My first impulse for the headline was to write something more caustic, but that never helps. Besides, the utterer of this absurd-to-me statement is the "expert!"
The trouble with abstinence is you cannot stay away from food, says Dr. Christine Courbasson, head of the eating disorders and addiction clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
“People should not stay away from a specific food. They should learn that they can eat any food in a normal way, without eating it compulsively. If they stay away from a specific food, that food is going to become more desirable and they’re more likely to think about it a lot, which then interferes with their functioning,” Courbasson says.
“The last thing I would tell people to do is go on a diet. People try to lose weight and go on crazy diets and are not sustainable. They need to go see a professional who can help normalize their eating and have a relationship with food that is healthier.”
This passage, from the first of a three-parter on food addiction in the Montreal Gazette, is, to me, exasperating in the extreme. The speaker is not only a doctor, but the head of an eating disorders and addiction clinic! And she clearly doesn't understand elements of her area of expertise.
I know, that's a bold, probably arrogant, statement from a layman, and yet, I say it and stand by it. It is akin to saying, "Golly, I would never tell an alcoholic not to drink. If I did that, the patient would be more likely to think about it a lot, which would then interfere with their functioning." Totally, spectacularly absurd, right?
Addiction is not just a head thing. Biochemical sensitivity to substances is partly what lifts overeating from mere bad habit to a more serious plain. Some substances, for some people, are just poison. They goad those people into unreasonable, self-destructive behavior, and the best defense is not to start.
Who says everyone has a right to eat ice cream? Does the person allergic to shellfish say, "I don't care if I have a bad reaction every time I eat it. I want it, and that's that, so don't tell me different!" And, if every time I open an ice cream container, I eat until it's gone, even though I've sworn not to this time, that's a bad reaction!
Oy frickin' vey. If these are our experts, we do, indeed, have far to go.