Cayman fitness tips

| 04/04/2012

A  typical Cayman lunch or dinner consists of:
Chicken / Beef / Meat
Rice & Beans
Potato Salad / Breadfruit
Macaroni & Cheese
Corn Bread
Fried Plantain
Lettuce & Tomato
Soda / Fruit Punch / Juice-Drink

Mmmm – getting hungry? Most people would look at this meal and think that the meat and fried plantains are the weight gainers. You may be surprised.

Do you feel slow, lethargic and lazy after lunch? (Yes – I am referring to what is locally known as "niggaritis".) This feeling is actually due to the extremely high levels of carbohydrates (carbs) that are present in a typical Caymanian meal.

It is not the normal sized serving of meat that is making you gain weight; instead it is the high intake of energy-providing carbohydrates that have no chance of being used up by your body. This is why you feel so sluggish after lunch and dinner – too much of the starchy foods in our meals.

Our eating culture has a historical context. The active lifestyle, economic reality, and access to various foods determined our eating habits. Nowadays most of us are inactive and only sit behind a desk all day long … this does not require much carbs. Therefore, the carbs that we intake are not used / burned up by the body so it simply stays in the body as FAT.

Many people make the mistake and cut out meat and keep everything else when they go on a "diet". This is a common mistake. (By the way, diets DO NOT work simply because when you return to a normal eating pattern your body will return to its earlier condition.)

Instead, keep eating the same portion of meats, increase your intake of leafy vegetables and cut back significantly on the Rice & Beans, Macaroni, Breadfruit, Cornbread, Potato Salad – the starchy stuff.

Also, and perhaps most importantly, you should try to break out of the common eating pattern of 3 big meals a day. Instead try to focus on 6 – 8 small, frequent meals throughout the day. This keeps your metabolism running at top speed and you will actually BURN MORE CALORIES by eating more regularly – sweet deal right?


Join a gym or health club. Also, invest in some proper workout attire to go along with your new lifestyle. Both of these actions will help you to stay committed, especially in the early weeks, as you have a financial interest in the new you.

If it is your first time, be sure to seek the assistance of a trained professional at your chosen establishment. Do not be intimidated by the gym scene; the truth is that 90% of people in the gym are just as clueless as you are … even many of the big muscle guys!

If you are a beginner you may want to spend some time on the cardio machines to get your body accustomed to its new way of life. However, do not get caught up in what I refer to as "CARDIO PRISON".

Cardio prison is when people equate "going to the gym" with walking / running on the treadmill, cross-trainer or stair-climber. Yes, all of these machines are useful in their own right; however including RESISTANCE TRAINING (free weights / dumbbells / weight machines) can significantly increase the extent and speed of your results.

Typically you can have as good as, if not better, a workout in half of the time you spend on a cardio machine if you include some of the weight machines in your fitness program. Plus this way you can actually burn calories and "lose weight" 24/7 as opposed to only when you are sweating away on a boring treadmill for 1.5 hours … but I won't get into all of that now.


So, for a healthier and smaller you, it will help to:

  • decrease the size of your meals
  • increase the frequency of your meals (6-8 rather than 3)
  • take advantage of the many buffet lunches islandwide today as they give you control over what and how much you eat
  • cut back significantly on your carbohydrate intake
  • get active – daily walks / jogs, join a gym
  • add some resistance training to your workout (ladies, no – this will NOT bulk you up, don't worry)
  • try to avoid "cardio prison"
  • drinks lots of water
  • NO MORE sodas, "juice drinks" etc. These are like a sugar-drip into your body

So, there you have it folks. You have just received a "professional" fitness consultation and managed to save about $300 bucks as well. Now, get out there and get crackin'!

* Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor before starting any fitness regime or change of diet and eating pattern.

Feel free to post any questions regarding any of the above or fitness in general and I will be happy to help if I can.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In the polite and thoughtful world, the "N" word is forbidden in any context or formation.  You may suggest that in Cayman it is culturally acceptible to be openly and unapologetically racist, and the polite and thoughtful people of these islands would politely disagree with that thesis.  All men are equal in Gods eyes, and to infer otherwise only dininishes your own standing among polite society.   

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is not only about gaining weight but other risks associated with eating a high carb and meat based diet. Diabetes, high cholesterol and its associated risks etc…We will have an epidemic of huge proportions soon with all of the overweight children and adults on Island.

    Try a plant based diet with more raw foods to sort out any health or weight problems that may exist.

  3. Reality Check says:

    Interesting discussion on the word "niggaritis".  I am Caymanian and I agree it is socially acceptable to use that word here.  I also agree it is not considered offensive to a great many Caymanians either.  The problem is this attitude is not acceptable  It makes us look like a backward and jingoistic people when we are viewed on the world stage. 

