FREE DAY! (don't call it "CHEAT DAY", you are not cheating - you are making a choice) FREE TO CHOOSE TO EAT CRAP OR NOT!!!
What are your goals? Do you want the BEST transformation possible in 12 weeks? Yes, lots of champions have used free day like Bill did, but how good were they the other 6 days a week and how good are you? How strict are you, how INTENSE are your workouts - do you hit "10's" often, did they?....
We are all different, just because one person can eat whatever they want on freeday and lose it 3 days later, doesn't mean we all can - your height, weight, age, eating - binging - yoyo history all have an affect... Just be mindful is all I'm saying - monitor how you feel the next few days.... also think about the "for life" aspect of this.
Here are some blogs by BFLMIKE - 2006 Champion - have a read and take note of what you eat.....
The following two questions are asked quite regularly on the Guest Book – I thought it would be of benefit to post all the responses because they too are “regular” type of responses.
7th March – Free Day!
QUESTION- is there any "free day" rules???
Stacy , 3/6/2010
STACY! It wouldn’t be free if there were rules! However, there is a significant difference in the results obtained among some people and free day, since it occupies 1/7 th of the overall time you are on BFL, can have consequences–good or bad!
The professed purposes of free day are to:
1. Help you to have the foods that you crave, the ones that are not authorized during the week.; and,
2. To help reset your body thermostat so it does not begin to shut down due to the stringent diet. Well, common sense would suggest that just eating more than your regular caloric allotment by eating one or two of the foods you crave on free day should meet those goals, right? But many people, especially those who have struggled with food and eating problems their whole lives, tend to use free day as an opportunity for gluttony, and the adverse consequences from that, both physical and emotional (from post free day shame and guilt) can really mess up a challenge. I will post above here a blog I wrote on free day which explains more in detail.
BFLMike , 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
Stacy, the idea of free day is no rules at all. The reality varies from person to person. Probably only Bill Phillips is lean and trim enough to eat a box of donuts on free day. Most people start by eating everything they want, and feeling the results on Monday. From there they start to adjust free day to what works best for them. Some people end up only having a free meal. It’s up to you, it’s your free day.
And don’t forget it serves the very important purpose of shaking up your metabolism’s routine. Sort of causing a system reset.
Coupled with no exercise (you can do them both on one day or split them. Most people combine them for a one day event) it gives your mind and body a day to rest and recover.
After a good week of BFL, you need that day!
Jeff--HappyPants , 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
A Case Against Free Days that are too Free!by: Michael Harris 4/1/2007
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot eat all you want on free day without consequences. The BFL diet is simply a numbers game as far as food is concerned. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain. For most of us, that gain will be represented by fat. If we’re working out very hard, it might be represented by some muscle, but for most it’s fat, or a mix of fat and muscle.
Take a look at the average female diet. If the average female needs 2000 calories a day, (what a 38 year old 125 pound 5’4" female of moderate physical activity needs)and she is eating the six small meals a day, averaging about 260 calories each, she is creating a "deficit" of 2640 calories a week for the six days. Now, if to lose a pound means negative 3500 calories, she is burning up about 2/3 of a pound a week. BUT, on free day, let’s say she starts with 4 strips of bacon, a Belgian waffle with syrup and butter, orange juice and coffee. That alone is 785 calories. She then has a McDonald’s quarter pounder, large fries and medium coke for lunch. That’s 1130 calories. For dinner, a single sized supreme pizza, thick crust, 1024 calories, plus another coke, 160 calories. Then, a cup of chocolate chip ice cream to top the day off. 540 calories. Total calories for a very average free day: 3639. This, however, removes 2079 calories from the deficit built up earlier, meaning that the projected weight loss for that week, instead of 2/3 of a pound is closer to 1/6 of a pound. That would be a whopping 2 pound loss projected for 12 weeks! If she didn’t take a free day, she’d lose 7 more pounds, because she would be saving over 25,000 calories.
Now, I’ll grant you that she might burn an additional 200 calories a day due to exercise, but notice that I’m assuming that this female is very strict during her weekly dieting. And I doubt that occurs with most of us!
