HYPERchondriac

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I came across this term recently and almost fell out of my chair laughing. I think I was in a chair when I read it. Maybe I was laying down. Anyway, when I read the word it struck me. It sums up so many different phases that I’ve been through and countless delusions of low-carbers, vegans, and all kinds of health fanatics on the internet and in the real world. When I saw the word and its meaning set in, it was as if, in the words of Will Ferrell’s character “Brennan” in the movie Step Brothers, “a lightning bolt hit the tip of my penis.”

You see the term “hypochondriac” floating around all over the place. There is even a new term referred to as “cyberchondria,” defined at Wikipedia as “a colloquial term for hypochondria in individuals who have researched medical conditions on the Internet.” This is a pretty classic new word to add the vocabulary as well.
But hyperchondria? Now that’s a good one.

I shouldn’t really have to say much about hyperchondria. If you’ve spent enough time here you should see the hilarity in the term right away. It should tickle something deep within and make you bubble over with laughter.

One common version of hyperchondria is that suffered by those who have lost weight. I spent an evening drinking beer on the beach (and practicing our crane kicks) followed by a morning of slaying waffles (made with fresh-ground wheat berries – absurdly delicious) with long-time 180-follower Brock Cusick just the other day and we discussed this. Brock, like myself and countless others, lost some fat and built some muscle on a carbohydrate-restricted diet. It was awesome and we thought we had found the Holy Grail of all things health.

But when the initial honeymoon period faded and we were left with countless health problems (constipation, constant coldness, and more for Brock, indigestion, mood disorders, foul body odor, chest pains, toothaches, and more for me), we still clung to the beliefs that we established about the low-carb way of things and convinced ourselves that we were healthier than we really were. If being a hypochondriac is worrying constantly that you are ill when you are not, then we were definitely displaying hyperchondria – ignoring health problems like they were no big deal and continuing to believe that we were living superheroes with possession of the great “secret” of health.

I see this kind of thing with the vegetarian faithful quite often as well. I tweeted something about Ray Peat’s lack of love for vegetarian diets the other day and a bunch of vegetarians chimed in to tell me how perfect their health was. “I haven’t been to the doctor in 20 years!” or something of that nature landed in my little tweety inbox. While I no longer sit down to large slabs of meat every meal, I’ve known plenty of vegetarian hyperchondriacs.

I lived with one as a roommate for a while actually. She was a mostly vegetarian (not 100%) “private health chef” on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet who was not menstruating, had long, dark hair that had sprouted on her arms (PCOS/hirsutism), had breath like a sick dog, puffy hypothyroid eyes, no sex drive, was an alcoholic, and had a tooth abscess on a bout of the “Mastur” Cleanse, which she viewed as a sign of just how amazingly cleansing drinking nothing but lemonade is. Oh but she was lean, so like, totally healthy. I mean, who cares if your teeth are falling out and you are infertile? Clearly the niceness of your “pooper” as my friend Dane called it after seeing hers for the first time, is a better indicator of your health. Last I heard she has started calling herself a “nutritional consultant.”

This is not surprising actually, as the vast majority of those who take up such a profession, or something related to it, are usually far less healthy than your average person – living in the gray areas of eating disorders their entire lives and notoriously dying young. Anything that can be considered healthy they attribute to their diet and lifestyle practices, magical supplements, morning superfood concoction (WMS – Wolfe-Mercola Sclerosis) or otherwise. Any health problems are attributed to something else – like a mysterious glandular problem, or bad genetics, or, my personal favorite, recently deceased “The Bear” blaming his heart disease and cancer on some broccoli he was forced to eat a half century ago.

“… an actual majority of dietitians either have or have had eating disorders.” ~Paul Campos

Anyway, all I’m saying is keep your eyes peeled for hyperchondria. Most health fanatics on the internet from all walks are major hyperchondriacs – typically having a cow over some weight loss while going to great lengths to overlook all the negative consequences they are experiencing from that weight loss (like loss of sex drive, cold hands and feet, constipation, infertility, mood disorders, sudden food allergies, autoimmune disease, eating disorders – and all kinds of other things that don’t appear in the before and after photos).

What really makes me laugh is how eager and willing EVERYBODY is to give other people health and diet advice. Have you guys noticed this too? Anybody got a good word for it? Hyperomniscience? Hyperconsultitis?

Brock and I both agreed that “hyperchondria” is about the best term we’ve heard since the phrase “tater hater” appeared in the comments for the first time. But our brains were awash with gluten, so maybe we were just having one of those opiate highs. Or maybe the giant explosion that occurred when we shook hands for the first time (right after the snapshot to the left was taken) damaged his eardrums and he thought I said something else entirely. Who knows?

