How social media could be affecting your relationship with food
While I was in France during August, I took a bit of a hiatus from social media. There were lots of reasons for this and it was in part due to a lack of internet connectivity but it gave me a heap of insights into how social media was impacting my relationship with food – and perhaps this will resonate with you.
The reasons I took a break, aside from lack of internet, included:
- Being totally worn out
- Having general social media fatigue
- Understanding that I was missing a deeper connection somehow
If any of these reasons sound familiar to you, here’s how taking a “digital detox” (even just a mini one) relates
When you’re always “on” it’s difficult to be truly rooted in the present moment
Scarfing down your breakfast while scrolling through Instagram? Hammering out emails whilst eating your lunch? What was that you just put in your mouth again? How many times did you pause to take a breath and savour your food?
Unfortunately, while social media can be a fantastic source of inspiration, it’s also a massive distraction and a blocker for you taking the time out of your day to smell, taste and really ENJOY what you are eating. And enjoyment of food is essential to your Can Eat Attitude – you can’t build a sustainable, healthy relationship with food long term if you don’t connect with it fully. If you eat on auto pilot, how can you be aware of the effects the food you eat is having within your body?
I don’t usually have devices on the table at mealtimes, except for breakfast when I often excuse it as a morning catch up with my online community. My little break from social showed me how, actually, that bombardment first thing in the morning of my poor monkey mind triggers my anxiety. When I stopped with the scrolling at breakfast I reclaimed that morning space for me – and it felt so good!
Comparison is the thief of joy – seriously
We see this one overlaid on beautiful images banded around social media all the time. I always said to myself that I wasn’t getting sucked into the comparison game. That the things I posted were just about me and for my enjoyment. I’m not particularly competitive by nature so I thought I had myself covered when it came to resisting the temptation to get comparison-itis. Turns out we all fall foul of the comparison game sometimes.
It can be really easy to get swept up in looking at what other people are eating and feeling like you are somehow falling short or that what you are eating isn’t quite “insta worthy” enough (more on that below). But it’s so essential to remember that your food joy isn’t someone else’s food joy and the foods that make you feel really well may make someone else feel exceptionally unwell.
Sharing a meal in person is wonderful. Sharing a meal through Instagram can be unhelpful
I feel that one of the most beautiful things about food is the shared experience and connection it brings us – especially when we share our food, in person, with another human. If you’re used to eating on your own, go find yourself a lunch buddy, put your phones down, and you’ll see what I mean. I made some really simple meals while away, from freshly picked, organic produce grown in the garden of our little rental gite.
We feasted on beautiful, colourful dishes but if I had my social media/marketing hat on, I’d probably say that they weren’t “insta worthy”. And what does that mean? I didn’t think the food I was preparing were picture perfect/complicated or interesting enough to have a conversation with my online community about.
It was pretty telling on one of the days when @plantpoweredcyclist asked me if I wanted to get a picture of one of our meals before we started eating: he’s very patient and has become so used to having to delay his enjoyment of our food so that I can take photos and share it online. That doesn’t feel, to me, like I’m being very connected at mealtimes with my partner or with my food.
So what am I going to be doing that I urge you to give a try and see how it feels for you?
- Delight in simple meals cooked with simple ingredients
- Evaluate the media you are exposed to and how that makes you feel
- Consider what you’re “bringing to the table” on social media and whether it’s helpful for you and your community
- Really connect with your food and see the alternative beauty there is to the picture perfect stuff online
- Make more time for connecting over a delicious meal in person
And with point 4 in mind, I have resolved to reduce my Instagram posting to once a week, with the occasional story thrown in. I’ll set aside time for food photography/recipe creation that doesn’t impact on mealtimes. And I’m also really hoping to start hosting some Can Eat Attitude gatherings at my little cottage in the coming months – I recently started an online “sharing circle” of sorts and would love to get more of that real life connection with you lovely humans. If you’d be interested in getting involved, join this group I’ve set up with this in mind.
Has this given you pause for thought or raised questions for you about your relationship with food and social media? I’d really love to have a natter about it, drop me a note in the comments below!