I’ve been at the 28 theme park (Woody’s World as I like to call it) for nine months now. During this ride my commitment has ebbed and flowed. The first few months I was an A-Grade student. I was all menu-planned and food-prepped and working out like a woman possessed by her excess weight. I started this blog as a testament to my obsession and basically fell in love with every single one of you… I even took you on holidays with me.
But it’s fair to say that the honeymoon is over and I’ve battled with maintaining my 28 mojo. In the last two months in particular I’ve had a stack of life curve balls that I’ve managed to dodge or return serve but in doing so I’ve let other balls drop. I’ve had to or I would have gone completely nuts. And you know what? I totally forgive myself for dropping balls. I’m 44; I’ve learned a thing or two about forgiveness. If I was 24 or even 34 I’d probably be giving myself a hard time, I’d be wallowing in my failure (yet again) and I’d simply quit. Like the post I wrote about ‘pausing’, which was essentially about not quitting.
So I thought I’d write a post about being OK with not being an A-Grade student at the School of 28. This is the stuff that I think you need to know about being on a food and exercise program, the stuff that won’t necessarily be obvious and the stuff that those who achieve great results (because they are A-Grade students all the time and commit 100%) won’t tell you.
Before you read my opinion on all this rule breaking stuff remember these 3 things:
- The 28 by Sam Wood program works exactly as it’s written and planned out for us. If you stick to it and commit to it then you’ll achieve great results. There’s a well-thought out, highly educated and experienced reason as to why we have the food in the order we do, the workouts in the way that we do and the types of alternative ingredients we do. Trust it.
- If you make changes or break rules then your results will take longer to appear.
- I am a rule breaker and am achieving results very, very slowly. I’m happy with that. You may not be.
Ok…here we go. Read on at your own peril.
It’s OK not to buy everything on the shopping list
The first shop can be mighty expensive. If you’re new to the 28 way of eating and meal preparation then there’s a host of new ingredients that you’ll need at some point in your pantry. Build them up over time. Don’t feel you have to buy everything in the first week. Our brilliant nutritionist, Steph, wants us to try new things. Things that are better for our gut health and digestion and generally just make a body work better. My advice is to try them all when you can, but don’t feel compelled to jump in psyllium husks and all from the get go. PS – you can totally leave out psyllium husks and it won’t make a lick of difference to the recipe. It’s a ‘good food’ choice but not a deal breaker. You can read a Q&A about them here (if you want)
It’s OK to use a similar ingredient
If you want to use dairy milk instead of almond milk or coconut milk or milk from your pet goat…then go right ahead! Like I said above, we’re encouraged to try new things because they’re a better choice for our digestion (and all that palaver) and they probably help make changes to our metabolism which means we’ll be fuller, fitter, leaner and all that good stuff. BUT…it’s a process. It’s OK not to have those things if you don’t have any diet issues to begin with. Another example are the range of flours used in our recipes. Wholemeal, Arrowroot, Buckwheat, Coconut, Gluten Free etc etc etc. In most cases you can use your good old Plain Flour if you want to. The quantities may not be like for like so just ask Google or our 28 Facebook Community (who, let’s face it, are basically Google for 28ers).
It’s OK to swap
The crew has given us some pretty good guidelines for swapping meals. Make sure you give them a read. And when you’ve done that, do what works for you. Sometimes you have to keep things simple. And while it’s not ideal to have the same thing for dinner every night, if you are inclined to “quit” and just call out for pizza because suddenly it’s 9pm and life has gotten in the way of you making the 28 dinner that’s on the plan then have two eggs and sauté up some greens quickly (for example). That’s dinner in less then 10 minute my friends. Ideas like that save you from having pizza. That’s all I’m saying. Save your pizza splurges for when you plan to have them not for when you are teetering off the wagon. You can read some more of my simple strategies for when you want to quit at the end of my post of pausing >>> HERE.
It’s OK to eat out
You’ve gotta live right? Life is simply not fun if you’re turning down social engagements or not joining your work mates out for lunch. Don’t say NO, say OK and make good choices. Basically, stick to the 28 Guide Day-to-Day, 2-1-2 (download it here) that the Crew have shared with us in the past and you’ll be making good choices. If you get a say in the restaurant or café then stick to Japanese, Greek, Spanish, Thai or Indian. Think meat and veg, meat and veg, meat and veg! Skip the carbs (if you can). I also did a post on eating in a food court…there’s some ideas in there that may help too.
It’s OK to just do the food
If your pre-28 life was all about takeaway and creamy pastas and bread meals and now you’re cooking fresh meals and enjoying tasty new food…then that’s a win my friend. If you haven’t turned your mind to the workouts yet then that’s OK. Enjoy having fabulous new meals. Don’t give yourself a hard time for not working out the Woody way. Try the workouts or don’t. Totes up to you. That said, some form of activity each day is a good idea for your health – but there’s no rule that says it can’t be a walk, a yoga class, a run, a spin class or some other activity you’re already doing or would prefer to do.