    Lets apply a little thought here.  The termdescribes the lazy feeling you get when you eat too much.  You want to move slowly and lie around doing nothing.  The implication based on the origin of the word is that this makes you act like a black person (infer "Jamaican").  This is just another way we lighter-skinned Caymanians hold ourselves up over our darker skinned brethren.  But hey if we all say it is OK then it must be right?

    Saying its not offensive because others in your social circles dont find it so is pretty small minded.  Thats like saying the use of the word "Ni**er" by ku klux klan members is also just fine because their other clan members find it socially acceptable and inoffensive.

    Lets put it in terms people will understand.  Many expats here on the island use the term "caymanianitis" to describe someone in the workplace who is poorly educated and lazy yet expects a good job solely because of their nationality.  Now I am sure it is said in jest and  inoffensive to most expats.  But Caymanians, how does it feel to have the shoe on the other foot? 

    We cant complain when foreigners treat us like we are ignorant if we keep giving them a reason to do so.


  4. Anonymous says:

    I think it's misleading when people single out certain types of food to be excluded or decreased. The human body is complex and needs each and everyone of these food sources-carbs included. It's also very capable of alerting the owner of the body as to what it needs and doesn't whether it takes the form of cravings, changes in complexion, hair texture, the brightness of the eyes, etc- ot just weight gain or loss. Growing up my mother had all of us eat two breakfasts, a mid morning snack, early large lunches and dinners, sometimes two dinners, and dessert. I try to stick to that diet as much as possible now that I've been living away from home and I'm one of the only people who hasn't put on the 'college fat' like most others despite my much higher intake of fruit, grain, fats, and meat than other students who diet and exercise religiously. Someone may argue fruit is healthy, but remember it is extremely high in sugar (carbs). Others genetics, however I have put on weight when I began to exclude some thigns from my diet or made portions smaller, or just making cuts when you're a student budgeting. Exercise may have been a factor growing up, however now I am known as an extremely lazy person who will spend most of my time eating and sleeping.

    My advice would be to eat fresh food, cook your own food when you can. Use clean fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and unsalted butter. Try and snack on fruits they can kill cravings for sugar and little hunger pangs during the day. Milk is good for you! I'm not vegetarian so I'll always say you need your CLEAN (I prefer halal) meats. Avoid instant packagespices and invest in your own spices as they last way longer and are better for you. But most importantly just listen and observe your body. It may even go down to mood and I find I feel so much better when I put in the time (and that sometimes means with uni at 10-11 pm at night for me) to prepare and enjoy my own food rather than just shovelling in what is quick and convenient.

    Just my humble opinion! Food should be enjoyed, but like everything else, nothing in excess

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a Caymanian I loooove all of the foods referred to in the above, and have them as a 'treat'. Due to my lifestyle (I don't exercise daily) I have chosen not to consume those types of meals on a regular basis. I've also found that you can cut back while still eating all the yumminess that constitutes a typical Caymanian meal. Often when i get meals at Pirates Week or Batabano, i ask that they serve it without rice and peas. Even in my own cooking I cut out the processed carbs (like rice and peas) for the ones found in nature (like breadfruit or sweet potatoe) and reserve rice and peas for Sunday.

    Additionally, a good balance is essential. On the days that I don't exercise I try to be good. Not too much carbs, salad with some meat and a small portion of carbs every day (mostly salad), I rarely drink juice, maybe twice a week. I find that this style of eating helps me maintain a healthy weight. Obviously some weekends you just want some pancakes and bacon, but be sensible about it, balance it out with a salad for lunch, or an afternoon run (once the niggaritis wears off)

    That brings me to my final point, the usage of the word 'niggaritis' Relax everyone. That term is socially acceptable in Cayman. We use it all the time, and all Caymanians use it. I could see how it would cause some confusion, but the author's intent was clearly not racist and would not be interpreted as such by any Caymanian reading this post.

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing wrong with eating what was stated in the above.  It is only the lack of physical activity.  If you consume more than you exert then you will gain weight.  Simple.  It is the increased sedentary lifestyle. 

    I eat that food daily.  I am also very slender.  However, I go for a morning run and an afternoon swim.  For those people that say they have children and cannot.  I am a single mother and I take my children with me.  It is a lifestyle choice.  You either choose to want to do something or you choose to make an excuse as to why you cannot do something. 


  7. Whodatis says:

    Who said a word is just a word eh?

    Interesting to see how the discussion has been almost completely taken over by the single usage of a simple term as a side-note within a greater topic.