Anyway, get ready for a fun week. Several posts are headed your way after my absence for the last week (I was moving out of the “Matt Cave” in Florida and busy with other things, in addition to practicing crane kicks with the Waffle King).

How to RAISE YOUR METABOLISM.

40 Comments

  1. thanks Matt,
    But how about a recipe for those killer waffles?

    Reply
  2. Favorite post EVER! I've done the hyperchondria thing for years, including very recenly with a stoopid stint on intermittent fasting, and I am so done. Yay!

    I am a few weeks into trying intuitive eating, and OK my jeans slightly tighter, but it's a great trade off to just forget all the food obsessions. I feel more sane, more energetic, and healthier, I'm not cold in my bones, digstion is excellent for the first time in years, and my hair is no longer falling out! I am a bit break-out-y, from reintroducing sugar, is my guess, so I may ratchet that down a little, or just wait and see if it evens out.

    Love this blog! Matt Stone for Waffle King!

    Reply
  3. Steph, please… Brock is the waffle king. Ain't it amazing what just eating the goddamn food can do?

    Chris-

    You'll have to ask the Brocknovich. Hint- It involves grinding the wheat berries into a delicious white flour-like dust in a $400 grain mill.

    Reply
  4. Matt Stone for Pancake Pope!

    Reply
  5. aim in!!!

    On year number two of eating lots of healthy food, and not obsessing about anything… back down to my weight when i was 20, holding perfectly steady at 149lbs… i have kept all my muscle and strength, but look like martin berkham now!!! haha…. no fasting included!!! life is so much better when you stop stressing… and with my healthy outlook on food, i have gotten an even much healthier outlook on life… and everythingelse just seems to fall into place!! I got and amazing girlfriend, and now were planning on traveling the world together!!!

    troy

    troy

    Reply
  6. Another Schwarzenegger reference?

    The movie "Bigger Stronger Faster" makes a big deal of that scene, where Arnie and Carl Weathers lock arms with glistening biceps.

    Was it from Predator?

    Reply
  7. Personally I'm seeing levels of health higher than they've been in years with the re-introduction of my rock star lifestyle. party on!

    Reply
  8. Swede-

    I have no idea what you are talking about. That is me and Brock, not Arnold and Carl Weathers silly pants!

    I just ordered that movie from amazon today though haha!

    Half Navajo-

    But what are you going to eat as you travel around the world? If you can't control your nutrition on this trip it might cause you to have a heart attack and die. Is it really worth having a heart attack over? Make sure to only travel to gluten-free countries and always keep an eye on your portion size. Portion control, portion control, portion control.

    Pancake Pope – I accept the nom, nom, nom-ination.

    Reply
  9. Right on Mateo.

    That 'Bigger Stronger Faster' is a good one- was on streaming Netflix last I checked too, but for a researcher like yourself, it's probably worth having on hand.

    Nice term- looking forward to that waffle recipe. One day I'll get my my fancy $400 grain mill, and make sure to try it.

    Reply
  10. why is it that many dieticians have had eating disorders and many psychologists are nutbars?

    Reply
  11. Ha, you're right about the dietitian eating disorder thing. In fact, I myself was heading down that career path and taking nutrition classes when I finally had to admit I had a problem. And there were plenty more like me. What better way to obsess over nutrition and calories? Dropping out was a major step in regaining a healthy relationship with food. The thought of counseling people on nutrition is now horrifying to me, too, considering my mental state at that point.

    Reply
  12. @Kelly because we teach that which we need to learn! ;)

    Matt: This is a primo post thanks for taking the time….as a nutritionist I have to say just when I thought I have seen it all something new comes from the twisted food community.

    Actually while I laugh and am relieved to read your posts so I know I am not totally cracked. Really it is all quite sad…the foods the stress the insanity! Restriction has become a way of life and the food companies diet books and supplements are happy to comply to any new flavor of the month or twist on compulsion.

    As for the new term hypercondria I have to say it is brilliant! Thanks for expanding my vocabulary I actually will have much opportunity to use it!!!!!

    Big Aloha from Maui~

    Reply
  13. Matt,
    Another word you might like that falls in the same vein:

    valetudinarian – weak or sickly person especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health

    Great post. I've been hashing out some of the mechanisms that I think are creating these problems, and there are multiple.

