I am a regular listener to The Geek Whisperers podcast. If you haven't listened to them before please check them out here. Trust me, you won't regret it. The podcast always has a very interesting guest and they talk soft skills and high level concepts with very technical people. A lot of their discussion revolves around career paths, decisions that lead their guest to their current position, and practical advice a listener can implement to change, improve, or develop similar skills.
The most interesting part of the discussion comes in the last five minutes. At that point they ask the guest about a decision or course of events that they would avoid repeating or recommend a listener not make themselves. It's human nature to talk about the good and ignore the missteps, so things tend to get interesting during these responses. Since I doubt I would ever make it to their show I think I will take this opportunity to give my answer today.
As a TLDR "Don't stop exercising, don't slack on a diet, and start both if you don't do them right now."
If I could change one "decision" I made I would not have quit working out and working on my diet. I was a health freak for three years. I worked out 5-6 times per week doing Beachbody workouts, I kept myself to 1800 calories and 150-200 grams of protein. This discipline kept me to 175 -180 lbs, gave me extreme confidence, helped me focus at work, and gave me energy to study and advance my career.
In September 2014 I had a hit and run wreck that hurt my shoulder and neck. I was rear-ended by a F-150 that then sped off. My shoulder hasn't been the same since. I used that to take a few weeks off working out to recuperate. I watched my diet but kept eating the same food and didn't exercise. Then in November 2014 my life changed and my daughter was born. This was the happiest time of my life but also a time where weighing food and cooking gave way to pizza, takeout, and no sleep. Then in April 2015 I switched jobs to a 100% sedentary role surrounded by fast food and networking lunches. By this time the discipline had been erased.
Now I am 30 pounds heavier, I am exhausted all the time. My confidence is a lot lower than before. I can't make excuses, I only have myself to blame. I actively try to make excuses but I'm out of excuses and will make a change.
You may not look at your health or exercise and think it's a career decision but it is. If you take care of yourself and feel good that confidence shows. We can all start today. If you want to join a vFitbit group with other techs hit me up on twitter @tbgree00. If you want to start an accountability group I'm game. This is becoming more important to me and I want to take it seriously again.