When I first moved to my rock all those years ago, I discovered a miracle diet. It’s true! Although I was already healthy and fit when I arrived (thanks to regular workouts in my overpriced gym back in the PNW…nothing like the thought of wearing a bikini every day to get you motivated to sweat under fluorescent lights on the daily), who doesn’t want to lose a few more pounds? Especially if you don’t even have to try.
Turns out, all it takes is a very meager salary combined with a grueling physical job.
In my case, I worked as a dive instructor in a very busy shop. My salary was miniscule, as it goes in that industry. So I usually found myself with barely enough money to cover rent each month, making food quite optional. Melba toast with mustard, anyone? Yep, that was my dinner more than once. But hey…this combo produces dramatic results, and…
Voilá! You’re an instant skinny bitch. <3 Tips go up dramatically, too. Seriously, what’s NOT to love?
I still remember the thrill the first time I put on long pants for a flight back home to the states. (Yes, I wear shorts every day here.) My formerly snug skinny jeans were hanging on my frame. Yes, please, I’ll take that unintended weight loss!
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, I quit my slave labor job in favor of writing, boosted my income (not hard to do when you’re starting at nearly zero) and…of all the luck!…married a chef. This, my friends is the recipe for love handles. And I have them.
But even seven years later and more than few pounds heavier, there is one island ritual that reminds me how simple it is to actually lose weight here. Just go grocery shopping. That is really all it takes. Because…here’s one of the worst-kept island secrets…food is batshit crazy expensive here! No lie.
Tip for tourists: We already KNOW this. It is wholly unnecessary for you to stand at the check-out line at the most expensive grocery store on the island and exclaim “What the hell? How can our bill be XXXX? We only bought the basics!” First of all, no you didn’t, my island-visiting friend. A $30 bottle of wine is NOT a basic. Neither is that hunk of cheese in your basket that retails at $24/ounce. Nice to have? Absolutely! Basics? Not unless you’re royalty.
That being said, it is a free world and congrats for being a high-roller. But if you must shop like you’re preparing for a lifestyle shoot for “Travel & Leisure” then please at least smile and keep your thoughts to yourself. It does not endear you to the locals to make such obvious proclamations. Just sayin’.
But back to groceries…if you are planning a move to the islands (especially if you’re considering life on an island salary)…forewarned is forearmed, as I always say.
Of course, it is a great way to slim down. And you don’t even have to try. Just don’t marry a chef.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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