Diet culture hasn’t died. It hides beneath the aesthetic of health and fitness, and weaves its way into every realm of our lives. Every few years, a new wave of toxic diet culture stealthily resurfaces, through the guise of healthy, happy living. Only ten years ago, magazines raved about laxatives, pre-cooked meals, and metabolism-boosting teas. While (most) people have thrown out these pointless products, we are now falling victim to a new diet culture aesthetic: The Tik Tok “What I Eat in a Day” video.
What started out as an enjoyable way to share recipes and yummy food, quickly deteriorated into a competition for who could eat the least. People film compilation videos showing an 8 am workout, 10 am coffee, 6 pm dinner, and nothing in between! This teaches viewers that starvation is a natural and healthy choice. Unfortunately, these eating patterns rapidly devolve into full blown eating disorders if not stopped early enough.
“What I Eat in a Day'' videos range from slightly unhealthy, to completely incompatible with human life. I’ve seen videos promoting diets with no real meals, merely coffee and a nighttime snack! However, it’s important to recognize that people seek validation on the internet, and may not post the entirety of their actual consumption. Even so, posting miniscule portions teaches people that starvation is natural, and hunger cues should be ignored. This is a dangerous, potentially fatal mindset.
These videos often boast an unrealistic standard of health and wellness. The average person simply does not have the time to workout 2 hours per day, grab a Starbucks cappuccino, then whip up baked oats and avocado toast. As genuine wellness appears inaccessible to the average viewer, these Tik Toks no longer serve any productive purpose. The influencers merely parade an unattainable vision of the ideal life, but provide no concrete advice.
As “What I Eat in a Day'' videos submerge Tik Tok in a dieter’s hell, an alarming trend has simultaneously risen. Before flaunting their tiny meals, influencers post images of their bodies, as if screaming “eat like this to look like me!” This is just wrong on so many levels. For starters, all bodies metabolize food at a different rate; two people could eat the exact same thing and have completely different figures! However, this misinformation is hardly the most damaging aspect of this trend. As influencers align their tiny figures with a starvation diet, people believe that malnourishment is the only road to “perfection”.
I’m not claiming that these influencers starve themselves. In fact, they may be perfectly healthy, and naturally thin! That is perfectly okay! However, based on the raw evidence from their videos, which promote diets below 1200 calories, I can confidently say that they are promoting a starvation lifestyle.
The next time you see a “What I Eat in a Day” video, take a step back before accepting this highlight reel as reality. Only you know how to truly nourish and fuel your body. You know when you’re hungry. Breakfast isn’t a sin; snacking isn’t forbidden. I recommend clicking on these videos and replying “not interested” to avoid their deceitful allure. At the end of the day, you know your body best, and you deserve to be fueled with adequate and abundant nutrition.
For more resources about eating disorders, click here.
Written by: Brianna Rauchman