It’s been tough to write these past few weeks. It’s been tougher than usual to read. Focusing is hard. I feel drained of creative energy and, even when I do feel inspired to write, I can’t focus long enough to finish any train of thought.
That being said — there are certain things that get me so worked up that I am compelled, above all else, by my desire to rant!
This week’s topic: the “What I Eat in a Day” videos.
Because I live under a rock, I only found out about this trend a week or two ago. And, thanks to YouTube/Instagram/etc. algorithms, once I watched one, my feed became full of them! For those who aren’t familiar, it’s become popular for celebrities, personalities, and influencers to post videos or pictures of “What [They] Eat in a Day.” I’m not even going to link to any of them here because…
tl;dr: They make me want to vomit.
They are silly, yes, and another great example of content the world could very easily do without. But, more than that, they are harmful and irresponsible.
Obviously, these videos are subject to the same toxic themes as social media more generally:
- They highlight the best, most curated parts of someone’s life rather than their reality
- They offer an explicit way to compare an aspect of your life to someone else’s
But what makes me angry about these videos – angrier than social media already does – is the irresponsibility with which celebrities and influencers post them.
I don’t want to target specific groups, but for the sake of being explicit in making my point, I have to: I think it’s awful that professional athletes, models, and “fitness/wellness” influencers post this content. I keep coming back to the word irresponsible because I don’t know how else to describe it.
It’s their job to make money from clicks and endorsements and views, I get that. But in what world could any of these people post that content in good conscience, or ignore the fact that its implicit message is, “Hey! I’m super fit/talented/skinny! This is what I eat in a day, so if you do the same, you can look/perform like me! Come compare what you’re eating to what I’m eating and fuel your own self-hatred and anxiety!”
I hate that it’s posted under the guise of “I am super healthy myself, so copy me!” because – guess what?! – health is physical and mental. And the most ironic thing about this content is that I bet you last month’s paycheck at least 75% of these athletes/models/influencers have/had eating disorders, disordered eating, or other mental health conditions. It’s an absolute joke to me that a professional athlete who has spoken publicly about their experience with an eating disorder will then go and post one of these videos knowing from personal experience the impact it could have on someone struggling with disordered eating. I want so badly to believe they are simply ignorant but that seems impossible.
Any dietitian worth a fraction of your time (read: ***not*** some “wellness” blogger) will tell you in a heartbeat that eating is incredibly personal and specific to an individual’s needs. What works for one person does not work for everyone. And if you compare your eating habits and nutritional needs to those of others not only will you not be physically healthy, but your mental health will take a niiiiice little downward spiral.
It would be naïve of me to sit here and ask you, my friends and peers, to stop watching that content. In an ideal world, we would. We’d put down our phones and stop incessantly scrolling through pictures and videos generated by people we don’t even know in real life. Unfortunately, we are all subject to consuming what’s presented to us and this crap content is what we’re getting these days. What I
ask scream at athletes/models/influencers (who definitely aren’t reading this blog, but at least writing it has been cathartic) is this: stop being dumb and irresponsible. Stop projecting your own insecurities and issues onto your millions of followers. Stop showing only half the picture (aka, displaying your six-pack and your egg whites but leaving out that eating and exercise control your life and you’re extremely unhappy as a result). Be a role model.