Katie Den Ouden


I’ve long been a fan of Katie Den Ouden‘s.  I wrote about my experience with one of her guided cleanses here.  She embodies the ideal of living a wholehearted, passionate life. If I ever ran a Woman Crush Wednesday interview series on this blog (which I’ve thought about doing), she would be one of my first calls.  Katie radiates goodness.  I swear.  Her deep faith that women have immense reserves of power and her commitment to helping them tap into those is tangible to me.  I can’t wait to meet her in person, but the truth is I feel like I already know her.

Katie is about to launch her annual Skinny Dip Society program.  You can learn more hereI wrote a piece for her 2014 program.  I urge you to find out more about Katie and the Skinny Dip Society!  Asked to list three words that describe her work and the results women who work with her get, Katie lists “freedom.  contagious joy. luminary.”  I personally can’t think of much more inspiring than that triad.

I was honored that Katie agreed to participate in an interview today. Without further ado, I’m thrilled to share her wisdom, humor, and lambent good health with you.


1. Tell us what you do? Your approach is something unique… you’re not just food and you’re not just mindset/lifestyle. You’ve truly fused the two together. How did you come to this approach and how successful is it?
At the end of the day, I teach women how to live and lead by design instead of default, so that they can become the woman they’ve always know they can be, the woman they actually are deep within. When women step into that space and ownership and come alive, they’re able to impact the world in a profound, positive, and purposeful way. I call these type of ladies, Luminaries.

But it took me a bit to get to that space. Several years ago, I started my work heavily based in food and health coaching, but the more I worked with women, experienced my own life, and studied with experts, I realized how many other areas of life were keeping women stuck and held back. The things that were frustrating women and keeping them in a cycle of constantly try to fix themselves – like hating your body, perfectionism, workaholism + career achievement, being controlled by food, lack of sisterhood, dwindling bank account, blah relationships, guilt, etc. – were simply warning signs and a beacon calling us home. I didn’t want to focus on the band aide for just one warning sign…I wanted to give the tools, support, and stretch to have the solution for it all and be able to have a lot of fun unleashing it.

There’s a quote by Shauna Niequist that I love, “There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming.”

My work (programs, coaching, blog) meets women in that season of becoming – as a woman, leader, and luminary – and gives the strategy, soul, sisterhood, and self-care to get there.

2. What types of women do you work with?
Ambitious women who are willing to take courageous action. Women who want a life worth living and won’t settle…but don’t know how to get there OR stay there.

3. What makes you come alive?
Two parts: 1) how I have a direct experience with my life and 2) how I share my gifts and purpose with others.

Experience: beauty {flowers, nature, sunsets, music}, adventures, delicious dinner experiences, deep conversations that focus on the present/possibility/potential and wisdom from past experiences, finding joy in the ordinary, travel, sunshine, and a good frothy vanilla latte always helps. 🙂

Purpose: watching/helping other women find their own freedom, design their lives, and get their purpose/mission into the world.

4. What do you do day-to-day to feed your soul?

It changes with the seasons of weather and life, but the mainstays are my morning routine, walks/stargazing, gratitude practice, dance parties of one (ha!), personal reading time and alone time, bubble baths, playing with our puppy (gah – stole my heart), sleep, and I have a few scandalous tv shows I throw in there to keep me balanced. 😉

5. What’s the most common roadblock you find women facing in living fully, feeling free, and loving life?

Two huge road blocks that are actually opposites: discipline vs. devotion

Discipline: trying to follow a certain rules, set up for a certain group of people, and then punishing ourselves when we don’t follow those rules that we didn’t even create.

Devotion: missing devotion to who we really are (not the shoulds of what we should be) and owning our self-worth. That we are worth enough to spend time on ourselves, to get to know ourselves and what we want, and to celebrate how truly incredibly beautiful and awesome we all are – in our own way.

6. What are 3 words that describe your work and results women get?
freedom. contagious joy. luminary.

7. What tools do you use to continue developing and growing yourself? What stirs you? How do you stay inspired?
Knowledge {books, conferences, podcasts}.
New experiences {travel, restaurants, magazines, nature}.
Spending time with other luminaries.

8. What advice would you give your younger self?
{Picturing my current self having this conversation with my younger self} Katie…we MUST embrace ownership of our lives, fully. Meaning that the entire way we feel and experience our lives is our responsibility – no one else. I call this radical responsibility and once you acknowledge this and take action…guidance, freedom, joy, abundance and more will flow like no other. We have the power to shape our experience of life – don’t give someone else that power, love.

Women who allow themselves to have a direct experience with their life, who allow themselves to fully experience their feelings, sensations, moments, intuition, and desires – meaning what they desire, why they desire it, and making sure it is in alignment with their actions and values – are freaking world changers – in the best way possible. You have the opportunity to create ripple effects every day of contagious joy…it’s your choice. It’s your responsibility.

Design your life. Do not default into someone else’s desires. The world needs the true and full you.

9. What 2 (or 3) steps or action items that people can take right now, this month, to improve it for themselves?

1. Feel the present moment. Allow yourself to have a direct experience with your life. The easiest and quickest way to start this is by your senses. Pay attention and slow your breath, savor the textures and flavors of food, look at the intricacies in nature, touch your surroundings. If you have a tendency to forget, set random alarms on your phone that bring you back to the present moment – slowly but surely you’ll be craving those alarms to go off.

2. Take ownership. We often expect our loved ones, friends, and even coworkers to know what we want and we get upset that they didn’t do it. Or we don’t want to bother others with our problems and look weak or unable to do it all ourselves. This is silly, it’s a superwoman syndrome, and it keeps us stuck and resentful. Owning what you need and declaring it is incredibly empowering, authentic, and freeing. Take the time to identify what you need (tools, support, coach, space, etc.) in order to thrive, then courageously ask for it. You got this. 🙂

See what I mean, folks?  You got this.  I swear, just reading Katie’s words make me believe I do.


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  1. Vani
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Loved it Lindsey. Thank you for sharing !

  2. Sue
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Loved this, especially the part about taking ownership. And of course that we deserve devotion to ourselves.

  3. Posted March 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    How much do I love that you have this interview with THE Katie Den Ouden? If I could magically transport the two of you into my physical space whenever I wanted, your families would never see you.

    “Design your life. Do not default into someone else’s desires. The world needs the true and full you. ”

    Amen, sister. Amen.

  4. Tracy Cordes
    Posted March 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Love,love,love Katie Den Ouden!

  5. Posted March 3, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Such an inspiring woman!

  6. Posted March 3, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Posted March 3, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I love this! Thank you Lindsey. I am a student of Katie’s and participated in the SDS last year – it was a wonderful experience. I signed up to do the SDS Challenge this month – but I failed miserably because of the new job. I need to email her, because this job has given me a clarity I didn’t see coming. All of her teachings are falling into place.

  8. Posted March 3, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for turning me onto her! I did her 10 day skinny dip challenge which was awesome. I want to do her spring challenge too.

  9. Posted March 3, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Love this so much. “Design your life”- LOVE.