For those that follow me on my and my husband’s blog Far Away Reasons, you know that we’ve hit New Zealand and were immediately shocked to discover how ridiculously high the cost of living in Aucklund is.
In trying to stick to my budget, I’ve found it nearly impossible to eat as frequently as I would like, nor maintain the food quality nor macro nutrient consistency I would like. That being said, here are my solutions to eating cheap and sticking to plan.
Thinking we would do better buying our own food and cooking in the hostel, we headed to the grocery store.
We quickly discovered the options weren’t much better there. Produce and Proteins were scarce.
Feeling discouraged about our ability to stick to budget and feed ourselves for the next couple months, we settled for some cheap Ramon ($5.99 for 5 bags) and splurged for some steak ($12 for 1/2 a lb) –the only protein we could find.
This was obviously an attempt to stick to our 1:1 or 1:2 protein to carbohydrate ratios, and while we were successful, I normally wouldn’t recommend eating Ramon noodles. The sodium content is much too high and Ramon noodles are far from the healthy types of carbohydrates that I normally like to consume.
We quickly learned our lesson from our poor eating choice, when my husband got food poisoning after this meal. We cleaned up our cooking by instead making a stir fry of eggs, frozen veggies, and steak. This may not sound like the most glamorous meal, but our bellies thanked us.
Another solution I’ve found to sticking to my budget is to eat the local meal deals, filling up on one to two large meals a day. I’ve found $4 pizzas and $10 Indian Meal combos. These deals, however, do come at a cost–THEY ARE NOT ON PLAN. Both meals are run heavy in carbs and either lack or contain very little protein.
I’ve found the days that I eat out, my calories are actually pretty low. Remember though, maintaining a too-low calorie diet isn’t good. The body needs fuel to function. If you don’t provide the body the fuel it needs, it begins to break down your muscle for fuel since muscle costs more calories to maintain than fat.
I’ve found low calorie/bad nutrient diets to be the general trend here in Aucklund which would explain the very large population of “skinny-fat” I’ve noticed.
For those of you who haven’t heard the term “skinny-fat” before, urban dictionary defines it as:
“1. When someone is thin and looks great in clothes, but is all flabby underneath
2. A physique, while not overweight (and possibly underweight), lacks any visible lean, striated tissue. The term is often NOT used or understood by the uneducated, untrained eye. To the uneducated, untrained eye, a skinny fat female may appear to have a physique of the same caliber as an individual who is comprised of significantly more lean tissue. The term is particularly relevant while eating at Denny’s and discussing how unappealing the waitress is.
3. A person who is not overweight and have skinny look but still have a high fat percentage and low muscular mass. Usually those people have a low caloric diet, that’s why they are skinny, but are not involved in any sports activities or trainings and that’s why they don’t have any muscle. Since between the bone and the skin those people only have fat, the skin can be deformed easily because the skin layer is located on an unstable matter (fat).
Skinny fat woman look sexy from a certain distance but they have soft jelly skin and still have some cellulite even if they are in there early 20.”
Skinny Fat does have an official medical term, metabolically obese normal weight or MONW.
Besides the physical appearance ramifications one runs risk of by becoming skinny fat, being such is also one step away from Type II diabetes. (I realize there is a comical air to what I’m writing, but this is a serious topic. Check out Mark Hyman, MD’s post.)
Besides diet, one way to combat the skinny fat is exercise.
Since arriving in Aucklund, I have been able to stay on track with my exercise, averaging over 20,000 steps a day. There are gorgeous parks all over the city, but the trick is to taking advantage of these parks and getting outside.
I’ve loved having access to so many trails to run, but even walking around these areas is good for combating skinny fat. I recommend getting a fitbit so you can start monitoring your daily activity! You should aim to have at least 5,000 steps a day, even if you exercise regularly and 10,000 a day if you don’t.
In a more optimistic light, I can gladly report that Bikram Yoga East West in Aucklund has a very large population of regular practicing yogis. I saw by far the largest population of fit people that I had seen in the city dropping in to take yoga classes at their studio!
Luckily for me, I’m leaving Aucklund tomorrow and heading up North. I’ve been told that once out of the city, fresh veggies are much more abundant. I’m hoping there will also be a better selection of protein, but even if there isn’t we could eat better just with some more fresh vegetables.
Regardless, the good news is a couple days of poor diet won’t kill me, especially since I’ve kept my exercise up!
It can be very easy to allow yourself to become skinny fat, but if you follow these simple rules you can quickly avoid this.
Simple Rules to Avoid the Skinny Fat:
- Eat Protein as much as possible!–Remember, if you are traveling, a couple of days of a poor diet won’t kill you, but do the best you can to pick nutrient rich options. If you can’t eat healthy one meal, don’t use that as an excuse to eat poorly the next. Each meal is an opportunity to fuel the body to be strong!
- Maintain your exercise! Hit up local classes such as yoga, crossfit, and cycling! If you can’t afford them or the times don’t work with your schedule do a workout you can do in your own home or in a hotel room if you’re traveling!
- If you still can’t find the time to workout, make sure you maintain a high level of activity. Track this with a pedometer, or Fitbit. This is a great tool to keep you on track in your daily life, especially if you travel frequently.
- Eat frequently so your body relies on healthy food to fuel itself so it can build muscle, not eat away at it! If you don’t know how to do that, here is a meal plan you can follow!
What’s your favorite way to avoid the skinny fat?