re: A Developers Guide to Getting Fit VIEW POST


One little nutritional gripe here: it's better to eat a large breakfast, rather than a large dinner, because you have more of a chance of using those calories, and because it provides your body with the critical nutrients it needs to get through the day. You don't process those as effectively in your sleep!

Historically, that's the way we did things pre-modern-era. For example, many farmers would eat a substantial breakfast, a decent "dinner" (lunch), and a very light (if any) supper, perhaps just a bowl of porridge. Heavy physical exertion, especially outside, and early morning hours, contributed to a decently healthy lifestyle. Big suppers are the fairly recent invention; breakfast isn't.

So, the fasting time range you describe is actually contrary to standard nutritional rules. For a diurnal type person, it's infinitely better for health to eat breakfast and skip dinner, rather than skipping breakfast and eating later.


Why are we continuing to compare our current dietary requirements with those of pre-modern era people? We're a very different people now, we also live longer. I'm not sure how relevant or useful the pre-modern era diet is to us.

Of course, the general jist of the "paleo" diet is fair - eat proper food.


Our physiology isn't really any different, except for the artificial alterations thereof. Human is human. Dietary needs may vary based on region, but not time period.

Also, we don't necessarily "live longer" now either - it depends entirely on a host of conditions, including sanitation, access to food, disease control, lifestyle, sociopolitical factors, and the like; all that varies from one culture to the next. There are some pre-modern cultures that may have lived longer than some modern cultures, and there are certainly some that lived proportionally as long or longer, once you factor in death causes that have nothing to do with health. (Consider also how many health problems are modern, first-world phenomenons.)

Thus, "we're healthier now than before" is more of a blanket statement that fails to account for thousands of factors. It's difficult to do a complete comparison straight across the board (e.g. we don't have to fear attacks by warring Mongols that cut our life expectancy short), so we look at individual topics without drawing artificial correlations between them. We don't have a life expectancy of 70-80 years because of our diet and lifestyle - we have one of the most nutritionally devoid diets in history, and we tend to be dangerously sedentary - we live long because of healthcare. When we make comparisons in history, we can't just look at "when did they die;" we MUST look at "WHY did they die?" A population dying of smallpox means we can't make the claim "they died young because of poor diet," because their diet may in fact have been quite good (or bad). This is why forensic anthropology is a thing.

As always, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

(Note, I've said nothing herein about the breakfast vs. no-breakfast topic; there are some interesting and valid points on both sides that warrant further inquiry. History has examples of both.)


Agreed, I think there are issues with modern food that make folks more likely to be in poor shape.* But some diets strike me as going too far in reacting to that by appealing to nature.

With paleo, legumes are prohibited because of phytates, but spinach and chard, and are cooked lightly (if at all) compared to beans, aren't, despite their oxalic acid content.

IMO for people who are overweight by, say, 20 lbs or more, calorie reduction will have the largest impact. To the point where recommendations based on meal timing & micronutrients (or even macros, to a certain extent) are only useful in that they might help with compliance.

(Which might still make them very useful. Good compliance is 100% necessary for success. But what works for compliance varies from person to person.)

As one gets closer to the ideal weight range, some fine-tuning might be in order, but I think it's important not to let such things take priority over plain old energy balance.

* Without getting too deep into it, I think hyperpalatability is the big issue -- the practice of adding synthetic flavoring to foods has done a number on our collective palate, and made high-calorie, low-nutrient foods more appealing than they'd be otherwise. The same techniques used to used to fatten up livestock are used to drive food sales, with predictable results.


Avoiding breakfast has a significant impact on the metabolic system. It helps push the body into ketosis. The purpose of avoiding breakfast is that the body has used up much of the glycogen reserves over night. In the morning they are nearing, or have reached depletion. The next in line energy source is fat, which will be broken down to produce ketones.

There reason why intermittent fasting recommends breakfast appears to be because it's the easiest meal for us to skip -- as we've already partially entered ketosis over night, thus have some energy. Initially, it's the jump between burning carbs, and burning fat, that is hard to tolerate -- it can make you fell tired and lethargic.

