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Programmers and eating habbit

Hey fellas

Is it really possible to be a programmer and eat well at the same time? I am just wondering how many programmers out there take the time to eat proper meals on working days? why skinny geeks are becoming overweight after couple of years in IT? I am certainly becoming one myself.

Monday, February 9, 2004

I notice that a lot of IT people where glasses, and that a lot of office people have white skin.
But I wouldn’t say all IT/programmers are fat.

Me? I drink green tea and water, I eat very healthily, I even ran a half-marathon last year.
Maybe I am just not geeky enough!

Aussie Chick
Monday, February 9, 2004

I eat well because your brain can only function well if it's got good quality fuel to burn. I also ride 160km a week with the local triathlon club.

If you want to have a good sharp mind to produce quality work, look after your body.


Completely off topic: A friend who was into marathons (<envy> he ran a sub 2:40 </envy>) had a great training saying: "The body is evil. It must be punished."

Andrew Lighten
Monday, February 9, 2004

I consider 'Caffeine and Nicotine' to be a food group.

Caffeine:  Liquid Sleep

I also had a stroke when I was 28, so YMMV <g>

Monday, February 9, 2004

Incidentally, I do yoga, meditate, lift weights, run and cycle dailiy (no, not all each day)... so I can maintain my bad habits as long as possible.

Monday, February 9, 2004

I take the time to eat proper meals on workdays, because otherwise my blood sugar crashes through the floor and takes my IQ with it.  I am overweight, but that's because (a) I don't get much exercise even when I'm off the computer and (b) my partner is a really good cook.  (=

Sam Livingston-Gray
Monday, February 9, 2004

I used to bring a cooler with me to the office that had 3 small meals and 2 shakes in it, so I could eat every 2.5 hours and keep the body and mind sharp with a constant trickle of fuel.  I ate breakfast at home, though.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Yes, it is possible to be a programmer and eat well (and not turn overweight) at the same time.

That said, turning overweight after just a couple of years in the IT industry is not a factor of eating healthy alone. It is a combination of poor eating habits *and* lack of physical activity (read exercise).

Some tips regarding eating habits:

1. Don't skimp on food. Eating less just because you are turning overweight will only make the problem worse.
2. Avoid caffeinated drinks.
3. Eat fruits. They are good. Their availability is good. You don't have to cook them.
4. Do not over-indulge in fried food.
5. Do not keep large gaps between meals.

But most importantly, try and work some exercise into your daily routine. Just 20-30 minutes of exercise can do wonders.

You can find tons of useful information on the net if you search around for it. But most important, I think, is the need to understand the importance of staying healthy and the discipline to maintain the (good) habits.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Hey, I've done a sub 2:40 marathon! And I'm a glasses wearing C++ geek.

Running rocks.

Me and the view out the window
Monday, February 9, 2004

I've noticed that running is pretty common among programmers.  There are a few people on my team who run marathons regularly.

Hate to say it, but I've noticed that it is the IT guys at work who are usually fat and out of shape, who have that stereotypical computer look.  Out of all the programmers that I've worked with over the last few years, none have been overweight.  Though we do have our fair share of deathly skinny dudes.

Monday, February 9, 2004

I have bought a precise electronic scale (costs about $70) and weight myself every morning.

Yes, there are some rather random differences caused by the ammount of water my body retains, BUT I have also noticed several things:

- If I eat a lot of sweets, I gain weight.

- If I stay in the house all day, and work on the computer and watch TV, I gain weight.

- If I'm sick, so I don't get out of the house, I gain weight.

- If I have a lot of things to do in the city, and have to move around a lot, walk, etc, I lose weight.

So, I try to minimize the number of days in which I don't get out.

This has been very healthy.

If you are working from home, it's easy to work like hell, and then be so overworked that you don't want to get out of the house.

Take breaks. Take a 1 hour break after the first 4 or so hours of work, eat at a healthy restaurant, and take the time to walk or exercise a bit.

Also, another healthy thing is to take your notes and laptop with you and work in the local park for 2-3 hours.

Monday, February 9, 2004

Eat when you're hungry.
And when eating stop when you just feel that you want to eat more of what you eat.

Monday, February 9, 2004

One good female programmer I know keeps a stash of speed in her drawer, so she doesn't have to bother with eating and sleep the days before deadline. As a bonus, she's very slim and therefore attractive.

Attentive reader
Monday, February 9, 2004

I keep reading this title as "...eating Hobbit".

Monday, February 9, 2004

To stay slim:

1) Eat food at mealtimes. Do not eat nonfood items and do not eat at not-mealtimes.

