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Confession: Food Blogging is Hard

food blogging is hardI have a huge confession to make you guys.

Food blogging is hard.

Food blogging is so hard, I almost quit. 

Food blogging hands down the hardest blogging niche I have ever been in. I’ve been blogging for the better part of 20 years now (Tripod, GeoCities..homepages…anyone? anyone?) I’ve never really considered myself to have a niche, but when I had More to Life than Chocolate a few years ago, I was posting so many recipes and they were my highest hitters, I felt perhaps that was a sign that I needed to niche-out. 😉 It was also suggested to me by a zillion bloggy friends.

Let me tell you something. Writing about food on a food blog causes you to think about food 24/7. Every meal you make, every bite you take, you are wondering if this is a blog op. Every trip to the grocery store starts with one list and ends with another. Every time you go out to eat – near or far – you wonder if you can sneak a pic and turn it into a blog post. Then comes the worry on whether or not I should have brought the dslr.

More to Life than Chocolate was started as a healthy website with myself and a good friend; Mr. YUM even joined us for a while. It became a place for me to talk about by struggled with PCOS and was around for a few years and when I started YUM, I couldn’t keep up with it anymore, so I let the domain lapse and eventually just rolled the recipe posts here and the rest were either put on another site or deleted altogether.

Looking back, sometimes I wish I would have just kept that site. Sometimes someones niche is to not have a niche at all.

Here is my other confession, I have an eating disorder. Well I did. But, just as with any addiction you are never really over your illness. You just learn to deal, handle, make better choices.


I didn’t handle and make better choices.

Hello my name is Chrystal and I have a binge eating disorder. I overeat. I used to purge by using laxatives because I couldn’t throw up. I am a food addict. Constantly thinking about food 24/7 put me in a bad place. Most of you know I already suffer from anxiety, PTDS and other mental health disorders. This was just the icing on the cake and its sent me into a downward spiral.

Instead, I lost my true focus.


And, instead of me I focused on building my recipe database here on YUM eating.

Like most bloggers, it takes a while to find your voice.

In the beginning I was focused on using real foods to create simple recipes. Some super healthy, others were just super-duper comfort food. I started to find my way in a lot of cleaner eating, whole food, no processed, blogger exchanges. These bloggers were featuring my recipes on their site and it was awesome.

But, I wanted to brand and grow a business, too.

While my business grew a little, my waistline grew a lot. Some of my past food issues started to appear.

Overall, my chronic pain issues became worse because of the extra weight I am carrying around. I’m miserable. My depression and PTSD have been overbearing and I’ve been struggling to even maintain daily day-to-day activities.

Now, here I am accepting offers for foods that don’t really fit my lifestyle or business model I had set for YUM just because they paid. And sadly, there aren’t a lot of offers out there for the items I do use. I started to feel really shitty about it too. I was stressed out. It felt forced and not at all me. It started to not be fun and exciting.

I guess I just lost my way.

I discussed with all my sponsor companies about switching from an all-food blog to a lifestyle site so that my main focus does not have to be food. All of them were perfectly fine with that and a few of them felt it would be an awesome opportunity for me because that would mean more sponsorship opportunities.

But, at the end of the day, YUM is my love. It’s my little restaurant on the web and there is a reason why I write here.

So, I had to start checking bloggers who do not use sponsors as their focus of income and instead focus on things like selling their photography, selling their recipes, creating and selling printables, creating and selling recipe books and bringing in advertising and sponsors that do match.

These last few weeks I have had to take a step back and find my focus again. I’m going to be 40 in a few weeks days and that really has me evaluating a lot in my life.

I want to go back to creating healthy, clean recipes.

I want to travel more. 

I want to focus more on me and getting healthy and less on paid sponsorship for items I have no business putting in my body (or bringing into my home;) even if that means a severe drop in my blogging income.  I’ll still take on sponsorships, but only if they are truly something I want to create with and enjoy.

I’m also going to be saying ‘no’ a lot more to people who want me to review their products for free (unless it is something that fits and is extremely useful to me; making it worth my time.)

I’m going to spend more time going back to the beginning and going back to what got me here in the first place. Blogging has been a part of my life for so long I can’t imagine a life without it.

Honesty. Integrity. Real food and real experiences. 

