Is The “What I Eat In A Day” Tiktok Trend Really Beneficial?
Trigger warning: Before you read this article, please keep in mind that I’ll be discussing topics related to eating disorders! I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, so stop reading if you need to. Take care of yourselves!
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s senior fall editorial intern Maggie Lardie. Find her on Instagram at @maggielardie. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
If you’ve spent any time on social media over the past couple years, you’ve probably become very familiar with the What I Eat In A Day Tiktok trend. Having gained popularity during 2020, this trend acted as a constant during the uncertainty of quarantine. After all, a shutdown doesn’t stop the need to eat! In the years since the first few viral videos were posted, millions of tiktoks, Youtube videos and Instagram reels have been created under the title “What I Eat In A Day.” With an upsurge this drastic, it’s no surprise that this trend developed its fair share of effects – both positive and negative. Because of this, we’re ready to dive into the debate: is “What I Eat In A Day” helpful or harmful?
One of the more notable outcomes of the “What I Eat In A Day” trend has to do with its incredibly negative influence on viewers. Many have expressed their discomfort at seeing food related videos, especially since the majority involve the creator posting a “body check” before showing what they consumed that day. For a video that claims to only cover food, the body checking seems like an unnecessary edition. Of course, not all creators who feature a clip of their bodies in their “What I Eat In A Day” videos intend to cause harm, but by simply showing their bodies, they’re implying that their diet is the only thing contributing to their physical appearance. This can be detrimental to everyone watching the videos, but especially to the younger, more impressionable viewers. The same can be said for the “What I Eat In A Day” videos that feature little to no food. By posting these harmful videos on the internet, it can cause others to harm themselves in an effort to appear like someone they saw online.
While “What I Eat In A Day” videos can be harmful for their depictions of food restriction, they can be just as detrimental for their portrayal of binging. Some creators eat excessive amounts of food just to gain views, while others simply fool viewers into believing they eat incredibly massive meals. Despite being the direct opposite of under-eating videos, these binging videos can create the same negative effect among their audience. Viewers might be fooled into believing they can achieve the high metabolisms that creators boast, when in reality, it’s impossible.
As if the actual videos aren’t harmful enough, the comment sections can provide another level of toxicity. Unfortunately, many users treat these videos as an invitation to comment on someone’s body or eating habits. This causes comment sections to become overrun with unwanted assumptions about people’s health. Social media is incredibly public, but that never gives someone the right to comment harmful things on another post. It’s important to remember: everyone has different dietary needs! What works/is healthy for one creator won’t necessarily be the same for everyone.
Just as there are creators who post harmful content, there are those who seek to empower their viewers. They work to combat the restrictive mindset, aiming to make viewers feel comfortable in their own skin. This side of Tiktok almost redeems its toxic counterpart, reminding everyone that social media can be fake. Each video is only a small glimpse into someone’s life, and even then, it’s only the content they want others to see. In addition to this, intuitive eating has become a trend in its own right, seeking to dismantle diet culture and teach others to honor their hunger. Popular videos that are created with this in mind usually include the phrases “please eat today” and “balance is key,” emphasizing how it’s important to honor both your needs and wants when eating, regardless of what others are doing.
Yet another perk of the “What I Eat In A Day” trend involved creators using their social media platforms as a way to hold themselves accountable during eating disorder recovery. Their pages are beneficial for their viewers as well as themselves, as the creators inspire and uplift others who might share their struggles. In this case, the videos’ comment sections act as a support system, providing encouraging messages even on the creators’ hardest days. If there’s one thing that social media is good for, it’s the reminder that you’re not alone (no one is)! It can be refreshing to see creators that are unafraid to keep things real – after all, imperfection is a large part of what makes us human.
That was a lot! If you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content that comes with this trend, we get it! A solid case can be made for either side of the “What I Eat In A Day” argument, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference. If you see something online that makes you feel self-conscious, try your best to ignore it. Fill your life (and social media feed) with what makes you feel good about yourself – not with what makes you feel the need to compare. Everyone has tough days, but it’s important to stick to what makes you feel the most confident and happy to get you through.
How do you feel about the What I Eat In A Day Tiktok trend? Let us know in the comments!