1b) HINT - if it sounds like it should be in a laboratory labelled BIOHAZARD instead of in a pantry, it's unlikely to be food. Therefore, do not eat it. If it looks engineered enough to survive a tactical nuclear strike on your refrigerator, eat it ONLY if no other food is available because there has just been a tactical nuclear strike on your refrigerator.

1c) If you are so hungry that you are desperate to eat at not-mealtimes, eat food only.

1d) Eat your meals as though you were eating a meal. I.E: sit at the table, use cutlery where applicable, chew each bite before swallowing, and try to allocate at least 45 minutes per meal. Pushing up eggs-on-a-stick as you drive your car to work is not reasonable mealtime protocol. The idea is to eat in such a way that you can tell you've eaten.

1e) Do not drink soft drinks. They are either made of chemicals (see 1b) or are 114% sugar, or both.

2) Exercise fairly vigorously, for an hour a day.

3) There is no third thing.

Fernanda Stickpot
Monday, February 9, 2004

I recommend that geeks learn to cook. It can be a lot of fun, you can be creative, and the results tend to be pretty quick.

I learned (or started to cook, you don't need to learn as such) fairly recently and some of the stuff I've produced has been sensational, IMNSHO. My wife likes it too, and no one has had to go to hospital afterwards.

Start off with simple recipes and go on from there.

Monday, February 9, 2004

It doesn't follow if you cook that you'll eat properly - my first 2 months at uni I started cooking and put on a stone (trans: 14 lb, ~6.4kg).  Granted beer may have been involved :-)

a cynic writes...
Monday, February 9, 2004

I'm a huge fat a$$!  I gained fifty pounds since starting professional programming ten years ago.

Monday, February 9, 2004

I just follow the "Computer Geek Nutrition Pyramid" found here: .  Incidentally that is one of the few User Friendly cartoon strips that I find to be truly funny, only because it's true.

Personally, I try to eat a balanced diet, but if I feel like eating nothing but twinkies for a week I do it.  I'll make up for it somewhere else. 

Too many people let diet stress them out I think.  Learn to cultivate a taste for "real" foods, get used to not putting a ton of sugar and salt on everything, and then don't worry about it.  That was probably one of the most useful lessons I learned during my stay in Germany.

Oh, and get off your butt once and a while and go for a walk.  Don't forget to carry a clipboard, so you look busy.


Steve Barbour
Monday, February 9, 2004

"...eating Hobbit" mmm...A modest proposal to the new King?

a cynic writes...
Monday, February 9, 2004

Well, eating hobbit could reduce the surplus population...

Steve Barbour
Monday, February 9, 2004

I bought a personal gym for my garage.... I supposed to actually use this, or was buying it enough?

Mark Hoffman
Monday, February 9, 2004

If memory serves the usual procedure with any exercise equipment is as follows:

* buy with much fanfare
* put back out attempting to construct, swear, succed at the third attempt.
* use twice
* hang washing on it for 2 -3 years
* sell it

a cynic writes...
Monday, February 9, 2004

"I bought a personal gym for my garage....

" I supposed to actually use this, or was buying it enough?"

No, you need to get a personal trainer so you can have an actual person to blame, too.

Fernanda Stickpot
Monday, February 9, 2004

i discovered this guy's web site in december

started doing a similar program on the 2nd of the year,
and have already lost 11 lbs. 

i'm not affiliated with the site, but you should check it out, it is really inspiring.  the before and after photos were kind of shocking.

i switched my eating habits from eating junk all day, to eating 5 pre-planned meals. and recording everything in a spreadsheet. something about tracking the diet and workout seems to work well for me.

the only problem is that I think the real reason I gained all the weight I did (about 40 lbs) was from drinking beer.  2 beers a day for a year... I actually should have weighed more.  now I don't drink any beer, but this has caused the only bad effect of the diet - I no longer have any social life.

where do you meet women if you can't pick them up in pubs?

Monday, February 9, 2004

"i switched my eating habits from eating junk all day, to eating 5 pre-planned meals. and recording everything in a spreadsheet. something about tracking the diet and workout seems to work well for me."

Wow, when do you find time to actually eat?

I've tried the whole track different aspects of your life in a diary thing, and to be frank, I can't force myself to do it.

Heck, I couldn't even manage to keep that one semester journal up to date for English class in HS.

Some people amaze me with their organization skills.


Steve Barbour
Monday, February 9, 2004

Two beers a day for a year is not going to cause anythng except an excess of sobriety.

