Week 9 – Don’t Be Such a Dramatic Bitch
Recently, I became aware of a term that sounds like bullshit. The “biopsychosocial model of pain.” It sounds like a hippy-dippy dollop of new-age woo. But you know, the old-school biomedical view of pain isn’t very good, either. The number of people walking around with fused disks and pins in their back that didn’t do anything for their pain is shocking.
But the biopsychosocial model just has three parts to it that any old gamma that’s raised a dozen kids knows. Feelings are one third “bio-,” one third “psycho-” and one third “-social.”
If you have a sixteen month old that falls and cracks their head on the concrete, you know that their reaction is usually going to be twice what yours is. If you recoil in sympathetic pain, you are going to be dealing with a screaming kid. If you laugh and say “fall down!” with a big smile, they are going to pop back up and giggle. That’s social conditioning setting the overton window for pain.
Unless, you know, they split their scalp, have blood in their eyes, and have a cracked skull. That just hurts. That’s the bio part.
When the kids a little older and has a little bit of agency, well, they can start with the “psycho” bit. My eight year old spawn fell of the bike. Road rash on the shin and a skinned knee, bleeding like a stuck pig. This kid wailed and wailed like he was being fed feet-first into a garbage disposal. So I yelled and told him to “Shut the hell up, no one wants to hear that.” This was such a shock, he actually did shut up. I’m not normally gruff with this kid. He’s a soft hearted, introspective boy that is more skittish than a fawn. So this was way out of character for me to him. But it did the trick. After he collected himself, I told him that if he wallows in his pain, it will get worse. If he sucks it up, he will be in control. Ten minutes and a bit of gauze+tape later, he was out riding his bike again.
And that’s when it struck me how much like this kid we all are. I’ve said before, in at least one Glibfit, that hunger is like a 2 year old. Put the food out of eye-sight and you won’t get as hungry.
Well, we are all still like this eight year old too. We live in a socio-environment where weight loss is ‘hard.’ It’s one of those things that Everyone Knows. Long term success at weight loss has a failure rate of over 95%. Long term adherence to an exercise plan by an adult that doesn’t exercise is south of 5%. Lose a lot of weight, and everyone will tell you how hard it is and how much you have to work at it and what a sacrifice it is.
And I internalized that. But.. you know… I’m a probably-would-get-diagnosed-as-on-the-spectrum system-loving engineer-at-heart who’s also got a complex that makes him seek out contrary positions (what up USC, my kindred spirit.) And when I look at it objectively…
It’s not any harder than bathing, brushing my teeth, shaving, and doing my hair every morning. No one will see you in the break room and say “Oh my god, you put Murry’s in your hair every day this week? That is so hard, I’m so proud of you!” Even though, you know, putting Murry’s in your hair is really hard. How can something be both so sticky and so non-newtonian at the same time, and it doesn’t wash off your hands.
Anyway, I’ve spent the last 7 weeks talking about the bio- part of diet and fitness. The psycho and socio parts are intertwined, and in a way that mainstream culture isn’t helping. But it’s 2018, and you know, the Jacket was actually right. You can use the internet to construct your own cultural cesspit. I found one little niche culture that will never tell you how brave and strong you are for putting down that blueberry muffin. In fact, they’ll call you a little bitch if you try and fail to precisely control your body composition. Bodybuilders. Did you ever read about how those guys do what they do? Between the vitamin-T, insulin, diuretics, wearing banana-hammocks in public, and fumes from the tanning spray, a little bit of self control at the dinner table is the easiest part of their particular vice. And so, even though I have no interest
in bodybuilding per se, and really have no interest in staring at people I know are shortening their life in order to super-deform their bodies and paint them brown, I have started immersing myself in their online culture.
Because as poisonous as their hobby is to their body, their overton window around “Shut the hell up, no one wants to hear that” is much more healthy than that offered by mainstream culture or medical culture.
Bonus 1 week challenge
Bathe, brush your teeth, shave, and do your hair, you filthy animal.
Note – We are winding down to the end of GlibFit 2.0, and are thus in need of a new handler for GlibFit 3.0. If you are interested, send our kind hosts an email.