# bikini selfies # crazy diets

The Disturbing Trend in What I Eat in a Day Videos

I love to watch "What I Eat in a Day" videos on YouTube. They give me inspiration for what to feed my family and also help me out when I am in a rut. Lately I've noticed a disturbing trend, however, in the most popular of these videos on YouTube... We are going to analyze this trend in today's video.

The tell-tale sign happens in the thumbnail for most of these videos. The thumbnail is the image that the video creator chooses to showcase their video. Thumbnails are nearly always deliberate. Thumbnails drive views, so video creators are encouraged to come up with a relevant and enticing thumbnail.

In nearly all of the popular "What I Eat in a Day" videos, the thumbnails contain both the food consumed and.... wait for it... a bikini or underwear selfie. Now, this is both perplexing and not perplexing. Obviously this type of thumbnail will get a lot of attention and views and that is why the creators are choosing to promote their video in this way.

But there are also subliminal messages associated with this type of advertisement. Essentially the video creator is saying "you too can look as good as I do in a bikini if you eat what I eat in a day". When you watch these videos often the diets consumed are unrealistic and laden with false health claims. The ideas promoted are strictly to promote being skinny, fit, and healthy. Ironically, many of the diets do not contain the proper elements of a well-balanced diet.

One of the best concepts I learned while living in Paris is to enjoy dining, not mindlessly snack, and to not deprive myself. Of course, many people have dietary restrictions for health reasons, but I am talking about the rule here and not the exception. The trend toward eating only to be skinny and not enjoy the actual meal creates neurosis around food and potentially dangerous eating disorders.

I discuss this in more depth in today's video and I would love to hear your thoughts as well. What do you think?

I hope you enjoy today's video.

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Unknown said...

I accidentally found you while looking for Tasha Tudor on YouTube and I have been binge watching ever since. I agree with everything you are saying, I love Paris, I believe in Jesus, I believe in homeschooling etc etc....the funny thing is I am 69 yrs old. I want to encourage you in your walk, stay strong in your convictions...I also love Victoria magazine!

Ladylike said...

Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for another thoughtful video. I don't watch "What I eat in a day" videos, except perhaps your own. I would like to offer some alternative inspiration to those who may be influenced by the kind of videos you discussed. I am living evidence that it is not necessary to be bikini-thin or even young in order to be attractive to others. I am neither fat nor thin, and I attribute my healthy weight to eating three meals a day with perhaps a small afternoon snack. I am a homemaker, and thanks to your books, I cook for my family almost every day. That means I do quite a bit of grocery shopping, and guess what? I have admirers among the staff at all the three grocery stores that I frequent! Why? As I said, it has nothing to do with being bikini-skinny or young, which I am not. I am going to be 50 years old, but I make the most of my appearance with light make-up, tasteful jewelry, simple yet consistent attention to my hair, and feminine yet conservative clothing. Classiness, not trashiness, is attractive to others!

Warm best,

Janna said...

Hi Jennifer,
I’ve given your question a little thought today. Let me posit my theory, wrong though it may be: at our deepest, core level of humanity, we are all crying for a chance to express ourselves, to be heard, to be seen, to be loved. I didn’t go on YouTube to double check your assertion; the facts seemed obvious. From my brief glimpse on my iPad screen, it looks like the majority of women in the bikinis/underwear attire are all younger - say, younger than 35. You are seeing their armor. Starvation is not a long term solution to living, but they have bought into the pervasive myth that if you are pretty enough, thin enough, sexy enough, that you will simply be - enough. And so, they have girded up. Armored up. Look at me. Love me now. Brene Brown says (and this has been true for me, at almost 43), that in your late thirties to forties, the universe will wallop you, good and hard, over the head, over and over, until you have to pay attention. And then you examine: is my armor serving me now? So I don’t fault these women for trying the best that they know how, in our broken world, to feel fully loved. They may come to a different perspective as age and circumstance demand. All in good time. Your voice of concern may point the way for some women, earlier, but usually it’s life itself that starts to break us.

Toni said...

1 Timothy 4:1-3
Interesting verses about eating that I recently rediscovered.
It is about receiving every food with thanksgiving! Check it out!

Jenni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

I have an “overweight” friend who struggled a lot with her body image. She would set extreme short-term goals (like zero sugar for a month) only to have extreme cravings and binge when it was done. The deprivation followed by loss of self-control crushed her self-esteem. She took a class on Intuitive Eating (you can buy the books on Amazon), threw out all of her “diet” cookbooks, and went on a journey to accept her body. It has been several years since those choices. She looks as good as ever, but has been able to focus her energy on her family and interests.

Malika said...

Hi Jennifer,

Your video is very insightful. I've seen a handful of "What I Eat In A Day' videos and found that many of them promote a very low-calorie, almost deprivation diet. I've struggled in the past with being fixated on calories and gaining weight, so I prefer to stay away from that kind of content. Now, I just eat very sensibly and watch portion sizes.

I definitely see the trend you mention; the provocative thumbnails ensure lots of views. I believe this happens for various reasons. Some people simply enjoy the attention they're getting because of how their bodies look. Others are doing what they've seen modeled. Others possibly have underlying issues with inadequacy, abandonment, and feeling unloved, and are seeking validation and connection.

The good thing is that there are channels like yours (although not many) that model what it means to be classy.