By now we all know well that social media far from reality, but when we are in the depths of our channels, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. This refers to one of the biggest trends currently flooding our feeds: What I Eat in a Day.
When I first discovered this trend, I felt palpable confusion. Step-by-step acquaintance with the carefully prepared dishes of the creators left me at a loss. what healthy eating looks like to me. Like someone who’s recovering from years of eating disorderI was receptive to this universal approach to diets. BBelow I will talk about this trend – what it is, why it can be harmful, and how I have learned to put up with the spread of diet diaries. And if you also feel uneasy about this trend, know that you can always change your mind about it.
What is the “What do I eat per day” trend?
Watching a short video of someone detailing the food and snacks they’ve eaten in the past 24 hours can feel dry and, frankly, boring. However, the personal content of the video “What I eat in a day” engagement driver for many online creators. By browsing the #WIEIAD hashtag, you’ll see short videos that highlight everything a person has eaten in a day, from their morning cup of coffee to their afternoon dessert (if they have one). Today, the #WhatIEatInADay tag has accumulated over 12.8 billion views on TikTok.
As with a lot of online videos, this trend started on YouTube. This can be traced back to the early 2010s, when users started tracking your food (and often calories). Fast forward a couple of years and videos have become a significant part of the healthy lifestyle conversation, with the vegan and fitness communities leading the way. Daily diet diaries began to appear in abundance on YouTube, and this content has spread from fitness to more general areas of life. With the advent of TikTok and the advent of clips, these short videos set the stage for an even easier way to roll out What I Eat in a Day content. Thanks to social media, we can now track and recreate the diets of others for themselves.
Why the social media trend can be disruptive:
Most of the foods and meal plans shown in What I Eat in a Day videos are not inherently harmful, and many advertise the benefits of nutrient-dense, satisfying foods. However, this content can become obsessive and prevent us from choosing the products we really want and need.
“Many of these videos promote food culture and disordered eating behavior. When watching these videos, people may feel uncomfortable and worried about what they eat during the day compared to these specially curated videos.” Chelsea Cronengoldpublic relations manager for the National Eating Disorders Association, shared with health line. For example, viewers may feel that eating larger portions than what is shown in the video is wrong and therefore plan to cut back.
These videos are often made with good intentions. Some videos even highlight the importance flexible eating styles or how to eat more sustainably. But just because your favorite influencer eats a certain way, even if it’s a healthy lifestyle, doesn’t mean you should, too. While I appreciate the hint of inclusiveness with caveats like “intuitive and non-restrictive,” it can still lead people to think there is a right way and a wrong way to eat. Remember, our days and our diets are different, and one person’s nutritional needs are not the same as another’s. which intuitive eating what looks to one person will by definition look completely different to another.
Registered Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert shared with business insider what someone else is eating – healthy, ecological, realistic or not –may be the exact opposite of what the other person needs. And just because the FDA uses 2,000 calories a day as the standard nutritional recommendation, your needs may fall above or below that threshold. So when it comes to counting calories, watching videos of What I Eat in a Day can become even more confusing and potentially dangerous for viewers.
How #WIEIAD can be used for good:
Ask your intentions for viewing.
Even as I critique this trend, What I Eat in a Day has helped me discover interesting food brands, try new recipes, and learn how to enjoy the aesthetics of Tupperware cookware. As I watched videos for inspiration beyond nutrition and meal planning, I began to enjoy them. And that’s what it all boils down to – the intent you invoke when you click on a post or click the play button on a video.
While we can still look and feel inspired, we must remain firm in our truth, knowing that whatever we eat is perfectly fine as long as it supports our unique and personal needs. As with all social media, I ask you to be curious and critical of the content you consume. Some questions that might be helpful to ask yourself:
- Does this video make me feel like I should change the way I eat?
- Do I feel bad or bad about my eating habits after watching?
- Do I feel inspired and excited to try new foods and cook new recipes?
- Does the creator make me feel noticed because his budget or physique is similar to mine?
Look to be inspired, not to reproach yourself.
If you get a serotonin rush every time you watch videos of colorful fruits, vegetables, snacks, and sweets, by all means, enjoy it. And if you’re tired of your old breakfast routine or guilty of doing the same for dinner every day, there’s nothing wrong with a recipe or video being the catalyst for your own creations. Watching other people eat can be helpful. If you see a dish that looks appetizing and you want to try it your way, go for it! Just be sure to recognize that not every meal of the day has to be exactly like theirs. If you’re starting to feel bad about the way you’re eating, it might be time to stop browsing.
Online food content can allow you to learn more about yourself and develop a better relationship with your eating habits. As someone with a big appetite for novelty, I find immeasurable joy in discovering the best hacks for slicing avocados and diving deep into basic recipes from other cultures. JSince food is fuel, it is also pleasure and an opportunity to connect with people and the world around you.
So, look for inspiration, then put your phone down and eat, cook, and create in whatever way feels right to you. And if it’s really beautiful and you’re proud of it, feel free to take a photo or video. Just remember that the above rules apply: your plate shouldn’t look like anyone else’s.