I left FNCE this year with three main questions. Read me out and let me know your thoughts – I’d love to hear from you!
Imagine rows and rows of food brands. Then take this image to tasting, learning, and understanding how these foods can help the clients and patients you see in private practice. This is the Expo part of FNCE.
What I noticed at the Expo this year (and as also pointed out by colleague, Robyn Flipse, an RDN and anthropologist – who also spells her name with a Y and is from New Jersey like me! What are the chances?) was that there were way less big brands and more smaller food companies. Why the changes? I have a few ideas, but this is where I ask questions.
As much as I love small – small houses, small companies, local farms – these companies don’t always reach nor are they affordable to a large part of our world’s population. A lot of the smaller food companies present were gluten, soy, dairy, GMO, grain, or sugar-free – either a combination of these or one of these was eliminated from a product. This is wonderful for individuals with food allergies. In fact it could not be better timing to have food allergies, specifically in the US, because of the food industry’s focus on creating products suited for those with allergies and food sensitivities. But if the food industry is moving away from big companies that make processed foods, aren’t foods free of so many key ingredients and food groups still processed? Check my social media posts in the coming weeks for more exploration on what exactly is processed and minimally processed food.
Another part of FNCE are the educational sessions. The two most powerful sessions I attended were Food Porn Dilemmas: Balancing Artful Imagery and Real-World Attainability in Social Media with Marci Evans, Regan Jones, and Rebecca Scritchfield and Debate: A Conversation on Weight Management and Health At Every Size.
In the first session we learned about ‘Social Comparison Theory’ and ‘food porn’. For example, when you see pictures of glorious foods on Instagram, then compare these to what you’re eating, which is ‘comparing up’, this can actually correlate to low self esteem. We can also relate this theory to our clothing choices, social situations, and how we feel about food and our bodies in other ways. So if you are on social media and you are ‘comparing up’ with the pictures you see, this could make you feel worse about yourself! How can we use social media positively without allowing ‘food porn’ to make us ‘compare up’ triggering low self esteem? I’ll be exploring more on this topic next month as we approach what I refer to as the ‘food holiday’ (Thanksgiving is coming…quickly!).
This brings me to the second session I loved with Christy Harrison, Hollie Raynor, and Dr. Robert Kushner. Wow. So incredible that the evidence between the movements of ‘Health At Every Size’ and ‘Weight Management’ were being discussed openly and in a room with thousands of dietitians! Christy and Dr. Kushner discussed diets and ‘weight stigma’. Weight stigma is actually a greater risk factor than dieting in regard to an individuals’ mental health.
We hear, read about, and see countless messages from healthcare professionals and all forms of media about weight stigma – it’s everywhere.
The big question is: Can we overcome using so much weight stigma and instead accept our bodies for what they are whilst taking care of them as we individually need? As we move into the New Year prepare to see even more on weight stigma, as we do annually, with the month of January. Stay posted for more on this as I will continue to write on ‘intentions’ again in early 2019.
Food for thought – thank you for reading!