If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that for a good chunk of time, I posted weekly “What I Ate Today’s”. I usually did them on Wednesday’s, along with what felt like every other blogger who shared them. At first, I didn’t think much of it; I thought of it as an easy way to put out content, get page views, and share my eats! There should be no harm in that, right?
It wasn’t until I found myself reading What I Ate Today’s until practically midnight that I realized it was a problem. As a society, we’re obsessed with seeing what other people do. This doesn’t just apply to food; there’s a reason why “vloggers” are so successful. They share their daily life, and take you around with them as they go grocery shopping, walk their dog, or even do simple house chores. It seems harmless, and it can be. Let’s be honest- it’s kind of satisfying to compare our lives to someone elses, because it can either make us feel more fulfilled and accomplished, or it can motivate us to go out there and do more. I’m guilty of this; I’ve fallen into the trap of watching (or in the case of blogs, reading) something and thinking “well, I know that I did WAY cooler things that day” or “huh, I can do a lot more with my time”, and I know I’m not alone.
The same goes for food. Reading “What I Ate Today’s” makes you think back on what I ate the prior day and question my choices. Did I eat too little? Too much? There’s a reason people are still reading these posts, even if the latest one I did was six months ago! Comparing what we ate one day to someone else is a habit. Regardless of who you are, you can’t sit here and say to me that you’ve never looked back on what you ate and then thought of what a friend of yours ate that day as well. I’m getting repetitive, but I hope you get the point.
Recently, a friend of mine was telling me that she spent three hours watching a particular Youtubers “What I Ate Today’s”, and that she felt like she overate compared to this person. She then went on to say she felt fat and worthless because of this, and that she was going on a diet immediately. As soon as they told me this, my heart sank. She’s a healthy, happy 17 year old girl, and has no reason to believe that just because she ate more than someone, she is worthless. If these posts and videos make people feel like they need to eat less to feel a sense of fulfillment, then we are doing something wrong as a society. I understand people posting the food diary to document easy ways to transition to a healthy diet, but when these posts are only filled with “detox smoothies” and “low carb salads” after a weekend of pizza and drinking, then they’re doing more harm than good.
I am guilty of this. My “What I Ate Today” posts six months ago are not realistic of who I am now and my philosophy on food. I WAS feeding into the problem I just described. Six months ago, I would only posts what I ate on days that I ate “healthy”. I thought that by doing this, people would see how easy it is to eat healthy and I would comply with the “healthy blogger” label I gave myself. How am I a “healthy blogger” if I only worsen the problem? Life isn’t about kale salads and bowls of oatmeal. As I said in my carbs post, I love zoodles and sweet potatoes. If you look at my Instagram, it’s full of all the wholesome, flavor filled food I LOVE. But… I also LOVE ice cream, pasta, warm loaves of french bread dipped in olive oil, pizza, and tacos. Oh, and wine and beer- cannot forget those two. Wanna know a spoiler alert? I eat ice cream almost every weekend, I consume pizza at least twice a week, and I never limit myself based on what I ate that day or the day before, and by how much I worked out.
I still get emails and comments related to those posts that date back over a year. I get DM’s almost everyday asking me how many calories I eat, or how much I worked out that day. I used to feel a need to reply to these, but now, I simply ignore them. When I went to Italy in May, I got countless DM’s daily praising me for sharing my eats on the trip and how relieving it was to see me eating gelato and pizza daily. Well, no shit- it was Italy!! If I spent the entire trip eating salads and asking for dairy free, gluten free, non GMO, grassfed meals, then I’d be doing a disservice to myself, and I would be doing-you guessed it- more harm than good.
In short, “What I Ate Today” posts are meant to be realistic and helpful. When they are just feeding into a growing problem in society, they’re doing more harm than good. We shouldn’t feel a need to compare our breakfasts to someone else’s, or a need to be ashamed about going out for pizza last night because all the “What I Ate Today” posts we read show green juice in the morning, salad for lunch, salmon with asparagus for dinner, and banana “ice cream” for dessert. I challenge you to get off your screen, close all tabs related to someone else’s diet, and go spend time with the people that matter most. In fact, I don’t challenge you- I encourage you.
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