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Psychological Benefits of "Free Day"

This is not a question, but a report:

First, I like to call it "FREE DAY" because it's not "cheating" if it's specifically prescribed by the slow carb program.

Second, knowing that I only have to eat in a restricted way for six days at a time, and on the seventh day that an escape from the restriction is coming has a HUGE psychological benefit for me. This built-in psychological re-set is so valuable to me, and I suspect that it will make the slow carb a la 4HB way of eating much more possible than other ways of eating in the long run.

I am experiencing none of the usual emotional/psychological angst that usually comes along with dietary changes, and I think it's because "free day" re-sets my brain once a week. I am not afraid that I won't be able to eat this way for a long period of time (possibly forever) because REALLY, I only have to do it 6 days at a time!!

Knowing free day is coming makes me willing to wait for my indulgences without totally stressing me out, OR giving in to them more often than I should.

What do you all think? Has this been a big relief to anyone else?


The Best Answer

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It has been a HUGE relief to my husband.

I can eat the same things every day, I like the discipline and structure,

...but my husband is beyond skeptical and is a bit of a complainer. He says all sarcastically, "I can't have milk either? What can I have on this diet, dirt?" He is kidding of course, and can see the results working, but its super hard for him to eat the same foods because he doesnt understand why eating certain foods as much as you want makes you loose weight.

So, on our Go Wild day he totally chills out and gets to eat his comfort foods like milk and cinnamon rolls.

He doesn't complain until the next Thursday (good enough for me!!)

I am 100% sure he would have opted out of this diet if there wasnt an off day.

Me saying "You can have ____ on Saturday!!" Makes a huuuuuuge difference

  • Agent.Luv commented Feb 11th 2011:
    Hey Sunshine -- Thanks for the response! I start hitting my wall on Thursday PM too, like your husband. So starting then, I write down all the things I crave that I'm going to eat on Saturday.

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I AGREE!!!! Diets suck and we sacrifice so much (most people arent willing to) that if we can have 1 day of a "free-for-all", we freakin' deserve it! Im def an emotional eater as well, and I still do get my urges to eat (habit) AND get depressed that im on a diet and i cant go eat something right now at that moment (habit again)...but knowing that Saturday is just around the corner is amazing! I wish everyone in the world knew about this diet.

Although there will come a day when I hit a spot where im not losing weight and the cheat day will become a cheat meal. But I will suck it up, get to my goal, and then back to the free-for-all it is. Maintaining will be cake...hahah literally! :)


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It was a relief at first, but now I feel like Im just getting into the groove and suddenly I'm pigging out again and it makes the next day so hard again. I'm going to try skipping it I think and seeing if it helps or is worse!

  • Katyslaughter commented May 17th 2011:
    I tried that and it sucked. But I agree that I did feel like I was pigging out again but if ur still losing weight then do it! I like having the option, it helps physiologically but at some point structing the cheat days has to happen to get to your goal


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It definitely helps! I have my Free Day every 7-10 days. It's scheduled for every 10, but I like the flexibility of being able to move it a few days before if I'm going out where there will be extra yummy food. :)

When I have any sort of craving that would normally drive me crazy, I simply write it down and by the end of the week I have a wonderfully planned day of good food. I also enjoy the food better. I take my time and really taste every bite.


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Huge Relief. I've said it before....if it were not for the cheat day i'd just do weight watchers where I could save up points and pig out. I've lost 34 pounds on this little deal and the cheat day is the main reason.


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I am glad I read this post......thank you for putting it up.

Every now and then I "cheat" during the week and have a little chocolate or bread and wonder why I'm doing this even though I know I have Saturday's "free" day to look forward too....I have forgotten to write down what I am craving!

This is what I am missing, why I feel like I am craving and then give in.....WRITE IT DOWN & then INDULGE Saturday. I look forward to it so much, makes eating these special foods worth the wait because I have lasted the 6 days without!


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The psychological benefits for me haven't just been personal, it's also been great for my family. I live in a non-SCD house with my parents and brother. Saturdays are pretty much everyone's 'cheat' day at my house anyway (pop-tarts for breakfast, popcorn/candy at the movies, fast food dinner, etc.) and being able to have one day a week where I'm not just eating next to everyone but with them is really nice.

Speaking of the psychology of cheat day, I have found that it irritates me to eat a SCD breakfast on my cheat day, and Mr. Ferris doesn't say you have to, so I didn't today. When I "waste" 1/3 of my cheat meals, I've either eaten into the night or taken 2 cheat days because I feel like I've missed out. Maybe other people don't have this problem, but I do. Saturdays are mine, hooray!

  • Gretchen Linden commented Feb 25th 2012:

    I'm with you, ohnonotcrystal -- the past several Saturdays, I have not had an SCD breakfast to start the cheat day. The great surprise is that it really has not seemed to bother anything. It's great to have a break from the routine -- and eggs, especially. This morning, I started my cheat day with home made wheatless walnut cookies and coffee with cream. NICE.


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I love this post...yes, Free Day is a big relief and it does keep the "sanity" of "dieting" in check

Today is my cheat day and all week I've been waiting to eat plain, ruffled chips with french onion dip....ALL WEEK, I've been talking about it. Now that I can, I don't think I really want them.

Have you had this happen? Makes me wonder if my little indulgences that I thought I needed before...did I really need them if I would have waited an hour, a day, a week???


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Agreed. Free day makes it possible to participate in social events with no problem. When I do indulge in favourite foods on free day there is no guilt. I can truly enjoy them. This is a huge difference from before when any indulgences caused guilt and remorse.

I have no problem waiting for free day for that reason - I know I can eat what I want and not feel bad.

I think the lack of free day flexibility is why I've given up on other low carb diets before. I lost weight but couldn't stick to it for more than a month.

I've talked to some friends who can't do free day - it triggers all their cravings and they can't get back on track the following day. It's easier for them to never have their trigger foods. Everyone is different. Self-experimentation and examination of the data is key.

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