Healthy weight loss will hopefully come in the process.

Thank you to all of you who have stuck around through all the ups and downs and even these last few months when I wasn’t posting as much. It really means a lot to me.

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  1. Chrystal, I love the honesty and I love the blog. You have to do what is right for you and what makes you happy.

  2. I can totally relate to taking on opportunities that don’t fit with who you are because they pay, and because you feel like you have to in order to grow. I think many bloggers do that for a while, then realize that it doesn’t feel good, and go back to who they were. Good for you for recognizing it, and for doing what you need to do for yourself. In the long run, that will bring you more than you ever could have dreamed of!

  3. Food blogging is tough and I’ve always wondered how the bloggers didn’t eat everything they make. I think if you get back to heatlhy recipe it will help not only you but others as well! I can’t wait to see what direction you go!

  4. This is a great post! I know that I think about food all the time too. So does my daughter. But she is disciplined enough to work out almost every day too. Thanks for sharing this because it makes me feel more normal 🙂 Okay maybe not normal cuz who wants to be normal. But you know what I mean 🙂

  5. I’ve heard from a few food bloggers just how hard it can be so I totally understand! I try to post a food related post a week, i wish I could be a food blogger but I can’t make anything look as lovely as you guys!

  6. Thanks for sharing this post, I’m sure it was hard to share such personal information on the internet! I too felt lost in my blog until recently. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and refocus your life.

  7. Hugs to you for being so open and honest. That’s what I love about this blog…it’s always like talking to a friend. You are so right in your attitude about blogging. Do what YOU want to do, talk about stuff YOU like. The rest of us probably like it, too. And, some of us can relate about eating disorders and depression…I think more people suffer from these than most people realize.

    Still loving the blog, and you!

  8. I am a newer reader so I had no idea about your food struggles, but I can totally understand about never wanting to be niched.

    Sadly as a women you are immediately a ‘mom blogger’ – I do NOT have children

    As a Latina I am niched a ‘Latina Blogger’ – I am a Latina who happens to have a blog I don’t want to write about the Latina/o celeb du jour who passed gas, that’s so NOT my mission in life.

    I had often considered re-branding but that is the only thing I am glad I never did I’m glad I stuck to my original name and branding.

    1. I totally get this. I was always being lumped into the mom blogger category even before kiddo came into my life. When she did enter my life, she was only with us on weekends. That is not the case now, but my blog has nothing to do with being a mom and I just got tired of every company out there assuming that all bloggers are mom bloggers who do or don’t stay home.

  9. I can only imagine how hard food blogging is. You have to do what is best and right for you. You are what is most important and everything will come from the best you!

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. That is not always easy to do. Finding something that makes us happy and also make a living is an issue for many of us. I have my own issues with food and as I get ready to launch a plant based food blog I am really contemplating mixing lifestyle or travel. Do what makes you happy.

  11. Most of my posts are recipes, too, but I’ve only been blogging for a couple of years. I stopped doing free posts about a year ago. I just don’t have the time or inclination to drive traffic to someone else’s website for free. I’m so impressed that you have been blogging for as long as you have.

  12. I am an aspiring food blogger and already am questioning that decision. I wanted to blog about what I love, and that is food, but damn, this is not easy! Thank you for sharing your honest opinion!

  13. My food and animal blogs are the two I do the best in. My food blog consist of a little of every thing. Cooking has always been a niche I have been good at. It doesn’t matter if it was healthy, comfort or down right sinful. I can write about it. I am sorry you have had an awful time with it. I am hoping being a beginning blogger I do not run in to pitfalls. Any tips to help me avoid it? I too have OCD, Anxiety and Depression.

  14. Good for you for choosing the healthier path! I run a healthy living blog and I know what you mean about sponsored content. I try to make healthier versions to make the sponsored post fit with my theme. Sometimes I feel like it works and others not so much. However I have been a lot pickier than I was 5 years ago 😉

  15. This blog post seems like you picked it right out of my head. I can relate on so many levels. Not only am I trying to lose weight after battling cancer, but I have been doing more restaurant reviews and my waistline has been growing. I think I finally have it under control, however I just can’t seem to turn off the blogger part of my brain when my husband and I go out for a meal.

