Take your snout out of the trough Piglet!

Take your snout out of the trough Piglet you're on a diet!
Take your snout out of the trough Piglet you’re on a diet!

If you’re a porker like myself, you may be in denial by genuinely believing as you take a cursory glance in the mirror that you’re really not that fat. Like me, you probably hold your breath as you turn sideways and “suck in” your bulges. But the camera does not lie –  Oh no! Caught off guard we suddenly see ourselves as others see us. In my case, round and blobby and no longer sylph-like and sexy.

If I’m brutally honest with myself the family Christmas photographs and videos are a stark reality check. A serious wake-up call as I stare at them in horror. Who is this stranger staring back at me? I ask myself. No longer a cute piglet I now resemble a prize porker fattened and ready for market. How did this happen? – you’ve got it in one – overindulging; too much food and wine and not enough exercise.

But why do I always have these guilty weight issue obsessive reality checks in January? Is it just me?

Living in semi-rural Portugal I can hardly pop down to my local Weight Watchers or Slimming World groups for moral support as they do not seem to exist here. Shame, because there are so many overweight or if I’m politically correct and say “bodily challenged” expats that these groups could probably make a fortune. Perhaps I should start one! In the meantime, I will create with the help and encouragement of my friends and followers, my own healthy eating and exercise plan.

I need a plan!

Reading Jake’s Sunday post this week, it’s all about goals.

My friend, who lost a mammoth amount of weight earlier in the year, kindly volunteered to be my “personal trainer” and encourage me. I’m not sure what this will entail as yet but it’s good to have moral support.

My Goal

I want to be a size 14. Is this achievable? Hell, in my mind’s eye I’m still a size 10 so it’s only mind over matter. Well in my case there’s one hell of lot of “matter” to lose – three stones worth! My personal trainer reckons I could easily lose 2lb a week. I tentatively agree. Sounds easy in theory. By her reckoning that’s only 42lb in 21 weeks which should take me to a size 14.

Lose an average 2lb per week for 21 weeks


#Exercise every day!

I  already walk twice a week with friends as a form of exercise, however it’s a combination of walking and excercising our jaws – talking; our husbands have aptly renamed it “Twalking” or in my case “Twaddling”.

Mr Piglet has kindly dusted off my exercise bike and moved it from the garage into the house.

#Change my eating habits – Oh food glorious food – and oh yes, drink less wine

I hate the thought of using powders, pills or potions as a dieting aid so it has to be food based.

#No Bread, cakes, pastries, chocolate or Potatoes (except sweet potatoes)
#Restrict intake of red meat to preferably once a week.
#No Dairy products such as cows milk, cheese or butter.

My first New Year’s resolution to abstain from wine for a month lasted just three days because I felt miserable. Drinking wine in a country where it is cheaper than a cup coffee is very much part of the lifestyle. Portuguese wine is also Very good! Hmmm so I can do without chocolate but not the occasional glass of vinho! My Personal Trainer pointed out that my previous month’s abstention last January resulted in zero weight loss, so the occasional glass of wine when I go out for a meal, is not going to make any difference so why make myself more miserable by total denial? She has a point.

#Glass or two of red wine allowed when I go out for a meal.

Another tip was to wear tight trousers (ones that once fitted me and are now a tadge to tight) Why? Well in my case I wore them when we went out for a meal yesterday so I could not eat as much. This resulted in me bringing half my meal home in a doggy bag! So tighter fitting waistbands are excellent incentive for portion control.

Alternatively, I could always have my jaws wired!

#Wear tight trousers when going out for a meal so I don’t physically have much room to expand. The tighter waistband as it cuts in serves as a reminder.

#Portion control – stop being a pig and eat less.

Another friend who lost over 2 stone also made a couple of suggestions.

#Cut out my morning cereal and eat fruit instead.
#Fill up on fruit and vegetables and not carbs.

Which brings me to the The Piglets Healthier Eating Blog which  I created in October 2011 with my daughter Piglet in France. The blog was originally a place to share our Gluten and dairy free recipes as part of an Anti inflammatory diet. At the time I did lose weight and felt better, but the diet was too restrictive and complicated living where we do as there is a very limited choice of gluten-free ingredients. Maybe it’s better in the city or big towns but we live in the country.  And when I did manage to source ingredients or products from German Health shops they were prohibitively expensive. OK enough excuses Piglet!

