Are the “What I Eat In A Day” Posts Promoting Healthy Relationships With Food?
As the holiday season rolls around, diets and stressing about what foods you're eating can bring upon unnecessary anxiety. What matters is that you're eating whole foods that nourish your body and are meeting your unique nutritional goals and needs.
It may feel difficult to define what a healthy relationship with food feels and looks like. Let’s start by sharing what healthy relationships with food might be—since they’re different for everyone.
Having a healthy relationship with food could mean that you enjoy foods that you understand are promoting better health outcomes. For example, recognizing that eating enough protein per day contributes to maintaining lean muscle mass or that eating healthy fats can be good for cardiovascular and brain health.
It can also mean that you feel little to no guilt, shame, or regret around your food choices. That you may be more mindful during the times you do eat, slow down to enjoy the food for what it is. Eating until you’re comfortably full and eating again when you feel physical hunger. Giving yourself open relationships to all foods—not identifying something as clean/dirty or good/bad or on/off limits. Not planning a meal or assigning a planned cheat day to binge/overindulge.
In my professional opinion, logging your food whether in pictures to show social media or in a journal, can be a great tool to keep yourself accountable whenever you’re making changes to your eating habits.
It can provide accountability, excitement, motivation, inspiration, and most importantly a community to connect with and share your journey with.
If you’re new to healthy eating, it can be a way to follow along with other peoples’ health journeys and see what they’re up to for support or education. Or if you’re looking to share your own, it could be a way for you to practice healthy cooking and to have something to look forward to teaching others!
If and when tracking food intake in whatever capacity you are using it, becomes a stress, an obsession, or it becomes a feeling or an action that holds a lot of emotional weight to it—then you might need to take a break. This goes for both people who share that content and for people who engage with that content.
I’ve worked with clients who have either recovered from eating disorders or disordered eating habits by using food journals to keep accountable for their changes in diet. Again, under proper supervision, this can be a great tool for accountability, but if it becomes a stressful action or a compulsion, then it might be negatively impacting your mental well-being.
What I’ve noticed since social media has taken the health and wellness community in the past couple of years, can add fuel to an already burning fire for some people. It gets tricky when taking note of everything you eat, drink, then put on social media for a rating—are people commenting on how “healthy” I’m eating or are they liking my post because I’m doing a good job?
Whatever intention you have, is being rewarded (whether positive or negative) directly related to your food choices, which then impacts your relationship with food to some degree.
What I Eat In A Day
So, what I eat in a day. I eat whole foods, I eat healthy fats to keep me full, I go out to eat for a really nice meal, sometimes we get takeout, I love squeezing in greens at breakfast, I grab drinks with friends and enjoy the menu, I love eating huge salads, and sometimes I eat pizza, my favorite!
I have a healthy relationship with food and can recognize these behaviors around food are part of living a life, a healthy life where some days or weeks I’m taking greater actions towards bettering my health. And days or weeks where I’m not making the best choices for my health because of whatever reason and can use strategies I know work for me, to take care of myself.
The fact is, what I eat, doesn’t matter.
Nor does watching anyone else’s “what I eat in a day” posts, matter. They don’t. You’re a unique person, your nutrition goals are different, your support system, your stress levels, your exercise, your mental health, your emotional health, your spiritual health—all these things are different.
You are a unique individual so to take what someone else is eating and apply that directly to your lifestyle, does a disservice to your health. I ask that as a sincere question for you to think on if you’re engaging with this type of content.
Learning about nutrition and educating yourself about actions you can take to promote better health, is awesome. It’s empowering and it’s unique to you and your lifestyle, so try to let that be your guiding light.
At the end of the day, if you love this content and it inspires you and you have a healthy relationship with food, then go for it! Just be mindful that if you are the person sharing it, to make sure your intention behind it is good, educational, and take a minute to think about who you might be talking to!
Questions to Ask Yourself
Whenever you stumble upon these “what I eat in a day” posts from anyone on social media, that includes professionals too, just ask yourself a couple things! First things first:
· Why am I engaging with this content or seeking it out?
· Am I looking for inspiration to eat healthy to nourish my body?
· Am I looking for comparison because I feel like I’m not “doing enough”?
· If I’m sharing this with people, am I looking for validation that I’m doing it “right” or am I looking for a community to support my new habits?
· How does engaging with this make me feel? Do I feel inspired, happy, ready to cook or do I feel guilt, shame?
· Is this content nourishing me in any way? Emotionally, physically, mentally?
· What action will this encourage me to take or not to take? i.e. will it guide you to cook healthy meals out of nourishment or fun? Or will it guide you to cook healthy meals out of comparison?
**These questions are to help check-in with your mental, emotional, and spiritual health when you’re looking or sharing this type of content.
Do you enjoy sharing this content with your communities or do you watch/read other peoples “what I eat in a day” posts? How do they make you feel if you engage with them? I would love to learn from you what your experience is with this kind of content/education.
If you ever need any help or support with establishing a healthy relationship with food or just figuring out how to eat healthier to improve your health, I’m an email away! Check out my coaching programs here.
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN