The last 2 years have been a roller coaster in my life. Graduated college, moved to my own place, got a job, got another job, started several side projects, life was crazy. But there was one part of my life that in the last 2 years suffered the most, my well being. I say well being because it wasn't just that my physical fitness was declining.
All throughout college I was very active, ate well and made sure to go to the gym or get some physical activity at least once per day. That all ended when I moved from college. First was the gym, between work and my numerous side projects, I simply had no time (or energy for that matter) to go, so I stopped. Around the same time my diet also went into decline, I ate less healthy food and started relying more on resturaunts and fast food that was avaliable to me. Finally in-tandem with the diet and exercise, I started to have mental health issues. While not serious by any means, for someone who has never dealt with depression, having to all of a sudden deal with it, I knew something had to change.
The problem with change was that I lacked dicipline. I knew I had tendencies to take a shortcut, to do it the easy way, and none of this was going to be easy or have any shortcuts. I knew that if I just tried to tough it out I was going to fall off the wagon sooner rather than later and return to my old habits, so I leveraged my own weaknesses to be my new strengths. Here are some of the changes I made:
Got a new job: I started out of college working for a startup that was about 20 miles from my home. There I was working long hours and sitting in traffic for 2+ hours per day. The new job, while with a bigger company and more overhead, cut not only my workload but also my commute from 1 hour to about 10-15 minutes.
Deleted all food delivery apps on my phone: Uber Eats, Postmates and Dominos all got the axe. If I was going to indulge in junk food I was going to make it as difficult as possible.
Replaced all junk food with healthy food: Fast food was now hard to get but I still had a pantry full of unhealthy food that I would gravitate towards for my midnight snack. I knew I wouldn't beat my snacking habits so I instead opted to replace what I snacked on. Out with the Pop-Tarts and Lays chips, in with healthy nutrition bars and fruit. Turns out piling your face with apples or oranges has the same effect in the moment and a radically better one when you wake up.
Took a break on my side projects: Side projects are a great way to learn but can also be a time suck. I decided to put a hold on all my new side projects and put all my energy into creating a better lifestyle for myself.
Went to the gym. Every. Single. Day: This was the hardest change yet the most rewarding. I knew that I couldn't just say "I'll go 3 times a week" because I would find excuses. Going every day drilled into my brain that going to the gym every day was on par with brushing your teeth when you wake up or showering before work. You don't question doing these things, you just do it.
It's been about 6 months since I started the regiment and the results are in, I'm doing way better. Fitness has improved, my diet has improved, and my bouts of depression are gone. Better yet I am now more productive at work and have resumed several of my side projects. As developers, we often think we are as invincible as our code. Code is one thing, but physical fitness is a wholly different beast. Don't skimp on taking care of your body in leu of writing more code. It will come back to bite you in the ass.