Code and Intermittent Fasting

Recently I’ve been making a lot more effort to practice algorithms. I’ve been trying to burn through all the “easy” problems on Leetcode.com. Some of them are actually ridiculously easy, but some feel like they should be in the medium difficulty category. However, for many the easy problems, if you know the trick then they really are easy.

For the past two weeks I’ve been trying out intermittent fasting doing a 20 hour fast, 4 hour eating window every day. There is a lot of worry that fasting for that long can affect mental performance and focus. So far I have experienced the opposite of that. Yes I am hungry, and occasionally get distracted by hunger pangs, but for the majority of time I find a deep level of focus is possible for extended periods of time.

I feel like I’m able to focus for longer without feeling distracted or feeling sluggish (so common after a heavy meal). I usually reach peak performance during the morning hours between 9 a.m. through 12 noon. This is all after waking up at 7:00 a.m. and having a few cups of coffee. I do try to combine this “hungry focus” feeling with the Pomodoro Technique, which is approximately 25 minutes of focus followed by approximately 5 minutes of rest.

In summary, I think it’s possible to do intermittent fasting AND do some mental heavy lifting at the same time. Mileage might vary from person to person, but for myself, being in the midst of a fast seems to be no detriment to my mental abilities. In fact, I think it helps.

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