How Programmers Can Stay In Shape

When you have a desk job for a living, sometimes you get tired of sitting down all of the time. I know that I do. Often times when I go out and everyone around me is sitting, I will stand up because I am tired of sitting. This is one of the several way

Walk or Exercise

It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or approximately 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week. Those that workout more or physical trainers may state a higher number.

I normally go for a walk during my lunch break at work, if I bring a lunch. I take about a 20-30 minute walk each time, which equates to about 1 to 1.5 miles. You may not think that is a lot, but do keep in mind that the area I am walking in does have hills.

On days that the weather does not permit (e.g. raining) or is not ideal (e.g. too hot or cold) for walking outside, I have found that other coworkers walk on a particular floor in the building. This particular floor is set up in a way that allows you to do laps around it. I have done laps in the building a few times in an effort to get my step count up.

I previously wrote an article that describes 7 ways that you can get more steps in your day. I would encourage you to read that article to get additional walking ideas.

Water Intake

When I am working on the computer, majority of the time I am consuming water. Occasionally I may drink something different like tea or juice, but the preferred choice is water. By drinking water while you work, if you drink enough of it, it will make you go to the bathroom. Thus you are able to get more steps in your day.

For me, I have noticed that drinking more fluids, especially more water, will motivate my body to have a bowel movement, and thus reducing the dead weight that I am carrying around and losing weight over all. Staying full on water will result in you consuming less calories because your body doesn't feel hungry.

Eat When Your Body Says To, Not When The Clock Does

The American diet and system is structured in a way for individuals to eat 3 times per day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - in addition to eating snacks.

Now the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories. If you are more active than the typical American, then you can up that number to 2,500 calories. What if you are not as active, like most of us during the quarantine or those of us that work desk jobs? It would make sense that you decrease that number correct? It would. However, when you read the nutrition labels, they do not mention about you eating less than the daily recommended amount.

Think about it, if you are only burning about 1,000 calories per day, but are consuming 2,000 calories per day, then you are in reality, overeating. The body, while a miraculous machine, does not immediately adapt to some situations. Energy usage and storage is one of them. Where do those extra 1,000 calories that you did not burn go? They get stored as fat.

What I decided to do is to let my body tell me when to eat instead of eating when the clock says to eat. I will say that sometimes I do let the first meal of the day be governed by the clock. During the work week, that first meal is around lunch time. During the weekends, it can vary between the typical breakfast time, lunch time, and what I have on my agenda for the day. What are the indicators that the body is saying that you need to eat? Here are some of mine:

  • headache (a.k.a. hunger headache)
  • growling stomach
  • feeling weak, but not faint

In doing things this way, I know that I am not overeating. I am also making my body adjust to burning what it already has in fat stores instead of only burning what I eat.

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting? You are starving yourself. No, I am not starving myself. There are several intermittent fasting strategies. The most common is the 16:8, which you do all of your eating within an 8 hour time period. The remaining time of the day you do not consume anything OR you consume only water, tea, or black coffee.

Now before considering any fasting method, make sure you are in good health. If you are not in good health or if you have you any chronic diseases or conditions, then consult with your doctor before you attempt intermittent fasting.

It is believed that the benefits from fasting are

  • Forces your body to burn the fat stores that you have, thus resulting in weight loss.
  • Allows your body to take a break from always digesting food.
  • Allows your insulin levels to go down, thus preventing or reducing your chance of developing diabetes (which is insulin resistance).

My Fasting Method

I do the 12:12 method. Where I eat within a 12 hour window and fast for 12 hours. Now in doing this, sometimes that 12:12 ends up being a 16:8 or 18:6 because of when I start eating. If I start my day off by drinking sufficient amounts of water, then I am able to go for a longer amount of time between waking up and eating my first item (not necessarily a meal) of the day. It took about a week or two for my body to get in the fasting habit. Once it did, did not have to worry about eating so much.

Also part of my fasting strategy is to not eat anything after 8 PM (20:00). Reason being is that your food needs time to digest. When you eat and then go to bed, you have a greater chance of experiencing heartburn or acid reflux because your body is processing food in a position (horizontally) that it is not normally used to doing. As a result, that stomach acid is able to go up the esophagus easier.

The Sweet Tooth

You have experienced it before... you have a meal and then you say "Now I need something sweet". Instead of going for the snack cakes, ice cream, or other sugar loaded food, try eating some fruit. Not the fruit cups that are loaded with syrup, but actual fruit like an apple or orange. The reason that I suggest to eat the actual fruit instead of snack cakes is because the fruit has other vitamins, minerals, and in some cases fiber that your body really needs. Snack cakes are usually made of flour (whether bleached or enriched) and are mostly empty calories because they satisfy your taste buds, but do not provide great nutritional value.

Limiting Meat

At one point in time, I limited the amount of meat that I would eat. Sometimes I would not eat meat at all. Other times, I would limit myself to eating meat only once per day. What thing that I have noticed with myself is that if I eat a lot of meat, then my stomach or abdomen becomes larger. What I have concluded from this, is that it takes longer for the body to process meat than it does vegetables or fruit.

Meatless Monday

There is a trend of not eating meat once per week. you can do a search for the #MeatlessMonday hashtag and seeing the number of posts. The reason being why this is a thing, is because more Americans are realizing that consuming a lot of meat can be bad for your health. I say "can be" because everybody has their own health needs and conditions and I do not believe there is a one size fits all diet that exist. I do believe that the diet you eat is determined by a number of factors including environment, activity level, and your genetics.


Doing a combination of these strategies and methods have allowed me to maintain my current weight. I have been able to lose some weight by increasing my water intake. Consider giving these strategies if you are wanting to lose weight.

Posted: 2021-05-07
Author: Kenny Robinson