I drank the equivalent of a dozen a day for twenty years, and even though I'm now in Saudi nine months a year I still manage to drink enough the other three to make the average well above two a day.

Stephen Jones
Monday, February 9, 2004

I eat at my desk. I make all the food on sundays and wednesdays. It isn't anything amazing, just frozen veggies, pasta or rice, and chicken breast or tuna fish. I just throw it all into a wok.  Two of the meals are protein smoothies - we have a blender at work and I keep the ingredients in the work fridge. The bachelor stir-fry goes into tupperware containers and the freezer. I initially tried to make everything on sunday night, but soon learned that chicken breast cooked sunday night doesn't taste too good reheated on friday, so now I spend an hour on wednesday nights cooking for the 2nd half of the week.

As far as keeping track of everything, I have to keep track of my work and finances (i'm an independent contractor) so another spreadsheet for food and exercise isn't a big deal. In fact I probably typed in more text in these past 2 posts than I have in my entire diet spreadsheet.

Monday, February 9, 2004

heh. stephen, you may be correct. However 2 pints a day is an additional 500 calories per day unless you are drinking bud light.  That's a pound a week provided nothing else changes in your diet or exercise habits.

Monday, February 9, 2004

"I bought a personal gym for my garage...."

Has your garage lost any weight yet?

Monday, February 9, 2004

---"heh. stephen, you may be correct. However 2 pints a day is an additional 500 calories per day unless you are drinking bud light.  That's a pound a week provided nothing else changes in your diet or exercise habits. "------

You mean people have something else apart from beer in their diet!? Do you mean chasers?

Incidentally, exerise is a lousy way to lose weight. People who go around running or jogging about ten miles a day lose weight because it's cold outside. You would do just as well by turning the heating down or the A/C up. This would also substitute for sex as far as weight loss goes, but might not satisfy on the psychological front.

Stephen Jones
Monday, February 9, 2004

stephen, if you actually ran 10 miles per day, you'd lose at least 2 pounds a week, provided nothing else changes in your routine. running 10 miles burns 1200-1300 calories!

the reason why exercise "doesn't work" is because people continue eating too much, and exercising too little. 20 minutes on the easy setting of the stairmaster only burns 200 calories. If you continue eating 3500 calories per day, 20 minutes on the stairmaster isn't going to help much.

Monday, February 9, 2004

I lost about 20 lb last year by simply eating slightly less at every meal. E.g. a handful less cereal for breakfast, water instead of 'fruit juice' for lunch, etc.

This year I'm trying to up the ante by exercising more too.

Devil's Advocate
Monday, February 9, 2004

"Incidentally, exerise is a lousy way to lose weight."

More than a few people in the medical profession would disagree with that statement...

Mark Hoffman
Monday, February 9, 2004

Just as a clarification...

I suppose it depends on how overweight a person is. If you're 350 lbs, then just a reduction in caloric intake will do wonders for weight loss.

I'm 6'2 and around 170 lbs, with a persistent bit of flab on my stomach. Excercise is what will remove this since my diet isn't really a huge issue.

Mark Hoffman
Monday, February 9, 2004

actually if you are 6 foot 2 and 170 lbs (which means you are actually quite slim) and want to lose that last bit of flab, you probably need to diet. that is what bodybuilders do to get 'ripped' before a contest - they starve themselves. 

Monday, February 9, 2004

How much of that 1234 calories (to quote the calorie counter) is the result of heat loss? The figure sounds like pseudo-science to me. After all the calorie loss will vary according to the heat lost. It is simply not true that to travel 20 miles one needs 2,500 calories. That is higher than the average intake in many parts of Africa where people have to travel that distance simply to fetch water.

Stephen Jones
Monday, February 9, 2004

And have you seen any fat people who walk 20 miles a day for water?

Exercise burns calories.  Burning calories to produce movement, like any burning, is an exothermic reaction.  This means it produces heat, which the body must then manage.

When in a cold environment, the body will burn calories intentionally just to produce heat.  However, it also tends to desire higher-fat foods to compensate. 

People who are already obese cannot lose weight by exercising.  I know.  I'm overweight.  When I exercise, I eat more.  Now, exercise is very, very good for you.  Regular exercise can increase your metabolism which will then help you lose weight.  But lots of people think "I can eat this donut and I'll just exercise it off."  They don't realize that in order to exercise off the donut they'll have to jog for 2 hours (at which point they will be hungry and thirsty again and tempted to eat a candy bar and soda).

Google for the Hacker's Diet.  It's available on-line, for free, as HTML.  It's a no-nonsense, no-fads approach to dieting.