So how does Bill Phillips do it and why does he recommend a free day? Well, Bill does take a free day like that on occasion, but he’s in optimal shape, not gaining or losing much under our example above, right? But you, who are trying to get to look like him, also end up not gaining or losing much. I think that Bill hoped free day would help us feel in charge of our lives, that we could have our favorite foods and not feel deprived, and that we would alter our destructive eating habits as they go on. What Bill didn’t allow for (my opinion only) is how many people doing BFL would have eating disorders, and would go bonkers on the free day! And for them, it never changes–in fact for many this ends up being two or three free days! This often kills the transformation entirely.
BUT, what about the "refeeding" concept—the idea that you have to feed your body more than enough on occasion, or it will go into starvation mode and shut down the metabolic rate so you quit losing? Well, certainly eating one day a week at the normal calorie requirement level, or slightly above it, ought to do that nicely shouldn’t it? I am not aware of a study anywhere on normal subjects (versus anorexics) that shows that this theory really is valid. All information is largely anecdotal. Even if it DID work, is there really an excuse for way overloading the system, especially with all the greasy, heavy, easily-stored-as-fat foods that so many of us eat?
Mike & Jeff-HappyPants:
Thank you for your posts and blog entry on the potential down sides to Free Day.
I am a confirmed food addict and have been all my life. You are so right. My first week, I went crazy and as you said, had regrets and didn’t feel that great on Monday. As many addicts do, I also toyed with the idea of making Free Day a day-and-a-half long. Although I quickly shut that down, I am thankful that I was able to keep it at a day at the end of Week 1.
Last weekend, I did very well, and I think it because of good things that others posted LAST weekend. Although there’s no entry for Free Day in the Success Journal (why would there be?), on Saturday evening, I wrote out everything I would eat on Free Day. My forbidden foods were very reasonable, planned and for the most part nutritious. I already did the same thing for tomorrow’s Free Day. To respect the "food porn" policy, I won’t list get into details but I think this willl pork for me. And as a food addict, and as Mike indicated, I have to be oh so careful on those Free Days.
For those new to Guestbook, "food porn" is the actual listing of prohibited foods. We do not list forbidden foods on Guestbook because some with food sensitivities or addiction can get triggered to overeat simply by reading someone else’s list (which, by the way, I totally agree with).
So everyone, have an enjoyable Free Day tomorrow with friends and family.
Jeff , 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
Thanks Mike for that I need to rethink my free days usually I am at work for them and I just dont pack a lunch but I think what I am gonna start doing is packing an approved lunch and just allowing myself to enjoy a treat or a free dinner. That is my plan for today I am at work and packed my lunch but tonight is my sisters bday dinner and that will be my treat for my free day
KristinB , 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
Thank you so much! I was thinking about going nuts at some fast food stops simply because it was my "free day". Thanks for pulling me back in from my frenzy!! :)
Jeff, I am so happy for you that you were able to stick to one day free day. I write everything that I eat on the free day too, so I can check back later how bad my free days really are. I have toyed with the idea of not taking a free day at all, but somehow I need to make progress yet, may be in the next challenge.
Radwillslim , 3/6/2010
Rad, just take a free meal instead. That works well for me, and has for several years now. I always eat that meal at the end of free day, and during the earlier part of free day I have a few little snacks I enjoy, but the anticipation of that meal is a real delight. Another good free meal trick is to eat it out, so you’re not bringing unauthorized foods into your home.
BFLMike Okemos, MI 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
hey everyone...week 6 coming to an end...jumped on the scale this morning and I am down 12lbs since i started...had a good cardio workout this morning...been reading the free day discussion and first off I should say I am in no way a food addict or anything like that...but I do like junk food which was pretty much 75% of my diet before i started BFL....but that was me in the beginning of this program...gorging myself on my free day just b/c it was my free day but I figured eating even though im not hungry cant be good....so now its evolved into pretty much one meal and a few snacks on my free day...which i do look forward too...its more of mental break than anything else...b/c if im out with friends i can order what i want and not try to find the healthy meal on the menu....other then that...I have my routine down and i look forward to going to the gym ...ready for the next 6 weeks....stay strong everyone...
