Software developers tend to live a very sedentary lifestyle.
I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but in general, when you spend that much time in front of a computer performing mentally intensive tasks, it’s no surprise when you end up living a “less than healthy” lifestyle.
This is especially true for people whose hobbies are centered around computer use.
I myself fall directly into this paradigm.
The problem is, this type of lifestyle is not sustainable.
Or at the very least, it wasn’t for me.
My neck, shoulders, wrists and lower back consistently hurt. It was hard to type, and I was uncomfortable sitting in a chair all day.
My energy levels were always low and I would periodically have brain fog.
Needless to say, this made it hard to focus on solving problems.
How did I deal with this?
As most people do, I would resort to sugar as a way to boost my mood and productivity.
I’d eat something sweet, get a high, and I was productive… at least for a little while.
About half a year ago, I made a drastic change to my diet.
What did I do?
I cut out pretty much all refined sugar and high carbohydrate foods.
No bread, no pasta, no rice — no grains.
No dessert, no fruit.
My diet pretty much consists of meat, vegetables, and occasionally some goat cheese.
Now let’s talk about the important stuff — how exactly did this make me a better developer.
You need stores of energy to do any job well, and software development is no different.
I find that my energy levels are now very consistent. I’m not bouncing off the walls or anything — I simply have a stable stream of energy that allows me to perform at a good pace throughout the day.
Considering that my energy levels use to be more volatile than Tesla’s stock price, this was life-changing for me.
I can be productive first thing in the morning and work consistently throughout the day without getting tired or crashing.
That’s not to say that there aren’t days where I feel a bit off, but they occur much more infrequently.
This one’s pretty simple. I have less pain and soreness — of course this makes it easier to work.
Never underestimate the value of having a body that doesn’t hurt.
My mind is a lot clearer — I don’t deal with brain fog as I used to.
This has made me a much more observant developer. I find myself catching those small stupid mistakes much earlier, which has led to a lot of saved time.
My mood is also a lot better. I’m more patient and I think this has directly improved my daily problem-solving and architectural tasks.
I will spend more time on planning, designing, and just thinking things through. Now, it’s not to say I didn’t prioritize such tasks before — I most certainly did and I think anyone that aspires to be a great developer should.
The big difference is that I am significantly more thorough with this process. I consider things in far more detail because I am patient enough to spend more time on these tasks than I might have 6 months ago.
Interestingly enough, I chose this low-inflammation diet to address a separate health issue — I never imagined that it would have such a profound effect on the way I work.
For me, it’s obvious:
Improving my diet has made me a better software developer. My dev life has been transformed and I am not going back.
I am sticking with this diet, and will continue to reap the benefits.
I am not a doctor nor am I making any recommendations about diet — I am simply sharing my experience. Before making any drastic changes to your diet, you might want to consult with a health care professional.