    Reply
  14. Hopefully everywhere we go has all the great healthy canola oils, splenda, fat free, sugar free, flax oil, vegan snacks, acai berry smoothies, jamba juice, and all the other healthy things that america has… we will be screwed if they don't!!!

    troy

    Reply
  15. ya bastard, you tricked me into coming here to see you and Brock. So which one of you is now black?
    Damn you Matt Stone!
    xo
    hag

    Reply
  16. I have the grain mill!! I've even been making (gasp) non-sprouted yeasted bread lately, and it is soooo yummy right from the oven with some butter and jelly.

    So, life would be just that more complete with a waffle recipe.

    Thanks for all your help resurrecting my carby kitchen apparati from the boxes in the crawlspace. Without your influence, I might have done something crazy, like sell them.

    Reply
  17. Oh, also it's strange — but when I eat wheat, my temperature goes up. I could interpret that in Kharrazianese, but I've decided instead to enjoy the ride and continue enjoying the food. ;)

    Reply
  18. Goomama-

    Sell your carb paraphernalia? That's Kharrazy talk!!!

    Grass fed mama-

    Haha. Gotcha.

    Half Navajo-

    If you want all that you'll have to stay in the states.

    Kelly-

    Totally. It should be assumed that all "experts" are totally bonkers until proven otherwise. Takes one to know one I guess.

    Amy-

    Congrats! Now how do I get out? Haha.

    Reply
  19. Great word! So cool that you and Brockinator connected in person. Did your lady friend and her kid move with you?

    Yes, the annoying superiority complex thing is another commonality between diet and religion.

    For the unsolicited advice-givers: what about hyperdiagnosticians/hyperdiagnostitis? That keeps the roots all Greek rather than hybrid Greek/Latin.

    @Amy–great story–that will stay with me for a while.

    Reply
  20. Matt, believe it or not, this is about the only food blog I read anymore because you maintain sanity (well, on food at least). You're bucking the trend, or at least are pretty good at faking it :-)

    Reply
  21. What about…

    Expert-Superiority-Complexed-Unsolicited-Nutritional-Advice-Giving-Totally-Cracked-Nut-Jobs!

    That's ESCUNAGTCNJ for Johnny! :-)

    No? Too long, you think?

    Okay, then what about…

    Superiorchondriac?

    Oh well. At least I played :-)

    Reply
  22. Troy,

    That's the life!!

    Enjoy it! :-)

    Reply
  23. @AS – I like it! It has many hyphens. :)

    Reply
  24. Matt,

    Another word you may like, which I recently found in a novel, is "abligurition." It means the spending of too much money on food. Definitely could come in handy when talking about raw foodies or anyone who pays for specialty stuff.

    Reply
  25. hyperchondira.. thats amazing. have you been reading about "orthorexia"? Its the eating disorder of eating perfectly. I had a RAW FOODIST (yes, in all caps) housemate for a while, and she fascinated me in her desire to grab a piece of kale to eat when she was hungry, but absolute willingness to snort cocaine. Because.. she was healthy, right? bright bleached teeth, dark, overtanned skin… but feeling GOOD!
    ortho (think orthodontist, orthotics…) "perfection"
    exia- habit, way of being, nutrition.
    If one spends more than thirty percent of their time thinking about the right way to make their food.. its considered a disorder. oh, what blight for chefs! and what a joke for allergy sufferers, especially in the beginning.

    ohh, thanks for making me laugh… what a crazy world!

    Reply
  26. Matt, who's "the bear?" (See, I remembered to place the question mark before the quotation mark).

    Reply
  27. If you think the opiates in those grains are bad, you should think about the ones in dairy products, especially that oh so damaging unpasteurized dairy that the raw paleo community is so so not fond of! And the oh so damaging vegetable juice! Nevermind the deficit of anything that isn't meat.

    Reply
  28. And for your information, that picture is actually a picture of myself masturbating. I'm quite genetically blessed as you can see. Guess which one is my arm.

    Reply
  29. Anon, The Bear's was the king of LSD from the 60s. His diet was essentially:

    - No carbs or plant foods.
    - Tons of animal foods.
    - Plenty of LSD to supplement.

    Reply
  30. Moving onto five-acres. Guess what one of those acres will consist of. Yeah, that's right… wheat. Gonna grow and grind my own.

    Reply
  31. Grind it Blake! Get it son!

    Nikki-

    Oh you have no idea. You gotta read this post of mine…

    http://180degreehealth.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-eating-disorders.html

    As-

    Thanks for playing. There is no such thing as an acronym that is too long, as Johnny has proven.

    Jim-

    I like it. At one point I think I spent 40% of my income on food.

    Ela-

    Lady friend and kid did not move along with me.

    I do like hyperdiagnostitis, but it's not just diagnosis. Like I've seen some unbelievable stuff lately – like deli workers and paramedics dishing out nutrition advice.

