This Is What I Ate
Ellis Bartholomeus is an applied game designer so she's very curious about motivation and behaviour in that sense. Ellis had a very irregular eating habit. So for her first ever New Year's resolution, she wanted to keep track of what she eats. She started sharing photos of her food and drinks daily on Facebook as an experiment for three months. She did quite well in her first month. She also changed her eating habits because of the feedback she was receiving from her Facebook posts.
I am Ellis Bartholomeus, I’m an applied game designer, and I’m very curious about motivation and behaviour in that sense. And I I’ve been doing research on that and I’ve been trying to learn from that.
And since and a consultant and very much travelling around, I have a very irregular eating habit. And last year, in December the French were asking me, so how is your behavior on eating actually and your habits.
So I decided on 1 January to do for the first time the New Year’s resolution ever. I wanted to take a photograph of everything that I ate for one month to figure out how I am eating and what am I eating.
And so I started off with the first picture and putting it on Facebook to make my resolution even more strong to feel social pressure. So I started taking these pictures, and in doing that I immediately change my eating behavior, because the moment I started to eat I first took a picture and I realized my food was there and it look nice, and I was enjoying my food. I was eating more mindful and I was even preparing my dinner with a lot more conscious. I was going to the grocery and enjoying the pictures I was about to make later when I prepared my dinner so I was doing very different eating habits in one month.
So this is the whole month of January, and I posted this picture on Facebook to let everyone know that I had finished my experiment, and I did it. And I got many reactions from people and they were very curious about it. They were noticing what I was eating, and asking if I really did it accurate and why I was doing it. There was so many questions, and I got 37 likes, and that’s not extremely a lot but I felt the curiosity was very much peer pressure for me from all these people. So I decided to continue my experiment.
So in February I still took pictures from all my food, but I also needed to make it more clear what was my goal and if I was achieving my goal. So it was very important to put it all on dates, and I was labelling all the pictures whether they were breakfast, lunch, and dinner because for January for sure, I wanted to have these three dinners which was not normal before that I was very often skipping those.
So I managed to get some feedback which was like a score and I did quite well in January. In February, I decided to change my goal, because on Facebook people were saying you ate a lot of chocolate. So I decided in February I wanted to eat less chocolate, which I managed to do and I also wanted to eat less fish and meat and I managed.
So this is three months of pictures taken, and the last month I wanted to not forget any pictures, because if I forgot to take a picture I took a black picture to remind me that I did eat something but it’s not registered, and the numbers below are actually saying its increasing. So I’m losing my motivation to take these pictures, and that makes me curious again because I’m also losing the conscious eating, so I am not continuously in the same motivation.
And, it’s about setting a goal, so the goal is eating healthy and mindful and more regular, but you need sub goals to reach your bigger goal and SMART is one way of setting goals, and I like that way and it’s not my invention but the time bound is also very important. I need smaller time steps to continue with my experiment, and one measurable goal I would achieve in four months of taking these pictures I lost 5kg, while I did not have the intention to be on and diet, but I did like losing some weight.
And for instance, I ate really beautiful deserts, so I was not trying to lose weight but it worked out quite well.
The side-effect of taking these pictures was looking back I could very easily recall the whole month of occasions happening, because the food is like a really good anchor. This is my mom’s place and I was having breakfast at her table, and I recognized from the pictures because of the surroundings. And this was at a friend’s dinner and I really can remember the conversation that we had. So all these pictures are really like a diary, helping me to remind the old occasions
And one friend on Facebook she wanted to add and joined me, and she started the experiment and was enthusiastic, and in three days time she sent me a message saying, should I really take every picture from everything because I am so annoyed with it already. I told her you really have to really make up your own rules, and for me it was very important that I thought of rules to make sure that I could continue taking the pictures. So sometimes I was really in doubt, for instance these M&Ms I actually ate a whole bag, but I just show.
But I like this and I could laugh at my own conscious and like this devil and angel, and I like this conversation, and one day I was more rigid and other days I was more healthy, and I think it’s balancing out in a way. So I continued eating conscious about that.
At a carnival, a friend told me via Facebook and he said, I’m curious about you doing that with your alcohol usage of all your drinking in general, because I challenge you for carnival to take a picture of all your drinks. And that wasn’t easy, and I did that in the one month of March, and I was trying to do that. But drinking is a lot more often than food.
So I tried, but there are many black pictures as you see because all the times it was forgot that one, forgot that one, and the pictures are very boring. So I got very much annoyed, and that’s why the white area down here I didn’t manage the whole month. I quit.
So I lost my motivation to continue doing this, and when I was taking pictures of drinks, I immediately missed out on taking pictures of my food. It was very often like, this one would have been a nice picture, but I was taking pictures of drinks. So it was very nice to know that was a thing.
Then I asked on Facebook from all my friends, can you give me a new goal, and then someone said maybe you should take the food after you, you know. But they also had other ideas like take pictures that are more funny and do more funny things with your food. Or I was thinking of making food in different colors, so I would have a green week at a red week, or anything but I just need more challenge to continue with my experiment. Because only the photo is a bit boring, so maybe you have any suggestions.