Falling Off the Wagon & Recovery

I’ve gained 15 pounds, I’m several hours off my sleep schedule, and I just pulled my groin during a run.

Last week I unintentionally fell off the wagon for the first time in my gamedev journey.

I’ve always been concerned with when it would happen, but I never thought too much about how it would happen. I was having way too much fun being lost in record productivity and motivation.  Why would I just suddenly fall off?

Well it wasn’t a sudden faceplant, it was more of a slow wobble that I didn’t notice until a few weeks had passed.

A quick recap of my weekly goals:

  • Work on programming, blogging, & other difficult work for about 21 hours a week (timed, not counting breaks)
  • Run at least 3x a week
  • Eat within a 1-hour eating window each day
  • Sleep 7.5 hours every day
  • Work on easy/simple tasks (such as animations or meetings) for around 8.5 hours a week (timed, not counting breaks)
  • Blog once a week

So how’d I mess it up after about a good 10-week streak? Well, when I returned to work from my hiatus I didn’t have quite the same willpower that I’d built up previously. Knowing this, I lowered my workload by 15% and attempted to jump back in.

I did great on my first night… until I got hit with food poisoning.

I had recently eaten fish sticks at a nearby AleHouse and was punished with the awful, stabbing pains of stomach cramps. The only relief I could get was by eating tons of food all the time, so I decided to quit fasting to stop the pain.

For some reason my usual healthy foods such as eggs & beans made the cramps feel much worse, and unhealthy foods like ice cream shakes and popcorn numbed the pain. This means I was taking in tons more calories than I’ve been eating.

On top of that, I had to skip one of my run days because I was in too much pain. This made me feel a little less happy.

Because I was eating so much junk and in such pain, I fell behind my work. I ended up staying up late to get the work done in time. This made me lose sleep.

The food poisoning went away after a week, but the following 3 weeks had me teetering off of my habits. My sleep had gotten so bad I was getting around 3 hours of sleep per day instead of my usual 7.5.

Being tired all the time makes me crave sugar, so I was more prone to eating sweets.

So now I’m:

  • Eating junk food
  • Not fasting at all
  • Missing some run days
  • Missing sleep

At this point I knew my sleep & my diet were off, but I figured my weight & productivity would still be OK because of how much work I put in. I had just broken my weekly running record, reaching 20 miles. I was really happy except for the fact that I’d pulled my groin, which has never happened before.

On the 5th week I was passing out during work and unable to get much of anything done.  Also, my clothes didn’t fit as easily as they’d used to…

I figured I’d gained a bit of weight so I hopped on the scale only to find out I’m the heaviest I’ve weighed since 2014, and I gained it all in just 4 weeks.

Alarm bells went off. I looked at my work, I looked at my weight. If I stayed on this path then my work & health would trickle down into nothing. I immediately made it a top priority to get everything back on track.

So now for the recovery…

This past week I’ve stopped almost all work and made sleep & diet my #1 priority. I’m currently doing around 33% reduced workload so I can build up to the productivity I was at a couple months ago.

I’m also ramping up my diet to bring my weight back down. I’m capping my daily calories for a while until I lose weight. I have little feast incentives for every 5 lb lost milestone to help keep myself motivated.

I should be back running next week as soon as my pulled muscle heals.

Lessons learned:

  • Take care of sleep & diet or else productivity will plummet
  • Weigh in every day. You might be falling off the weight wagon and not even realize it
  • Don’t forget to imagine who you’ll be in 1-5 years if you keep repeating your current weekly habits
  • Don’t eat fish sticks from AleHouse

I look forward to sharing my recovery progress with you!


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