A thought about Free Day

  • I love free day. I look forward to it all week. I watch Cupcake Wars the night before and think about what I will spurge on in the morning. Then the morning comes and none of the junk food really appeals to me and I don't splurge nearly like I thought I wanted to the night before. I may have some unauthorized food items, but nothing like I thought I would. But, I love free day. It means I've reached one more week with my program, it gives me that feeling of NOT being on a diet (even if I choose to skip the junk food, I know I am allowed to have it...which usually makes me not really want it at that point).

    But, a thought occurred to me. BFL is 12 weeks. That means 12 free days. 12 days is almost 2 weeks. That's 2 weeks out of our program! So enjoy your free day, but just remember that it adds up to 2 weeks. It can be 2 weeks of extra progress while enjoying yourself a little, or 2 weeks of going crazy on junk and maybe not making as much progress as a full 12 weeks of healthy choices. Just a thought.

  • M-Momma,

    The fact that you are entitled to the junk food on this one day a week, but are naturally repulsed by most of it is one of the true signs of your progress.  You're getting it!!  IMHO we were not created to eat sugar and fat - laden synthetic foods, as are so common on our grocery store shelves.  And I've always questioned why we would deliberately slow our progress by 14% (1/7).  Search for the thread "Cheat Day" for a lively discussion on this subject that occurred last fall, and various perspectives on "Free Day".

    Good Luck!


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • Thanks for the tip on the Cheat Day thread. I'll look it up! As a major sugar addict, it has been cool to witness my cravings pretty much dissapear. When I have ate some of my old favorites, I've noticed they didn't give nearly the satisfaction I thought they would...in fact some tasted quite unappealing. Also, I think I've become addicted to my progress. The thought of eating something that is basically just junk and doesn't even taste that great anymore instead of taking an extra step forward is usually enough to make me resist. I'm only on Day one of week 5, so I still have my Free Day remorse those times when I over indulge. But, I find that the indulgence is less and less. Last night on free day I had wine, cheese, and crackers. This use to be a regular staple. For some reason, my stomach just wasn't used to it and bubbled all night! It may not  have been the biggest indulgence, but enough to make me wish I had stuck with all healthy food...or maybe just the glass of wine. ;-)

  • Marathonmama,

    That is great that you are starting to not want the same types of foods that you used to on your free days.  As Jacium said, that is a sign that your body is adjusting to the regular intake of healthy foods and I think it's a natural part of the process.  Keep up the great work!

    One Life, Live Accordingly

  • For it to add-up you would have to consume your basal metabolic rate in calories, plus the total calorie deficit you've run in one week.  I'm going into the 4th week of the program today, and I've used every single free day available thus far.  I've had all the goodies that I love, and I've still lost 12 pounds, gained a pound of lean mass, and lost 3% in body fat.  Heck, I lost a pound between my free day yesterday and my weigh-and-tape today.  The program is Body For Life, not body for 12 weeks.  Those 12 days of consumption simply won't add-up to the 72 days of strict nutrition and exercise.  In the long run, you're burning way more than you're consuming.  Beginners have to know that the free day is totally free and not a gimmick.  Otherwise, they may think they're being lied to about it.  I agree with Jacium though, essentially, the opportunity cost of that day begins to weigh heavier on the progressing BFLer, and many will just stop taking it.

  • Travis, Congrats on the great progress! That is really awesome! I agree that Free Day is especially important for beginners. When I first did the BFL program (about 10 years ago), I was a 30 pound overweight college student. I took Free Days and I took them good! lol. 10 years later of being very active, I only have about 10 pounds of fat to be VERY lean. I've tried the program both taking free days and not taking them...got great results both times. I found that the heavier I was, the less of an impact the free day had on my overall fitness though. The leaner I was to start, the more an all out free day binge seemed to affect my progress. This is just what I noticed for me. But, I think people should enjoy their free day however they want.  If they want to go all out, go for it. It's their free day and they are free to enjoy it how they want. The nice thing about BFL is the flexibility to occasionally feast when the occasion calls for it! I have noticed though that when I'm really focusing on a goal, the free day comes to mean less and less, reaching the goal becomes more and more important, and the junk food tastes less and less appealing. Good luck with the rest of your challenge!

  • Thanks for this post. It is what I needed to read. My free day sets me back every week. When I did this program years ago, I enjoyed my free day to the fullest and still had great results but now that I am in my late 30's and have a slow thyroid, I cannot indulge so much on my free day.

    I really appreciate the thought about it being nearly 2 weeks out of the 12 for the program. It put things in perspective!