filming what i eat in a day video
  • September 8, 2023

Episode 27: We Have A Problem With What I Eat In a Day Content

  Today we’re chatting all about we have a problem with What I Eat in a Day content. I have […]

 

Today we’re chatting all about we have a problem with What I Eat in a Day content. I have been wanting to do this episode for ages. 

 

BOOK IN A FREE DISCOVERY CALL WITH OUR DIETITIANS
 

Megan Boswell

Let’s start by chatting about What I Eat in a Day content actually is. Chances are that you’ve probably come across it before if you’re on the socials.

But if you haven’t, it’s essentially content. It could be like static posts or videos or vlogs and things showing everything someone eats in a day.

Oftentimes, it’s from different influences of different backgrounds. So it could be like a nutritionist, a dietician, a naturopath, a health and lifestyle or wellness influencer, different kinds of coaches, personal trainers.

Originally, a lot of this content was focused a bit more around different recipes to be provided meal prep ideas and inspiration. But I think it’s definitely evolved over the years to be maybe a little bit more sinister to put it that way.

 

Kiah Paetz

Yeah, there’s definitely some benefits though, to What I Eat in a Day videos. I definitely think sometimes,  you can get really good food ideas like meal and snack ideas, different recipe inspiration.

I know when I was first eating a plant-based diet myself, it would be really good way of seeing ideas of what I could have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. So it can give you inspiration in that way.

 

Megan Boswell

I guess in terms of other ways in which it can still be beneficial – sometimes if it’s coming from the right person, maybe it’s someone who has like quite a healthy relationship with food, it can provide role modelling for eating enough in a day.

This is opposed to a lot of weight loss focused ones or very low-calorie options. It could either promote eating enough, or just eating more in general, or having an all-foods-fit approach. So maybe they do include cake and chocolate alongside fruit and vegetables, and they don’t ban any foods from their diet. That could be positive.

 

 

 

Kiah Paetz

Definitely. But there are some downsides as well. I think the first one that I always like to rant about is the fact that it always starts with the ab shot or like some sort of body-checking behaviour in the mirror.

 

Megan Boswell

Yeah. And sometimes it can be a little bit more subtle – so if it’s not someone holding their stomach and posing, it could be shots of them, where they’re standing in a certain way where it’s obvious that they have a thigh gap. Or, they’re like tensing or maybe like an image of them in the gym. So it’s like ‘fitspo’.

 

Kiah Paetz

The issue we have with this is that immediately creates a thought that, if I eat this way and follow that person’s diet, I’m going to look like them. Which we know is completely incorrect because food metabolises everyone’s bodies differently.

Everyone’s nutritional needs are different. So just because you eat exactly the same as someone else doesn’t mean that your body shape will be the same as someone else.

 

Megan Boswell

Absolutely. I mean, we know that even in terms of diversity and bodies amongst human beings, we like to use the dog park analogy.

You know, when you go to a dog park, you might see some Poodles, maybe like a Rottweiler and maybe like bigger dogs, like, like a Border Collie, Great Dane, for example. We don’t look at the dogs and think the poodle is wrong, because it’s a smaller dog.

We know that within humans – I was actually listening to podcasts about some research the other day, as you do, and they’re talking about how something like 85% of our BMI, not that we love BMI, but can be accounted for by genetic factors, that is massive. So much of how we look is purely genetics.

 

Megan Boswell

What are some other downsides, Kiah?

 

Kiah Paetz

It can lead to comparison to others.

Both from the start with the body checking, it can make us go, “Okay, I don’t look like that, I should look like that I’m not good enough.

But then also, from the food perspective, it can make you feel really insecure about what you’re eating. Whether you’re potentially worried you’re not eating enough, or you’re particularly worried that you’re eating too much.

 

 

 

Megan Boswell

Yep. And every single person has different needs when it comes to nutrition. Everyone has a slightly different metabolism, and different energy needs, all of those things are going to affect how much food you actually need.

So you can’t really compare your food intake directly to someone’s intake that you see on Instagram or Tiktok.

 

Kiah Paetz

It’s also very unrealistic – it’s so unrealistic that they eat like that every day.

I know both you and I post food photos on Instagram. But a lot of the time when I post food photos, I don’t actually eat that portion, I probably eat a completely different portion to the one that a photo just because sometimes when you’re taking photos of food, it looks better being presented in a different way.

I don’t really take photos of food as much these days. But you know, it’s not accurate. What you see on there is not true.

Megan Boswell

It’s always gonna be a highlight reel, just like almost everything on Instagram is a highlight reel.

