How many of you remember this song:
My husband was listening to a playlist of “one hit wonders” this afternoon while we were working. I don’t guess I’d heard that song since it enjoyed its run on the charts back in 1976. The idea that bingeing on junk foods is a lot like getting high on illegal drugs is supposed to be funny, and as presented in the song, it is. But WHAT IT IT WERE TRUE?
As I promised, I’ve been reading Diet Rehab, in preparation for giving its principles a try (love of bacon notwithstanding). And Dr. Dow’s premise–one that serial dieters will find very attractive–is that they are addicted to food and it’s not their fault.
You listen to the song, and you laugh. You hear your fat friend griping about how she looks as she eats her McDonald’s Value Meal and if you’ve never had a weight problem you feel secretly superior and scornful. You comment on AOL articles about fat people with comments like, “He needs to stop stuffing his fat self and get some exercise. That’s all there is to it.”
But what if food is a drug? What if fat people are self-medicating their faulty brain chemistry? You don’t cure a heroin addict by saying “Just Say No!” You don’t tell your chronically depressed spouse to suck it up and just get over it already. You don’t insult your alcoholic friend by telling him that it’s easy to quit drinking.
No one wants to be a drug addict, or an alcoholic, or depressed. That’s a given. Although there are plenty of mean spirited folks out there who attribute addictions and mental illness to character flaws, most of us have seen enough of the science to have accepted that these things are biologically based. So far, the science in the diet rehab book seems sound. What I’ve read does not contradict my long experience with dieting–about which more later.
One thing I know: no one WANTS to be fat. No little boy wants to be the last one picked for teams. No teenage girl wants to be without a boyfriend. No man wants to die young from heart disease. No woman wants to feel frumpy and undesirable. If it were easy to lose weight, NO ONE WOULD BE FAT.
Maybe Dr. Dow has come up with part of the reason it’s so hard. Maybe he’s come up with an answer. We’ll see.