What I Eat In a Day Posts: Harmful or Helpful?

what I eat in a day post - image of a wall with abstract faces in graffiti in black, white, yellow, teal, and reds

What I Eat in a Day

No doubt you’ve seen the posts I’m talking about. Wellness influencers, dieticians, chefs, vloggers, TikTokers and some recovery advocates have
built their following through documenting “what I eat in a day” posts. Typically these are videos or photos capturing the person’s daily consumption of food. Is there a potential for harm from this?

For some, I have no doubt there is. Why? As a species we are naturally interested and intrigued by other people and their habits. That’s society, our culture. The issue can arise when we compare ourselves to these vloggers, influencers or sports personnel. Often although well intentioned, there is no nutritional or general health evidence supporting the content. Typically these posts have a theme. What I eat in a day for XYZ. I get it, they are supposed to be inspiring. I.e. this is how I recovered, this is how I cleared my skin, lost weight, bla bla bla.

Helpful or Harmful?

But what if following these kind of posts and media is actually harmful? To those of us with eating disorders I personally believe however well intentioned, there is a real potential to threaten recovery.

We already know that comparing ourselves to anyone other than our self is not constructive to healing our self worth, body image or all the things we need to work on to heal our relationships with our mind and body. Following such posts could lead us down a path which may actually worsen our anxiety. Just because someone lives a certain way and has recovered does not mean we will too.

Our bodies are all unique with individual requirements.

You can’t expect to eat the same as someone else and that make you healthy. No, it’s more realistic it will lead you to feel worse about yourself because it’s “not working”.

There simply is a no universal diet that fits all- except eating what your body requires.

What you see on social media isn’t always the truth. What’s good for social media doesn’t necessarily equal reality. Therefore, what someone says they eat in a day, may not be the full picture, especially if they are themselves in the throws of an eating disorder. No matter how well intentioned these posts are, I’m not convinced. The people behind the content often inhabit smaller, “societal acceptable” bodies, further fuelling fat phobia.

If it’s not a HAES dietician or provider I’m even more concerned for several reasons.

Anything that promotes diet culture, such as terms including “clean eating” has no place in a person’s recovery. Period.

We also as a society are extremely privileged. What about those who are not so fortunate, those who eat what they can and do not have the luxury to eat anything beyond this. The posts are not all inclusive. Commonly the dishes are aesthetic with lots of color and expensive foods.

They set unrealistic expectations and often misleading advice such as “detoxifying”. There’s no such thing, it’s what your body was designed to do itself.

So, next time you think about sharing what you eat in a day, or following what someone else eats in a day, ask yourself, is it really helping?

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