  16. This is so true. I have a food blog and I thought it is the easiest thing to do since I love to cook and eat. But when I have seen the other food blogs and how much these food bloggers invest time and effort to post their articles, I realized that it isn’t easy at all.

  17. Thank you for sharing so openly with us, your readers, because it isn’t an obligation of yours. But it’s wonderful to know what lies ahead. It sounds like you’ve got a great direction, and I’m excited to see the journey!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story. I can see why being a food blog could be very hard. I too have a binge eating disorder and the other conditions you had mentioned. I think that is a great idea that your only going to do reviews that are worth wild. I have done that myself and feel so much better not wasting my time on cheap review products. Again thanks for sharing.

    1. Lighting drives me insane. I don’t have good natural light here in MI and I have yet to invest in an artificial one. So, I just do the best I can. Sadly, it hinders my ability to get into FoodGawker and places like that.

  19. I really admire food bloggers. I have only written a few food based posts and really struggled. I am a loyal reader of your blog and love it!

  20. I love your homesty. I too suffer from chronic pain and know the effects of a growing waist line. Maybe you could add health and fitness to this site.

    Or even grab a new domain. I bet foodie blogging is tough. I know their seems like a ton of food opps from the outside looking in.

  21. Do what is best for you and what you love to do. I started my food blog because of opportunities but now that they are slowly disappering, I love it even more as I can post what I really like and use.

  22. I’m glad you shared your story. I do a lot of ghostwriting. It’s hard to say “no” to a well-paying article, but there are some I just don’t take for several reasons. If something makes you uncomfortable or unhappy, a “no” is usually the right answer. I enjoy reading the different food articles, but have to remember not to make every recipe and try every restaurant – and gosh, it’s hard to say no.

  23. Thankyou for being so honest here! I started out as a food blogger or I guess wanna be food blogger and just like you mentioned I was automatically a “mom blogger”. Even the food companies were more interested in my family than my food and I had never even wrote a post about my family back then. Now I consider myself more of a lifestyle blogger with my main focus food because to make money the brands wanted family life. Have to admit is is easier to come up with topics to blog these days since it’s not food 24/7… But food is what I know so the food writing came easy to me. Sometimes I feel my post lack when talking family because well, I’m the last person you would expect to write mommy life stuff so I get writers block especially with sponsored family post lol…

  24. I have always loved reading food reviews. i have often thought it would be so fun to do until i met a few food bloggers and found out how much work it is.

  25. Totally agree with you! I have so many recipes I want to do and take pictures of. But lets be honest, its hard work!

  26. I love reading food blogs. I get so many great recipes from them. It is a great way to get a honest opinion on a place before you go.

  27. One must always be honest with their own self, you have an amazing food blog. The recipes and food shared here make my belly growl. I am glad you are able to be honest with yourself, being self aware in anything is a huge first step to success!

  28. Bravo to you for evaluating and keeping it real for yourself. Without that you won’t produce authentic content that resonates for readers either. I think blogging changes over time and worse than not changing with it is blogging about something for which you’ve lost your passion. You sound like you have it all figured out!

  29. Even though I follow your blog for some time now I rarely comment. But this post made me want to say something. You are a brave person to admit that blogging is not an easy and miraculous job. You should definitively focus on yourself and what makes happy – otherwise having a 9 to 5 job or be a blogger will be the same. Hope you can reach your new goals!

  30. Thank you for sharing. Your honesty with your struggles is really refreshing. Take the time you need to do what’s best for you. It’s more important than any sponsor. Besides, you’ve already listed some great ideas to keep making income from what you do.

  31. I feel your pain in many ways. I too, have a niche that is great but very hard when it comes to sponsors and sticking to clean eating. Everything that is easy to sell is packaged and full of extras that my gallbladder and guts don’t need. I guess I could chew something for taste and spit it out… HAHAHA That’s not going to happen.
    I’ll stick with reading your blog because you are honest. Thank you. Keep being you, a healthy you.

    1. It is such a fickle niche to be in. I don’t have a gallbladder, so I am not supposed to be eating half of this stuff anyway! I think I just needed to take a step back and really visualize what I wanted from this website. So, I slowed down a bit over the summer to really focus on me; something that has been severely neglected.

      Thank you so much Amanda for dropping by. Always enjoy meeting other #MichiganBloggers

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