“What I Eat In A Day” Videos: Harmful or Helpful?

Photo from spruceeats.com

*Trigger Warning: Disordered Eating*

If your “For You Page” on TikTok is anything like ours, then you have probably seen the aesthetically pleasing videos showing what creators are eating in a day. These videos are usually filled with limited amounts of super healthy food. Although there are some videos that show very realistic eating habits, the not-so-realistic versions can cause others to feel guilty about themselves.

Registered dietician Samantha Cassetty says, “It can seem inspiring, and perhaps even helpful, to get a sneak peek into someone else’s eating habits — particularly someone you admire. But it’s best to view these videos with caution or to stop viewing them altogether.”

While some users choose to watch these TikToks for healthy meal inspiration, weight loss or diet change, they can be harmful to others who might be struggling with disordered eating or body image.

TikTok became a popular platform with 1 billion users on the app. Creators are able to post whatever they want as long as they don’t violate TikTok’s community guidelines. Certain creators became popular making videos about what they eat in a day, and it became a “trend” to show your daily eating habits.

In some cases, the calories and macros are shown on the screen with the food. Additionally, some creators will flash their bodies before showing the meals which is promoting the false ideology that if you eat like that, you will look like them.

For people who have pre-exisiting eating disorders or have recovered, these TikToks can be incredibly triggering. What other people are consuming should never be a basis for yourself. RD Cassetty adds, “When you buy into the idea that you should be able to transform your appearance by following someone else’s diet, it can lead to feelings of failure and low self worth, and it may prevent you from seeking or following more suitable advice.”

Not only do these videos promote eating disorder culture, but also this idea that everything you eat should be clean and healthy. Cassetty goes on to say, “We’re constantly inundated with messages that it’s ideal to be thin and these videos often perpetuate those misconceptions by showing mainly smaller-bodied people, many in spandex and belly-baring outfits. In other words, these videos don’t promote body diversity.”

In our society, it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others around us, and that is why it is best to stay away from these videos if you are struggling. If the videos keep showing up on your FYP, TikTok offers a feature where you can let them know you are not interested in seeing this type of content.

Photo from Everygirl.com

With everything comes controversy, and that is why for some individuals these videos are helpful and guide people into a healthier relationship with food. Some creators who may have been triggered or affected by these “perfect” eating videos became inspired to show more realistic habits for their followers. They decided to promote body inclusivity, highlighting the fact that counting calories, not honoring your cravings and restricting your diet is not the way to live your life.

With that being said, these videos can affect everyone differently. For some, they may be incredibly harmful, but for other, they might find them helpful in healing their relationship with eating. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person is not guaranteed to work for you. Comparing ourselves to people we see on the internet should never be the basis of our self worth.

Cassetty explains that “…if you’re seeking specific advice about weight loss or another health goal, it’s important to get individualized expert guidance. If food or other accounts you’re following cause any distress, unfollow them immediately and get help, if needed.” Her advice highlights key points to keep in mind when mindlessly scrolling on social media platforms.

If you are struggling with an any issues, VALLEY recommends seeking professional help.


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