David , 3/6/2010 E-mail Me
Hello fellow Challengers,
I live in a house with my wife and 18 y/o son. Both of them are slim and thanks to their genetics, can eat anything they want. As such, they have no problems eating all the foods that we as Challengers do not consume.
Most times, I shrug off their eating habits and go about my business but then there’s other times when temptation hits hard.
Are there others in similar situations here? I can’t ask them to NOT bring those foods in the house, or to just eat those foods when they are out. My family just doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes the mental strength & determination that is required of us is as much as the physical.
Jeff At my home too, hubby and brother do not follow what I eat. I cook separately for them and for me. Even though I cook for them, I do not touch it one bit. However, sometimes, those few times, it is tempting to grab a hold of that blueberry pound cake. That is when I drink some water or think of the dress that I want to fit into and stay away from it. It’s not like I have conquered it all, there are times when I have given in, but most of the times, I tell myself I’ll have it on my free day and I’ll bet you on this, by the time the free day comes, I don’t remember it that much at all.
Jeff... same situation here. I have a son (17) and husband that can eat anything and everything and don’t have to work about gaining weight, so of course they want to eat lots of foods that we cannot. I have another son (21) also that unfortunately, his body works the same way mine does, but he won’t eat BFL food either. I fix them seperate meals, I make them cinnamon rolls, pancakes etc... but I don’t eat any of it either. Some of the foods that are more tempting to me, I do try to keep out of the house.
Pam-BlessedinMO , 3/6/2010
I realized something that the last 3 months has changed in me.
At the beginning of my challenge on free days I found myself LOVING the free day food and wanting to quit so that I could go back to eating like that. This weekend I have had a couple of free meals for various birthday parties my friends and family have thrown for me. I noticed that after eating the free day food I once again felt sick, and was more than excited to get back to eating good healthy whole foods that give me strength, clarity of mind, and energy. I had absolutely no desire to want to drop the healthy stuff and go back to the old habits. In the past if I ate one bad thing in a day, I would eat like crap for the rest of the day...I was easily able to go back to the healthy stuff. I have found a happiness in eating correctly and can really see how much the free day food poisins my system. I am very grateful to be to this point, it feels really good!
Speaking of the big 3-0. I GOT MY BIKE COMPLETE WITH BABY SEAT from the hubby!!! I took a picture and posted it on t.com. I am SO GRATEFUL for the energy and excitement for life BFL has given me. I am really looking forward to making many healthy family memories on our new bikes this year!
I am thrilled to be starting C2 on Monday! I really feel like I’ve got my head in the game this time.
I need to read back now and catch up! LOVES AND HUGS!!
Alyson , 3/6/2010
Hello everyone: I’m finishing up my free day and I feel great and I’ll tell you why. This morning I woke up feeling fatigued, exhausted and unmotivated. But it’s free day so I took it easy. I had a non-BFL breakfast, a treat, ate a healthy lunch, made an Eating for Life dinner and family treats for movie night - one a new recipe I’ve been wanting to try for two weeks - just waiting for an appropriate free day. So I rested, did some baking with my kids, and enjoyed my treats with my family and made sure I didn’t make enough for leftovers, and I don’t feel guilty. I refuse. I feel good because it’s all OK. I’m rested and rejuevenated and feel great about getting back on the program tomorrow. But you know what? I never left the program. Free day IS part of the program and I needed the rest today. It’s all good. I didn’t go crazy and unlike in the beginning of the challenge, I feel happy to continue eating clean. Free days aren’t straying from the path, they’re part of the path. My body knows I’m not starving, I’m rested, and I’m ready to go again. And I credit a lot of my motivation and clear thinking to the GB! Thanks everyone!
JenniferNorCal , 3/7/2010
Good morning, all!! Yesterday was my free day- and after a whole week of eating nothing but healthy proteins and small amounts of carbs, it was a shock to my system to go out to eat and ignore the rules. I just woke up and I feel tired, worn out and have a slight headache- I am SO glad I am back on the BFL program today- I hate feeling this way- How did I manage to wake up this way every day before the BFL challenge??