Richard P
Monday, February 9, 2004

Stephen, when you run 10 miles in cold weather, you do not burn calories because your body is keeping you warm.  It's quite the opposite- your body has to work to keep you cool, only less so when it's cold.  When you run long distances your body generates trendous amounts of heat.  All that heat is lost energy, which translates into calories- it's basic thermo dude!

Monday, February 9, 2004

The burning of calories to produce movement may heat the body as a side-effect, but the fact remains that travelling 20 miles does not require 2,468 calories if done in a straight line. As about 1,500 calories is required simply to maintain the body constants that would mean that most third worlders travelling that number of miles every day would either starve to death, or at the very least lose the strength to do the journey, since few can permit themselves an average calorie intake of 4,500 calories.

The point anyway is that few people are running ten miles a day. The amount of exercise most people do will have a negligible effect on their weight. The fact that exercise has other advantages and so can be considered to kill two birds with one stone is another matter.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

There's a difference between running and walking, Stephen. An extended jog (several miles at least) jacks up your entire metabolism -- heart rate, heat production, consumption of oxygen and nutrients.

According to my handly little lexicon on nutrition, walking uses up 35 kcal per 10 minutes on average while jogging uses 108 kcal per 10 minutes, or three times as much.

Cardio exercise does burn calories, and plenty -- the problem is, you have to keep it up for a good while (at least 30 minutes), do it often, and don't compensate by eating more.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Guys, check out this article from Malcolm Gladwell about the Pima people, there are some interesting stuff toward the end about permanent weight loss.

Patterns Guy
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

The site that gives the magical figure of 1234 calories for running one hour at 10mph gives the same figure for running 2 hours at 5 mph!

I'm mechanisitic on this one. It requires a certain amount of energy to overcome friction and transport oneself 20 miles. Running faster will surely only burn more energy if the effort in lifting the legs higher is greater than that used to overcome friction dragging one's feet.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Ok- I won't quibble about the numbers, but I'd be surprised if the average runner burns less than 100 calories/mile, regardless of whether they are running in a straight line.  Anyway, running for an hour burns more calories than walking for an hour, which burns more calories than standing still for an hour.  In the cold or otherwise.  Does anyone dispute this?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

For 3 months there I had a box of "Just Right" cereal in my desk drawer and had a cup (with milk) every 2 hours. Every 50 mins I got out from behind my desk and spent 5 mins doing push ups and sit ups.

At first ppl joked about my exercising, but admitted (while alone) that they wished they did.

Each day after work I walked for a couple of hours and had a no carbo dinner. In that time I lost 11Kg.

But who the hell can keep up that sort of shit? I'm back at my normal weight (the weight I generally bounce back to - a whopping 86Kg) and I figure, fcuk it, I'm slightly over weight at 6 foot, but who the hells really cares?


Jack of all
Tuesday, February 10, 2004

>> I do yoga, meditate, lift weights

you meditate?
Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Can I say how much I dislike seeing the Atkins diet and the Atkins fans on TV these days? I know this diet has been around for a while, but all of a sudden it got a ton of attention from media. As with anything that grabs media's attention, this fad has been built upto heights where it won't be staying for too long.

I always thought nutrition was a straight forward math. You have your daily intake of calories, and you have your daily calorie burn. You just gotta balance them while you try to consume from different food groups, so your body gets everything it needs to repair, grow, etc...

Unfortunately your average dieter in this country, as with anything else, thinks it is their constitutional right to eat anything and still lose weight. Well, too bad losers. Laws of nature does not obey laws of this country. You can NOT eat anything you want as much as you want and lose weight.

It is simple really. It is not how much fat or carbs you eat... It is how many *calories* you consume in a day that counts. And it is NOT healthy if they all come from animal fat either. But oh no... Since Atkins allows people to eat anything they want as long as it is low carb, it will have millions of followers. These followers are not really disciplined to control themselves and they know it! Instead of researching what nutrition is, and how it works for the body, they'll just mindlessly follow some dude who was 70lbs overweight when he died. (Can anyone stand that doctor with the short hair and frog eyes?)

By the way, Atkins seems to work for most people. However, it is not because it is a miracle formula. If anyone stops the intake of donuts from Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Dude, greasy fries (and burgers) from your favorite burger joint, and those monster portions of dessert at TGI Friday (they really got us to believe those giant plates are for regular people), it will work for them too. As an added bonus, their pancreas will get a much needed a rest for a little bit.

I am glad I got this out of my chest!  :)

Sick of Atkins
Friday, February 13, 2004

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