This has to be the #1 question I get asked the most both online and in real life. I’ve been a food lover my entire life, and a food blogger for the last two years. And, a food business owner as of the last four months. Food has always been an integral part of my identity and I am always eager to share my passion with the world. Which begs the question…
“How can you be around food all of the time and stay fit?”
I won’t lie and say that the balance is easy. I too sometimes scroll through my Instagram feed and look at mouth-watering chocolate-covered desserts and the thin bloggers who are holding them. Before I ever wondered how these people can be around food all of the time and not gain weight, I first always wondered what they did with all the food they were making. There was NO WAY they ate all of that, I thought to myself. And, they don’t. The truth is, a lot of food is prepared just for photos and gets thrown away. Seriously, food waste in the blogging industry is a big problem, but that’s a discussion for another time.
You’re here to know how I have learned to stay in shape as a food blogger, and I totally get why you want to know. Many people, women especially, struggle with food. A lot more people have issues with food and eating than we are willing to admit, and as a non-licensed Internet therapist I’m not here to diagnose why (*cough* advertising *cough*) but I am here to admit that I’ve struggled with that myself. I was a chubby kid growing up, and I definitely used food to cope with the insecurities I dealt with then. I’m a whole grown person now and in a much better place, but when I started my food blogging journey I was worried that I would fall back into using food as a crutch for comfort.
But, I’ve managed to reshape my feelings around food (dessert, especially) which has helped me have a better relationship with food blogging. So, here is how I manage to be a food blogger and not gain weight.
Small portion sizes
I live alone, and have more the majority of the last ~ 6 or so years of my post-college adulthood, so I’m pretty used to making just enough food for one person and not a whole army. I take this same stance when I bake.
I bake everything in small enough quantities so that I can indulge in one or two cookies after a photoshoot, and not feel tempted by 10 more that are staring me down. I half pretty much every recipe that I bake and photograph. Instead of a dozen cookies, I’ll just make six. Instead of a pint of ice cream, I’ll make half a pint.
This is the technique I use behind-the-scenes for almost all of my recipes, and I get creative with how I photograph it so it may look like there is more than there is (check out the cookie post below, pretty sure I just made six cookies that day). When posting the recipe to my site, I just double it.
But, you’re probably wondering what I do with all those cakes and pies and things that I photograph whole. You can’t really scale down those recipes get the same effect when styling and photographing them, so here’s another thing I do…
I will typically ONLY bake a cake, or pie, or a whole pan of brownies or cookies when I am baking them for a special occasion and plan to share them with others.
I don’t bake cakes on the weekends ‘just because’. I’ll bake one for a friend’s birthday, or a work event, or a potluck party. Baking a cake just for myself that I’ll have one slice of is too wasteful for my blood, so there has to be a special occasion coming up that I can bring it to.
And you bet that once that cake it baked and iced I take 100000 pictures of it so I can share it in the future! My vegan hummingbird cake, which I made for work, has already been posted to my Insta three times, in three different ways. So no, I’m not just whipping up cakes left and right and eating them every weekend, although it may look that way! 😉
Dessert is not a meal
This is something I had to unlearn from my fat kid days. Back then, I didn’t care at all about nutrition or keeping a balanced diet, so I would literally have ice cream and cake for dinner and call it a day.
Now that I’m around desserts literally all of the time, I had to teach myself that dessert is not a meal. A slice of pie isn’t lunch. Brownies are not a snack. They are small indulgences that are best enjoyed in small portion sizes. And this advice is not just for weight control. Because let’s be honest, the first three bites of a cake are insanely good and satisfying but the seventh or tenth bite…not so much. But when we see that huge cake slice in front of us we may feel the need to finish it, but I’ve learned to listen to my body and pay attention to the moment when the dessert I’m eating becomes less than satisfying. When that happens, I know I’ve reached peak happiness with that food and I move on.
If you’re like me and have a huge sweet tooth too, definitely try this out the next time you’re making your way through during the dessert course. Find that peak satisfaction moment, it may happen a lot sooner than you thought.
Diet and exercise
I hateee what the word diet means now, because I do not diet at all and I don’t recommend anyone does. ‘Diets’ don’t work, but living a balanced life does. My ‘diet’, which means the sum of the food that I eat in my daily life, is overall pretty healthy. I eat a lot of whole foods, cook from scratch, and rarely eat out. I truly see dessert as an indulgence that is not a regular part of my everyday life, but something that I like to taste on special occasions. Because let’s face it, dessert makes people happy. That’s why I blog about it, and made it my side business.
I drink a lot of water, don’t shy away from carbs, and make fiber a regular part of my routine. Fiber is the KEY to wellness in my I’m-not-a-doctor-but opinion, and I can tell how much healthier I feel now that I have incorporated fiber powders and inulin into my life.
About three years ago, I developed a relationship with exercise for the first time in my life. At that point, I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I remember one time I was laying in bed and sat up. That motion completely winded me, and that was the moment I knew I had to start exercising regularly to get into shape, not just for my physical well-being but for my mental well-being as well. I hated knowing that I was in my mid-twenties and in bad shape. I felt like my health was only going to go downhill when I should have been in the fittest period of my life.
So, I started running around the block after work. Then, I started running around my neighborhood in the mornings, got a Planet Fitness membership and committed to going every other day. Now, I’ve been using Classpass for the last year and I CANNOT imagine life without it. It’s made fitness a regular part of my routine, and I currently work out at least three days a week thanks to the awesome studios I have in my area. I switch it up between cycling, rowing, HIIT, and pilates depending on what I’m feeling that day. If you live in a semi-major city, definitely check it out to take advantage of great studios in your area.
The most important thing, though, is that I don’t see food or dessert as something evil or scary to be around. I don’t believe in good or bad foods, I believe in eating what your body is needing at the time. If your body really needs peanut M&Ms, eat some peanut M&Ms and enjoy every bite, and move on. Just remember that no problems you have in your life related to relationships, finances, self-esteem, or loneliness has ever been cured by peanut M&Ms. Having a a balanced and healthy life outside of food is key to recognizing its role in your life, which is to keep you happy and healthy.
Any more questions about the life of a food blogger? Ask me here, or on IG!