We seem to be a "show and tell" society. There are so many outlets of social media now, it seems plausible to want to display our lives in every aspect. This definitely has positive outcomes such as catching up on friends you don't see often or finding and learning about new information. But there is also a competitive aspect to this as well.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the "What I Eat in a Day" posts. They are very popular on Instagram and Tik Tok among other sources. We usually see an influencer (usually thin bodied) showing us carefully curated pictures of their day of eats. Notice how I said carefully curated. Now these posts are very different than a culinary page or recipe blogger. I am specifically speaking on someone showcasing all of their meals throughout the day. So what exactly is the harm? It seems innocent enough right? Well let me just say that I used to do this very thing as well, so I'm coming from a place of lived and learned experience. Let me explain.
I recently gave my thoughts on this very subject to Health Magazine. As I mentioned above, I used to also do these very posts thinking very innocently that they would help people. Here I am a dietitian, and everyone is asking me for meal plans and tips anyway so why not just put together some posts about what I eat? I didn't realize it at the time, but I was putting myself under intense pressure because of my profession. I felt that I needed to present myself as an extremely "healthy" individual and I also felt like I had something to prove. It was a feeling of being under a microscope and everyone waiting and watching to see what I was eating. So I did what most people do, I showcased the "healthy" foods of colorful fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and grains. Of course I showed the occasional chocolate chip cookie to make myself seem human, but these were far and few between. This is what I mean when I say the word curated. What was left out of my day of eats, were snacks, extra helpings, the spoonful of sugar that I added to my coffee, the desserts that I had at the end of the day. I left out all the foods that I felt a "good dietitian" wouldn't eat. In a way I was embarrassed if I ate anything else and I didn't dare show it.
Whether we realize it or not, these posts present a concept of eat like me and you will be like me. If you are just a foodie or love to cook, why not present just one recipe or meal at a time? Why are you presenting a full day of eating? What exactly are you promoting? I am not saying this as a way to scold anyone, but really just to ask people who do this to dig a little bit deeper. Especially if you are constantly showcasing your body and it's a thin one, really think about your posts and the message that they may be conveying. It's really not even one individual's fault. We still have not fully accepted the concept of body diversity and we sometimes forget that just because we eat like someone or do the exact same movements as someone, doesn't mean that we will look like that person. What I eat in a day, seems to promote the idea that this is what I eat, so if you ate like this, you can look like me as well. If this is not the intention, then why not promote one meal that you enjoyed or some snacks that you love? It's just something to think about and again, this is not to scold anyone. It's just some food for thought.
Some really great reads this week:
From Vogue India - What we need to learn about fat acceptance
Don't look for the flaws as you go through life;
And even when you find them,
It is wise and kind to be somewhat blind
And look for the virtue behind them.
For the cloudiest night has a hint of light
Somewhere in its shadows hiding;
It is better by far to hunt for a star,
Than the spots on the sun abiding.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox