About three months ago I made quite a few big changes in my life. I cut my added sugar intake (natural sugars like those in fruits are okay) to two snacks a week and my grain intake to two meals a week. I started going to the gym 5-6 days a week; I take Fridays and some Tuesdays off. I shut off all non-urgent push notifications on my phone (the only apps that can send me push notifications are Messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger). I started forcing myself to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night and I take one day off of work every month as a personal day where I shut off all of my electronics and spend a day reading or relaxing and doing something for myself.
All of this because I hit an all-time low at the beginning of February. I had just moved to Ireland for a 6-month assignment at my company and things were not going well. Work was great, but I was more depressed than I had been in my life. I had no friends over here and felt alone - not a great feeling for someone with serious social anxiety. I had succumbed to the tech world's drinking culture and gained about 15 pounds just in the month of January. I was high anxiety, all of my personal relationships were suffering from it, I was drinking my problems away, and the rest of my life suffered.
I remember this date pretty vividly. I was laying in bed in my apartment, recovering from yet another night of drinking, and got one too many push notifications from a game I hadn't played in forever. I got fed up enough that I turned off push notifications for pretty much everything on my phone, and immediately felt a whole weight taken off of my shoulders. I decided to keep going. I found an affordable gym near my apartment, signed up online, and walked over almost immediately. That first day was miserable, but I felt great afterwards.
I kept with the gym, threw out all of the junk food I had amassed and went grocery shopping again with a narrow set of requirements: no carbs, no sugar. This quickly got amended because I realized I was seriously limiting my options and I could be healthy while having some cheat days in moderation, but the same healthy spirit was there. I stopped drinking most nights of the week, started going to bed early, and by the next weekend I was a changed person.
Since then I've lost about 10 of the original 15 pounds I gained, I've got a ton more energy, and my depression has gotten considerably better (I've been diagnosed since I was 14, it's never gone, but it gets better).
Not only do I feel better, but my work has even gotten better. I've written fewer bugs, my code has gotten cleaner, I've been able to create more complex and elegant solutions to problems I would've been afraid to approach a few months ago. This increased energy and confidence has measurably led to better performance at work, and this is the whole point.
Taking care of yourself is important. It's not just about your weight, it's not just about what the doctor says, it affects every portion of your life. Dieting is hard, exercise is hard, the discipline is hard and sometimes I break. Last week I made it to the gym exactly zero times, and my depression got pretty bad again. But this week I haven't missed a day and things are better again. I see too many people do what I did last week for their entire year. Don't do that to yourself, you're good at what you do and you deserve to be happy and healthy.