Stacy , 3/7/2010
STACY! Free day is really much like a drunken binge, in that the body gets a large dose of sugar (which is what alcohol ends up as) which causes it to retain water, so you look and feel swollen, plus you are pretty much dehydrated because the water retention puts all the water in the wrong places! So, drink PLENTY of water today, more than usual, and just eat your usual healthy foods–DON’T WEIGH!–and by Tuesday all will be normal again!
BFLMike , 3/7/2010 E-mail Me
Question 8th March
Your thoughts on this free day idea... I am still def. feeling like I need a free day... when things feel restrictive I tend to buck and so I choose not to give up my free day... however, I feel I go hog wild and eat even if I don’t feel like it because it will be a whole week again until my next free day... any thoughts on a free breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the week rather than all in one day? Kait, 3/8/2010
Kait You must be already knowing the answer when you posted that question. You are better off having ONE free day. If managing one free day is difficult, then you can imagine how it might be to have a free breakfast or whatever 2 -3 times a week. Things will just go out of control. Just stick to one free day as it says in the book
Radwillslim , 3/8/2010
KAIT!!!: How bad do you want it. That is something you need to look into a mirror and say to yourself. (go ahead and do it now, I’ll wait...)
If your answer is that you want to change your life around THIS time, for YOU...then get back on board today! I DO NOT recommend spreading out free day, as I am sure portion control will lead you into a frenzy. You need to relook your choices and decide if you want to work out as hard as you are for 6 days then blow it in one, for 12 weeks. I am glad you posted what you did, as I am sure others think the same too. Try to find a way in to "beat" the program....BFL doesnt work that way. Lean bodies arent made over night. You can do this like millions before us, but you have to bring your brain with you everywhere you go and make good clean choices one day after another. :)
Legs , 3/8/2010
Gotcha Rads–- I feel like I overdo free day because I only get the one chance a week... I have slipped before and had an unauthorized lunch and then got right back on track with the next meal. I guess I am trying to make this more "real life" for me... like, if I am not actively doing a challenge, will I continue to only cheat once a week? Or will I be able to say yes to going out to breakfast on a sunday and then eat well the rest of the day? It is hard to find a successful spot... I don’t want to get so rigid I go out of control, but on the same hand, I want to be rigid so it becomes my normal... sorry if this didn’t make sense.
Kait , 3/8/2010
Thanks Legs... I literally stared at my computer and said out loud why I want this... I guess I have issues with food if I am eating just to eat on free days like I am... I think my free days are kind of blowing it for me, but I also feel like if I say no more free day just one meal I will self sabotage... UGH!
KAIT: Youre smarter than that. Come on! I know its hard work...HELOOOOO! but dang it your worth it. You have come so far already.
I have my issues with free day too. Do I. :( But today is a new challenge for me and I am going to fight my demons for 84 days and show myself I can do it. Each challenge leads us to new insights. I looked in my mirror this morning too. I still see some sadness and things I need to work on. If it helps to talk to yourself, do that each day, or each time you are in the bathroom - whatever. KAIT IS WORTH IT THIS TIME.
Legs , 3/8/2010
I allowed free day to be guilt free and now worry if I am undoing a whole week. Kait, I eat just to eat on free days too. Can you say buffet? I might have had better results having a free meal on free days but this is real life like you said. Free day reminds your body not to got into fat storing starvation mode. If you do in 3 imperfect challenges what you think you could have done in one "perfect" challenge (which does not exist) you are still moving forward and making progress. Dont chame the gameplan change your mindeset. ALLOW yourself to have free day without a worry or guilt. I think that might be your issue, guilt for eating unrestricted.
