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When this blog first started, the ONLY thing I posted were pictures of the food I was eating every day.
And while part of it was simply because I love food and liked sharing the meals I was making/enjoying, a larger part was due to the fact that I was still struggling to get myself fully out of diet culture. It took me a long time to realize that I was ultimately doing myself and my audience a disservice with this type of content.
Documenting what I was eating each day was really just perpetuating diet culture’s demand for tracking/logging/monitoring intake. While it wasn’t necessarily intentional or done with that in mind, it was still reinforcing that notion. In addition, I feared that what I was sharing could be acting as a sort of permission to others for what they felt was ‘acceptable’ to eat.
While for many my daily meal posts may have served simply as inspiration (my intent), the risk with sharing a full-day look was that for others, it may have been acting as a ‘template.’ I didn’t want my dietary pattern influencing, rather than just inspiring, someone else’s intake. I want those consuming my content to feel so in-tune with their own body, that they don’t need to look to anyone or anything else in order to fuel it in the way that is right for them.
That said, I’ve noticed a real rise in ‘what I eat in a day’ type of content lately and each time I see one of these posts, it makes me uneasy.
Here’s why I’ve really come to feel that, even when they’re showcasing a completely liberalized diet, “What I Eat In A Day” posts are better left unpublished:
It Can Be Disordered
With the pervasiveness of diet culture, it’s rare to find someone untouched. Disordered eating has become so normalized that it can be hard to recognize it.
These posts may seem entirely innocent (or even boring!), but because we have no way of knowing the relationship each individual has with food, there’s no way of knowing whether what they’re posting is simply satisfying their disordered thoughts or a truly intuitive look.
In addition, the descriptors utilized in these posts can further serve to normalize disordered thoughts about food by classifying oneself as ‘bad’ for eating something they deemed ‘unacceptable’ or ‘good’ for sticking only to their safe foods. These little descriptors may seem benign but the more you’re exposed to them, the more they seep into your subconscious and begin to shape your view of food.
It Provides Another Source of External Permission
Often, when we have a peaceful relationship with food and our body, food becomes much less interesting. When we’re restricting or controlling our intake, food – and particularly the food others are making/consuming – becomes a much bigger focus.
The biggest pushback I often get here is something along the lines of “those types of posts really help me to break my restrictive thoughts and patterns.”
Trust me when I say, I get it. I felt the same way when I was working to break free from restriction. But ultimately, using these posts in this way is simply another source of external permission for what’s ‘okay’ or ‘acceptable’ to eat.
Rather than leaning into and trusting your own internal signals, cues and instincts to fuel your body, you are looking to what and how someone else is fueling theirs. While it may feel helpful or motivating short-term, it ultimately isn’t teaching you to listen to and respond to your unique body needs and preferences.
It Doesn’t Apply
Similarly, no two people will eat the exact same foods each day and feel the exact same way in response. In fact, rarely can the SAME person eat the exact same things day in and day out and feel the same way.
We all have different circumstances, environments, stressors, activity levels, metabolisms, preferences, etc. You and only you know your body. Knowing what someone else is eating in a single day therefore, really doesn’t apply to you. If you are applying it to yourself, you’re only serving to further distance yourself from your body’s & its needs.
It’s Myopic & Reductionist
Looking at one day of someone’s eating doesn’t tell you much of anything.
I don’t know about you, but what I eat day to day varies GREATLY depending on my mood, how much sleep I got, how much movement I’ve done, what’s available, etc.
Reducing someone’s entire diet down to a single day of intake is a completely myopic look at a circumstance that is incredibly variable. In the grand scheme of things, it’s my opinion that it really doesn’t serve anyone to showcase content of this nature.
Intake does (and should!) vary day to day. Therefore, trying to draw any sort of conclusions from one (usually pre-planned) day of eating that someone has posted, is pretty much impossible. It’s an entirely incomplete look at a very complex picture.
The bottomline: Dietary patterns and intake are extremely complex. Therefore, it is reductionist and myopic to post “What I Eat In a Day” content. While some may argue this content provides needed inspiration, I would argue that inspiration can much more easily be drawn from a post compiling a number of different recipe options that viewers can pick and choose from to best suit their individual needs.