number and realizing that there was power attached to it. Now I’m focusing on how I feel and how I’m balancing my nutrition every day.”

Previously, she was so focused on the number on the scale. That number had so much power over her that she realized it may have even caused her to binge eat and mindlessly eat more. But now, she’s able to take a look at the big picture.

She can focus on all of the phenomenal habits she has implemented and practices she’s engaging in to prioritize her health and wellbeing. 

“At my last doctor’s appointment I had a weigh-in, and it’s a number that normally would have thrown me off, and I would have been like, “Ahhh,” and it was fine. And I’m like, “I’m running right now. I’m running the best I ever have, I’m feeling really good, I’m eating well. And so that doesn’t matter to me as much anymore.” And that is just … again, another thing I didn’t realize was having such an impact on me, and this program just made me realize it and helped me heal it.”

This is such a beautiful example of Kim finding her balanced weight.

Your balanced weight isn’t determined by the number on the scale—a balanced weight encompasses far more than weight.

Your balanced weight is the physical state at which you are embodying balanced eating habits. You have a mindful mindset about food and a positive relationship to food and your body.

It’s having zero stress around food and endless confidence in yourself around your eating habits. It’s when you’re able to experience self-confidence and practice self-compassion while still making shifts and changes to your current habits and routines.

Kim found her balanced weight, and you can too. 

Learn The Practices Kim Used To Stop Mindlessly Eating And Find Her Balanced Weight 

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

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

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