The day of eating that you get shown is going to be perfectly manipulated or curated to get a certain message across. Even if it’s a day of eating where they show that they’re eating like a piece of cake alongside everything else. We don’t know what thoughts or feelings they have about that cake, whether they even reduce their calorie intake on the following day to make up for the cake or anything like that.

We don’t know anything about the relationship with food behind the scenes or what else goes on across the rest of the week.

Kiah Paetz

Definitely, it can promote a lot of eating disorder and disordered eating behaviour as well like calorie counting.

I know I’ve seen so many What I Eat in a Day videos that are horrific. The calories are so low, way lower than what you need to function as a human. And people are listing off the calories of every single food.

So really promoting disordered eating, but trying to frame it in this area of “I’m trying to look after myself, I’m trying to lose weight“, or whatever it is.

 

Kiah Paetz

It can also promote certain diets as well. So you know, using super low-fat products or artificially-sweetened diets, or low carb or super high protein or whatever kind of diet is the flavour of the month.

 

Megan Boswell

And really excessive supplementation –  like in a lot of these What I Eat in a Day videos there are so many different expensive supplement pills, powders potions. We want to avoid excessive supplementation,

Kiah Paetz 

They can encourage skipping meals as well, or things like coffee or drinks. Coffee is not a meal. FYI, guys, coffee is not even a snack on its own.

It can also encourage burning off food with exercise. So again, creating that mentality that you have to earn what you eat, which is completely not true. You don’t have to earn what you eat. 

Megan Boswell 

And I think the thing that we want to come back to is that there’s always going to be an agenda behind these videos, whether it’s a positive and really wholesome agenda, trying to promote a healthy relationship with food, or it’s an agenda that is maybe really focused on trying to sell you something.

That’s something that we want to watch out for. We want to think what is this person selling? And are they trying to create fear or trying to create this image that if I do X, Y, and Z I’m going to look like them will be like them?

 

Kiah Paetz

Have a look and see if like any brands are tagged in the caption. In Australia, I don’t think it’s illegal to not declare ads. But in America, you have to legally declare if you’re being sponsored for a post, as most place like most places across the board now I generally do that anyway, even though it’s not a legal requirement here. 

 

So in terms of how to navigate this across social media, there’s kind of three main questions that we want to ask yourself:

Megan Boswell 

So start with how does watching this content make me feel?

Do you feel inspired, excited to go try a new recipe? Do you feel good about yourself?

Or do you feel encouraged to start another diet? And you need to cut down your calories or avoid certain foods or limit things? Does it create any fear or anxiety around eating?

 

 

Kiah Paetz

Second question is, what’s the background of this person? So are they a dietician?

Do they promote having a good healthy relationship with food? Or is there kind of signs that they have disordered eating themselves?

Potentially, are they coming from a place of privilege? There’s a lot of different factors that may influence whether that person’s a reputable source of information on Instagram. 

 

Megan Boswell

Yeah, and I would say that acknowledgement of privilege is really important, but rarely done. I don’t often see people talking about the fact that they maybe have a life or work schedule where they can make home-cooked meals from scratch three times a day, or they were raised in a family where they had nutrition knowledge and good food and things provided to them that they otherwise like other people might not have had access to.

Kiah Paetz 

Or their genetics just makes them look the way they are.

 

Megan Boswell

Or money – if they’re like really financially well off.

I feel like that’s important. And a lot of this content can be really out of touch with the average person and what they can afford.

Like I’m not out here buying chia seeds and spirulina and 5 million supplements because I’ve got a food budget.

Kiah Paetz  

I guess kind of we’ve kind of covered this a little bit – but can we spot any disordered eating or body image red flags with this person as well?

So sometimes the person might not know themselves that they’re experiencing disordered eating. But hopefully you’ve listened to our podcasts, and you might be able to spot them in social media yourself.

If any of the pages that you follow are making you feel not worthy or not good enough, as a person, not good within your body that you need to do better. You can always click unfollow. And we highly, highly recommend that you do that.

 

Megan Boswell

Otherwise, if it is someone that you don’t want to offend, you can always mute their account, or posts, or stories. And you can also ask Instagram to show less content like that.

Megan Boswell  

In summary, we talked about What I Eat in a Day content, what it actually is, what are some of the benefits in terms of recipe inspiration, or maybe promoting  an all-foods-fit approach

Kiah Paetz

We talked about some of the downsides that can really cause us to compare against other people. And it’s often pretty unrealistic to begin with.

 

Megan Boswell

We talked about how to navigate coming across it on social media so few questions to ask yourself which include –  how does watching the content make you feel? What is the background of the person and can you spot any disordered eating or body image red flags?

 

 

BOOK IN A FREE DISCOVERY CALL WITH OUR DIETITIANS

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