Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru Online Program - there is no day like today to start

Make health your priority for lasting change

Nikki ParkinsonHealth 52 Comments

Sponsored by Fernwood Fitness

I’m not a health professional and I’m not a fitness guru.

I’m just a woman who has always had to work hard at losing or even maintaining my weight.

An underlying health issue – Hashimoto’s – does not help my efforts (you can catch up with my back story on that herebut instead of just giving up, I continue to work at it for one very important reason.

I want to FEEL the best I possibly can every day.

It took me a while to work out – and harness – just what my motivation was but it was while doing the Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru online program over the last month that everything gelled.

In one of the videos I had access to as part of the program, Susan Santoro (the Fernwood “angel” helping us with mindset), asked us to work out what our “why” was.

Why did I want to exercise and make good food choices?

It seems simple but to me it’s all about how I FEEL.

I realised that by swapping my old whys – the number on the scales or the number or letter on my clothing tag – I’d finally found a long-term motivator to keep on track with my health goals.

And it’s that long-term thing that really is key, isn’t it?

Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru Online Program - if your why is big enough your motivation will take care of itself

There have been many times during my life where I’ve focussed on healthy living and had short-term success but I’ve dropped the ball on that focus and put back on any weight I had lost.

Now that I have my WHY firmly in place, it doesn’t feel like it’s something that has an end point. It’s just something I want to do because I want to feel good.

Does that mean I’m living a sanctimonious “my body is a temple” life? HAH! Far from it.

It means that I know what works for my body in terms of food and exercise so I mostly follow that and allow myself to indulge when I feel like it – or the occasion calls for it.

The WHY gets me back on track the next day – or after a weekend away. Trust me, there have been plenty of those of late to test my theory!

Your WHY might be completely different. And that’s very ok.

The important thing is to work out what it is and make health your priority – and put your WHY in place as the motivator.

28 Day Breakthru Program

Before signing up to work with Fernwood I wanted to look at what the program was offering. It had to fit in with my lifestyle and not be gimmicky.

It was far from gimmicky and it’s something that can fit with all lifestyles.

You don’t have to go to the gym for the exercise component but if you are a member of a Fernwood gym near you (there are more than 65 around Australia) then you’ll get even more support.

Because of my health condition and advice from my GP, I did a modified version of the exercise program. Getting health professional advice around any exercise program is always a good idea.

The big ticks for me were in the food plan and mindset areas of the program.

When you sign up you’re asked to work out what kind of body shape you have – a pear, apple or a ruler. This determines what meal plan you’re on and its explained why these foods and portions are good for your shape.

As I am gluten intolerant, I did have to adapt some of the recipes in my pear-shape plan. It’s something I’m used to doing so this worked for me. I’d love to see an option where you can choose both your body type and your dietary requirement (whether that’s gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian) to bring up all relevant recipes.

The recipes are all my kind of cooking. They feature fresh, whole food that is packed with flavour (this Spanish grilled fish recipe – pictured below – is now on our permanent menu). Best of all, they are all super simple to make and don’t require a tonne of ingredients.

Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru Online Program - Spanish grilled fish

Once you’ve got the swing of things in week 1, you kind of know what you need to have on hand in the pantry and in the fridge.

Each week of the four weeks there is an introductory video – to set the intention of the week and give you focus and then each day there is either a new video or post to help you stay motivated around that focus.

It’s realistic advice that isn’t preachy. The kind of advice you’ll actually take on board.

I loved the whole online format too. Accessing and checking in on my iPad each morning or night made it easy and didn’t feel like it was something I had to schedule as a task during my work day.

How did I go?

If you’ve come here looking for reporting of some amazing kilogram weightloss, you’ve come to the wrong place.

If you’ve been reading SY for a while, you’ll know I don’t own any scales. Ditching them was the best thing for me (see above for my WHY).

Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru Online Program - feeling good

So I can’t tell you if I’ve lost weight but I can tell you that I FEEL great. I feel like I’m starting spring with a positive approach to my health. I don’t feel like I’ve dragged my body kicking and screaming out of the depths of winter hibernation like I have done in previous winters.