    The paramedic actually told lady friend to eat an 800 calorie diet (a fantastic way to recover from an eating disorder I would guess) and eat only natural foods. If you do that, she said, you can't go wrong. That second part sounded pretty good until her next tidbit of advice was to add a flavoring liquid to drinking water and drink it throughout the day. The drinking liquid contained splenda and propylene glycol amongst other sinister ingredients. She tried it once and had severe insomnia that night – exactly what happens to me if I consume anything with splenda in it. Classic.

    Reply
  32. Hey guys. I will put the recipe below, but it's nothing special. I just grabbed it off AllRecipes.com I think. The key to its tastiness is the Waring Pro Belgian wafflemaker and the fresh ingredients.

    1 cup flour (in my case, fresh ground whole wheat made moments beforehand)
    1 cup milk
    1 egg
    1T sweetener (in my case, fresh unprocessed local honey)
    2t baking powder
    dash sea salt
    dash vanilla

    It's all about ingredients and preparation.

    Reply
  33. You meager mortals. You think you know all there is to know about waffles? Come to Belgium and you'll taste our divine waffles.They're not just waffles, they're GAUFFRES, they're a panacea (especially if consumed with chocolate on top, a glass of beer and after a meal with a lot of bread)

    LOL

    Martin V.

    Reply
  34. OK Matt–what about hyperpolypragmonodiagnostitis–in true Aristophanes style, = hyper busybody diagnositis ?

    That 800 cal recommendation is scary: should be illegal to say that to someone who's had an eating disorder. And natural foods but splenda and propylene glycol? Niiice… Sure gives you faith in the public health system.

    Reply
  35. Matt, out of curiosity, how do you find your income? My best guess is you're a rogue dentist, or maybe a stay at home stock trader. I'm looking for something easy, profitable, and potentially at-home. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  36. Martin-

    I will come visit you, taste your waffles, and be the final judge in the International Waffle Competition.

    But Brock forgot to reveal his true secret. The batch he made contained a mashed up banana as a sweetener. You could hardly tell it was in there texture-wise, but it had a little hint of sweet, tangy, banana yumminess.

    Reply
  37. Andrew-

    My income is lousy, but I get by with it. It can only go up from here as I keep working on the site and breaking new ground in the future.

    Other than owning some silver that I bought in December of '08, I don't do anything else and haven't for almost 2 full years now.

    As far as my own philosophy about one's vocation, what matters most is that what you do is most congruent with what you are most interested in and passionate about. That's the only way you'll have the drive, persistence, skill, ability, information recall, etc. that's required to really be successful in something – beating out the competition.

    So step 1 is really getting to know yourself and what you'd really like to spend the day working on, learning about, and building skill in. I'd be happy to exhange some emails with you about some things that helped me out and brainstorm with you about how that could be channeled into something that could produce income. sacredself@gmail.com

    Reply
  38. Blogger GLS said…

    "Matt,
    Another word you might like that falls in the same vein:

    valetudinarian – weak or sickly person especially one morbidly concerned with his or her health"

    Valetudinarians all up in the Woodhouse!

    (Jane Austen reference because man can not live by Karate Kid alone)

    Thanks for the waffle recipe. The boy has been clamoring for Leggos ever since he had them at a sleepover. So maybe if I make him some real waffles he'll forget about it.

    The intuitive eating thing is really working for my kid (who by the way does not have an autism spectrum disorder, he apparently just has my nerdball genes). Yesterday he ate a can of Bush's Baked Beans and a couple of glasses of super sweet kefir when he got home from school (two things he wouldn't have been allowed a year ago because they have too much sugar in them) and when dinner rolled around he ate a whole bowl of pad thai. The last time I made pad thai, about eight months ago, he didn't touch it at all.

    I've relaxed a little too. We were on vacation last week and I ate a Choco Taco. It's obviously going to take a while to overcome my hyperchondria.

    Reply
  39. Choco Taco. Now that is impressive. And to think that I've been eating totally clean for 5 straight days now! 5 whole days! What's gotten into me?

    Reply
  40. Ahhhhhh!! Interesting finding this tonight! I was just talking with my husband about the nasty health problems that a few very well known Paleo friends are having with their health but they insist that “it would be worse if I wasn’t eating a Paleo diet”… all while they shit their brains out day in and day out, need regular naps due to low energy and complain of a host of other issues. Instead of adding eliminated food groups back into their diets, they go on eliminating more and more to no avail. It’s insanity followed by, yep, HYPERchondria! Everything’s FINE!! Thank Gawd they are Paleo right? Or they might lose book sales…

    Reply

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