Disclaimer: I am not qualified in any way shape or form to give weight loss advice, this post draws from my own experience of balancing food writing and health. It should be taken as the egotistical ravings of a food and coffee fanatic and nothing more.

If you picked up my phone right now and scrolled through my instagram feed, I’d say 90% of what you’d find would be pictures of food, and the same goes for the people I follow. This is not surprising when you consider most of them are food writers, food bloggers, and the food obsessed. Food blogging is the ultimate excuse for gluttony, because every meal can be written off as ‘research’.

Consider if you will, exhibit A – me. I’ve never put on more weight in my life than when I’ve been writing about food. And I’d tell myself, based on meeting up with other food lovers for regular feasts or scanning through my instagram feed, where the world looks like one, continuous, envy-inspiring picnic, that everyone I knew was living a life of gluttony sloth much like mine.

But one day, I started to notice things. Other people would get to the end of a meal and go ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so FULL!’ and I’d be sitting there going “Uh, wha?’ Or I’d notice people did other things besides eating, like going to the gym. Or I’d hear about food bloggers who baked a batch of cookies for their blog, then ate one and gave the rest to friends and family. Immediately. Before the temptation to scoff the lot became too much. Or I’d notice that most people weren’t slowly expanding the way I was.

And here’s the real kicker. I write primarily about coffee, so the majority of my pieces concern macchiatos rather than deep-fried monaco bars. Most of things I eat will never ever be used as content for this blog!

So I decided I’d had enough of this crap.

And I’ve been trying, over the last 6 months, to remedy an attitude that has led me to an unhealthy lifestyle, and to lose the resulting kilos. And reading Thang’s recent post over at Noodlies made me think perhaps my insights would be worth something to someone else. Here’s what has worked for me so far.

  1. Walk everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. To work. Home from work. To dinner, to coffee, to your friend’s house, to the gym and back if you go to the gym. Anything from 20 minutes to 2 hours is fair game. Rain or shine, convenient or not, there’s no better way to stay active than to use your legs as your primary form of transport.
  2. If you can’t have ‘just a taste’, you can’t have it. Know your weaknesses. I believe that there are foods that cannot be part of your routine, or they BECOME your routine. So these foods become special occasion foods. But for actual special occasions, because when life is a feast, every meal has the potential to become a celebration, and that’s not always a good thing.
  3. Drinking your calories is for chumps. A recent study showed that our body ‘thinks’ liquids have a low caloric value, so don’t fill up on juice/soft drink/cappucinos/beer because your body doesn’t ‘know’ that a pint of cider is actually food. Eat your calories as solid food and suddenly, you’ll notice what you’re eating.
  4. Develop your own ‘default setting’. Willpower is finite. The reason making the same choices over and over again gets easier and easier is that you build habits, and habits are hard to break. This means that you don’t have to make a zillion tiny decisions every day, relying on willpower when you’re tired, distracted or hungry. You can still have sprite, or fried chicken, or sleep in and skip your morning jog, but the choice you have to make becomes the conscious one of opting out of your good habits, rather than the fraught one of ‘doing the right thing’.
  5. Variety over quantity and quality over cost. Try new/different/more/tiny slices of everything you can get your hands/mouth on. Don’t let your taste buds doze off, life is waaaaay too short to subside on porridge and carrot sticks. Smaller servings of delicious and interesting things does make eating more enjoyable and exciting, and means that you will miss the feasting/stuffing yourself mentality (that can be, let’s face it, such great fun) less and less.

What about you? Do you have any tips for healthy eating when surrounded by delicious food?

What makes a subject blogworthy? In certain blogs, such as interior design, wedding, craft and food blogging, it’s the photos. There are very few blogs on these subjects that can successfully publish image-less posts. Recipe blogs will almost always feature photos (check out this popular wordless recipe) and even brief reviews of restaurants and cafés will feature pictures of the food and the setting. This makes sense, as in its current incarnation, we cannot smell, taste or feel things through the internet.

Images can illustrate a blog but also act as a kind of pornography. ‘Food porn’ is a common term these days, and a comment made by John on my last post got me wondering- should we be blogging the supposedly unblogworthy? Does only blogging the gorgeous, the visually appealing, the photogenic serve to undermine the genuine, ‘authentic’ feel blogging creates, making food blogs less like personal cookbooks and more like glossy food magazines? I know of a recent example in a certain wedding blog featuring so-called ‘real weddings’ as inspirations for brides which turned out to be a professional photo shoot complete with a six figure budget and models in place of the bride and groom. Hardly a real wedding.

Of course, I’m guilty of blogging only the beautiful. At one stage my recipe content was skewed heavily in favour of desserts, sweets being generally easier to photograph than savoury dishes. Once it expanded to include café reviews I wrote my own brief (cafés I would go to, newish, solid places with a focus on coffee) but soon realised I had an implied brief as well; cafés that would look good in photographs. I know this skews my content in a particular direction and perhaps leaves out some valuable examples of great places to get coffee. But at the same time, I appreciate good interior design and these are the kind of cafés I like to visit, so the implied brief is still a genuine one.

So when I came across this gorgeous description of a new Stanmore cafe ‘Paper Cup’ in Amanda’s blog, ‘the cake + the knife, a love story’ I knew I’d have to get there asap. In fact, I went the very next morning, keen to check out the new endeavor from Clipper Café’s Adriano Matteoni. I was not disappointed.

This place more than meets my self-imposed brief. Firstly, it’s easy to get their by public transport. Right next to Stanmore Cellars, Paper Cup is a 2 minute walk from Stanmore station, so I was there in a flash. Secondly, it has a very limited menu, which might sound like a negative but in many cases, communicates seriousness about coffee (and, as a former barista, is my own personal dream set-up). I’ve always been a big fan of simplicity and Paper Cup has only 5 items on their menu, with additional pastries should you feel like a sweet treat. And finally, the interior is small and bright, edged with exposed brick and crowned with a calculated tangle of red wiring and industrial shades. It’s cute, quirky and photogenic. Perfect.

I order a macchiato and sit. The staff seem very friendly and my caramel-y shot is brought out promptly with a carafe of water and a glass. I’m pretty thirsty as I rushed out of the house to get my caffeine fix as quickly as possible, so I drain the carafe. As I’m eavesdropping on a hideous-yet-I-can’t-stop-listening conversation between two inner-west helicopter parents, I gaze around the area. I’m just in the middle of planning my relocation to Stanmore when I realise my glass is being refilled from a fresh carafe. Service with a smile.

I go inside to pay, have a quick chat and snap a few photos. It turns out Paper Cup has only been open about a month and business is going well. I can see why. The coffee is delicious (they also do cold drip if you’re that way inclined), the decor is just the offbeat side of minimalist and the service is prompt and friendly. As I wind my way home on a caffeine high, past the iron-lace-edged terraces of Stanmore, I know I’ve found another great café to add to my ever-growing list of favourites.

Paper Cup
157/161 Cambridge St
Stanmore, 2048
(02) 9000 0000
www.papercupcoffee.com.au

Monday – Sunday 6:00am – 4:00pm

Paper Cup on Urbanspoon

Tagged with:
 
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
Get Adobe Flash player