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Adjusting to Your Home is no Different than a New Country

I’ve been home from China for nearly three weeks now. While it hasn’t hit me that I’m not going back to China any time soon yet, there’s one thing that both countries have in common. Adjusting to each place can be difficult.

First, there’s the jet lag

There’s a twelve-hour difference between Michigan and China. No matter which country I go to, I have at least two weeks to adjust to time zones.

For both countries, this means I’m in bed insanely early and waking up earlier. If I’m not careful, I look like a zombie for about a week while I adjust.

This means I’ve got to be careful about sitting down anywhere cause at any time, I could fall asleep. The only time I’m okay to be sitting down is when I’m eating. I’ve never been so tired that I’ve fallen asleep while eating. Not yet.

It makes me want to be lazy in my first week I’m in any country. It’s hard to want to do anything when you never know when you’re going to crash.

Then there’s the food

Two countries. Two appetites. Two food cultures. Everything from adjusting to table manners to different kinds of food, I have to re-adjust when I go to both countries.

In America, a lot of the food feels heavy after I eat it, I tend to have a lot of stomachaches after a meal. I’m not sure if it’s what’s being put in the food or the fact there’s way more dairy in the diet than what’s in China. I can taste the sugar with almost every piece of food or drink I consume.

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No Fixed Abode: Quitting Home Ownership

A little over a year ago, I quit my job, sold my home and gave away 99% of my possessions so that I could travel the world. It was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done.

To me, quitting a great job was very scary (No more income! A large gap in my employment history! Burning bridges right, left & centre! Throwing away a fabulous career!) but I’ve come to realise that for most people, that isn’t the scary part. The thing that everyone asks about — the part that they can’t quite get their heads around — is that I don’t have anywhere to live.

Then his spiel took a turn to a personal testimony of his experience with IF. He’d burnt more fat than he previously could with any other diet. He felt happier, healthier and more energetic. He’d streamlined his morning routine and was saving money by no longer buying late-night snacks. All because he didn’t eat for 16 hours of the day.

Sitting there, I felt like I was given one of those ‘too good to be true’ offers than lead to you joining a cult. I was sceptical. It sounded great and all that, but I’m a breakfast guy. Besides, it sounds like a fad diet that I wouldn’t be able to maintain. I’d drop some weight while doing it, then I’d put it back on when I realised I couldn’t maintain it.

The Journey Begins

A month later, I conceded that I might as well give it a go. Over the past few years, I had been carrying a few extra kilograms that I had tried to drop. For the six months prior, I had been going to the gym regularly to try and burn it off. In those six months, I had shifted the scales slightly, but not enough considering the work I was putting in. Intermittent fasting became a very tempting option. I thought I’d give it a go.

I spent a lot of time researching the 16:8 approach to fasting. Honestly, there are a lot of mixed things out there, with a lot of evidence supporting it’s proclaimed benefits, while others are not as sold on it. The overarching point I found was to give it a go and see if it works for you.

The first couple of weeks were tough. My body was so conditioned to eat at certain times and I had to fight hard to resist. This was one of the big learning experiences for me. I had to remind myself that I don’t need to eat right now and that it was my body responding to a change in routine. I decided to be as strict as possible in the first month, knowing that it takes about 4–5 weeks to establish a new routine, and it worked.