Ideally you should avoid eating before you go to sleep, and also just after you wake up. If you like jogging, doing it in the morning is also great, as it's an activity that can be sustained by burning fat.

This is of course should have linked studies! There's too much info like this online without scientific backing. It's why I'm going to do try an source all my articles on my food blog, Edaqa's Kitchen. It's important you can understand why things like intermittent fasting work, and how to adopt them to your own lifestyle.


You should have co-authored the article with me! You are spot on. I also agree on not eating before bed. My last meal is between 7-8pm giving myself a few hours of digesting before I rest. I'm still trying to work out what is best, but I have never been healthier in my life. Again I have been testing intermittent fasting for about one year and really hitting hard in the last Few months (being more strict about not breaking my fast in the morning specifically and getting a workout inside the fasting window).


Huh, TIL. (I partially knew about the ketosis thing, but not the breakfast part.) Thanks for the info.

At any rate, there should be a giant disclaimer at the top of the any such article: talk to your doctor before undertaking any fast or significant dietary change. Every body is different! Various conditions, medications, and hundreds of other factors can affect the safety of any such diet.

I wonder if personal stories need such a disclaimer? I does clearly cross the line from story to advice, so probably.

I've got a disclaimer on my site.

Personal stories need no disclaimer, also I'm not trying to be cocky or anything but I feel that recommending that other humans eat and exercise the same way every other animal on this planet does, is not posing any health risk. Also I did put a disclaimer in the story. You see some people have insulin disorders and a certain type of diabetes that may require that person to consult a physician if they do something like this. I really do believe that humans at one point had to wake up hungry, hunt and kill food in order to eat. I feel intermittent fasting mimics that in some way and it's completely natural.

I'm glad some are passionate about health even if it's not what I subscribe to. I welcome all comments.


Hi Jason,

I appreciate your thoughts on nutrition, and I have gotten similar advice over the past year. No hard feelings but I dismiss this advice because it is not what has worked for me in the past.

I do ensure that my kids get a good meal before school for some of the reasons you cite, but my kids are growing and have a heavy load at school.

As for farmers, I agree that this is what they did and they needed that fuel for their hard working day, but I'm not a farmer. I also believe that before those farmers we had humans that were required to hunt and gather on an empty stomach.

The average fat that one carries on their body is enough fuel to walk hundreds of miles and not die. That's a fact. For this reason I believe that by fasting we are just scraping the surface of what humans can do on little food.

BTW I do not eat right before bed. When I say I don't eat past 10pm my cutoff is closer to 8pm, I give my self time to digest and sometimes get one last workout in before 10pm (my gym closes at 10pm lol)

As a developer who loves research and science I spent close to a year thinking and learning about intermittent fasting before trying it myself and I dipped my toes in slowly and got used to it. I will go on telling people that I think the craziest thing we do as humans is wake up and put carbs and sugars into our system. On some days I drink a red bull early in the morning as my coffee, this breaks my fast and I pay for it, I need to stop doing that and I will really start to see more benefits, but this is leftover from my non fasting days. It's hard to break the cycle. lol


Furthermore, your body doesn't really think in terms of partitioned meals, breakfast and the other meals are all social constructs. If the body considered its TDEE on a daily basis, weight loss would look extremely linear. This is not the case and it's probably more pragmatic to think of your caloric expenditure in terms of weekly targets rather than a daily one. In other words, from your body's perspective, it doesn't really care when you ingest but rather the deficit or surplus. In the hierarchy of nutritional relevance from a weight loss perspective, timing of meals and caloric intake is largely a micro-optimization.

Please see this article for reference:

Incidentally, that site is a wealth of information regarding IF, probably even more so than the original lean gains.

Cool, I will check this article out after work today! One of the reasons I wanted to share my story was specifically to get feedback like this!

BTW, you bio has an error. jk lol

Ah thank you, I'll be sure to fix it with something more meaningful :)

I've been practicing IF long before I was ever a developer, but luckily being a developer meshes quite well with IF.

yes I have found this to be true, I hope others can share their experience good or bad with keeping up a good exercise regimen while also being a full-time developer.

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