It’s OK to just do the workouts
If you’re pretty happy with the food you’re eating and you’ve got a handle on cooking fresh and clean…then carry on. 28 has some simply fabulous recipes and I find the meal plan a life saver (telling me what to cook and when is my idea of heaven) but good fresh food is good fresh food. Working out with Woody everyday may be all that you need to get fit and happy. If that’s the case …then just workout with Woody!
It’s OK to drink wine
Yes. Drink wine. Drink all the wine! Honestly if drinking wine or not drinking wine is the difference between you staying mostly stable and on course and quitting all together…then drink the fucking wine. Yes, it will impede your weight loss progress. Yes, it will weaken your resolve and you’ll be at risk of making poor food choices. Yes, drinking alcohol every day is not great for your health (Hello “Captain Obvious”!). Us wine drinkers know this and yet…we drink. Make the choice to stop drinking or have non-drinking days when you can. But don’t give yourself a hard time because you’re not ready to yet or you think you should. You make your own rules. And by the way… you’re grown up enough to know what the consequences will be for choosing to drink.
Personally, I function 100% better in life when I’m not drinking. I’m clearer. I’m more focused. My skin looks better and I feel great. But read back through any of my posts and check out my instagram feed and you’ll soon realise that this knowledge makes no difference. I like wine. A psychologist will be quick to tell you that this is classic Cognitive Dissonance (in fact, they’d probably argue that this whole post and my attitude to 28 in general exemplifies it)
It’s OK to say “NO” or “Not today”
I think one of the great things about 28 are the choices the program offers you. You don’t have to do everything by the book and you don’t have to agree with everything on offer. We are all different. With different tastes and different goals. I reckon Sam offers us some pretty insightful videos to help us with our inner-demons, but sometimes I just don’t want to hear it (sorry Boss!). That’s OK. That’s life. I’m not prefect, and I’m not even trying to be.
It’s OK to eat full fat food
In fact, it’s preferable. Lose the term ‘low fat’ from your vernacular. Good fats (like the ones that feature in 28 recipes) keep you full for longer. I don’t know why or how and I don’t really care I just follow the recipes and trust in the wisdom of our super star nutritionist that is Steph Lowe…a woman with an alphabet of letters after her name. You can ask her about the science of it all yourself if you want in one of the weekly Live Facebook chats.
It’s OK to miss a day
It happens. Maybe you’re sick. Maybe you slept in. Maybe a dog ate your homework. What ever your excuse is, it’s OK. If you want results then just don’t turn it into a habit…but don’t beat yourself up over a day here and there.
It’s OK to suck at the exercises
There is zero point in trying to have perfect form on all the exercises if it means you just lie in a sweaty and heart broken mess on the floor for 28 minutes. Keep moving. Keep trying. And soon enough your stumbling baby giraffe coordination on those damn sliders will look Instagram worthy! And let’s face it, even the stumbling baby giraffe is Instagram worthy these days…there are people that are making a lot of money out of their inability to be in anyway eloquent at life.
It’s OK to take a break
Ssshhhh. This is one that is super secret and nobody ever talks about. If you want results and if you want to have a happy, healthy and balanced life then you need to commit to a routine and plan to succeed, right? This is absolutely true. It can also be a burden if you don’t give yourself a break when you need one. This could be a break from a program (any program!), a break from social media (stop with the poisonous comparisons) or even a break from your own goddamn life (if you can). Sometimes a break and a reset is EXACTLY what you need to take the next step. And you know what…we’ll all still be here when you get back. Just come back…it’s OK. (I’d also recommend keeping your 28 membership connected if you can afford the $49 a month, regardless of your activity. It’s made a big difference to my “breaks” knowing that I’m still connected and that support is just a click away when I need it)
…and finally don’t forget that we’re all different. We all have strengths and weaknesses. It’s how we approach them that makes the difference in what we can achieve. And sure, you can choose to change your ways at any stage in life…but that can be hard fucking work. And, depending on your life circumstances, sometimes it’s easier to ignore or quit something than it is to burden yourself with not getting it 100% right. So, sure, if you want results and good sustainable lifestyle habits sooner rather than later then stick to the program exactly as it’s written. It works. It’s simple and it’s straightforward. That Sam Wood knows what he’s on about it.
But you can break the rules and still achieve results…it will just take longer. Which is totally OK. Just don’t quit, because then it’s over. It’s a roller coaster of a ride but the lows will pass and before you know it, you’ll be back on top and enjoying the view again.