    And while we're on the issue – may I say that I much prefer "Niggaritis" as opposed to "Niggeritis".

    Sometimes that simple interchanging of an "e" for an "a" makes a world of difference … to some of us that is.

    Language, history, and culture – past versus present … gotta love it!


    Happy Easter to each and all!

    *Reminder: World Health Day is Friday April 6, 2012.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey try the more PC term then "ehtnic fatigue".  Sheesh people really need to lighten up. 

  8. Animaliberator says:

    Not saying anything is wrong with the assessments as noted but do not forget that each person has it's own metabolic rate which results in what is good for you may not be good for me, regardless of what that may be. I am a vegetarian but do eat fish, eggs, a bit of cheese, yogurt and things like that. I do not drink soda's or any other sugar containing drinks, just tea in the morning, coffee at lunch, water and some wine at night. However I do eat pasta every day, potato salad 2-3 times a week, lots of veggies such as spinach, broccoli etc., beans of any kind, lentils. Remarkebly, what has not been noted here is salt. I have absolutely no added salt in or on anything I consume and only a touch of sugar in my tea and coffee. There is enough salt in anything without having to add to it. Eat some snacks such as various types ofnuts etc. Once I started introducing that type of lifestyle some time back, I lost 10 pounds in 5-6 weeks without doing anything else to stimulate my metabolism. This is a bit funny because one, I did not need to lose any weight in the first place, I am 6 feet tall and was 178 lbs before losing salt, now I weigh 168 lbs which makes my BMI 22.1 and holding steady which is probably as good as it gets. One thing I do a lot though and that is walk, walk and walk, not running, jogging or anything like that. Sometimes I see people on the roads and I say to my self, stop doing this people, you will live longer. People need to discover what works best for them and stop looking at the other person as one can not compare one with the other when it comes down to this.

    Just thought I should throw this in the mix for some added food for thought.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just had lunch and boy I feel niggeritis coming on so I'll go take a nap. This is a term commonly used by Caymanians especially during the afternoon and more so in summer. Please lets not get all political correct and view this as a racist term its a cultural expressions that's all and used by all Caymanians reagrdless of skin tone.

    • Anonymous says:

      So is it in the new dictionary of Caymanology? And if not, why not? Why hide this bit of proud Cayman heritage from the tourists?

      • noname says:

        Not sure about niggeritis (or niggaritis), but nigger bible is. I remember listening to the guy who wrote it being interviewed on the radio and he actually brought up the phrase and said he had included it because of its cultural references.

        • Anonymous says:

          caymanians use the n word far more than anywhere else. Disgusting really but we'll catch up eventually

  10. Anonymous says:

    Agree with those who post that Niggeritis is a perfectly normal term for all of us in Cayman… but when we talk to those not from here, to avoid offence… I recently heard someone call it "ethnic fatigue"… briliant 🙂

  11. Thatisall says:

    @09.49 – I am a white women married to a black man. Sometimes I read comments such as yours and think that political correctness has made the world go mad. I agree with what other posters have already said – niggeritis is a culturally acceptable term here that is used frequently by all colours of people. My husband also introduced me to the term 'nigger bible', which him and most other Caymanians I know use freely – would you remove this from Cayman's cultural history as well? Your phrasing 'dark skinned readers' made me shake my head though – there is nothing wrong with refering to someone as 'black' or 'white' – are you really so scared of offending someone that you cannot say the word??? It is attitudes and actions which create racism, not words. Describing someone as 'black' or 'white' does not make me a racist. Discriminating against them because they are black or white (or any other colour) does.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear white woman with a black man, this is why Whodatis's comment is so dangerous, because you will think it's okay to use such terms and go and voice your opinions to some random black person or in a multi-racial environment who/which may not be as tolerant to racist comments and who might also slap your teeth back down your throat…not a good look and could be quite painful.  Just say no to racism.

      • Thatisall says:

        My point (which you seem to have missed) is that it is political correctness gone mad to feel that someone cannot be refered to as black or white – this alone does not constitute racism, rather people's attitudes towards someone because of their skin colour does. I also stand by my point that Caymanians should not be 'told off' for using cuturally acceptable terms in their own country. We are in the Cayman Islands; this is Cayman News Service, not an American news website where using such terms would cause a lot more upset because of historical context and the fact that they are not culturally acceptable terms in the USA. I am not from the Cayman Islands and have travelled widely both before and since settling here, yet strangely have never 'voiced my opinions to a random black person who then slapped my teeth down my throat' (although I have voived my opinions!). My opinion is that it is fine to use culturally acceptable terms in the country where they are culturally acceptable – I don't see how this would get my teeth slapped down my throat in any country! Personally I do not use either term, but who am I to tell my Caymanian husband, or any Caymanian for that matter, that they should not???  

