Becoming Superman: Kick the Krap out of Kryptonite

When I was a little kid, I went as Superman for Halloween probably five or six years in a row.  I’m not kidding.  I freaking loved Superman, watching all of the movies on repeat and wearing a cape as often as possible.  I even wore red undies on the outside sometimes.  Yup.  So, why did I love Superman so much?

Because he’s a total badass!

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – who WOULDN’T want to be Superman, right?  Now, although the Man of Steel is pretty much indestructible, there’s one thing that can take him down quickly: Kryptonite.

Suck.

Pretend for a minute that you’re Superman in a quest for weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. I bet you’ve tried to get in shape in the past, you’ve probably even had some success and watched the number on your scale get smaller and smaller.  However, there’s that one thing (or two) that eventually always knocked you off your path and sent you in downward spiral back to complacency and unhealthiness.

This failure is your Kryptonite, and if you really want to become a superhero you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it.

Identify It.

If you’ve tried to get in shape before and failed, obviously something went wrong or you’d already be where you want to be.  Did you get sick and give up?  Did you drown your sorrows in a week long binge after your team lost in the playoffs?  Did you have a birthday at work and eat an entire cookie cake by yourself?  Maybe you just ran out of steam and lost your motivation.

Think about your past experiences with fitness and wellness and write down what went wrong. Usually there’s an event or two that you can point to as the cause of your downfall.

This is important – don’t beat yourself up about having a weakness.  If Superman can have one, so can you.  Now, Superman’s weakness is easy for him to identify: it’s green, it came from a meteorite, it glows, and makes him feel like ass.  Discovering yours might not be so easy.

These are mine.

  • Traveling for work. My job at Sixthman has me traveling quite a bit on cruise ships.  While on these ships, I take terrible care of myself.  I barely eat, I rarely sleep, and I usually end up sick as a dog for the week after each cruise due to my immune system being so worn down.  This derails my efforts to build strength and muscle, every time.
  • Absentmindedness at work. When I’m NOT traveling, I sometimes that I get so absorbed in work that I often forget to eat lunch or my snacks throughout the day.  If I’m going to build some serious muscle, I need to be eating great food, all day, every day.  Whether it’s muscle gain or weight loss, diet is the most important thing and I fail more often than I should.
  • Time management. I work on Nerd Fitness in my free-time, and I’m a terrible time manager.  I don’t sleep enough and I don’t get to work out as often as I’d like because I dump all of my free time into this website…which I don’t mind because I love helping people!

Make a Plan to Deal With It.

Once you’ve figured out your Kryptonite, it’s time to take care of business, put on your cape, and make sure your Kryptonite doesn’t take you down again.  The best solution I’ve found for setting new habits comes from Leo over at ZenHabits:

  1. Write down your plan.
  2. Identify your triggers and replacement habits.
  3. Focus on doing the replacement habits every single time the triggers happen, for about 30 days.

If you signed up for the 28-day challenge on the Nerd Fitness Message Boards (it’s where the cool kids hang out), this is a perfect opportunity for you to kick your Kryptonite to the kur…curb.

Here’s how I plan on dealing with mine:

  • Traveling for work. I need to take better care of myself on these cruises.  I have two more cruises coming up in April and May – and I need to take at least one night on each where I don’t stay out after a long day of work and just get some sleep!  Recharging my batteries once in the middle of a cruise should be enough for me to not get sick afterwards.
  • Absentmindedness at work. I’ve set a reminder on my computer to remind me every day to eat lunch.  Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it works.  I also make sure I put a big bag of almonds on my desk as soon as I walk in the office so my brain remembers to eat them throughout the day.
  • Time management. I need to take care of myself.  I spend too much time messing around on the internet when trying to write these articles, so I’m working on writing shorter, more concise posts that still have the same impact with NF readers.  I will always battle to be healthy if I can’t find a way to get more sleep.  This is really tough for me, so any advice would be helpful!

What’s your Kryptonite, and how do you plan on dealing with it? There’s no reason we all can’t be superheroes, so let’s help each other out!

-Steve

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  • http://www.stellarpath.net/ Jeremy Logsdon

    This is an excellent post, and something I definitely need to do for myself.

  • http://mooselegs.net m00se

    For some reason, I felt the need to share this:

    http://th07.deviantart.net/fs46/300W/i/2009/203

    Super Nerd, mayhaps? :D

  • Endorphin_Dude

    Wearing red undies on the outside? Hmmm.

  • NerdFitness

    Only when in costume though. And I was 5.

    Not all of us can be Endorphin_Dude :)

    -Steve

  • NerdFitness

    Thanks Jeremy.

    It's important to be prepared for these things before they happen or you'll end up playing catch-up.

    -Steve

  • NerdFitness

    Hahahah, m00se that is awesome.

    Good find.

    -Steve

  • curvygirly

    Great article as always! Maybe you can cut down on Nerd Fitness (don't worry I'm disappointed saying it too), to be able to put in more personal time? Maybe install some buddies to be moderators, or help you with the site stuff. For me, sleep is a really big issue as well. So when I have 30 minutes to spare, I take a nap. Doesn't matter where I am , i take a nap. Usually I would tell myself that, and end up sitting infront of msn for that time and by that time, it's back to my work. So take all the distractions away when you want to nap. Also, while doing your blogging maybe give yourself a time limit to work on it. or throughout the day/week you put down ideas , little scribbles so when you do start the writing it becomes a lot easier. Make sure there is no work in your bedroom, though that can be hard. I don't study on my bed, that way, my bed is only made for relaxing purposes, psychologically it helps. Also buy,Johnsons Lavender and Chamomile Body wash or lotion. Sounds fruity but it really helps put you to sleep. Use it half an hour before you plan to sleep, and it will make you more likely to finish up what you are doing in a hurry!
    Sorry for the gigantic advice piece, but I know how important it is to sleep. If anything, set one day a week where you catch up on zzz for a few hours.