I feel like I’ve stuck to my WHY and feel confident I’ll continue doing so.

The details

The Fernwood Fitness 28 Day Breakthru Program is costs $49 up until September 30 (from October 1 it will be $59).  It’s for any fitness level and is designed to help anyone break through bad habits and kick start new healthy ones.

You’ll be asked to exercise five days per week, with two rest days, and some days will be easier than others.  Allocate around 35-60 minutes for each of the five days for exercise.

The meal plans are specific for your body type which will be determined with the program’s guidance as part of the registration process.

Your daily meal plan will consist of three main meals and two snacks per day adding up to 1200 calories or 5000 kilojoules. You will not go hungry!

Fernwood 28 Day Breakthru Online Program - there is no day like today to start


Two Styling You readers have the chance to win a free pass to the Fernwood Fitness 28 Day Breakthru program, a 28-day Fernwood trial gym membership and a Fernwood merchandise pack. To enter, simply answer this comment in the question below:

What’s your WHY? What’s the thing that motivates you to exercise and eat healthy food?

Entries open on Tuesday, September 23 at 5am (AEST) and close on Tuesday, September 30 at 5pm (AEST). Australian entries only, sorry. The winner will be judged on originality and creativity (photos can be included and uploaded with the comment). The winner will be emailed and their name will be published here. Entrants must include an email address when the filling in the commenting system below to be eligible to enter. Full terms and conditions here.

Coordinated by The Remarkables Group

This competition is now closed.  Winners will be emailed and published here.

Comments 52

  1. My why is depression – since starting exercise 5 years ago, the results have been amazing. Now I don’t have the real lows, just some minor downs (which I think makes me like the general population). I’ve also found that educating myself on unprocessed food without the ‘e’s contributes as well. It’s worth investing in your health, be it mental or otherwise.

  2. Great post, Nikki, you look fantastic. I really get how much better you
    feel once you start to make a change. To be honest, the struggle for me
    is finding a WHY in the first instance and keeps me going. Like most
    people I’m very time poor, and I want to make changes, but find it
    difficult to fit extra things in that are for me. I know it’s important
    and it has to be a permanent lifestyle change. I’m hopping with Summer
    approaching and more daylight hours I’ll be able to start and make a
    lasting difference. This program sounds good x

  3. Great post, Nikki, you look fantastic. I really get how much better you
    feel once you start to make a change. To be honest, the struggle for me
    is finding a WHY in the first instance and keeps me going. Like most
    people I’m very time poor, and I want to make changes, but find it
    difficult to fit extra things in that are for me. I know it’s important
    and it has to be a permanent lifestyle change. I’m hopping with Summer
    approaching and more daylight hours I’ll be able to start and make a
    lasting difference. This program sounds good x

  4. My why is to help create balance in my life and keep a positive outlook. When I’m looking after myself, I’m looking after my mind, body and happiness / mood.

  5. This is the only body I’ve got and I’ve got to look after it. I know what it’s like to have your body fail on you and it’s when something like that happens that you can appreciate how truly precious your health is.

  6. My why….. The example I want to set for my 10 year old daughter, and 7 year old son, as well as the feeling of being in control of my health.

  7. My why is my mental health . it’s a two part thing if I don’t exercise I feel flat and by exercising I have a sense of control , the endorphins of exercise keep everything in balance .its is my time to be me and feel like I am achieving something .

  8. Hi Nic, like you, my ‘why’ is to feel good. To be able to do the simple things in life and not feel so uncomfortable, tired or weak. I want to feel strong, I want to feel healthy, I want more energy to enjoy each and every day, not only for myself, but for my family. I just need some help and feel too many things have piled up on me, that I struggle with even the thought of doing it on my own. I do not want to waste any more time.

  9. Sounds corny, but my “why” is my kids. I have three little boys that are very active (well 1&2 are, 3 is only 6months). I had a dreadful pregnancy with no 3 that included (but sadly was not limited to) a uterine prolapse. I was put on bed rest for a lot of my pregnancy and so gained more weight than I was happy with. It has been a real battle to lose this (yes I know I’m only 6months out! But it’s me how you feel about yourself isn’t it?). I am still on many exercise and lifestyle restrictions so I really have to pay attention to my diet to avoid gaining more weight – forget losing any! I cannot wait to be more free with exercise – soccer with the kids, chasings etc, so for the moment I will have to be happy with eating and sleeping as well as I can so my kids can get the best of me.

