Ok, so it’s no secret that I’m not exactly Sam’s star pupil on his program 28 by Sam Wood. My commitment ebbs and flows and it’s been a long time since I did a full week of workouts exactly as I should. Truth be told, I’m a cheater. And you know what? I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I still call myself a 28er and I still tell anyone who’s interested that it’s a great program for health and wellness. It is. That’s a fact.
The bottom line is I have made 28 work for me. I’m a pretty good cook with a reasonable knowledge of good and bad foods. I’ve never been a fast food addict and my biggest sin is wine and cheese and wine. Followed by wine. While I’m a happy walker and occasional treadmill-er I’ve never been a particularly active person…unless you count writing hilarious posts on social media as a sport, in which case I’m a bloody Olympic athlete.
The difference between 28 and all the other programs I’ve tried over three decades is the community. An online conversation about living well is not far from my hands (because my iPhone is surgically implanted in my palm, or so you’d think). I’ve stuck with it and chatted and enjoyed connecting with fellow 28ers and that has made all the difference to me sticking to the principles of having a healthy life. MY healthy life. Not YOUR healthy life. Not Sam’s healthy life. But MINE. My way. And if you’re a quitter or finding it hard to sustain the 28 program because it’s all too much or very different to what you’re used to then I would encourage you to do it your way too. Don’t quit. Adapt. Make it work because there are no rules and the only one who truly cares about your results is you.
To get the best results most efficiently of course you should stick to the program exactly as it’s written. That’s why we pay experts like Sam and Steph to do the thinking for us. They have years of experience in knowing what works and what doesn’t for long term health and fitness. But here’s the thing…we’re not all built to follow a program exactly as it’s written. In fact – I do believe I was born to be a rule breaker. Not a LAW breaker…a rule breaker. There is a difference 😉
When I started 28 almost a year ago I enjoyed a good two months of doing as I was told…but as I progressed I realised that the program was actually just my platform for making better decisions for my long term health and happiness. I doubt I’ll ever be one of those people who show you amazing before and after photos, I don’t actually think that was ever my goal. But I can tell you that I’m happier and healthier than I was in my pre-28 days. Even on my bad days I know I can bounce back and everything will still be there, waiting for me to get back on the wagon.
In my healthy life it’s OK to deviate from a weekly eating plan. It’s OK to drink wine. It’s OK to loosen the reigns on an exercise schedule. It’s OK to fuck up. It’s OK to make your own way…just don’t quit. Make it work.
SHOUT OUT TO A FELLOW CHEATER
On my insta feed this morning I came across this BRILLIANT cheat from Heather Dreckow, aka love_the_28_journey_28. This is a perfect example of how we can cheat to make things work. The Grain Free Lasagne recipe involves a truckload of zucchini slicing…which is a chore and when you couple that with actually assembling the bloody thing then you’ve basically got a recipe for losing the will to live. Heather cheated her way to an solution using all the same ingredients. She said stuff it…literally! Check it out…tell me you don’t want to CHEAT like Heather 😉
5 TIPS FOR CHEATING 28
1) Eat the same breakfast 5 days a week
If you’re not a morning person or you have a busy work schedule or you’re running out the door and at risk of grabbing a takeaway breakfast then make the BYO Eggs Cups and freeze them and have 2 every morning. On the run. You can also just have 2 hard-boiled eggs but they’re nowhere near as tasty. If you have eggs every day for breakfast then make sure you don’t have them in any of your other meals. Noone needs that many eggs in a week!
2) Make a big soup on Sunday night of all left over veg
Every Sunday at 2pm open your fridge and look at what’s left. Chop it all up and fry it up in a bit of oil, making it all tasty and stuff and then add about a litre of stock of choice. Cook. Cool. Blitz. Voila…that’s lunch for at least 3 days. Add a handful of cooked chicken to it if you need some protein.
3) Make your own shopping list
Don’t tell anyone but I hate the 28 Shopping List function. I find it clunky and annoying with limited flexibility and I end up making my own (my rules). I find this way I get up close and personal with the recipes and make adjustments as I go. This is particularly good if a recipe requires a bit of planning (like marinating or slow cooking)
4) Freeze snacks and meal portions
Make your favourite 28 meals and snacks and freeze them in single portions (or family size if you need to). Grab and go straight from your kitchen. Using muffin trays for breads, bars and bakes is also an excellent way to keep your portions controlled.
** HELPFUL LIST: The Crew have posted about the best 28 recipes to freeze in the past…here’s the list.
5) Move for 30 minutes most days
Keeping active really is the key to happiness (that and wine…obvs). Sam’s workouts are great and all but if you’re hating on yourself because you keep sleeping in or it’s all too hard and basically making every excuse under the sun about why you can’t do them then DON’T. But don’t be sedentary either. Just get outside, breathe fresh air and walk for 30 minutes at a minimum. When you’re ready tackle the workouts…but stop hating yourself because you haven’t managed the program exactly as you think you should.
It goes without saying that these are my thoughts, my opinions and my rules because it’s my life. If you’re one of those people that can follow a plan to the letter and shed a shite load of weight then I salute you – but that ain’t me and I don’t do comparisons. They make me unhappy. Do what works for you. Only you know what that is. No need to follow my footsteps (but you can hold my hand)…I’m on my own path. x