    I've been identifying my kryptonite in my 28 day challenge, adding pro's and con's daily so I can see what works for me and what doesn't. I think alot of us refuse to consider what doesn't work for us, we like to fool ourselves. I used to justify whatever meals I ate with my friends, bc “they ate it too, so why is it bad for me to eat”, now I def know better. Good post on letting us realize we need a wake up call!

  • http://263andcounting.com/ Tara

    My Kryptonite is that I work too much. All of my self worth is tied up in how much I work. Before my weight loss journey I was working up to 75 hours a week. I'm a sign language interpreter and to work more than 30 hours is a little crazy…

    I'm a lot crazy.

    No let me rephrase that. I'm not crazy. It's how I feel like I am important. Everyone in my immediate family has failed in so many aspects that I'm aggressively trying to not go down the same path as them.

    Therapy is helping me a bit.

    The last 3 months I've only worked 39 hours/week. Time to run, time to think about food. Time to get sleep. Time to lose 25 pounds. Come April 1st I'm back up to 52 hours/week. I shouldn't have committed so quickly. I should have taken the time to think about how taking on an extra 20 hours would impact me. I didn't and now I'm looking down the path of a very busy schedule for the next 3 months.

    Instead of being disappointed in myself, I'm just going to work through it. I have a few weeks to prepare. Work out a new schedule that includes making sure I eat well and am still getting exercise. I may join a gym because that will give me a place to go and then shower and leave for work from there.

    Funny thing is I don't need to work this hard. No credit cards. Car is close to being paid off. House payment is small enough that working 32 hours a week is sufficient. And yet, I panic that I'm not good enough if I'm not always working.

    Damn Kryptonite!

  • NerdFitness

    Hey Tara!

    Thanks for the comment – I have the exact same problem…I work way too much
    for my day job, and then I come home and do 5+ hours of Nerd Fitness a
    day…my health always takes the back seat to both. I've tried to justify
    forcing myself to sleep and eat more by telling myself that it's part of my
    business…have to take care of myself to inspire others to take care of
    themselves!

    I'll yell at you to work less and you can yell at me to sleep more, deal? :)

    -Steve

  • http://263andcounting.com/ Tara

    Deal!

  • mschoeffler

    Hey Steve, you might like a similarly themed article: Eight steps to becoming superhuman. Great geeks think alike.

    http://www.roadbud.com/blog/eight-steps-to-beco

  • 202020Diet

    Hey Steve!

    I do the same thing with my computer, I have a reminder that tells me when to have a snack, otherwise I forget to eat and end up getting too hungry, then McDonalds happens.

    Great plan for replacing habits, Leo is a genius for sure.

    My personal kryptonite, too much work, poor time management, pizza and spaghetti.

    Talk to ya later.

  • NerdFitness

    That's a great article, thanks man!

    -S

  • NerdFitness

    Thanks for the comment! Yup, poor time management is my killer. I'm trying to get better!

    -Steve

  • NerdFitness

    That's a great article, thanks man!

    -S

  • NerdFitness

    Thanks for the comment! Yup, poor time management is my killer. I'm trying to get better!

    -Steve

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  • Alex Curio

    My kryptonite is definitely the getting sick thing.  I’ll be on a roll, eating right, working out, feeling strong – and then I’ll get a stomach virus.  Or the flu.  Sometimes I’m out of commission for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks.  The momentum I’ve built totally dissipates, and I get depressed and very frustrated as I watch the small gains I’ve made fade away.  Does anyone else have this issue?  And how do you get past it?  I mean, we all get sick, but not all of us manage to maintain or continue with weight loss – what’s the difference?

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  • Al

    Yes! Buck up and sleep! Nothing will happen if you stop what you’re doing and sleep.

    I used to be like you, thinking that I’m more productive night but that’s simply not true. Having a good night of sleep will allow your mind to clear and think clearly in the morning.

    If you have many things on your mind before bed, use the idea parking technique. This technique calls for you to have a notebool besides you in bed and write everything down so you take it out of your mind. You might need 2 or 3 days to really clear your head and start sleeping well.

    I’ve recommended this technique to many of my friends and it has helped them.

    One thing you learn from a technique like that is that you don’t have as much stuff in your mind as you might think. These ideas are usually the same but worded differently.

    Once you’ve done this, simply get these things that keep you up DONE so you free your mind to think about something else.

    My 2 cents!

  • disqus_Hy0ns7e4eI

    My kryptonite used to be that I felt exercise was a tedious chore. I used to hate any kind of exercise. Even swimming, which I thought was my favorite because the sweat dilutes into the pool before feeling it (and before seriously working out I absolutely hated sweating).

    What did I do about that? Moving to a gym, where I could goof off on the phone if I got bored. Believe it or not that was what let me keep going for the first 3 weeks. After that, my initial gains started settling in… and that was when I finally got to actually like lifting.

  • YennSK

    Hey Alex, I have the exact same problem. Getting stomach virus, flu, backache most likely. And all my efforts are gone. And with each such occurance it takes me longer to find strenght to get back on track. It is almost as if I was running out of willpower that was once given to me long ago…