A brit who now calls Australia home, Sally O'Neil inspires others to adopt a healthy lifestyle through her website and blog, The-fit-foodie.com, social media channels and books.
Sally published her first book, 'Love Move Eat' in 2017 and her second book in October 2019, titled ‘Meal Prep Plan’.
We spent 5 minutes with Sally talking social media, food photography and what's in store for 2020...
1. You have an incredibly popular blog and Instagram, @thefitfoodieblog where you share health and nutrition tips to your audience. Where does your passion for healthy food and living come from?
When I arrived in Australia 9 years ago form the UK, I had no understanding of a healthy diet. At 24 years old, I had zero cooking abilities and didn’t know how to boil an egg. I’d lived off processed food that I would microwave. When I started eating local Australian produce, I realised what I had been missing out on and started to re-create some of my mums recipes, cutting out some of her added sugar and unhealthier fats, and swapping them for healthy equivalents. Over about 9 months, I lost 14kg without ‘dieting’ and I knew then I had to share my recipes back home. The blog began and the rest is history!
2. Over 92,000 people follow your Instagram, which is incredible! Why do you think so many people resonate with your content?
I try to make healthy eating accessible for the time-poor. Its presented beautifully, but not unachievable by any stretch of the imagination! Simple is key. People just want easy, fast food that also nourishes their body. I also share some personal stuff on there along with info from my nutrition studies, which all seems to blend well and draw people in!
3. Food photography and styling is obviously a huge part of what you do. What are some of your top tips for future food bloggers starting out that want to up their insta-game?
I learnt everything I know about food photography and styling on YouTube. Watch how professional photographers set their cameras, what lenses they use, how they edit in Lightroom. Watch stylist set up, where they get there props from and how they plate the food. It’s an incredible and FREE way to get started and pick up some awesome skills.
Unless you’ve mastered a speed light, make sure you shoot next to a window for soft directional lighting and try using a scrim (get these on eBay for $25) to diffuse the lighting when it’s too strong. It gives a beautiful glow and highlights to your photos that really take them to the next level. I share my commercial food photography work at @sallyoneilstylist.
4. You’ve published two books, Love Move Eat and Meal Prep Plan. How much has instagram and your online following helped you realise this dream of being published?
My following has definitely helped me with sales and advertising for the books. For Love Move Eat, I was approached by Bauer Media who asked me to shoot my own content too. They would have made that judgement based on the growth of my online presence and then reached out to me on LinkedIn. The power of the internet!
For the latest book Meal Prep Plan, I actively pitched an idea to Murdoch Books, who also let me have creative control with recipes, shooting and styling.
They definitely take into consideration the amount of people that already look to me for inspiration, because it’s and indicator of how many people already know and trust my content. The book is now being published in German, American (weight conversions), Dutch and French.
5. Going into 2020, what’s next for the Fit Foodie Blog?
I’m in the middle of a BSc in Clinical Nutrition that is taking 6 years part-time. 2020 has a lot of on-site clinic hours (where previously I’ve been studying online) so I’ll be in practice 2 days a week on campus. In between semesters, I’m planning on travelling to Buenos Aries for a month to learn Spanish (that sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!), and do more trips to health retreats. I’m planning on pivoting my business model a little to include more travel content so that’s on the cards too. I’m so happy with where I’m at with my balance between work and play (and making them both the same thing!) that I’m really hoping things continue was they have in 2019.