At least once a week, an Instagram follower will reach out to me and ask me some variation of A) whether I eat the food I actually post (yes, duh!); or B) whether I can put together videos or otherwise share what I eat in a day. They say they would find it helpful.
Now, I get it. People are curious to see what other people do; and with me, I share a lot of treats, so there is somewhat of an intrigue around what other foods I consume in my daily life. I even receive (well-intended) comments like “I don’t know how you bake everything you do and stay so skinny.”
To be honest, it ALL just really makes me sad. In fact, I can’t even get on social media these days without seeing these (very popular!) “what I eat in a day” or “full day of eating” videos. They flood my feed. But where I see the biggest issue with them, is that most of these videos are created by tiny girls, showing very little food on their plates. That’s fine, if that caloric intake is sufficient for their body, but I think it sends an unhealthy signal to others – especially our younger generations – that if they eat the same as X, that they too, will look like them. The reality is, we are all so different and have different nutritional needs, and what works for one might not work for someone else.
Additionally, even as someone who’s fully healed from a 15-year eating disorder, I still find these things triggering. Why? Because when I watch them, I watch them through the eyes of the younger me; the young girl that wanted to know what all the skinny girls were eating, so I could copy them; eat what they ate; and pray that I’d look like them too…only to find myself getting sicker and sicker…
No. 1 – What I eat in a day might trigger someone else.
For instance, I consume a lot of food throughout the day. I’m active and I eat a lot. But there are other days when I simply don’t eat as much. Why? I may not be as hungry as the day before, who knows. For me, it’s my normal. And I don’t want anyone to take my normal and use it as their normal. WE are all unique and have different nutritional requirements, and what works for me, might not work for anyone else.
No. 2 – I want to be a role model for younger girls.
I don’t want people to come to my page looking for what I eat. Instead, I want to encourage people to focus on how food makes them feel, and to let that principle be their guiding factor for what they should eat in a given day.
No. 3 – A healthy lifestyle is much more than just what we eat in a day.
Food is only part of the equation when it comes to a healthy lifestyle; a healthy lifestyle also includes indulgences; it includes self-care; it includes a healthy mind and healthy relationships in our lives. We need to think of health and wellness holistically, and not just tie it to food.
No. 4 – I have lots of healthy snack and meal ideas here on my blog!
The reason why some people say that they like these “what I eat in a day” videos is because it gives them ideas for new snacks or meals. I understand that; but I don’t think you need to see someone’s day of eating to generate ideas. Take a look around my beautiful new website for hundreds of new ideas!
No. 5 – Because I’d rather talk about other – more important – things happening in the world.
What I eat in a day is the least interesting thing about me!
I hope you find this article useful. In sum, I think we need to think about the bigger implications of content that we share. The fact is, 9% of the U.S. population—or 28.8 million Americans—will have an eating disorder in their lifetimes, so perhaps we remember that statistic the next time we create content that could potentially trigger those with an unhealthy relationship with food – particularly our younger generation.