BryanL BCLEVI-on-T.COM, TX 3/8/2010 E-mail Me
Bryan and Legs- thanks a LOT for making me shed a few tears this morning...sheesh! ;) It is so hard to overcome my issues when I don’t feel strong enough, and then I have those closest to me saying "You look good enough"... I am SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL for my GB family support!!! They don’t realize that it is not just about 6 pack abs or looking great in a bikini... I have 3 little girls... I want to be so mentally in shape for them! I don’t want to pass on my issues to them! Ok, one day at a time!!! And I do feel guilt... I just had an EAS bar for a mid meal b/c I normally drink a shake right now (like clockwork every day of this challenge) and they haven’t arrived yet... and I read someone saying bars aren’t best so now I feel like I messed that up! I will work on this and change my mindset!
Kait The mindset that I have found that works for me regarding free day is being selective. If I’m going to eat it on free day, then I’ve given it some serious thought. I don’t just randomly eat all day long just because I can. My thoughts about there being a free day are that I often use "I’ll have something on free day" when a coworker offers up a treat. It’s just not worth the next day mental hassles of eating mindlessly all day.
MichelleMadisonAL , 3/8/2010
I like that Michelle- thanks so much! I am feeling SO re-energized now from all this GB support! I like the idea of planning free day too... maybe I will get a basket and when I want to eat something I will put it in the basket for free day and then see if I really want it!!! You guys rock! I also got a call today from a fellow guestbooker and THAT was just amazing!!!! You guys are so great!
Kait you’d be amazed at how many things I put in my freezer thinking "I will have that on free day" three months later I clean out the freezer and think to myself that I didn’t really want that after all. You control free day, it doesn’t control you... ;o)
Rosemary- you DO deserve them! Ok, I am going to start a list of cravings stuff so I can feel like I am at least dealing with the craving and giving myself the opportunity to have it at some point... then I can see what I really eat! You girls rock!
Free day feels counter productive and it looks like guilt is tied to it but really, look at yourselves! BFL works! Enjoy your free day and don’t sweat it. Keep dedicated to the process and results are guaranteed! Everyone here is awesome to even make this jump. Enjoy it and enjoy the changes to your body and mind!
Charles , 3/8/2010
Analyze THIS!by: Michael Harris 2/19/2007
Over on the Body for Life guestbook, usually every Monday there are posts of dismay over what happened on free day--or even more often about what happened on free day plus a couple other binge days to boot!!Those posts are nearly always followed by quickly drafted "Oh, don’t worry about it--just forgive yourself and move on" types of posts from others on the guestbook--that are ABSOLUTELY WRONG!Quickly forgiving yourself for such a lapse and " moving on" is a recipe for disaster! See,in my opinion, if you have cheated on the diet and lost control, what you need to do is not forgive yourself--but analyze yourself. Just forgiving yourself leaves the problem still sitting there, just waiting for the next chocolate chip cookie or bag of kisses that somehow walks right up to your desk, or jumps into the seat of your car with you.Here’s the real problem. Once you break a promise to yourself, two things happen. A. You get disgusted with yourself--as you should. And, B., you are afforded an opportunity to make a serious correction in your life habits. By quickly forgiving and moving on, you still have the guilt and disgust, and you haven’t figured out what you can do to correct this problem. So, you’ll do it again--guaranteed! And the next time, it won’t be just like the last time, it will be even worse.Breaking a promise to yourself has major consequences. Just think of how you deal with those who have consistently broken promises to YOU. You don’t trust them; you don’t believe in them; you don’t rely on them; and if truth be told--you don’t love them very much either! You’ll treat yourself exactly the same way. BUT, if you truly analyze what went wrong, and take effective, forward steps to avoid this happening again (not just making another foolish vow) then you’ll be doing the work necessary to restore your faith in yourself.The answer may be as simple as avoiding certain places--the bar after work, or the ice cream parlor. Or it may be as complex as arranging counseling for that eating disorder that is killing you. But, whatever it is, you must do it, or you’ll repeat history until you’re much worse off than ever.Do this right. Body for Life--IS FOR LIFE. Don’t rush through something and miss the chance to change yourself for the better--for life.
