Junk Food and Coding
How do you feel about coding all night? Do you imagine the night without any food or with some kind of junk food? How about ordering out, a new seamless order? If you think you cannot survive working all night without some kind of junk food with your coffee. Then this article is for you.
Junk Food Addiction
A junk food addiction can happen to coders even more. It can come while you do difficult projects or even easy ones. It can come in the form of celebration or as a means to endure the difficult. Once you are trapped in the mousetrap of eating to make life easier to handle as a coder, you could be trapped forever. It will not only make you unhealthy but some foods high in sodium or sugar will ruin your cognitive abilities and focus, hence your ability to be a successful coder. Here is why, all coders are in the danger of becoming junk food addicts.
You finish a lot of work outside the office
I am working right now and it is 2 am in New York. I am doing office stuff, optimizing important codes. I usually like working outside the office and have worked in very interesting places, including Florida beaches, bars, coffee shops and even in a birthday party while being completely intoxicated. But I remember, buying something to eat while I was working from these amazing places. In Florida beaches, they have all these tiki bars with the best Pina Coladas. Did it make my life easier? No, my computer got filled with sand and I think I focused more on the Coladas than my work itself. Yes, I did not accomplish much working from the beach. I have worked from coffee shops where I had to get the donut with the coffee. Did I need this? Absolutely not! But whenever I solved something difficult I felt an urgent need to eat something to celebrate. And also, whenever I was stuck with a coding issue I felt a need to put something in my mouth. Altogether, coding is not a stable and a smooth career. Working outside gives us more opportunities to eat. In an office setting we are stuck with co-workers and tied to a routine and discipline. Lunch breaks are for eating, the rest of the time is for coding. Our minds are programmed to follow these rules. But the problem with being a software engineer is that coding can almost never be finished at the office, we end up bringing work home, taking them to the park and even vacationing while working. During such times we become the bosses of our own schedules and we make our own rules. I avoided this by :
Coding in the Library
I know, it sounds boring and stupid too. I have a super computer at home. It is absolutely idiotic for me to travel to Manhattan when I can just work from home. I trained myself not to eat while coding by leaving my wallet. Yes, I did not take my wallet on purpose. I left it at home, took my id card, library card and my travel card. I made sure my travel card had money in it and I did not even take my phone. I did not want to end up paying for some food with my phone. Altogether, I would code from the quietness of the library without any snack breaks. I did it for two weeks and than not eating anything while coding turned into a permanent habit. Contrary to my previous beliefs that I needed to eat something to focus more on coding. I saw that I coded better when there is no food. I focused more on my work and not on the foods I was eating.
Do not eat to celebrate
We have to train our subconscious mind to not associate food with every good thing that happens in life. But how can we? Our very fabric of society is designed in a way that we need to eat something good to celebrate. In coding, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate. Imagine, being stuck with an impossible coding problem and than solving it finally after three days of intense struggle. Than we will feel like celebrating and of course our minds are programmed to want food to celebrate. Celebrate differently, you cannot control what society and the world did to your mind but you can control how you program your mind for the future. Of course you can attend all celebrations and enjoy food. But program your mind to not eat while celebrating a particular kind of success. Coding success!!! Celebrate, coding success by watching a great movie or by playing a video game. I play PC Games and watch Netflix to celebrate all kinds of coding success. Whether it is the successful completion of building a great Navbar to optimizing my codes to make my program three times faster. Now, my subconscious mind does not expect me to eat food with every success story.
Being stuck with coding problems is not fun. Your job depends on it. Your loans depend on it. Your life may even depend on it. But remember, you are not alone in this. People in your company have been stuck with problems before you. Those senior coders completely understand what you are going through, even your non coder bosses get it. Trust me. Talk to the senior engineers of your company and ask for possible solutions ! There is a reason why you need to network with other coders. Always network with other engineers and have coding discussions with them. Than you will not feel lonely when you are stuck. When I first started out I was terrified because I could not configure some software but after talking to the senior engineers I realized that all of them were also stuck trying to configure the software. The company uses a very old version of ruby on rails software and many of them volunteered to show me how to configure this software. Take breaks, go out for walks and find healthy ways to handle a problem solving career. But do not go out to eat thinking that right now I am in hot water so I should get my mind off the work by eating. Trust me, you are in a career where hot water will be thrown at you regularly so by that definition if you eat every time you are in trouble your health is at stake.
Fasting is a great solution
Fasting worked out for me and if you do not have health issues. It can help you too. Intermittent fasting is a great way to enhance self control. After a period of intermittent fasting my urge to eat unnecessarily reduced a lot. I do not feel like eating most of the time. My portion decreased automatically without me going crazy trying to control it and that’s why I am not that hungry any more. I had breakfast at 6 am in the morning and had dinner at 6 pm at night. This schedule worked out for me, but I am not so sure if this kind of thing is ok with everyone. You can create a great schedule according to your needs.
Once you stop associating food to the ups and downs of your coding career. You will not become a junk food addict. Keep food away from emotions. Instead of being an emotional eater become an emotional exerciser or an emotional video game player. Form some other habits. It is extremely common to see coders carry sodas and sugary beverages. Carry some water instead. Maybe even seltzer water. All these practices will not only help you stay healthy but will also help you stay focused. Altogether, the sky will always be clear and the future of coders will be bright everywhere!!
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