  10. The why is easy! It makes you feel so much better when you eat well and exercise.
    It’s the motivation that can be tricky.
    I guess consistency is the key!

  11. My “why” is the need to maintain work-life balance. I have hypertension and if I get too busy with work then the first thing that gets dropped off the list is going to spin class and from there it is a downward spiral in health. If I keep my exercise plan going I manage my stress, weight and sleep better but it takes commitment and time management.

  12. I’ve been struggling with my why of late. I’m wanting to get up earlier to walk and meditate and have some physical and mental space to myself. But it is SO nice in bed. I do feel better physically with more sleep. Yet, I think I feel even more better mentally, when I walk and meditate. There is more to me than just my physical appearance. I know I am better with space away from the children and mess.

    After reading this, I think I need to concentrate more on how I feel. This is my why. Because I feel better. xS

  13. I must say I need to take a good hard look at my “Why” motivators at the moment. Good timing SY. I want to be a great role model for my children and family, my friends and the children I teach, showing them the way to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle, leading by example. By golly gosh it has been hard in recent months though, a second pregnancy with complications and the lack of sleep and energy that comes with caring for a newborn and a toddler means I have made too many excuses for my bad habits. For example ” I haven’t had time for breakfast and lunch so three chocolate biscuits are totally justified.” and “Thanks for coming home early so I can exercise honey, but I’ve had no me time all week so I’m going to sit on the couch and catch up on some TV instead.” Typing this…reality check…I need this program.

  14. Totally struggling with the fitness motivation, after my 3rd child I finding it hard to get things done. I know I need to do this and have tried to watch the healthy eating over the past month. I think I need something like this to kick me into gear to get back into a healthy shape and weight again. Plus I need to throw out the scales?!?!?

  15. My why is similar to yours, I just feel SO much better when I do move my body and eat well. But it’s also for my mental health too. And I’m finding that moving the old body outside is the best for that. I could do a lot more but got to balance-balance.

  16. Why? Because I think it’s about time I tried to put me first for a change. I love my kids but I need to start loving myself a bit more, so that I can be a better person for me. I need to feel better, mentally and physically and I’ve put it off for far too long, bringing the kids up on my own. I feel now that I am truly, really, truly ready to commit to finally becoming the best me that I can be. X

  17. Where I live there are no gyms, so definitely no Fernwood. Would this be problem for this program? I would love to start summer (my first after giving birth) with a happier body mindset.

  18. Just saw a friend post on Facebook that it has been 10 years since a very sad event happened in her life, an event that I went through with her and I ended up suffering from depression after supporting her. When I look back over those 10 years I am happy to say that I have recovered and learnt a few things along the way but the one thing I haven’t changed is my health and fitness levels. I have always promised myself I would but it’s been 10 years and nothing has changed. Time flies that’s why i need to start now.

  19. My ‘why’ would absolutely have to be to improve not just my physical, but my emotional health, because for me, they are so closely linked. My underactive thyroid & polycystic ovarian syndrome make me more prone to both excessive weight gain and depression. A big part of managing these conditions lies in bettering my physical health as this then has a dramatic impact on my emotional health and self esteem – not in a vain/appearance-based way, it gives me a lift and helps me to view life differently, and I like how that feels. I feel such a marked difference in my emotional wellbeing when my thyroid levels & PCOS are under control and I am currently facing the challenge of needing to lose over 30kg to do this. I am not only doing it for me – even though I deserve it, I am also doing it for my daughter. I don’t just want to teach her the importance of loving herself and living a healthy life – I want to truly live that, and be a role model for her.

  20. Why? Getting fit and feeling well has been on my mind a lot. My husband is now FIFO and works away for 6 weeks at a time so feeling tired (which I always do) is not an option anymore. I have 2 young children and they deserve a more energetic Mum!

