When I read this post about hacking your metabolism earlier this week, I gasped. The author describes how he went on a diet which limited all food to green vegetables, meat, and water. Not the worst diet, but definitely not the best. The result? Here it is:

I’ve dropped 19 lbs in just under three weeks! This is a ridiculous loss of weight. It might even be unhealthy, I’m not really sure. I can definitely tell you about some side effects of removing most of the carbs from your diet.

I get tired a lot quicker. My productivity at work seems to be normal, but I often require bigger meals and more coffee just to stay alert while writing code. I’m also sleeping an extra hour or so each night. I’ve become a bit more irritable.
So basically this guy has hacked his health for the short-term and has avoided placing a solid foundation in place for the long-term. He also isn’t getting well rounded results. The most likely result: he’ll put the weight back on. It’s a common trend: you diet to lose weight and then you put it back on after you fall of the diet.

After turning 30 this year and gaining weight thanks to the slow decline in my metabolism, I decided to do something: invest in my health. For years I focused on work and nothing else. I let all other things in my life fall by the wayside. I’m sure many other entrepreneurs have gone through this phase as well. Fortunately I’ve had the luxury of choosing how to spend my time over the past year however, and now part of my time is now an investment in health.

Rather than outlining my entire “healthy lifestyle” (I hate the word diet because it often implies a temporary change in consumption habits) in this post, let me quickly share my main conclusion:
There’s only one long-term game you are playing. All others are relatively insignificant. Your body is the platform on which all your future ventures will be built, so why not keep it running in top shape?
Developers know what it’s like building on unstable platforms. Your applications always break and you wind up spending more time on maintenance and less on building future features. The result: your business moves slow. The exact same thing happens when you have an unhealthy lifestyle. Your productivity drops, you start finding out more things going wrong with your health, and you lose the ability to keep up.

After making my own commitment to living healthy I can tell you that I feel incredibly energetic and have begun losing that extra fat I put on (down 8 pounds in a week already). I’ve been following along with the Abs Diet and it has been pretty incredible. I now cook my own food and feel far more in control. Rather than jumping across the street to grab some fast food, I eat consistently throughout the day (6 times a day to be exact).

I head to the gym for 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week and that’s all it takes. If you are running a startup and putting in 50 to 80 hour weeks, why not take 4 of those hours to invest in the most important long-term game there is? Best of all, an investment in you is really an investment in your business. Curious to hear what you are doing to keep in shape, so let me know in the comments! Also happy to share more about the food I’m eating if you’re interested.