Taking 'Me' Time, Plus Do Healthy People Diet?

What we're talking about on the health message boards

There’s just something about fall that makes me think of new beginnings. When I wake up in the morning to the smell of crisp autumn air, I wonder about all of the possibilities that lie ahead and I’m excited to get up and start my day. I also appreciate the little things more -- which for me can sometimes be a bit of an effort. Between deadlines and scouting out new assignments, I sometimes forget to take time for my non-work self.

So this week, when cl-ting_tn asked everyone on the Living Your Best Life boards if we do something every single day of our lives that makes us happy, I was curious to see how people would respond. It seems so simple and necessary -- why wouldn’t we do something for ourselves each day? Yet, at least for me, it can be a rarity.

To my surprise, everyone who responded to Ting’s question said they do. Does that mean I’m the only one who has a hard time prioritizing her happiness or did those people just choose not to answer? Cl-mollmae says she paints or reads, while pvilleprincess does yoga. And it’s not because they have nothing to do.

As a reward for running around all day, cl-krbh2001, another book aficionado, squeezes reading time into her schedule during her daughter’s bedtime ritual. “My daughter needs [me] in the room with her when it's bed time, so I turn on the light by the bed, sit back in my chair, prop my feet on the bed, and open my book,” she says.

“Every day there is something that makes me smile or laugh,” says libelulle. “Sometimes I read a book. Sometimes I listen to music. Once a week, I try to have a drink or dinner with a close group of friends. I exercise. I go window-shopping at a mall. I meditate. I come to iVillage to meet with friends.”

So maybe I am one of the few who forgets to take time out for herself, but I am working on it (I hope that’s not an oxymoron). Yesterday, I got together with friends for Thai food and some guilty reality TV, and I’ve already been to the gym twice this week for the first time in months. And it felt great. What I need to remember is that I don’t have to carve an hour out of my schedule to do something for me. Even a quick break -- such as a walk around the block with my dog -- if it helps me unwind, can be completely restorative, as well.

So what about you? Do you take time every day to do something for yourself? Tell us about it on the message boards.

Another conversation that piqued my interest this week was on the Gym Rats board, where a member asked if her fellow fitness fanatics diet in order to maintain a svelte figure. People, after all, work out for different reasons. Some do it to cope with stress or have more energy. Others do it so they can eat what they want, or fit into a smaller pant size. So once you establish a fitness routine, do you feel the need to diet?

As it turns out, none of the women who responded diet. At least, not in the traditional sense. Almost everyone who weighed in -- pardon the pun -- say they gave up on eating to lose weight a long time ago and instead do their best to follow a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables.

As jenindc says, it all depends on what you mean by “diet.” “There's such a continuum between being on an extreme deprivation ‘diet’ and eating whatever you want. Most of us here fall somewhere in the middle -- we do ‘watch what we eat.’” What you choose to call it, she explains, says more about whether you’re doing it to be thin or to be healthy.

“I'm more about the health -- mental and physical -- than the weight,” agrees cljeanwl. “I was training someone recently who told me in the past year, she's let herself gain a few pounds because she can enjoy her life more. She's still healthy and thin, just not as thin as she was.”

As for me, I can’t diet. The minute I think about restricting my calories or banning a certain food from my repertoire, I eat everything in sight. While I will allow myself to eat anything I want, my healthful choices over the years has changed my palate, so that I don’t crave as much junk as I used to eat. And I just feel bad putting crap with no nutritional value into my body. I feel better when I eat better, and this has thankfully allowed me to maintain my weight, more or less. If the pounds do start creeping on, I know it’s because I’m snacking too much, and make an effort to eat only when I’m hungry. Is that dieting? I see it more as a way of life.

What are your eating habits like? Do you diet, watch what you eat, or neither? Chime in on the boards or below.

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