What I Eat In A Day (WIEIAD) videos have been around since 2011, according to Refinery29 writer Amelia Tait (2021). The trend started in the vegan community, with vegan bloggers documenting what they ate in a day. In subsequent years, the trend spread to the bodybuilding and fitness communities and in 2015, it became a mainstream phenomenon with the regular Youtube bloggers sharing their daily diets (Tait, 2021). Now we’re seeing the #WhatIEatInADay tag also making waves on TikTok.
If these videos are so popular, both amongst content creators and content consumers, what is the problem with them? In an article on Health.com (2021), clinical psychologist Colleen Reichmann argues that “[these videos] are so problematic, because the vast majority of the time, [they] are being done by thin, able-bodied, younger white women - women with an immense amount of body privilege.” These videos, which often flaunt their creators’ ‘perfect’ bodies tend to leave viewers with the impression that if they eat and exercise in the exact same way, that they’ll also get that type of body. Unfortunately, many people (many of whom are young, teenage girls) end up believing this “fundamentally misleading [idea] because weight and body shape are 95% determined by genetics, not food or exercise”, says Reichmann.
On top of promoting unrealistic body standards, WIEIAD videos can also promote a disordered relationship with food. Because of the wellness culture that promotes portraying yourself as the ‘healthiest’ version of yourself, it’s likely that some of the health vloggers’ videos are not a totally honest depiction of what they actually eat. This can make a fairly healthy eater feel like they’re not healthy eating ‘goals’ and end up taking on some unhealthy eating behaviours like cutting out food groups, restricting calories or being unnecessarily rigid with food rules.
While the genre has expanded since it started, and an increasing number of content creators are creating more realistic WIEIAD videos, my opinion is that if you are trying to work on your relationship with food and your body, it’s best to totally avoid these videos. It’s hard to watch what someone else does without comparing yourself and subconsciously telling yourself that you need to be more like them. A lot of the videos are just plain toxic and should not be allowed on social media for the potential harm that they can inflict.
With that said, you are a free individual and you ultimately decide what to do with your life. If you choose to continue watching WIEIAD videos, here are some guidelines that you should keep in mind:
Avoid videos using with thumbnails or covers featuring ‘perfect’ bodies - this is a major diet culture red flag.
If a video talks about calorie counting, or promotes another form of restrictive eating, or it seems like the person is eating way too little food, stop watching that video.
Watch these videos more to get recipe inspo, or just for fun if that’s content you enjoy.
Look for videos that promote a more varied diet.
Find creators who look like you or have a similar cultural/societal context as you.
Think critically about your motivation for watching these videos - any diet/body related motives are a sign that this probably isn’t the best content for you.
Alright, that’s it from me. Leave me your key insight in the comments below - I’d love to hear from you. Make sure to sign up to my newsletter, so you never miss a new blog post.
Byrne, C., 2021. 'What I Eat In a Day' Videos Are Going Viral on TikTok-Here's Why They're So Problematic. [online] Health.com. Available at: <https://www.health.com/mind-body/what-i-eat-in-a-day-tiktok-problematic> [Accessed 2 February 2022].
Tate, A., 2022. Our Never-Ending Obsession With What Other People Eat. [online] Refinery29.com. Available at: <https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2021/06/10529804/what-i-eat-in-a-day-tiktok> [Accessed 2 February 2022].