  21. My WHY is simple: it’s ME. If I’m not fit, healthy and strong I’m not only doing a disservice to myself and my body (and the spinal surgery I endured as a teenager), I’m also doing a disservice to those I love. They deserve the very best – and healthiest – version of me…and so do I.

  22. Thanks for keeping it real in the fitness stakes, Nikki.

    I really like your approach of having a bigger ‘why’ than the scales or a dress size. I’ve changed my mindset in this direction slowly over the years and a better (and fitter) person for it.

    SSG xxx

  23. My “why” is my creativity. When I don’t eat well, exercise and take care of myself, the words and ideas dry up. Not being creative impacts on my wellbeing, my happiness and my ability to be a good mum. It’s taken me a while to realise this, but now that I have I’m on a mission to learn how to do this every day. Love the info graphic Nikki & I hope you’re feeling better after your shower scare the other day!

    1. Hi Vanessa, due to one of the winners not responding to us, you’re a lucky duck and have won a Fernwood Fitness 28 Day Breakthru program, a 28-day Fernwood trial gym membership and a Fernwood merchandise pack. Please email your name, address, phone number and closest Fernwood gym to [email protected] Congrats xx

  24. My why is my health and moving forward. Just hit 50 and starting to experience high blood pressure for the first time in my life and also liver problems. I want to live a healthy life well into retirement.

  25. I love these posts to prompt a little contemplation. I’ve always eaten pretty well and exercised regularly, but I’ve hit that time in my life where the old ways aren’t working so well anymore and I need to shake it up! Some of it is genetics – I come from a family where obesity is the norm, even previous generations where it was much less common than today – so I have always had a predisposition to gaining weight. Combine that with hitting my mid forties and in recent years my weight has started to creep up a bit. I worked out fairly early on that I have to tow a pretty tight line to keep things in check. But now I need to bring in something new to start the rebellion against the unwanted kilos and how they make me feel. So my why is to reverse the “middle aged” weight creep, so that I can continue to have good health and vitality in living my life. Should I be lucky enough to live to the ages that the previous generations have in my family (despite the obesity), I’d like to do that in good nick so that I can enjoy those years with good health. Nothing’s guaranteed, but I’d like to stack the odds!

  26. I need to examine my why! I need to fit in some time for me to discover all of this and be the best version of me that I can. I need to do it for my kids and husband so that I’m there for them, but more importantly for me. Otherwise I just get lost in the hub bub of every day busy life

  27. Nikki, I love that you and most of the comments here are about how people feel. Age, weight and clothes sizes are just numbers- who wants to live life ruled by an arbitrary number? Why is this one good and that one bad?

    By coincidence, last night at the gym I watched a very slim 20-something girl struggle to run at 7 km/ hour for a full 2 minutes before huffing, puffing and jumping off the treadmill. I hope she comes back, and realizes the real benefits of exercise.

    Given I have at least 20 years and probably 20 kilos on this young lady I feel pretty chuffed with my fitness. Sure I can run and have pretty good strength and balance, but more importantly I have recently enjoyed a 3 hour hike to some glow worm caves; I easily hiked to the top of the Wineglass Bay lookout; and I’ve been quad biking to a secluded beach. I would not have enjoyed (or may even have missed out) on these experiences if I wasn’t so fit and strong.

    I’m active and happy in my life and career, and can meet the challenges it throws at me in a positive manner by exercising and eating well- most of the time. My why: to be able to enjoy all the experiences I’m fortunate enough to have come my way.

  28. Great post Nikki I’m glad you are feeling fantastic ,I also don’t own any scales,they got wet when the bathroom flooded so I just didn’t replace them! I really so don’t need them because I eat healthy and exercise moderately like you with 2 health conditions it is very restricting but I have found the glance and that is the key!

