- Any food is permitted.
- No exercise is required.
Proponents of the Free Day usually recommend that we try to keep our treats and cheats down to moderate portions. Basically, don't eat the entire pizza. But it's ok to have two or even three slices if you want them.
My opinion: Cheat Meals and Free Days are absolutely necessary.
For me, consistent calorie restriction will eventually fail. I enjoy big plates of spaghetti and baskets of tortilla chips with guacamole way too much to give them up forever. Cheat Meals and Free Days give me a chance to mentally and physically relax. I can enjoy a few favorites guilt-free, without totally busting my diet.
Moreover, Cheat Meals help me break free from the "all or nothing" mentality. I no longer binge because "I blew my diet, so I might as well eat what I want for the rest of the day." Instead, when I eat something that's not part of my plan, I say to myself, "Well, I'll just count that as one of this week's Cheat Meals." Then I get right back in my program.
It's different for everyone. Some people can get by without any Cheat Meals at all. Others need an entire Free Day. For me, it's best to space out my "cheats" over time. Rather than one Free Day, I prefer to have two or three Cheat Meals during the week.
And, of course, a day of total rest from exercise is a necessity for me, too. My body can't handle a 7-day-a-week workout program (although some people can do it without a problem).
So what works for you? Do you incorporate Cheat Meals or Free Days into your plan?