‘What I Eat in a Day’ Videos: Why?

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What is the point of ‘what I eat in a day’ videos? Obviously, they show you what the person ate that day, but beyond that what is the point of them? Why do they show you what a person ate in a day? Why are they popular social media videos? And why do I keep watching them?

A logical explication is that they are meant to be recipe inspiration. Yet that can’t be the case, most of them don’t include recipes, and last time I checked you don’t need a recipe to buy a store-bought protein bar. I have, personally, watched many ‘what I eat in a day’ videos and I have literally never made a recipe from one. Not a single one.

Arguably, ‘what I eat in day’ videos are basically just videos to encourage disordered eating. Particularly because many ‘what I eat in a day’ videos actively promote and encourage people to eat far less than they need to. These are primarily on TikTok and they remain the reason why TikTok scares me. Even when the posts are not this extreme, they still are about controlled eating. Most of them include calorie figures (and sometimes macros). There is not a logical reason to tell others what you are eating in this much detail.

However, even when they do not actively encourage disordered eating, they still unconsciously encourage it. Time and again people say that one of the motivators of disordered eating is comparison. And that, to me, is what these posts are: they are a point of comparison for the viewer. These types of posts naturally make you compare what you eat to what the creator makes. This serves no purpose… except for creating negative thoughts about food. 

One of my main gripes of these types of posts is that they always (literally always) include an image of the creator’s body in the thumbnail or start of the video. By this I mean you see the creator’s abs – always the abs. Side note: most workout videos include the same image – once you notice this you will be unable to unsee it. But why? Why do all these videos include this particular image? It seems to suggest that eating like them will make you look like them. There are so many reasons that this is not the case: most of them come down to the fact that you literally have a completely different body.

Don’t get me wrong, not all ‘what I eat in a day’ videos are the same. Some of them do good things and encourage positive thoughts about food. Now, there are lots of ‘what I eat in a day’ videos that challenge disordered eating: they encourage eating more and honouring your body’s needs. If this is something that interests you, then I suggest you check out Linda Sun’s videos: her voice over is always like a comforting hug.

But these positive ‘what I eat in day’ videos still make me feel slightly uncomfortable. I don’t fully know how I feel about them. Even if they are doing good they can still be used as a point of comparison.

‘What I eat in a day’ videos are definitely interesting to think about. If you watch them, I encourage you to think about why you watch them and if they are good for you.

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