  29. great post nikki! … your body shape has clearly changed too … in my opinion!
    when I was young!?! I was a bit podgy and in my teenage years I became obsessed with trying to keep on top of my weight … then I had repeated graves disease and weight dropped off … now my why and has always been health and wellbeing … I have always eaten healthily and done just minimal excersize yoga is a constant and I love raw and lightly cooked food … slim as a reed these days and can eat anything but I am highly disciplined not obsessed though! love m:)X

  30. my why? Cos I have to, that’s why. A year ago I was 97kg and miserable. Today I’m 77kg and much happier. I’d love to say that it’s about the kids or the grandkids or whatever … but it isn’t. It’s about being the best person I can be for me. Fitter, slimmer, healthier, and happier. I eat well, and I exercise regularly but I’m no paragon or virtue – this is life, you know!

    Being slimmer and more active means I sleep better, my joints are less sore and I have much more energy to run around (after everyone else, lol). It makes me a more energetic wife, mum and nanny and a lot more fun to be around.

    See it’s about me … but the benefits spread wide!

    Great to hear your story too, Nikki. It isn’t about the number of the scales … or the size of the tag … it’s about feeling WELL. REALLY well. Jumping out of your own skin, well.


  31. My why- I am preparing my body to try for a baby.
    I do ok on the exercise front but could do better with the food.
    And am trying to cut back on the wine (but hard day yesterday= 2 generous glasses of savvy b)

  32. My why is the magnificent two year old sitting next to me (I’m 45). Even she can’t compete with my deep seated habits with dodgy diet and abscence of exercise. Stumped where to go from here. Need guidance and a kick in the backside! I don’t want her to have the same issues with food and self image as I do.

  33. Great review of this program Nikki. I’ve rewritten my comment 3 times now. I thought I knew my why, but when I wrote it down I realised it wasn’t what I thought it was. Turns out my why is to have a positive image of myself. I have an awesome life if a beautiful location. I want to leap out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm, put on clothes I love and put my energy and thoughts into the business I’ve just launched. Not drag myself out of bed, drag on clothes I dislike but wear because they fit, drag myself through the day and waste half my energy on an internal monologue about my weight, looks, food, energy and shortcomings. I’ve struggled with weight since high school and now at 42 I’m tired of feeling negative and wasting so much energy on that. I’ve let myself get the biggest I’ve ever been this year as I struggle with changing my work circumstances and how this effects my feelings of self worth. Now it’s got to stop … not just stop, but get better. I’m also motivated by my 4 year old daughter and my husband. I want to love our life. Have fun and run around with my daughter at the park or beach, Provide my family with healthy food, set our daughter a good example and provide her with the tools to live a long and healthy life. Help my husband achieve the same thing. Thanks for making me take a good hard look at myself over my cup of tea this morning!

      1. Thanks Nikki. There are days when I feel like I’m getting it but my comment was the honest thoughts I usually hide from myself. I love the conversation that this post has started. Everyone has been very open with their comments. Like Johanne, I love that everyone’s motivation is about feeling great and being the best they can be, not about specific numbers. Feeling super positive about my ability to do this after some good hard contemplation yesterday.

  34. You do look great, sort of glowing, confident, the best kind of fit no matter what scales or clothes tags say.
    I look in the mirror and judge it on how I feel, am I standing up tall, poised, feeling capable, am I smiling back at myself!
    My why is that every day my body should feel as good and strong to do it’s thing.
    My diet needs an overhaul. There is no escaping that sugar is not my friend
    My biggest motivator is my dog, loves walking no matter what but being mid life, you definitely need more to keep those muscles and bones and brain working well.
    I am looking forward to everyone’s comments today.

  35. Hi Nikki, you have been looking more and more amazing over the last few months. Glowing and healthy. I’ve been making changes, eating more plant food, less alcohol, less sugar. Diagnosed with IBS earlier this year, I couldn’t understand why I had pain/bloating etc when I ate what I thought was such healthy food. The dietician I went to was fantastic, after an elimination diet I found that I can’t eat onions/garlic/leeks/apples/dried apricots plus a few other things. Also intolerant to the carbohydrate in wheat. At first I missed garlic and apples, but now it doesn’t worry me, and I prefer feeling better. Stress makes it flare up too, so I avoid worrying over things I can’t change. I had seen your posts about Fernwood before, and to be honest I thought it would have cost a lot more than it does. Will be checking it out, Kathryn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.