I mentally need to review this and instead of thinking of my new regime in terms of losing weight I’m going to change my focus and redefine the dreaded diet as an opportunity to research and then experiment with new foods and recipes (OK, I know it’s still a diet and I’m just kidding myself but please humour me).

If you have posted a healthy low-fat recipe to your blog which I can reblog or you have any useful tips, please share below.

Who else is on the “D” word and how are you progressing?

Diet books worth a mention!

Greedy Girl's Diet by Nadia Sawalha
Greedy Girl’s Diet by Nadia Sawalha

I like the thought of eating myself slim!

Greedy Girl’s Diet: Eat yourself slim with gorgeous, guilt-free food
PS my son’s wedding is in July and I’d rather not be mistaken for one of the marquees!


77 thoughts on “Take your snout out of the trough Piglet!

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  1. Oh, yes! Much harder. Fortunately as the eyesight deteriorates looking in the mirror (I make sure i ‘forget’ my glasses on the dresser) becomes less painful.

    I walk / jog every day and I am always famished when I get home.
    But if you hang on a bit before eating and take in fluid, preferably water, not coffee πŸ™‚ you’l find the craving goes away a bit and as the body gets fitter and stronger it will draw on fat reserves which will help.
    Try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. The body needs it believe me.
    Watch out overdoing it….the bones are not as tough as they was once upon a time, right? I take it as a given you have good sports/running shoes/trainers, yes?
    Be careful of shin splints. If you get them there’s an easy remedy.

    I watched an interview the other day of Matt Damon and how he had to lose nearly 20 pounds in a month or so for a part he was playing, a heroin addict.
    He ran 6 miles in the morning six miles in the afternoon 6 days a week
    and lived on little more than watery chicken soup!
    After the movie he was under medical care for months! I’ll bet he was!

    Anyway, the thing to remember is most of all, have fun.


    1. Whoops I neary missed this comment!

      “I walk / jog every day and I am always famished when I get home.
      But if you hang on a bit before eating and take in fluid, preferably water, not coffee πŸ™‚ you’l find the craving goes away a bit and as the body gets fitter and stronger it will draw on fat reserves which will help.” This sounds pretty solid advice ark – I usually have coffee and a piece of fruit.

      Don’t think I’m in danger of living on watery soup – I love my food to much although I’ve discovered if I go out for a meal and pig out one day, I feel guilty and eat soup and drink plenty of water the next!


  2. Happy new year ,PIP.
    May 2013 be the ‘leanest’ one yet ! LOL

    I used to run marathons – and my weight never got above 68kg.
    When I stopped competitive running and middle age ( what a dreadful term) crept up, and my career changed involving more desk work, along came the kilos.
    Yeah, the horror when you can’t fit in anything. ‘Tis a bugger.

    Walking, then hopefully jogging will solve all your problems, trust me.
    To have to go through life resenting the fact that your food intake is restricted is a nightmare!
    Exercise more and the body will sort itself out.
    You’re blessed to have a personal trainer.
    What a bonus!
    Best of luck. More power to your foot.


    1. Hi Ark,
      And Happy New Year πŸ™‚
      you are right it is all about exercise. I walked several miles this morning but then the problem is I feel starving when I return. Writing this it’s still another hour till lunchtime so off to gnore on a carrot. I think it’s harder to lose weight as we get older.


  3. PiP I hope you will reach your goal. I went on a diet twice in my life, lost 16 kg on both occasions, and have put it all back again…. Putting on 2kg in a year does not sound much…. but if you do ( like I did) 2kg every year for 10 years = doing the maths is easy…. I think the easiest would be to STOP after putting on 2-3kg and go back to the ideal weight. But that’s easier said than done… I will try to follow your example and eat less carbs and do more exercise. Let’s swap notes and see how we get on…. happy 2013


  4. Oh Piglet, my Christmas photos have already been deleted – I was shocked beyond belief when I saw them. I have to do something about my weight, I am bloated, retaining water and ALL my waistbands are too tight. Will keep an eye on your progress and hopefully pick up some tips. Good luck with your diet.


  5. Unfortunately, I don’t have any suggestions for you. Any diet where I had to give up chocolate, cheese, AND wine would be an immediate failure for me! I started Pilates last year and have toned up and lost some weight without any dietary changes at all. Maybe your exercise program will help you. Good luck!


  6. Sounds like you’ve already made positive steps in meeting your goals. I know if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want. Your lemon tree is proof of that. I look forward to hearing of your progress an any recipes you share along the way. πŸ˜‰


  7. Hi PIP….I am finding the high protein diet works well. It is going slowly but steadily. I have not eaten a slice of bread, or chocolate, or cake etc for months now. So far I have dropped nearly 17lbs…it sounds better in pounds than in kilos.
    I could probably have lost quicker but I have my two glasses of wine most nights…I try to stick to the extra lite stuff.
    I started walking again yesterday so it might drop a little faster now.
    I need to lose three more kgs and then I will stop smoking….God help everyone!


    1. Hi Granny, well done you! I’m with you on the lbs! you also lose weight quicker as well. Yeah I know it’s a numbers game but alot of dieting is phycological. πŸ™‚ I’m glad to read about someone else drinking 2 glasses of wine every night. Still you have some lovely wine is SA so I don’t blame you! Life’s for living after all πŸ™‚

      Hey and good luck with giving up smoking!


  8. I lost about 30 pounds last year just by cutting out snacking on chips and such and eating fruit which filled me up and eating only when I was hungry (this meant that I din’t always eat three meals a day but I also live alone and can do as i please). I eat mostly natural, organic food with no preservatives. I may have a piece of baguette and cheese for dinner after having chicken pieces for lunch and no breakfast. The pounds dropped away and I never felt deprived or hungry. It’s not the most nutritionally baed diet, though I do try to eat fruit every day (I’m not big on vegetables but I do eat nuts for fats and protein). That my unconventional diet.


    1. Hi Maire,
      I’m certainly with you on the natural, organic food with no preservatives. I even study soya products I buy to make sure they are not GM. I think you are right about diets you have to find something that suits you and providing you are getting all your vitamins etc no pobs. Its great to hear of so mnay people losing weight and keeping it off.
      If I feel desperately hungry I have just bought some cherry tomatoes and of course I still gnaw on the carrots.


  9. Myself and Mr Mista πŸ™‚ are on a health kick this January. But I think to ban foods is just leading to disaster. If you ‘can’t’ have it you’ll want it or as you say, you’ll become miserable. There is no way I could do without bread for instance. A friend of ours did this following plan for a year and she lost 2 stone and has kept it off a year later. She ate every 5 hours, so at 8am, 1pm and 6pm for eg, with no snacking in between and had no carbohydrates for her evening meal. That was it. She could eat what she wanted in moderation for the other two meals and did not ban anything. She had toast and butter every morning! She also walked daily but only for 20 mins or so. Very uncomplicated which I think diets must be if they are to succeed.

    And remember Piglet the average UK woman is a size 16 and no man likes a Skinny Minnie!

    ps: I have just seen your view count. My Blog is now very insecure indeed and is hiding in its room crying softly into its pillow! Well done on a great blog.


    1. Hey Tosta,
      I’m am certainly no skinny minny more like mrs blobby! It’s strange since I’ve agreed with myself I can have the odd glass of wine I’m not missing it. I think it’s as you say not banning foods. I don’t miss bread or potatoes strangely enough. Even chocolate I’m no longer fussed about, but I just made some mince pies to use up some left over sweet mincemeat…and oh boy was I tempted. Still I knew if I ate pastry I WOULD be awake all night with terrible heartburn so I resisted and had a yougurt with ground almonds added instead. Good luck with your diet!

      Please don’t worry about your blog as I said in my comments there πŸ™‚


  10. PiP, It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in here. So sorry. The past year and half have been stressful. I keep thinking one day soon I’ll return to my blogging world. Just now when I checked my email and saw your post, I decided I’d take the time to “visit”. As always, your writing makes me smile–which is not to make light of your efforts to become…lighter. Part of the reason I smile is because it is January and I have launched into my own effort, not to loose weight, but to address some other issues regarding self-improvement. Truth is that trying to change any personal habit can be as challenging as it can be rewarding. So, I shall be cheering you on. And I’ll be looking myself in the mirror and working on not calories, but good health in general, including more exercise, and establishing some better monetary habits for myself. Wish me luck.


    1. Hi Ellen, great to hear from you! I often think of you and wonder how you are doing with your home in the woods.

      January is always a good time to start any new habits it’s like starting a new chapter, so I wish you all the luck! I’m glad my post made you smile πŸ™‚


  11. Best of luck with your plan Carole. I put on 4kgs in the last couple of months due to back problems and less mobility, and feel terrible because my clothes are now all tight. I have started Pilates to help with the back and find it’s also helping firm me up.
    I’m also trying to help my husband lose his big belly and a few kilos, so have been looking at the “wheat belly diet” although he finds it hard to give up a lot of the things he likes. He has had some success with going gluten free and cooking more at home instead of take away (he is on his own in the eastern states, so I’m not there to cook…).
    Great that you have a “personal trainer”, that is important to have close support.


    1. Hi Sami,
      It’s amazing how much wheat does bloat you if you are intolerant as I am. I ahope he does well. Still it must be difficult if he does not have your support cooking for him. You were enviably slim when I met you πŸ™‚ Still it is good if you can shed the 4kg as soon as possible. Good luck!


  12. Dear PiP: just look at the length of your post already: now do you have company or don’t you πŸ˜‰ ! And [don’t get mad at me] we must have been twins or something in a previous life – the stories are SO similar! No actually I do know something about all this jazz professionally [which has not always been put into practice!] and the ‘D’ word shut be thrown out with the garbage!! Make slow changes and keep them! Cutting sugars actually the most important and look at portion size [my downfall when I pour the vino!]. Make one change every week and keep to it! Never ever look at a diet book: you know what you should be having. And when you have mortally sinned, say mea culpa, I am human, and promptly begin again where you left off! I’m one ahead of you: it’s the 7th and not one glass of wine. Shall get some Wednesday shopping and do what a doctor girlfriend does: seven glasses/week – divide it up any way you want, but never more than two a day! Sayeth Eha πŸ˜€ !


    1. Hi Eha I’m most def “mea culpa”.
      Cutting sugars is perhaps the hardest. Lat night I had a serious sugar craving so before I could succumb I ran and got a raw carrot to gnaw at! Gluten makes me bloat so I must cut this whenever possible from my diet. I’m tryign to substitue normal flour for sphelt or rice flour. As for glasses of wine I’m doing well and have only had two small glasses of red with my meal on Friday. Once the summer comes I will probably go back t o haveing one red a day socially. In the meantime I need to find something I like to drink when we are out. I really enjoy a glass of wine although my daughter may think I’m an alki, I’m most def not πŸ™‚


  13. A couple of years ago I was hugely overweight. I had broken my back twice and the inactivity that followed saw me go over the 100 kilos. I stopped looking after the mid 90’s. When i had a health check i knew I needed to eat healthier. I basically walked more…i did walk but I started upping the frequency. And nothing went in to my mouth that I had not made from scratch. I never went near a scale as initially it wasn’t about weight loss but getting healthier. It started to fall of. my tastes have changed a lot. I no longer really enjoy the fatty foods at all. And til now it has stayed steady at 70 kilos for over a year. And i refound my joy in cooking. Finding yummy healthy recipes to try. I wish you success PiP because i know what it feels like…but you can do it.


    1. Hi Jo, what a fantastic weight loss – well done to you – and you’ve kept it off!! Trouble with me the scales keep beckoning to see if I’ve lost weight so I’m also trying to resist those! I think your comment “nothing went in to my mouth that I had not made from scratch” is good. My intention is going back to exactly that – so I can control gluten -which makes me bloat so I look fatter than I am, control sugar and of course dairy. I think it is all about changing our tastes and banishing our unhealth cravings.
      Thanks for your support and if you have a low calorie or low fat recipe to share please let me know πŸ™‚

      Here’s to a slimmer 2013


  14. You are not the only one to have these weight reality checks in January – I think it applies to half the population!
    In a nutshell, eat less, move more (what Mike Lewis said).
    I’m going to New Zealand for my niece’s wedding in February, and am doing this to hopefully shed a few pounds, but I will subscribe to your other blog so I can follow your progress, and also to pick up some good recipes!
    Good luck PiP!


    1. Hi Barb,
      “eat less, move more” is an excellent mantra…well said Mike! Good luck with your quest. Weddings are always a good incentive! Thanks for subscribing to my other blog…I better get shopping and cooking. Especially as I’ve not got a clue what to eat today as aprt from 2 hard pears, yougurt and a carrot I’ve run out of healthy food!


  15. my website is greenz4momz.com.
    and yes, I totally understand that you would want to chew:-) met, too:-)
    There are many variants to this but I do not want you to think I want to place a commercial for myself, so I’ll stop here:-)


  16. Dear ms. Piglet:-)
    I am quite new on your blog and I love it! I am considering to move to Portugal so I love reading about your experiences (and about your garden!!!!!)
    I thought of writing to you because a very easy and extremely pleasant variant of meals in order to lose some weight but not deprive yourself too much is actually adding something!:-) and that something is green smoothies or juices. In Portugal, with all the fresh vegetables and fruit all year long it seems very easy to do.
    I have a coaching practice in green elixirs, how I call them, and we could have a free coaching call to see what would be suitable for you. My clients, friends and myself lost more than a few kilos and that while keeping strong, getting a healthier body and more vitality. It is important to keep healthy while loosing weight, especially after a certain age, (and with that I mean after 25!) because if we restrict the calories and we restrict ourselves, the only thing we do is setting ourselves to fail later, and we can become ill and light headed and what else..
    Let me know if you want to know more:-) much much success and good luck with finding your own path to health and light(er)..:-)
    thank you for your blogs!


    1. Hi Ioana,
      Thank you for sharing but I must lose weight by a long term diet and lifestyle change. You are welcome to post a link to your blog if you would like to advertise your services though. πŸ™‚


      1. Thank you:-)
        the point with green smoothies and juices is that they are for long term.. I still do that, already the second year, every day. And I honestly never felt better! πŸ™‚
        good luck with whatever way you will chose. If you ever think you want to give it a try, you can contact me via my website:-)


  17. I was following Weight Watchers and lost about 22kg. but gained about 7kg. back since I’ve been stuck in a sitting position because of my torn Achilles tendon. I’m getting back on the WW. It’s good for showing you how to eat a little bit of everything and still lose weight. I wouldn’t wear tight pants to a restaurant. I would just eat about 7-8 almonds before going out to eat. That helps fill up the stomach before you arrive. Portion control is eating daily portion sizes of things and not the gargantuan ones we normally eat. For example, I started eating the real portion size of cereal and I started to realize I was eating 3/4 of a bowl intstead of 1/4 of a bowl. concerning I still eat it and it’s because our brain needs it to function. I don’t eat more than 4 tablespoons of starch. I eat lots of green veggies and I eat lean protein. I also eat fish and crustacea. I also eat a yogurt and a fruit at the end of each meal. This makes my meal complete and fills me up but not too much. That way I can go to the next meal without snacking. I f I do feel like a snack I’ll have some fruit, yogurt, or a few nuts or even some dried fruit. The idea is not to deprive your body of too much. Cutting out too many things makes your body crave more of the wrong things and the cravings will come back with a vengeance. Exercise regularly, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it everyday. Why don’t you start with 3 times a week, that is doing a sport you love. That way you won’t want to miss doing it. My favorite sport is swimming and I can’t wait to get back to it. Check into doing WW by internet. It’s a good way to show you how to count calories but also to be healthy when doing so. Sure you want to lose weight but you also want to keep it off. So, you’re going to have to adopt some eating changes. One more thing, don’t start only eating the same thing because you and your body will get tired of it and you’ll stop losing weight. I’m having to get back on track too so let’s check up on one another. Although for me I’m in physical therapy 3 times a week and I can’t do any real exercise besides walking because I’ve just started to walk again. Good luck! You can do it. πŸ˜€


    1. Hi didi,
      You are certainly right re. gargantuan portions. I can eat like a pig and there layeth the problem. You offer some great suggestions. I like the almond idea πŸ™‚ My tum is already protesting by the new restricted portion sizes and I’m sitting here gnawing on a raw carrot thinking of “mind over matter”
      I love swimming and hope to go this week to the local pool as it’s too cold to swim in the sea at the moment. Walking I’d hoped to increase to 3 times a week and when I have a spare 10 mins while I’m waiting for something to cook or my bath to run I plan to go on the exercise bike. Nothing major. Just more than I’m doing now.

      I return to Pilates week after next and hopefully that should tone up the flab.

      Yep lets stay in touch re progress!


      1. This is why you have to make sure you eat enough or else 2 hours later you will go looking for something sugary and not dietetic. It’s important to eat everything. Just find out what a daily portion size is. Not eating carbs is the best way to starve yourself. You will be hungry 2 hours later and frustrated. Think of it as a change you will be doing forever not a quick fast diet. Let’s keep tabs on each other. How about I write to you what I’ve eaten for the day and at the end of the week we tell each other how much weight we’ve lost?


  18. I’m also trying to loose the kilos that have be added due to 2 years on crutches and steroids for my lung condition. I’ve started with an almost 100% cut in sugar and will do this until my sugar cravings have completely gone.
    Next to get the chop will be fattier foods and carbs. (first things first, I figured that trying to hit everything at once would be sure to derail me). I still can’t walk properly so exercise is going to be impossible for a while yet so drastic action with the menu was needed.
    The strong painkillers that I’m still on (pain being a main symptom of dystrophia) means I kicked all alcohol after the operation to put the bits of my foot back in the right place and so have been enforced teetotal for two years now.
    Luckily I love fruit and veggies and cooking from scratch and so here’s hoping for some long term results over the next months!!!
    Keep us posted as to your progress πŸ™‚


    1. Hi Kiwi,
      I can imagine if I could not get about I would be eating all the time. Poor you. I looked up the disiese you mentioned and it must be really tough. To add a diet on top pales my cravings into insignificance.
      Once you start your fat free or reduced fat regime if you come across any recipes please feel free to share on
      I am going to use that blog as a place to keep all useful recipes.

      I realize if I’m going to keep the weight off I need to make a lifestyle change…hence why I’m allowing myself the odd glass of wine πŸ™‚

      hugs for 2013


      1. Thanks Piglet,
        after so many months in 7 different plaster casts the muscles from my knee down simply didn’t function any more, getting back that function takes years and is a long slow painful process.
        Dystrophia causes touch to produce (more) pain so physiotherapy is hard going and it’s a fine line between working though the pain and going too far and doing more damage.
        Learning to live with it and make the best of it is now a fact of life so it’s a matter to staying as positive as possible and getting on with the things I CAN do.
        Like you have resolved that 2013 is the time to try and get serious about loosing the weight and so drastic measures need to be taken. I’m looking forward to seeing the new me later in the year!
        My toast will have to be a virtual one only, but I raise a glass to your goals and hope to toast you a proper one sometime in the future as we celebrate in a dress at least several sizes smaller !


  19. Start watching the Hairy Dieters who have lost considerable weight but still keeping food interesting. Just remember eat LESS and move MORE.
    You can achieve whatever the mind can perceive xx


  20. My husband and I restrict our calorie intake to 600 and 500 calories on two days a week.
    I enjoy my wine too and include one glass in my 500 count. I make the meals… salads with yoghurt dressing, fish and veg etc look attractive and taste good. We have lost weight this way. On the free days I am more careful than I used to be, no bread, no pasta and lots of veg. On the fasting day you can always look forward to your free day so it isn’t as daunting as a full diet. Good luck and go for it. Remember positive mental attitude. Love your blog. A


    1. Hi Netto and welcome πŸ™‚ When you restrict your calorie intake is that on two consecutive days? Made me smile that even though you only had 500 calories you allowed for a glass of wine. Life is for living after all πŸ™‚


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