Piglets, Paul McKenna and pastéis de natas!

news: Piglets, Paul McKenna and pastéis de natas!

Wednesday August 10

I am on a new diet. I have been on it for 24 hours and can think about nothing but food. Apple turnovers, aniseed balls, burgers, bacon, custard, cakes… You name it and I’ve alphabetically drooled over it.

In actual fact, I have been on a diet since 1977. The nature of the diet has veered confidently from calorie controlled to low fat, to high fibre and valiantly onwards and upwards to GI, Atkins and other low carbs – all offering a solution. They do work. I have lost thousands of kilos over the years, more than you could ever imagine.

The truth is, I have been a serial yo-yo dieter all my life. This condition has been inherited from my mother who, in turn, inherited it from her mother, Big Elsie. My grandmother has been watching her figure for the entire time I have been alive and ventured on her last fad diet – grapefruit and cabbage I think – at the age of 83. This condition, IYDS – inherited yo-yo dieting syndrome – only affects women and gay men. Heterosexual men avoid the condition by playing lots of sport and pretending they’re not hungry.

A year ago, I discovered the GI diet, embraced it and lost about 20 kilos. I have studiously avoided the scales since last October (usual pattern) and have now discovered that I have gained 13 of those kilos back – note that I never actually tell you my weight, this only occurs when weight has been shed. I have enjoyed putting the weight back on; all those bifanas and pastéis de natas… Alas, the yo-yo is now at the end of the string again, the shirt flows freely above the trousers, elasticised waistbands are de rigueur, TV dinner plates sit comfortably on the spare tyre and doing up shoe laces ends in a dizzy spell as blood rushes to the head.

Thursday August 11

Things are about to change. I am now under the hypnotic powers of Paul McKenna, who, via a CD, is helping me to take on a whole new approach to food and healthy living. I can eat what I want, when I want – being wary of processed and sugary foods – with the stipulation that I will enjoy every mouthful and stop eating when I become aware of the first indications of feeling full. I also have to leave a little food on my plate at every meal, in order to purge myself of years of parental propaganda involving third world starvation and my personal culpability. This clearing the plate, serving platter, fridge and supermarket syndrome, gets in the way of me listening to my own body and recognising when I am full. I’ll keep you posted…if I lose weight.

Wednesday August 17

I have just made the hideous mistake of visiting Portimão in mid August. Driving was a nightmare of silver and blue rent-a-cars, plodding along at the correct speed, stopping at crossings and using lane discipline on roundabouts. Didn’t recognise the old place. The car parks were full and the supermarket queues were heaving with vast expanses of exposed pink flesh. I queued up haughtily with my healthy eating basket surrounded by mountains of white bread, frozen chips, pizzas, white strap marks and enough beer to drown a small continent. If only everyone could be as self-disciplined as me, what a wonderful lardy free place the world would be…

Monday August 22

In the almost immortal words of dear old Maggie – “We are a father!” You may remember – I certainly do – that back in April I was charging around a muddy field wielding a variety of dubious looking implements in order to artificially inseminate Eggs, our family pig. Well, the poor old girl struggled bravely through the hot summer months and, in the early hours of last Thursday, gave birth to 10 greedy little porquinhos. One was born dead and one died two days later, but she still has eight who look incredibly fit and healthy. Eggs herself is as proud as can be and grunts excitedly when we nip down to visit her and the little ones.

Wednesday August 24

All piglets are still doing very well and have now taken to coming out of the house, wading in puddles, chasing one another about and indulging in mock fights and ear nibbling. Eggs is taking all of this in her stride while Martyn and I are behaving like besotted parents wooing and marvelling at every new development.

One rather unsavoury affliction to trouble Eggs, which, you may wish to skip over if you are feeble natured, has been a blowfly infestation of her vagina. First thing this morning, we noticed that her vagina looked inflamed and that wasps were flying up to it and biting at the flesh. On closer inspection, Martyn noticed small maggots inside.

Ana, our vet, came down later that day, anaesthetised the pig and, with a pair of tweezers, removed over 50 maggots! The pig was then cleaned and disinfected and seems to be okay. However, she now has the indignity of having her vagina sprayed twice a day to avoid any further infestations. Unsurprisingly, she is not particularly happy about it – filthy looks all round.

Friday August 26

The wonderful thing about the Paul McKenna diet is that nothing, absolutely nothing is my fault. I yo-yo because of the diet industry. I lick my plate clean as a result of parental indoctrination. This removal of responsibility does wonders for my self-esteem.

The other wonderful thing about it is that I can eat anything I want – nothing is forbidden. Two weeks into a diet, yo-yoers like myself begin yearning for the forbidden foods. This quickly reaches obsession point. Eventually, we give in to the obsession, all is lost, we have failed and the ‘in for a penny…syndrome’ takes over.

Before we know it, half a ton of chocolate digestive biscuits has been scoffed and we are scouring the hidden depths of the freezer for long forgotten pies and pasties.

By forbidding nothing, I can decide to have a peanut butter and jam sandwich without guilt, and stop there. However, since falling under the influence of Paul McKenna, when a dodgy food pops into my head and kicks off the obsession process, I now think: “Well, if I want it, I can go and have it.” The second that I have that thought, the desire subsides almost instantly and, invariably, I don’t bother eating the food in question. This may well be the end of my yo-yo career. If it is, you will be sure to hear about it. If it isn’t, you’ll hear nothing.

By Paul McKay