Fighting Back After Free Day!by: Michael Harris 7/16/2007 (BFLMIKE - 2006)
Well, how did it go? Free day I mean! Most people do free day on Sunday, and that means that for many, Monday upon rising is not the most pleasant time in the world. Tummy aches and rumbles are common, and there is often a feeling much like someone has after they have had too much alcohol the night before. The reasons are similar, too.So are the "cures." For a hangover, one of the first things the "victim" should do is drink tons of water. Same for the free day sufferer. This begins and speeds the process of getting rid of the nasty after effects of all that fat and sugar you ingested. Getting the body moving helps a lot, too. You need that blood pumping at a good rate to help the flush process. I’m not suggesting HIIT cardio here, unless it happens to be a regular day for that, but a mile walk at a 3.5 to 4 mph rate, a brisk rate, will really help clear the head and begin the rehabilitation process as well. Stay off the scales! You know better anyway, but when you weigh the morning after free day you are weighing the bowel content of all that stuff you ate, much of which took up a lot of fluids to get it digested and to move it on through the body. If you do weigh regularly, then think "Wednesday morning" please. By that time the free day stuff will be gone and you’ll be better able to assess the damage that was done. You’ll be tempted to skip breakfast, or even some other meals. DON’T! Eat your regular healthy breakfast and get in the six small meals today. This is crucial. First of all, you won’t really be hungry for any of your meals, but GOOD food is critical today, as this is the launch for the rest of the week, and that food is absolutely necessary to restabilize your insulin and blood sugar levels and to rebuild the muscle from that punishing resistance training you did or are going to do today.Body for Life is a very simple lifestyle. But, often, it is doing what seems almost counter-intuitive. Eating right after pigging out is one of those things. Well, I hope your next free day goes better. Sigh!
Tweaking the Plan
Life Long Learning Gives Life Long Results!by: Michael Harris 9/26/2008
Life long learning is a big buzz phrase these days, which essentially communicates the fact that there is no stability in jobs anymore. Today’s job will be gone tomorrow, so you’d better be always learning as technoclogy changes--that’s the normal use of the phrase. But, in diet and fitness, it’s necessary for an entirely different reason. Life long learning adds confidence to your diets and workouts, prevents "tweaks," and gives you life-long results.Here’s how it works. When most of us started body for life, we read the book and took off! FOr some of the newbies, that book isn’t even deemed necessary. They simply scan the website, pick up a few of the principles, and get going! And, while I admire the enthusiasm, I just can’t say much for the approach, because it simply doesn’t work well. Embarking on a plan that you truly don’t understand is a little like heading on a cross-country trip without a map or a GPS--a risky adventure.My experience is that if a person not only knows the "hows" of a program,, but the "whys" as well, it is much more likely to be completed successfully. Here’s why. If all you know is that this is how the book says you should do it, you’re apt to fall for every new idea or tweak that comes along. This happens all the time on the guestbook. For example, there is always the "abs bootcamp" craze, which sweeps through the guestbook about every 6 weeks. Those who don’t know that the reason they aren’t seeing abs is because they are still too FAT, and who don’t realize that ab muscles should NOT be worked more often than any other muscle, just somehow decide to go off he deepend and begin doing tons of exercise that at best wastes a lot of time. But, don’t take my word for this--do some research on muscle tissue and you’ll see that abs need the same kind of recovery and exercise regimen that arms and legs do.In the diet arena, folks are always tweaking the diet and eating too much of the wrong stuff. Free day abuse will essentially take several days to get over and WILL affect the outcomes of their challenges. Because people do not understand that fats don’t you make you fat--carbs do--and how that all works with insulin doing the work, they just have difficulty sticking with the diet. The more you know about how it works, the less likely you are to veer off into eating that is more likely to produce fat than muscle.How do you get this information? I buy books--all the time. I pick them up at garage sales, library book sales, and other places, for less than a dollar a book. I read everything I can get my hands on that is written by Barry Sears, the Zone author. He is the godfather of the theory and science on which the BFL program is based. I also read good web sites, such as Brian Deeds’ website, the link to which is on my own website, at www.mikeharris.org. Brian knows his stuff and he has some great new articles on there about insulin and supplement timing.If you’re serious about getting and staying fit, learn everything you can about how and why. Not only will it help YOU, but it will also arm you to help your skeptical friends, too!
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