What I Eat In A Day Videos – The What, Who, Where, How, Why and Why Not….

 The WHAT; 

‘What I Eat In A Day’ videos do exactly what they say on the tin. People record, film and comment on everything they eat on a particular day and upload it on the internet for everyone to see. This is just another in a long line of ‘fitness’ trends obsessing over food, appearance and ‘health’. Moreover, there is such a huge appetite for these videos that they even warrant their own hashtag. 

The WHO; 

From observation, most – if not all- of these videos are made by young women who are often thin, white and relatively wealthy.  Caroline Mahon, from DCU Healthy, also noted that all the videos she viewed met this criteria.  

The WHERE; 

Although these videos have made the transition to TikTok, the original birthplace of this trend was Youtube. Younger users are being exposed to this content, without the knowledge or life experience to accompany it. The minimum age required to join TikTok is thirteen, however, a recent article in the New York Times suggests that almost a third of all users are under fourteen years old or younger. 

The HOW; 

TikTok Community Guidelines states that they do not allow ‘Content that depicts, promotes, normalizes, or glorifies self-harm or eating disorders or content that provides instructions on how to engage in self-harm or eating disorders.’ Despite this however, these videos are readily available and do not come with any sense of warning or caution. 

The WHY;

A quick Youtube search throws up a multitude of different ‘What I Eat In A Day’ videos. Many of these videos either include the words ‘healthy’, ‘weight loss’ or ‘calorie counting’ in the title. Even more worryingly, a large proportion of these videos have a picture of the person’s body in the thumbnail. 

Many people (mainly young girls) watch these videos and attempt to emulate eating habits with the hopes that they will eventually look the same. A recent MyWorld survey reported that 88% of females are constantly trying to lose weight. 

Caroline Mahon feels that there is no place for these videos in the current climate and as a society we ‘still have a lot of work to do’, before we can objectively view these videos and use them in any productive or effective manner. 

 

The WHY NOT; 

An article in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, found that of those reported to have an eating disorder, ‘a total of 75.4% of girls and 69.9% of boys had at least one SM (social media) account where Instagram was the most common, used by 68.1% of girls and 61.7% of boys." Proving that there is a clear link between social media and eating disorders. 

The HSE have reported that hospitalisations associated with eating disorders have doubled in recent years. Many of these ‘What I Eat In A Day’ videos promote under eating and orthorexia (obsession with ‘clean eating’), which are biased on little, or inaccurate ‘scientific evidence’. 

Caroline Mahon suggests ‘maybe just…don’t watch them and have real conversation with friends and family about the constructed world of social media, versus the reality we are living in. 

In conclusion, you do you boo. Eat when you are hungry. Whether it is pizza, pasta, salad, ice-cream, or all the above, just listen to your body – that way you have more energy and brainpower left to conquer the world.  

The author of the book ‘The F*ck It Diet’, Caroline Dooner, reminds us of two particularly important facts. ‘The irony is that obsessing over health is incredibly unhealthy’ and ‘You are not just alive to pay bills and lose weight’. 

If you have been affected by anything mentioned above, please visit; Bodywhys | The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland