Yesterday, I watched a “What I Eat In a Day” video from a YouTuber with a hair/beauty channel and immediately started questioning the way I eat and wondering if I was “doing it wrong.” I noticed that I was having those thoughts and found it fascinating. I'm not going to actually change my food according to what a random YouTuber eats, but it reminded me how quickly comparison to others can throw us off. If you’re taking in that kind of content often and you’re not conscious about how it affects you, it can very quickly influence your food choices and your thoughts about yourself. The interesting part is that it depends on your state of mind. If things are going great and you’re feeling happy and confident, another person’s food choices might make no impression, or maybe you get some meal ideas. If you’re feeling down or insecure and watch something that plays into your fears, that’s when we can doubt ourselves and feel like we should change.
In my case, the hair person I was watching was (unbeknownst to me) a former fitness competitor who pretty much does the classic clean-eating, high-protein thing. Meanwhile, I'm over here putting carbs on my carbs with a side of carbs and a lot of fat. She puts protein powder in her oatmeal and I put half a bucket of peanut butter and the head of a honey bear bottle. She puts skinless chicken breast in her salad and I put anything fried that crunches. That kind of thing. So, I'm getting older, going through menopause, eating plant-based, and there was a flash of, "Aaaagh, my muscles are going to dissolve! What am I thinking?! I have to eat more protein than this, blah, blah, blah..." There is no actual problem. In fact, just yesterday, I was doing chin-ups, and handstand push-ups. You know, things I couldn't do when I was younger and eating like a bodybuilder, probably because I was so hungry and carb-depleted.
It's funny how if someone eats totally different from me, I have no reaction other than openness and curiosity. But if they eat how I used to eat when I was dieting and say the things I used to tell myself, some sort of lunacy can still flare up within me. I wonder if it's because I used to seek out articles and videos like that to keep myself "on track" or "inspired." Comparison is a huge part of it too. The ego wants to determine if you eat the same, better, or worse than whatever you're watching. I briefly pondered all of this and then I went ahead and had waffles for dinner. 🤣