        • Whodatis says:

          For what it is worth, I completely understand and support your point of view.

          I too have dated interracially (or inter-culturally) and until one steps into that world one cannot fully appreciate your particular perspective.

          At the end of the day it all comes down to the actual intent behind one's words, thoughts and actions.

        • Anonymous says:

          “white or black”. The trouble is that these terms are not very descriptive. All sorts of skin tones and features are referred to as “black” in the U.S. with its ‘one drop’ rule which we do not subscribe to. The terms dark-skinned” and “light-skinned” recognize the fact most native Caymanians have some degree of racial mix.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is demeaning to hear such words used. There are more politically correct terms that can be used.

    Other than that you are educating a lot of people on diet.

  13. Bling man says:

    I hopen my wife read this article.  I hope all Cayman gals reads it.  There too many fadast gals in Cayman.

  14. tam says:

    May I add, you don't need to join a gym or health club to exercise. Go out and walk your dog. Do active things like gardening, swimming, hiking. Take a jog down the road. You and wife do some military work-outs like push-ups, sit-ups, and even have alot more sex. It's fun and healthy!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Actually, we just call it " the itis" .

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this! I lost 20 lbs last year by cutting down on carbs. Basically any of the starchy vegetables and bread (which I love) were the culprits for me. I can eat LOTS of food still but I stick to lean meats, low fat dairy and lots of veggies but not the traditional West Indian ones. They are my treat now. The more carb veggies I eat, the more I crave them. I discovered Greek yogurts which have twice as much protein as regular ones and I have two of them a day.  

  17. Whodatis says:


    Oh boy … the feedback on this one is sure to be interesting!

    I honestly was not expecting a "Viewpoint" listing and I do appreciate the gesture, CNS. 🙂

    Anyway, the above was just my little (reposted) contribution to the local efforts in recognizing World Health Day on Saturday April 7, 2012.

    I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer by profession. However, I do try to keep fit and along my journey have discovered that the way we traditionally eat in Cayman can be a major hurdle to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Hopefully my little offering will help someone out there.

    Take care.

    • Anonymous says:

      WhodatIs I am a Caymanian and I have eaten such a meal, however that amount of food is not the norm for most people. Not in todays world.


  18. Anonymous says:

    Great piece. Outstanding advice and very well written.  

    One comment:  I don't think "niggeritis" is a term that should be used casually in an essay, or at all. The source and implication of the word is clearly racist. I'm sure the author did not mean harm by using it but I think some dark-skinned readers might be offended by a word that suggests dark-skinned people are lazy. Anyone who thinks it doesn't carry a severe racist meaning doesn't know history.

    • Whodatis says:

      Thanks for the feedback poster.

      I am pleased that someone has appreciated my efforts.

      Please do not consider this a retort – but I am fully aware of the historical context of that term.

      At the time of my initial posting of this "article" I carefully considered my proposed usage of it for some time and in the end decided to include it.

      Unfortunately, or perhaps interestingly, that term has become so colloquial to the community that it clearly expressed the point being made.

      Furthermore, when we think about it – in the context of that section of my post – its usage may actually shed some light on the reasons behind the very inception of the term.

      Regardless, I do apologize to anyone that may be offended by its usage in my post.

    • anonymous says:

      Niggeritis– This is a traditional Caymanian term used appropriately in this case. It has been used for decades to describe this after-meal feeling, by folks of all colour here, Black, white brown, dark skinned, light skinned and everything in between. As such our community does not/should not connect the negative image others might. But your point is taken especially if you come from the USA.


  19. Anonymous says:

    Great blog.

    Of these nine tips, I was following 6 already, but still unhappy with my weight.

    A couple of months ago it suddenly hit me that carbs were the problem (your key point), so I cut back on carbs, added more salad vegetables… and also cut down on portion size.

    In other words, I went from following 6 to following 8 of the 9 tips.

    Results ? I've lost 10% of my body weight in two months and feel like this will be easy to maintain.

    The 9th tip I have left to follow ? Switching from a habit of eating 3 times per day to eating 6- times per day in smaller amounts. "Soon come"


    • Whodatis says:

      Congrats on your results – that is pretty impressive poster!

      Re: The 9th tip – smaller more frequent portions of food.

      I understand the delay and difficulty in sticking to that tactic. That has proven to be the most difficult one for me as well. It is hard enough sometimes to find the time and peace to enjoy 3 meals a day much less 6 – 8.

      Keep it up though!

      Take care.